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I’ve been having a bit of a brainstorming session today about workshop design and layout (with myself, unfortunately – bit of a one-way conversation), and was lamenting that there isn’t such a person as a workshop design specialist, who can take all the tools and workflows, and come up with an optimum design.What is bugging me, is even with the significantly improved floorspace, I still seem to be lacking a good workshop area – open space, perhaps (at worst) with a workbench in the middle.As much as it is great having machines with plenty of space around them, finally being able to access those machines easily, I haven’t gotten the layout right yet.Unlike some, at least I have access to the collective wisdom of all the readers out there, so let’s brainstorm. Ideas on the table and let’s see if we can’t work this through.In no particular order, here are some of my thoughts.1. The mezzanine. When finished, it is going to have a good amount of floorspace, and although limited in a number of areas, how can this space be best utilisted? Limitations include: – access (obviously), being upstairs, and accessed by ladder – floor load capacity. Not sure the /m2 load rating – will have to find out. – head height However, working around these limitations, is there any function (other than storage of items not needed on a daily basis) that can be located to the mezzanine?2. Dust extraction. The dust extraction layout will have to be compromised to work around workshop layout, and not the other way around. However, is having the extractor on the mezzanine a good option. I’m having definite second thoughts. I put it up there to a. free up workshop floorspace b. for it to be inside the main shed, as it draws a lot of air, and if outside the main shed, that is a lot of hot (or cold) air that would be drawn into the workshop, and c. as that would make it generally central to the machines it is drawing from. On the other hand, having it in the timber store next door gives better access, better noise separation, better workshop air quality (particularly on the mezzanine).3. Infeed and outfeed on the jointer and thicknesser. These machines are claiming a lot of the new workshop’s floor space. Both in having area around the machines to walk, but also material workflow area. Is there a better layout? Would there be a benefit in moving one (or both) to the long, narrow timber store? Especially if the dust extractor is going in there. Or is there a better way to manage their floorspace requirements? If it was an option, would replacing the two separate machines with one combo be a better solution? There are some pretty interesting alternate machines out there that could perform both functions in one footprint, and with one infeed and outfeed area.4. Location of the router table. Would it be better up against a wall (rear edge) as I had it in the previous workshop? Should it swap position with the workbench that is near the lathes?5. Things I like about the current layout: The lathe area. That back section of the workshop is still looking as I envisaged it. The rest though, really not sure if it is right, and how best to tweak it.6. Storage. Still a big problem. I have a lot of things still packed in crates, waiting for their new homes to be revealed. Still unsure what a good solution will be.7. I still really need to move some machines and tools on to new homes, such as the TS10L tablesaw, and the Torque Router Master. The list of machines and tools to move on is also growing. I have a bunch of cheap clamps (quick action, Irwin style, but much cheaper) to go, a scrollsaw, even a radial arm saw. The big ticket items need to go quickly though – need the funds to pay for some of what the workshop has cost, and they take up significant room too.So that is the current list – any thoughts? Filed under: Shed, Shed Build, Workshop Layout | Tagged: brainstorm, Dust Extractor, infeed, Jointer, Layout, machines for sale, outfeed, Thicknesser, tools for sale, TS10L | 8 Comments » After taking much of the day to do some family things (beach before, and BBQ after) for Australia Day, I also moved a number of machines into the shed, now that the electrical was completed and therefore the machines wouldn’t get in the way.Heavy buggers, especially over soft, churned up dirt the backyard has become. The pallet jack is such an asset – able to lift the heaviest machine easily, and with reasonably wide wheels, can even manage the ground to a certain extent.Even so, it was too much to move the thicknesser on my own (230 or so kg), so with a brief assistance of a couple of neighbours, it flew across the back yard.Paying the price for it all now though!Never-the-less, a good number of moves was achieved – slowly emptying the garage, and the shed starting to take on real character.Placement/layout is by no means locked in (never is in my shed!), but am roughly placing them still in accordance with the original plan.What was moved in this time was the Jet lathe (still uncertain about its long term plan), Jet 14″ bandsaw, Torque Workcentre, the workbench, thicknesser. Filed under: Lathe, Shed, Shed Build, Tools | Tagged: Australia Day, BBQ, Jointer, Machinery, Move, Pallet jack, Thicknesser, Torque Workcentre, TWC | 1 Comment » Combination machines are often underrated, or overlooked when considering workshop machines. If you have the space, then a machine dedicated to one task must be better than one trying to be all things to all people right?It is the public gym vs infomercial war all over again, in some minds: don’t buy a machine that can only do one thing, buy this workout zone for home and get 99 functions in 1. Sounds great, but we also know for these sales pitches, the resulting contraption is built cheap. After all, you don’t get 1 for 10 easy payments of $99.95, but they will throw in a second one for free, and an exercise mat to boot.If you have the workshop floor area, why would you consider a combo machine, when 2 or 3 individual machines, each dedicated to the one task must be better.Well that is not always the case.There are a number of reasons to consider a combo machine in the workshop.1. PriceOverall, it will typically be a lot more expensive than one of the machines it is replacing, but add them all together, and the price starts becoming rather competitive.2. Floor SpaceUnless you own the Taj Mahal of sheds, we are all space-poor to one degree or another, and some machines can be combined to minimise their overall demand on space, especially where they can share common infeed and outfeed areas.3. Increased CapacityIf you buy a jointer, a 6″ jointer is a reasonable price, an 8″ adds about 60% to the price, and a 12″ about 4x the price.It means as a stand-alone machine, few will be able to justify a 10″ – 12″ jointer. But if you get a combination jointer-thicknesser, a 10″ or 12″ capacity for the jointer is not uncommon.It makes me really wonder why the stand-alone jointers of that size are so expensive? You can buy a 15″ thicknesser for a fraction of the price of a 12″ jointer.4. Access to machines you otherwise wouldn’t getA combo machine like a jointer/thicknesser is just that, a couple of machines combined. But what about the multi-machine combinations?The MiniMax C26 for example combines a 10″ tablesaw (with sliding table), a 10″ jointer, 10″ thicknesser, a spindle moulder, and optionally a mortiser to boot.You may be looking for the typical combo of the saw, jointer and thicknesser, which means the spindle moulder and mortiser are bonuses – you may not have planned on buying them otherwise, but who’d say no if they are included?So let’s look closer at the C26 particularly, as it is one that I saw at my recent road trip to Gabbett Machinery.1. PriceIgnoring the mortiser, as that price is a total guess, the C26 at $5400 compares very closely to $5200 of the stand alone machines (if you still consider the combo jointer/thicknesser), or $6100 of totally independent machines. There are2. Floor SpaceC26 footprint 5.2m2 (that includes the area of the sliding table with the arm out at an operational position).Standalone machines 8.3m2And this is just the foot print of the machines themselves, not including the typical amount of space you’d leave around each machine for access, or the infeed and outfeed areas, which is significant!There is no question about it – a combo machine saves a fortune in shed space.The increased capacity is primarily around the jointer – getting a 10″ jointer or larger is exceptionally expensive stand alone, but not so much so when part of a combination. The 6″ jointer I have has always been quite a limitation for me – couldn’t justify getting a larger one, but have often found it to be a limitation.As to machines you wouldn’t otherwise have, that is a personal issue. For me, I don’t have a mortiser or spindle moulder, so that would be the win from having a combo (not to mention the increased jointer capacity). The other thing I don’t have is the sliding table, which can prove exceptionally useful if you are trying to do a lot of crosscutting on the tablesaw.So unlike cheap exercise equipment sold on late-night TV, a serious combo workshop machine is something well worth considering when looking at setting up a workshop. They are not cheap, but as shown, it is comparable to the machines they replace, and they save a fortune in workshop real estate. As I am discovering with the current shed build, workshop floorspace is worth a small fortune, and being able to save many multiple square metres is worth a lot, much more than the cost of the machine.The Minimax C26 in particular was from Gabbett Machinery. Filed under: Manufactures and Suppliers, Tools | Tagged: C26, combination machines, Gabbett Machinery, Jointer, Machine, MiniMax, Table Saw, Taj Mahal, Thickness planer | 4 Comments » Although I put up the small storage shed last weekend, I really didn’t get a chance to actually make use of the space.Today, I had a crack at trying to sort out the garage (where the majority of my machines are stored). For a while it didn’t seem to be going particularly well – too much stuff, not enough storage, but slowly, slowly, things began to fall into place.In the end, the 8m3 shed was filled to the brim – I would struggle to fit anything more in there at all. And once I got that much stuff out of the garage, it was just sufficient to provide sufficient flexibility to move things around. As far as the decision to go with a shed rather than using a storage unit – I am storing pretty much all that I intended to, and now I’ll have a shed to show for it after the 2 months is up (the intended time I thought I’d need the unit). If it happens to be more than 2 months (every chance the way things always go), then I’ll be ahead on the cash stakes. Money for jam.So it is a shed of sorts – not able to handle large materials, but I can access each of the machines in there – the tablesaw, router table, jointer, thicknesser, both bandsaws, drill press, CNC (while I still have it), the lathes, and even the benchtop machines – there is an existing workbench along one wall in the garage.Sure it is all a compromise, but hey – anything beats the last 5 months! The thicknesser and tablesaw can only be run off the generator – no 15A power available otherwise. Tomorrow I might even get to make some sawdust. Exciting! Filed under: Shed | Tagged: Drill, Drill Press, Jointer, lathes, Numerical control, Shed, storage unit, Table Saw, Tablesaw, Thickness planer, Workbench | Leave a comment » Had a change to take another crack at the cot build this weekend, which was good – more progress.After last weekend, we had the bed itself built (as in the surround and support for the mattress), so today it was time to build the side rails. Oh, and fwiw we are referring regularly to ensure compliance with the Australian Standard for cot design, so the maximum clearance between mattress and bed, height of sides, gap between slats etc etc are all being carefully adhered to.Once again, we started with a large chunk of timber (around 250×45) and began machining it down.A combination of jointer, thicknesser and tablesaw gave us the rails and stiles as the frame for the sides.Despite having them for years, this is about the first time I have actually used the jointer MagSwitch featherboards. They worked very well to ensure even pressure across the jointer cutter. A quick tap down between passes to ensure even pressure is maintained as the board becomes thinner (I do 0.5mm passes on the jointer, so not a real issue in any case). And in case you were wondering, we jointed an edge so we had something straight and true to run up against the tablesaw fence, then ran the board through the tablesaw to get 2 lengths a bit over 90mm wide. From there, we started machining the boards from scratch, jointing a side, then an edge. Next onto the tablesaw to rip the boards in half, so they ended up 20mm thick after machining.We then spent some time testing and preparing to make the slats for the sides. A number of test pieces, and setups done to fine tune the operation. We started with the Domino – when we need mortices, why not use the best tool for the job?! So with a 10mm cutter, and set to the widest mortice setting, we got a 33mm slot, and thus our slat size was determined. We then made one, and tested it for strength. That went well too.With all setups done, all the spare pieces, offcuts from other pieces of this job were run through the tablesaw to create the number of slats needed, with a number of spares. Each was then tested, bent and abused. A few failed, but the majority were perfect, and will be able to survive even Arnold Schwarzenegger’s kid.Still need to actually create the mortices in the rails, but will do that after some sanding and finishing.To get the required slat placement, the Domino grows wings. It makes cutting the required mortices so incredibly easy, and accurate.Now I know there are two main groups out there – those who cannot understand how any tool can be worth as much as a Domino, and those who love the tool. Unfortunately, I used to belong to the first camp, but since first using the Domino and then more recently (last couple of years) owning one, I cannot help but reside in the second. Awesome machine. Yes, I know – hideously expensive. But very, very cool. One of these days, I’d love to become permanently familiar with the Domino XL too. Filed under: Project, Techniques, Timber | Tagged: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Domino, Domino jointer, Jointer, MagSwitch, Table Saw, tablesaw fence, Thickness planer, Thicknesser | 4 Comments » From the thicknesser, the final step in producing the components is the tablesaw.With the side against the table (and now either side can be used as the reference, both being flat, parallel to each other, and at 90 degrees to the machined edge), and the planed edge runs against the fence.The boards are then cut to width.Ripping the boardNext, the fence is moved out of the way and the mitre fence added to the mitre slot.Mine is the Incra, and like many, has a T end to the bar. Rather than fluff around trying to insert the end at the near end, place the bar into the slot – it will ride up because of the T end. Slide it forward past the end of the table, so the T slot clears the end, then drag it back. So much easier than the other!Crosscutting the endsWith the Incra Mitre 1000SE and Shop Stop, it is very easy to both dock the ends, and cut the boards to an exact, repeatable length.First crosscut one edge, just enough to remove any checking, then flip the board over to dock to length.Box sidesThe final, nicely figured box sides. Each is exactly the same thickness, the same width, the same length as its matching side, all ready for whatever joinery method is going to be chosen.The extra, significant satisfaction that these boards have been formed, hewn from the trunk of a tree in your own workshop. Filed under: Techniques | Tagged: Jointer, Lumber, Resaw, Table Saw, Thickness planer | Leave a comment » The boards have been resawn on the bandsaw, and had a side and edge dressed on the jointer. Next step is the thicknesser.15" ThicknesserI have a 15″ thicknesser, with a fixed head and the table rises and falls. I prefer this style of thicknesser, but it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.The other version has a fixed table, so any additional infeed and outfeed support can remain at the same height, and the motor and blades rise and fall. Winding the height down isn’t a problem – gravity and all that, but increasing the height is a lot more work, especially with the weight of a decently-powered induction motor overhead as well.On the other hand, my thicknesser has a motor in the cabinet, and rise and fall is only the weight of the table – very smooth, very easy. Added bonus, as the head doesn’t move, I have my drum sander located on top, and a very functional arrangement it is, especially as the thicknesser and the drum sander both have the same requirement for infeed and outfeed.Dressing boardsWith the side dressed on the jointer face-down, the boards are fed through. There is no point rushing the process – a little taken off each pass will still result in a finished product very quickly.If I had a spiral head, things may be a little different, but I still have a thicknesser head with straight blades, so loading the machine and chipping away needs a little more finessing.This doesn’t refer to the ‘spiral’ heads that have a bunch of the small square cutters arranged in a spiral around the head, but are still presented to the timber straight on. This means the loads on the blades and machine are much less, but they are still chipping at the surface.Instead, there are spiral heads where the small blades each present to the surface at an angle, producing a slicing motion. This gives the best finish, combined with the benefit of much lower loads on the tool, and excellent waste clearance.Completed boardsThe boards, now complete (and you can see the bookmatching, if I intended to use the timber for that).In this case, I now have a dressed side, the other side also dressed and parallel to the first side (and the boards are a uniform 10mm thick).One edge is also flat, and at 90 degrees to both sides. This side will be very relevant for the next step – the tablesaw.From Wikipedia - a diagram of thicknesser operationFrom Wikipedia - compare the above operation to this one which is how a jointer works. Filed under: Techniques | Tagged: Bandsaw, Blade, Drum Sander, induction motor, infeed, Jointer, Lumber, Resaw, straight blades, Table Saw, Thickness planer, Thicknesser | 4 Comments » Enter your email address to subscribe to Stu's Shed and receive notifications of new posts by email.Join 2,262 other followers Blog at WordPress.com. WP Designer.