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Home workshop design

Feb 2011

Home workshop offers far more flexibility in design and customizations, it is a part of your home to begin with. Do what you want to it, just make sure to leave space for the TV and beer keg dispenser.

Business vs. Home workshop

  • Official work area for business vs. Man cave
  • Work environment vs. Relaxing atmosphere
  • Work safety, building, electrical, fire code and air circulation
  • Light, noise and dust control
  • Its all about planning, safety and getting the work done!

The above is an illustration of a simple workshop, there are a handful of work benches for various types of work.

(i) Electronic Test Bench

Electronic bench is on the left, this is where most electronics testing and repairs being done (Circuit testing, basic soldering and wiring). Consider setting up separate circuit for this setup, electronic bench usually requires fused power bar and extra outlets for equipment. You want to have clean, UPS protected power to run equipment like signal generator, oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer.

  • Need extra electrical outlets, surge protection for expensive equipment
  • ESD work and shelf surface
  • Setup good lighting to see small circuitry
  • Less noise but fumes from soldering
  • Small particles like trimmed cable, cut out tie wrap are small, area often need vacuuming
  • PC with Internet access for quick reference
  • Get a technician workbench or make one yourself

(ii) Prototyping, CAD and solid modeling bench

The high end CAD workstation, rapid prototyping desktop printer and desktop 3D scanner are sitting on the top bench.

  • Need extra electrical outlets, surge protection for expensive equipment
  • CAD/3D/Solid modeling need large screen or dual screen setup
  • Fumes from rapid prototyping machine

(iii) Machining area

The right side of the shop is for machining and metal working. Benches are not needed if you plan on setting up floor standing machinery. If not, consider using special benches to raise the height of your desktop machines.

  • Heavy load electrical outlets, surge protection
  • Heavy equipment placed in this area
  • Noisy and fumes from metal cutting
  • Compress air, dust, fume control and vacuuming needed
  • Proper lighting and spacious area for operator to move around

(iv) Assembly and Inspection area

The last area is the setup, assembly, quality control and inspection area. This is the area where documentation take place, newly created part and/or assembled model are photographed for record keeping process.

  • Good lighting
  • Heavy duty benches needed for measuring tools, service plate and height gauge
  • Area with small particles from de-burr process and missing screws need regular clean up

Prepare electrical and networking outlets

  • Use cable channel, tie wraps and harness cabling properly
  • Terminate power and network connection using wall plate, make sure they are above bench height
  • Run more network cables, avoid network hub/switch that may cause bottleneck
  • Reference to building and electrical code
  • Take pictures and reference all cable runs within drywall

Plan compress air line and dust collection line

  • Red line = Vacuum and dust collection
  • Blue line = Compress air
  • Some areas may need extra regulator and oiler for air tools operation
  • Place compressor and vacuum cleaner outside workshop to reduce noise and dust
  • Consider separate circuit for compressor and vacuum equipment, as they may run along with other machinery inside workshop

Equipment placement

  • For a home workshop, you are the boss and have total control
  • Put thing where they work best for you

What about Storage?

  • Use containers and bins to better organize and store stuff
  • Use height to your advantage, build and use shelving and stack them up!
  • Label your storage, do not ‘store’ stuff that you can not find later. We have another word for that call ‘hiding’

Mission accomplished.

Enjoy.

Team BTF

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