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ShopTent: collapsible dust-free storage for garage workshop

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Picture of ShopTent: collapsible dust-free storage for garage workshop
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I do a lot of woodworking in my garage, where I also store all of our family bicycles. 

Keeping our bikes clean has always been a headache for me, so I decided it was time to come up with a clean place within my garage to keep our bikes where they would be protected from all the saw dust, but still be easily accessible. This is what I came up with.

This in-garage tent does the job I need it to, but can be easily stowed if I ever want to use the space temporarily for something else. I'm very happy with how it turned out, and wish I would have made it years ago! 

If this is something you could find useful in your garage workshop, hopefully I've laid out enough detail here to help you create something similar. 

Thanks for taking a look!
 
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Step 1: Framework

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This is basically a collapsible awning with attached drapes that hang to the floor.

The awning framework is made of 3 1/2" wide by 3/4'' thick pine boards, a couple of brackets made of plywood, and a long wooden 1 1/4" diameter rod (formerly a curtain rod).

I started by making two brackets to mount to the wall, to which two wooden arms will be attached. These brackets were made by face-gluing together some scrap 3/4" plywood, and cutting out the desired shape with a band saw. Dimensions for the brackets are listed in the photo 1 notes.

The brackets were fastened to wall studs, level with each other and 8 feet apart, approximately 5' 4" from ground to center.

Two 5-foot pine wood arms were made and bolted in place to the brackets, just loose enough that they could still be pivoted up and down. Both ends of each are cut round, with one end drilled for the bracket bolt, and the other bored with a hole saw for the ends of the wooden rod.

A supporting L shaped cross member was made with pine boards and screwed in place to connect the two pivoting arms, about 6" in from the holes for the wooden rod.

A circular wooden cap was made and screwed to the left end of the wooden rod (see photo 3), and a wooden crank was fashioned with some scrap oak and miscellaneous hardware for the right side of the rod (fastened later, when fabric is in place).

The crank is used to wrap the fabric around the rod for storage. It does not raise and lower the framework, which you may have suspected. (I thought about trying to make something to do that, but it just didn't seem necessary.)

Step 2: Framework support

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When the awning framework is lifted up it is strapped to a support rail attached to the wall above it, which is about 8' 4" from the ground. 

This was made by screwing a basic 2 by 4 to the walls studs. Three heavy duty screw hooks were threaded tightly into pre-drilled holes in this stud, one on each end and one in the middle, to match the corresponding locations of the wooden rod on the awning framework.

With this rail in place, the awning arm was temporarily strapped up with some webbing so dimensions could be taken to make the fabric covering.

Step 3: Fabric covering

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The fabric I used for this came from a pair of easy-up shade tents, whose frames were ruined when they got blown over in a windstorm. These were a dumpster find. I took the fabric portions and left the broken frames. Alternatively, I could have used plastic tarps, nylon fabric, or even canvas drop cloths for this.

These shade tent covers are originally made of four large triangular pieces of fabric, assembled into a slight pyramid shape. I had to cut them apart, trim, and re-sew them so I had large flat sections of fabric to work with.

The main piece for my enclosure is about 8 feet wide, and about 13 feet long. Three 10 foot long pieces of webbing were sewn to the top 50" of the fabric, with loops sewn in on the lower ends that slip over the wooden rod. This was all reinforced with zig zag stitching in various places. (The next step shows more detail of the webbing.)

A zippered side piece was added that has clips attached to fasten it to the top side of the main piece.

There was a lot of trial and error here, and I had to set it up and take it down to make changes at least three or four times.

Step 4: Attach cover to framework

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See notes in photos for specific details of how this was done.

Step 5: Minor adjustment

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I knew this upper left corner was going to be tricky. The idea was to get the whole aparatus as close to the garage door as possible, but still allow the door to open and close unencumbered.

The far left screw hook had to be moved to the right just a little, which caused the fabric cover to sag. I pulled the fabric into a pleat and stapled it together with a regular office stapler (photo 2).

However, the cover still rubbed on the garage door just a little when opening and closing, so I added a bit of paracord to pull it down just an inch or so. This solved that problem (photo 3).

Step 6: Taking it down

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To take it down, the side section is unhooked and the top straps are loosened. A ladder is positioned under the cross member to support it, and then the straps are completely removed from the plastic sliders that are hooked to the support rail.

The side section is folded over the the main section, and the crank is used to wind up the fabric. The ladder is removed and the whole thing swings down to rest against the wall.

Step 7: All finished

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To finish it, I trimmed the bottom edge so it just brushed the floor (it was made a little long so I could adjust for the unevenness of my garage floor). I also added a small weight to the far left bottom corner to keep it from flapping around if the garage door is open and the wind is blowing.

This has been a great addition to my garage workshop. I wish I would have done this years ago! 

I always love a little feedback, so questions and comments are encouraged. Thanks again for taking a look.
LynxSys12 months ago

This is really well-thought-out and well executed! Short of installing a dust-collection system and an air-scrubber in the garage, I think that this is a great solution. I'm almost surprised that there isn't a similar commercial product already on the market. I like the organization of your helmets and other odds and ends on your custom-built shelves as well.

seamster (author)  LynxSys12 months ago

Thank you! It serves it's purpose well.

I'd still prefer an exterior shed to store all of this stuff, but it just wasn't an option. Someday, maybe!

Mielameri1 year ago
This is brilliant!
seamster (author)  Mielameri1 year ago

Thank you!