How I designed my new workshop.
Step 1: Make a Model
I have been a fan of this site for a while and never contributed before but today browsing one of the projects here I was struck by the crudeness of one craftperson's workshop, so I am posting this to maybe inspire some others to get their stuff together.
When I had to move all of my stuff out of my old place to my new place I became somewhat concerned as to where I should put everything. I really did not want to have to move things around too many times. Most of my stuff is heavy, some weighs upwards of a half a ton. So I knew what I had, and I knew where it all had to fit, so I made a model of it all.
The first time I was exposed to this idea in a book I laughed at the fellow doing it. When it came my turn to setup a new shop it didn't seem so funny after all. It is way easier to move little cardboard models around than full sized objects! Oh, and for all you graph paper cutout types out there it is far too easy to lie in 2D. I have gone the graph paper/cutout route before. That has never struck me as being very silly, just not as effective.
I used the architectural scale 1/4 inch to the foot as my scale. Heck, after a while it was sort of fun to make scale models of all of my junk. In the process I even remade a few of the models nicer than I had initially. The models are made out of scrap cardboard, and toothpicks, hotglued together, then painted with craft paint. Nothing too fancy there. But everything is to scale.
See the little scale me in the model? It was a handy visual aid for me to see height relationships, or how I'd fit in the environment. OK maybe the minime was going a bit too far? All I wanted was sharks with laser beams, whoah wait a minute. That is another story.
Step 2: I Started With a Blank Canvas
Starting with a blank canvas I did what most artists would do, I painted it! You can paint your workshop any color that you like as long as it is white. 15 hours later, I primed, then painted, so really I painted it twice, I had a very bright reflective area to work with.
Step 3: The End of the Beginning
All painted up and much brighter. There is nothing worse than working on a project in a dingy, dark workshop, thinking of how good a job you did, only to take your masterpiece out to someplace with good lighting, and see how crappy it really is! This has happened to me in the past.
Step 4: Models to Reality
Here is the shop with things placed as per the model. The bench in the foreground of this picture is a direct result of the modelling process. I would have never thought to have made it except for messing with the model. See in my design criteria I still wanted to be able to get a vehicle into the garage. So, that meant I could only dedicate half of the garage to my work area.
But in arranging things with my model at one point I kept moving the one bench back and forth, back and forth, saying I'd like it here, but I need to have it here. I showed someone the model and their comment was, what is this piece of cardboard here? Then it struck me! Yes, what is that piece of cardboard? It was the dolly for my milling machine that did not figure into the new shop at that point. But it did represent about $160 in heavy duty castors, which I was loathe not to put to good use.
So I decided to make that rolling bench, and now just like I did in the model I can move that bench back and forth, back and forth ... For that one idea alone the time I spent in making the model was time well spent I feel. With the bench rolled in, as it is in this picture, everything only takes up about a third of the garage. Really, had that bench been fixed at halfway it'd have been tight to have gotten a vehicle in and out of the garage. As it is, it is easy now.
I am not done yet completely setting up my workshop, I mean when is anyone ever done with such a thing? But I have a solid foundation to build on, and additions I have have made have worked out well so far. It really is a joy to work in too. I feel that the planned setup enhances the work I perform in my shop.
Eventually when funds permit I am going to build a detached outbuilding, and have that as my dedicated workshop, so all of this is just temporary, but we all know how long these temporary situations can last. And you know I'll model that too! Really, remember the nutcase in the book I read about in the beginning? His models were these little wooden models of his tools, yeah mine will be too I think. It is fun to make stuff in my new shop.
BTW, I have finally figured out exactly what the word workshop really means. You see it is a compound word composed of work, and shop. You're always working on it, and constantly shopping for new things for it too!