design | dəˈzīn |
1 a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is built or made
2 purpose, planning, or intention that exists or is thought to exist behind an action, fact, or material object
1 decide upon the look and functioning of (a building, garment, or other object), typically by making a detailed drawing of it
2 do or plan (something) with a specific purpose or intention in mind

Monday, June 23, 2008

Workshop and Studio

In order to be "creative" one must have a creative space. As with most Americans, the luxury of a true studio escapes me so I've built my own in my garage. With our new house I took advantage of the 3rd car bay so that I can park both cars in the garage and still have a workspace to get creative.

I've fitted my "studio" out with a workbench running along the West facing wall complete with a drop in miter saw and dry cut saw as well as a brake press and drill press. The design for this workbench can be found in Family Handyman Magazine. The combination of tools installed on my workbench allows me to cut, bend and drill almost any wood or metal object without getting out any tools. Since both saws are dropped into the bench all I have to do is slide the object into place and make my cut.

Not shown here is a vacuum system which is plumbed to both saws from underneath the workbench (the end of this vacuum line goes to an air intake vent built into the end of the workbench on the floor for a high school shop class style vacuum system for sweeping in debris). The vacuum system captures the wood dust that is kicked up when you make a cut. I'm not sure it does much good underneath my dry cut saw (for cutting metal like butter) but I dropped a line there too.

At the end of the bay I had the builder pre-install 220v electrical outlets for my MIG welder and compressor. They're on separate circuits so I could upgrade to plasma in the future (requires forced air and welding at the same time).

Not shown here is my 4' x 4' workbench on casters affixed with a 1/4" steel top. Using this mobile workbench I can move my work surface to wherever I'm at to work on a project. Since it is on wheels I can even wheel it out into the driveway if I need to work on an outdoor project or weld something that puts out noxious fumes (such as welding steel and copper together using Aluminum Bronze filler metal with an Argon Shielding Gas).

The storage shelves in the center of the bay also house an old Macintosh that I use for our family's music archive. Instead of everyone maintaining their own iTunes repository of music, everyone's Mac is setup to look at this studio Mac Server for the iTunes files.

Word to the wise: when building your house run coax and ethernet lines to your workshop. It only costs a couple of bucks when the walls are exposed but provides you with a lot of options when you're bringing entertainment to your studio. I'm able to listen to my entire music library while working in the garage with this configuration.

The floor is regular concrete sprayed with two (brown and black) acid stains and sealed with a concrete sealant (the floor is wet in the photos, not normally this shiny). I've also attached concrete board to the lower half of the walls. The combination of the patina floor and concrete walls makes for a perfect workspace if you weld, grind and cut. Any hot embers that burn into the floor (doesn't look great on an epoxy floor) simply adds to the design and is not noticeable. Also the concrete boards along the baseboards act as quasi fire protection.

I should add that this is a working studio/workshop and it normally isn't this neat and tidy. I took these photos during a cleanup day while everything was out in the driveway. However with the storage that I've put on the West wall and the pegboard on the East wall (it has a faux stainless steel finish that look great atop the concrete boards below) everything has a home.

The cutout areas for the cars to park have an epoxy floor (no welding here) and non-slip safety tape (available at Grainger) border.

1 comment:

[ author ] said...

Great seeing your photos. What a cool playroom! Glad you liked the WB design enough to do two of them. We really appreciate the feedback. Nice to know these stories we work so hard on are actually built from time to time!

Travis Larson
Family Handyman Magazine