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Old 11-10-2015, 05:47 PM   #1
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Default What Does Your Perfect Home Shop Look Like?

I've been renting a shop for 10 years. It has a lift in it, an industrial air compressor, lots of space, a big tire rack, lots of work bench area, lots of shelving, etc. It's also in a terrible location (both for travel time and safety), it costs a fortune to heat, has no real cooling system any more, the roof leaks, and I'm tired of sharing space with other guys and paying rent on a place. So, I made an offer on a house this week, and I want to build a shop out back.

I have a pretty good idea what I want, and I'll post my first draft plan later, but I'm curious what you guys think. What does your perfect home race car shop look like? What are your requirements for a lift? Compressor? Power? Space? Storage? Amenities? Floor? Lighting? Cooling? Heating? Budget? Floor plan?
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:11 PM   #2
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I quite like my home shop. Sure it's not a professional race car building shop, but it does the job.

Plenty of space to work on two Miatas. 25'x25'. Tons of light, 6 dual bulb 8' lights. Natural gas heater for winter. Two ceiling fans for summer. Wash tub to clean up in. Welding bench in the corner(220v) with tig welder, plasma cutter, mig welder. It has it's own 100a sub panel fed from the house. 12 110v outlets if i recall. Small air compressor, though i do have air pipe running in the walls so i can install my compressor upstairs. The upstairs part holds all my spare parts, it even has a chain fall for heavier items. Epoxy floor, great for clean up. 12' long workbench. I have the ranger quickjack for the Miatas, does just fine for my needs. Pretty decent radio and speaker system(also tied into my outdoor speaker system). Attached to the house heated and insulated! Fridge for the beers!



Honestly, it's just about perfect.
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:48 PM   #3
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I have two different shops. There's the 1.5 car garage, mostly for working on cars. It has a jack and stands, but those have recently ben supplanted with a quickjack. It has a large sears toolbox with half of my tools. Pegboard on the wall with the most often used tools, shelves for parts & supplies, and an air compressor with the usual air tools. I also keep my welder out there. Several workbenches are built in. Unfortunately, it is not heated, so is unused for several months of the year.

The other shop is my workshop in the basement. It is mostly for making things. It has another large toolbox. Table saw, belt/disc sander, two lathes (metal & wood), a small mill, grinder, drill press, and three large workbenches. It has a smaller but nearly silent air compressor as well. Several benchtop tools (jigsaw, miter saw, etc.) round out the power tools. I spend most winter evenings down there unless I'm on the computer.

If you want a shop for only working on cars, buy the largest garage you can find, or one that has room to expand. Working on cars in cramped conditions sucks big time. Install 220v power, as you'll need it for any compressor worth a damn (and that won't deafen you), plus maybe for a lift. Multiple 120v outlets, on several different circuits. Room for benches and shelves, as crap accumulates quickly. And, most important of all, decent lighting. Working in the dark is terrible.
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:57 PM   #4
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My main requirement for a future shop is the air compressor outside. I just finished installing mine outside and it is heaven. I can barely hear it come on.

My other requirements are a door big enough to fit my truck in, a dry space for tv watching/hanging out. And a **** ton of lights.
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:30 PM   #5
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3 bays wide, triple deep, one bay has doors on both ends so you can pull the truck and trailer into the garage and load/unload fully undercover and then pull straight out. Lifts in the other two bays, a bridgeport, small production quality cnc vertical (think HASS VF1SS), a cnc toolroom lathe (includes manual controls), assortment of welding and cutting devices, a bigger 3d printer than I have now. 5hp compressor, you know stuff. Basically all the stuff I have now + the mill/lathe + lifts + compressor + bigger space. Oh yeah, massive amount of lighting, white epoxy floors with no fleck in it.
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:43 AM   #6
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Tall and wide enough for a lift!
I bought a house with a 40'X40' shop. I added a lot of lighting, painted the floors, sheet rocked the walls made large sturdy cabinets and panted everything white.
I think the lift was the most wonderful thing once you have one it would be very hard for a car guy to give up.

Heating or air conditioning is not much of an issue for me here. occasionally I use a propane heater but for the most part it doesn't go above 90 the high point in the summer and its generally well above freezing save about 5 days in the peak of winter here. House doesn't even have air conditioning, still glad I got out of Texas weather.

My biggest problem is I'm a messy worker who hates spending too much time picking up and organizing things. My mess sometimes annoys me.

Last edited by bbundy; 11-11-2015 at 03:04 AM.
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Old 11-11-2015, 09:51 AM   #7
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I'm planning to build a backyard shop in the next couple of years. Currently dealing with a 20x20 garage that is crammed full of too much ****.

I already have most of the tools (MIG/TIG, tubing bender, tubing roller, small lathe, drill press, etc.) I want, but would like room for a lift, shop press and a couple other things.

Two big things for me are sufficient electrical service for the welders and other tools, and enclosing the compressor, or moving it outside. I would also like a bay with a sewer drain to allow for indoor washing for cold winters and hot summers. That bay would also be set up for enclosing as a paint booth, with ventilation/filtering built into the shop.

And light. Lots and lots of light...
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Old 11-11-2015, 10:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbundy View Post
My biggest problem is I'm a messy worker who hates spending too much time picking up and organizing things. My mess sometimes annoys me.
I can relate to this,

Space, you need two spaces for every car you work on, one for the chassis and one to store the parts.

Also, if you do the floor in epoxy, add some anti slip properties. My large dog has plowed into several things because of too much entry speed!
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Old 11-11-2015, 10:49 AM   #9
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I constantly look at my garage and get annoyed with the mess. I've been adding shelves everywhere.

I've been watching some if Adam savages workshop videos. And they are really cool.
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Old 11-11-2015, 12:49 PM   #10
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:36 PM   #11
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War and Peace scale novel incoming:




So here's the first run at the plan (top down, driveway is to the left, house is down and left)

Key:
Red = car envelopes (oversize at 15x7x5')
Blue = lift envelope
Green = workbenches (30" deep, includes sink/ tool box)
Purple = Shelves (18" deep)
Yellow = Air compressor

This is 25'x50' with 12' ceilings in the main shop area. The storage room is 9' ceilings, with a loft area up top. There is no second floor, and the whole ceiling will be vaulted to add room to the loft. I already own the shelving and the air compressor, but have not picked out a lift, and the work benches I own now are pretty sad, and will be modded/ replaced over time. I want a drain in the floor between where the two cars close to the door will be, but not one under the lift. I want dirty water to go down the drain, not antifreeze/ oil. There will be a 4" high curb poured with the slab that the walls will be built on so that the whole thing can be hosed out without messing up the drywall.

I also want the space from the back of the shop (right side in pic) to the back fence paved with a drain in it so that 1.) I can work back there/ maybe keep a car hauler back there, and 2.) to allow for future expansion. Also, I currently use a 55 gal barrel for used oil that I plan to keep out back. Not sure what to do about that now. Maybe build a platform and put a drain valve in the barrel so that I can drain it into 5 gal buckets to take to the parts store (1.5 miles away). Also, I'll probably keep the lawn mower/ etc in the storage room.

Workbenches:
Some of that work bench space will be a toolbox/ workbench that I own already, and some of it will be either another toolbox, or I'll come up with a top box that will go someplace convenient on the bench space. Also, part of it will be a steel welding table built with a big piece of 3/8" thick steel plate that is in my current shop. Also, there will be a beer fridge under some portion of it. Also a shop sink. And maybe a floor sink? Like, just a drain with a concrete barrier around it and a hose spigot over it so that you can put big, heavy stuff in it, and hose it off? I'm running myself out of work bench space...

Storage:
The shelving is all from a closed down grocery store. It's steel and super tough, but ugly. I'll end up welding some of it solid, and painting it all, I think (it's all erector set/clip together now). There is shelving not visible behind the walls opposite the work benches. I will have to figure out what I want to do for wheels/tires and really heavy stuff. Also, I have a sand blaster that I will put in the storage room.

Power:
220V single phase should be good for everything I need to do. One plug for the compressor, and a couple by the welding table. Then 110V plugs every ~8ft along the work benches, plus a couple on either side of the bay door, and one by each man door. Also, maybe one outdoor rated box outside on the back of the building. I have no idea how much power I need? 100A? More?

Lights:
I'm thinking a couple 4' fluorescent fixtures on the wall in front of the lift, and then either 8' fixtures or 4' fixtures on the ceiling. As I type that I remember how much of a pain it is to replace bulbs in fixtures mounted to a ceiling that high (just replaced ~12 in my current shop). Maybe LEDs might be a consideration? Or maybe just hanging fluorescents that you can get to with a normal size ladder? Also, I want motion lights by each door, and lights on a switch to illuminate the back yard/ behind the shop. And whatever fixtures I use in the main shop will go in the storage room.

Air:
There will be soft air line run from the compressor to a wall mounted 3M regulator/ filter/ drier rig that I already have. From there, I have 3/4" PVC run all over my current shop, but I'm not really sure I like that idea. It kind of gives me the heebyjeebies that that PVC has been through as many heat cycles/ load cycles as it has. I'm open to other suggestions for this... Also, I have two harbor freight air line spools now that are used pretty much exclusively. I think I'll put one on/ in front of the lift, and one down near the bay door. Also, I ahve a sand blaster that I think I'll put in the storage room.

Heating/ cooling:
Just a torpedo heater and fans at first. It's too humid here in the summer to really use a swamp cooler. Maybe one of the cool ductless split systems one day down the road? I have a ~4' diameter attic fan on a cart that I use now for cooling. It moves an unbelievable amount of air, but when it's 100+F and 60+% humidity in August, it really doesn't help much. I'm open to other suggestions.

Flooring:
I'm thinking light gray epoxy with grippy stuff. Epoxy is pretty sketchy when it's wet. Also drains/floor sink as mentioned?


So what have I missed? What am I doing wrong? Have an eggplant
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraemeD View Post
Also, if you do the floor in epoxy, add some anti slip properties. My large dog has plowed into several things because of too much entry speed!
Leave the grippy stuff out. Sand makes it terrible to kneel or lay on and the fleck stuff makes literally everything smaller than a dime disappear.
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Old 11-12-2015, 02:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraemeD View Post
I can relate to this,


Also, if you do the floor in epoxy, add some anti slip properties. My large dog has plowed into several things because of too much entry speed!
The concreate on my floor was finished a bit rough. The previous owner headed the advice of the people contracted to build it to keep it from being too slippery. I epoxied it as is. Now I absolutely hate it. it holds dirt and grime in the roughness so its virtually impossible to just wipe clean almost needs a pressure wash to clean well. Smooth and light colored is the way to go leave the flake off as well. when the inevitable kneeling and getting down on the floor to work on something occurs its much more pleasant on smooth and clean rather than dirty and full of metal filings.

I work at place that has like 16 bays for class 8 heavy trucks and has a fill machine shop among other large test fixture rooms dyno rooms and environment test chambers and such The floors are all smooth concrete some kind of clear coating on them but I think it's just wax the whole place gets the floors machine waxed several times a year they are smooth and about as slippery as you can get when wet but the slipperyness is plenty tolerable considering the pleasantness of the clean and easy to wipe clean work environment.

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Old 11-12-2015, 07:19 AM   #14
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I am in the middle of finishing a 6 x 9 x 4.5m shed as my playroom, err workshop. About to pull the trigger on a clear floor hoist, but first I need to clear out the crap and mess that has already accumulated, and do the floor. The tips above are much appreciated, as I probably would have used the flakes at least.

The workshop will have the hoist in the middle, benches at far end under a storage mezzanine, and shelving/racks/etc down the sides. Compressor is outside under a skillion.

One thing I spent up on was insulation, as both winter and summer can be very unpleasant here (maybe not as bad as some places, but bad enough for me), and that has already paid off in working when I would not do so in my other sheds.

Maybe I will wait a while, and see what else I can learn ...
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:17 PM   #15
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So, clean, slick floor is better than a floor you can't clean/ can't kneel on/ can't find a dropped bolt on.

What do you guys think about these for lighting? Maybe two in place of a 2 bulb 8ft fluorescent fixture? So 8 or 10 for the main shop and two more in the storage room?

4-Inch Hyperikon® LED Downlight, ENERGY STAR, 9W (65W Equivalent), 3000K (Soft White Glow), CRI93+, Dimmable, Retrofit LED Recessed Lighting Kit Fixture, Wet Rated and UL-Listed - (Pack of 4) - - Amazon.com 4-Inch Hyperikon® LED Downlight, ENERGY STAR, 9W (65W Equivalent), 3000K (Soft White Glow), CRI93+, Dimmable, Retrofit LED Recessed Lighting Kit Fixture, Wet Rated and UL-Listed - (Pack of 4) - - Amazon.com


What about the floor sink idea? The more I think about it the more superfluous it seems. Also, I don't know if I'll be on city sewer or a septic tank, and putting a bunch of grease into a septic tank sounds like a bad idea. I can always pressure wash stuff out in the yard.

How much power do I need? I'm clueless on this. I have an appointment with a home inspector tomorrow, so I'll see what he thinks about the current box situation then.

Also, what about air lines? The 3/4" PVC in my current shop has been through 10 years of heat/ load cycles, and extended periods where the regulator was set to 150psi and nobody caught it. It really doesn't give me a warm-fuzzy on impact strength or fatigue resistance, though.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:26 PM   #16
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I like the LED shop lights (4' dual tube types). I think Costco still have them reasonably priced and there's always Amazon;

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...ed+shop+lights
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Also, what about air lines? The 3/4" PVC in my current shop has been through 10 years of heat/ load cycles, and extended periods where the regulator was set to 150psi and nobody caught it. It really doesn't give me a warm-fuzzy on impact strength or fatigue resistance, though.
Whatever you do. Do not use PVC. Please.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:48 PM   #18
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Whatever you do. Do not use PVC. Please.
Why in particular? Like I said, I've had PVC in my current shop for 10 years. Like 150+linear ft of it. Also like I said, the idea of it exploding on me doesn't really make me super happy.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:13 PM   #19
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Is the garage to be heated? If not, LEDs take a while to warm up in cold weather. Whoops. I see your location is AL. Nevermind. For those in northern states, be forewarned that LED lights do not work so well in freezing temperatures.

Not sure I like the "screw in to an existing fixture" design of those lights. Can't you get something that hardwires in?
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:21 PM   #20
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Not sure I like the "screw in to an existing fixture" design of those lights. Can't you get something that hardwires in?
It's only below freezing maybe one week a year here.

The wiring on those has a connector in the middle, so you could cut a 4" hole in the ceiling drywall, wire the connector to the romex up there and just pop the light into the hole.

They're cheap, which is cool, but I'm not sure how many I would need to light the whole shop. I do know that I looked at a house with a garage that was lit by can lights with CFLs in them. He had 10 or more lights in a 30x30', and it wasn't really bight enough.
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