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Thread: Minimum Shop Space?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    94

    Minimum Shop Space?

    I've recently moved from Canada to the UK and need to rent a workshop and buy a lot of equipment. In Canada I was working out of my 500sq ft garage with about 2ft walk ways between tools and machines, and about half the garage taken up by a spray booth. I'm interested to see what people think is a reasonable size shop for the equipment I'm looking to add - I'm hoping I can afford around 1500-2000sq ft - but interested in what people think a reasonable ballpark minimum would be.

    Big Tools List:

    • 16" bandsaw
    • 12" table saw
    • Planer/Thicknesser combo unit (very standard here, basically the size of a jointer)
    • 3hp cyclone dust collector (would love to go bigger, but they start to ramp up in price very rapidly from there!)
    • 6x89" belt sander
    • 20" drill press/pillar drill
    • Mitre saw
    • Router table
    • Mid size standalone lathe (not sure how much use it will get, havent had one for the past decade and thought it would be fun!)
    • 4'x4' footprint CNC router
    • approx 200sq ft spray booth
    • 6090 chinese laser engraver
    • Work benches for sanding/assembly etc.

    Thats what I'll be getting immediately in the way of large stuff, however, in the next 6-12 months I'd really like to get a 5x10' ATC CNC router in there... sooo that takes up a LOT of space. I do have access to an automotive spray booth, but it's not exactly next door. So I could put the new router in the spray booth area if push comes to shove.
    In my 500sq ft I had essentially the same equipment, but 14" bandsaw, non-cyclone 2hp dust collector, no laser, no lathe. I had the DW735 planer, and would sit that on my table saw so it didnt take up any space when using it (but was a pain to switch between planing and sawing!) The CNC router was takup up way more room than it should have though due mounting the electronics under it being something "i'll get to"... so I suspect the laser and cnc router will take up as much space as the CNC router alone in Canada.
    Rent here in Norfolk isn't too bad, as it's fairly rural... but it's not that cheap either compared to the US/Canada.
    I'm mostly making relatively small items space wise - not tables and the like. That being said, our house's furniture consists of a matress on the floor and an office desk/chair right now, so I'll certainly be building some big one offs to fill the house! I buy my lumber in about 12"x2"x10' lengths, and will be doing the same here too (it all came from Germany, so I can buy from the same mill for less!) I will need some storage for wood, last time I built the lumber storage into the back of my workbench!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    5,630
    Mark,

    The way I like to plan is by making paper cutouts to scale of all the tools, work benches, and things. Arrange them on a piece of paper with enough working room between, infeed/outfeed space, etc. Then you will see how much space you need for everything to fit.

    I did this when I built my shop. I used cutouts to see if everything I needed would fit in the building I was planning, wood, welding, machining. This is with some rearranging in progress:

    layout_paper_2.jpg

    There are plenty of ways do do this on a computer with cad and layout software but for me the paper method is a lot quicker.

    BTW, your message is almost impossible to read because the quote codes. To read it I had to quote then preview the message.
    The problem should go away if you log into SMC with HTTP instead of HTTPS: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/forum.php

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Canada View Post
    I've recently moved from Canada to the UK and need to rent a workshop and buy a lot of equipment. In Canada I was working out of my 500sq ft garage with about 2ft walk ways between tools and machines, and about half the garage taken up by a spray booth. I'm interested to see what people think is a reasonable size shop for the equipment I'm looking to add - I'm hoping I can afford around 1500-2000sq ft - but interested in what people think a reasonable ballpark minimum would be.

    Big Tools List:

    • 16" bandsaw
    • 12" table saw
    • Planer/Thicknesser combo unit (very standard here, basically the size of a jointer)
    • 3hp cyclone dust collector (would love to go bigger, but they start to ramp up in price very rapidly from there!)
    • 6x89" belt sander
    • 20" drill press/pillar drill
    • Mitre saw
    • Router table
    • Mid size standalone lathe (not sure how much use it will get, havent had one for the past decade and thought it would be fun!)
    • 4'x4' footprint CNC router
    • approx 200sq ft spray booth
    • 6090 chinese laser engraver
    • Work benches for sanding/assembly etc.

    Thats what I'll be getting immediately in the way of large stuff, however, in the next 6-12 months I'd really like to get a 5x10' ATC CNC router in there... sooo that takes up a LOT of space. I do have access to an automotive spray booth, but it's not exactly next door. So I could put the new router in the spray booth area if push comes to shove.
    In my 500sq ft I had essentially the same equipment, but 14" bandsaw, non-cyclone 2hp dust collector, no laser, no lathe. I had the DW735 planer, and would sit that on my table saw so it didnt take up any space when using it (but was a pain to switch between planing and sawing!) The CNC router was takup up way more room than it should have though due mounting the electronics under it being something "i'll get to"... so I suspect the laser and cnc router will take up as much space as the CNC router alone in Canada.
    Rent here in Norfolk isn't too bad, as it's fairly rural... but it's not that cheap either compared to the US/Canada.
    I'm mostly making relatively small items space wise - not tables and the like. That being said, our house's furniture consists of a matress on the floor and an office desk/chair right now, so I'll certainly be building some big one offs to fill the house! I buy my lumber in about 12"x2"x10' lengths, and will be doing the same here too (it all came from Germany, so I can buy from the same mill for less!) I will need some storage for wood, last time I built the lumber storage into the back of my workbench!

  3. #3
    Making a scale model is a great way to do it, and how I laid out my shop as well. I used scraps of wood.

    Shortcut for putting me on ignore:
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bloomington, IL
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    Love that Martin! Screaming for wall mount and magnets eye level.

    I used the workshop planer on Grizzlys site.
    Glad its my shop I am responsible for - I only have to make me happy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    Mark,
    BTW, your message is almost impossible to read because the quote codes. To read it I had to quote then preview the message.
    The problem should go away if you log into SMC with HTTP instead of HTTPS: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/forum.php

    JKJ
    Ah, thanks so much for the tip John, it's been driving me nuts! I use a "HTTPS Everywhere" addon - so SMC defaults to https. Hopefully I can now post messages without them getting mangled!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bloomington, IL
    Posts
    5,799
    1. Rent with this list of tools - I am think holy cow, what happens the day you decide not to rent any more
    2. a 3hp+ cyclone is expensive but then in 12 months you will have a 5X10 ATC router - That made me smile.
    3. A 5X10 cnc - is min 6X11 space plus walkway around that (interesting Jim Becker thread on that topic) - Plus you need area on front of it to load it and the wood holding/staging area will need to be larger most likely
    4. Don't forget the duct work to pipe up 2K sqft and don't forget the run to the cnc area and future cnc area
    5. Do not forget the air compressor you need to run an ATC
    6. Do not forget the electric service required to run a vac pump that you will most likely want on a 5X10 ATC
    Glad its my shop I am responsible for - I only have to make me happy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    94
    When I've found a workshop space to rent, I'll certainly be doing layout either in CAD or playing "The Workshop Boardgame" - For this thread I'm more hoping to get an idea of what size area people with perhaps similar equipment are working with and how you find it.

    The UK is pretty bad with makerspaces/hackerspaces - only a couple of really good ones with tools rather than just people going there to hangout and program - so I'm considering setting up the space as a makerspace too. Yes, lots of pros and cons around that idea... but if I do, then I'd need more room around tools to move around than I had before. The shop in Canada was workable, but a total pain in the ass sometimes when trying to move around or if I had a helper with me.



    This is what I had in Canada (almost exactly half a 2 car garage - spray booth on the other side), before adding the belt sander. Its all well and good when it's clean (ie: the day it's first setup), but when moving 3-4 boxes like on the table saw worth of wood pieces around there's virtually no room to move. If things go well over the next month with pre-orders for new products, I'll be processing probably 2000lb of Beech in the next 6 months, most of it concurrently and I don't want to be constantly tripping over everything as I have been for the past year. It's not even a matter of storage or organisation, just the amount of work-in-progress moving through production steps. This is why I'm thinking 1000sq ft, preferably more like 1500sqft rather than try to cram everything into a small space.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    44,893
    Mark, since you're starting "fresh", perhaps you might want to consider refreshing what kind of tools are part of the picture. Mike Heldrick eludes to that up above. I'll also suggest you take the opportunity to divide your new shop into zones...machining/material prep, assembly/hand work, finishing and storage. Keep them separate and distinct if you can for flexibility and maintain open space, especially in assembly and finishing. The machining/material prep area should also be organized with work-flow in mind.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
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    Location
    Norfolk, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Heidrick View Post
    1. Rent with this list of tools - I am think holy cow, what happens the day you decide not to rent any more
    Well, that probably means I'm moving somewhere else, which means getting in some moving folks - or my business has gone under, in which case everything gets liquidated anyway

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Heidrick View Post
    2. a 3hp+ cyclone is expensive but then in 12 months you will have a 5X10 ATC router - That made me smile.
    I get what you're saying, but right now my tool list is about US$25k, adding a bigger cyclone now starts eating more and more of the limited funds I have now. However, a Chinese ATC router is about US$24k FOB, I make $6-12k/month depending on the time of year, and an ATC router will save me probably 10-15hrs a week in tool changes and material swap out (because of it's larger area, and 6+ tool changes for many of my parts). So its not unreasonable to expect to have the funds later on, especially with how much it will increase my productivity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Heidrick View Post
    3. A 5X10 cnc - is min 6X11 space plus walkway around that (interesting Jim Becker thread on that topic) - Plus you need area on front of it to load it and the wood holding/staging area will need to be larger most likely
    4. Don't forget the duct work to pipe up 2K sqft and don't forget the run to the cnc area and future cnc area
    5. Do not forget the air compressor you need to run an ATC
    6. Do not forget the electric service required to run a vac pump that you will most likely want on a 5X10 ATC
    Good point on the loading/staging area! I forgot about that.

    I've got ducting in my budget, i totally half assed that in the garage and really learned how much smooth wall vs flexible hose reduces friction.

    Every shop I've looked at so far has had 3 phase 415V service, so thats all good. I'll need it for several other pieces of equipment too.

  10. #10
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    Jul 2014
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    Norfolk, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Mark, since you're starting "fresh", perhaps you might want to consider refreshing what kind of tools are part of the picture. Mike Heldrick eludes to that up above. I'll also suggest you take the opportunity to divide your new shop into zones...machining/material prep, assembly/hand work, finishing and storage. Keep them separate and distinct if you can for flexibility and maintain open space, especially in assembly and finishing. The machining/material prep area should also be organized with work-flow in mind.
    Good point. I always like to make each iteration of something better than the last, so the shop should definitely be included in that. I've not had the luxury of a dedicated workshop before, so I'm pretty excited for what opportunities it will offer for getting things done "better" if not "right" haha. My previous workshop to last was also a double garage that had a 4x8' router, 1290 laser, metal lathe, drill press, largish compressor, belt/disc sander combo and an assembly/composites table crammed into it with some shelving.. I had about 1.5ft of clearance between everything in there which wasn't much fun - and no dust collection!!

  11. #11
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    Jul 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
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    I had a look at a couple of spots today, there's not much around at the moment sadly. I think around 1400sq ft is going to be my minimum. I think things would get pretty crowded with a 5x10 cnc router in there, if I also have an enclosed office. I'm going to meet with one of the council's real estate people on Monday to see what might be involved in getting permission for a mezzanine that I could use for an office/packing/storage. I figure underneath a mezzanine would make a great spray booth or hand tools area (easy to install lights closer to work on the ceiling).

    Unfortunately the best option right now for a place (the only light industrial units available at the moment are all council owned) has slightly higher than average rent and wants a 6 month security deposit - but it is brand new. As a bonus it is very well rated for energy efficiency (its in an eco-tech business park) so that might take some of the sting out of the rent with a lower power bill. All the places I've seen online and in person have all been just a rectangle with a toilet in the front corner which does allow pretty easy layout I guess.

  12. #12
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    I guess that toilet is considered an outfeed solution...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Jacksonville, FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Heidrick View Post
    Love that Martin! Screaming for wall mount and magnets eye level.

    I used the workshop planer on Grizzlys site.
    Can you provide a link to that Mike?

    I've looked all over Grizzly's website and I can't find the workshop planner.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall K Harrison View Post
    Can you provide a link to that Mike?

    I've looked all over Grizzly's website and I can't find the workshop planner.
    I'm not Mike but you can try this. I asked kind sir Google to tell me about grizzly workshop planner and this was his first reply:
    http://www.grizzly.com/workshopplanner

    JKJ

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    I'm not Mike but you can try this. I asked kind sir Google to tell me about grizzly workshop planner and this was his first reply:
    http://www.grizzly.com/workshopplanner

    JKJ
    Thanks John. Now that I have the link I finally see it at the bottom of the page. Isn't that the way things usually work out?

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