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Thread: Shop tool locations

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Colorado Springs

    Shop tool locations

    Somewhere in my shop build thread, plus elsewhere at SMC, was the advice from many wise men and women about how machine locations will change, often several times.

    While planning my new shop I saw this a “weakness” of decision and poor planning ability by others . Surely any intelligent decisive person could get it right the first time? So I drew multiple versions on graph paper, including detailed dust collection layouts with exact measurements of metal ducts and number of Y, elbow etc fittings and blast gates. Settled on two options, one with my old PM66 cabinet saw vs a new slider.

    So what happens? New slider arrives and I almost immediately move it from the planned central location into a spot along the long shop wall. Then I slowly start moving up from the old basement shop my jointer, band saws, lathes, sanders, drill press, router table, planer. Have now probably moved each twice more since then. Nothing remotely resembles either original plan.

    Good thing the only hole I’ve put in the wood shop floor so far is for a duct to the basement DC is for the slider. Thankfully I didn’t go with early plan A of concrete floor with trenches.

    I’m now planning on saving all future 6” floor cutouts to plug a hole when I move tools to a new spot.

    Thx for a great forum. Live and learn.


  2. #2
    I don't know of anyone that doesn't re-arrange the shop for time to time. Sure you can move in and set up the equipment but often you add new equipment and have to re-arrange the shop to make room for it. I've worked in several shops that had dust collection through the concrete floor only to have the holes plugged up because the machine had been moved.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    I’ve moved mine around so many times now I’ve contemplated throwing in the towel and finding a new hobby at times. Each time I thought I had the layout licked and then found a new conflict or obstacle or new piece of equipment or etc.

    finally have mine mine back together but have pulled my dust collection down and rebuilt it probably 10 times and it’s a pain every time. I’m at a point now that I’ll probably forego additional equipment if it doesn’t easily fit existing layout.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Yup...the layout isn't the layout until you lay it out with the actual tools. And then you WILL change it...likely more than once over time. LOL That's reality.

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

  5. #5
    It's one of those things, where no matter how you try, it is really hard to visualize everything in 3 dimensions until you see it in real life. Clearance issues that seem like they should have been apparent on paper never are. Plus once you get everything out in real life, the "right" placement becomes more obvious, and you put everything where it makes sense. That is, until you whack the bandsaw with the end of a board one time too many, and then. . . . you start moving things again.

    Let's just say that everything in my shop is on wheels except one drill press, two benches, and the woodstove.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Celina, TX
    I agree with all of the prior comments about the difficulty (impossibility?) of coming up with your final layout the first time. So flexibility is the key in all areas. I did this by ensuring ample 110V and 220V outlets and extra dust collection drops, even if I didn't initially have a machine there. Regarding equipment, I put as much as possible on mobile bases and keep them along walls when not in use. This allows me to maximize the central space for infeed/out feed and assembly purposes. But to the point of the thread, it makes rearrangement of equipment very easy. I have even rearranged equipment from project to project based on what equipment I'm using most frequently.


  7. #7
    Have to say after all these years am happy with my layout. Did rearrange the shop about 5 years ago after purchasing a Hammer slider. Might upgrade the planer, but happy with my machines and layout for now. Think the secret is having space enough to spread equipment out so as to not cramp my style.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Tampa Bay, FL
    I made multiple layouts on paper. Actually posted a few here asking for comments, and sadly didn't get any.

    That being said, by the time the deliveries came, I had a final layout and have stuck with it. Lots of compromises, for sure, but after really considering the room needed to run large boards through the equipment, I'm pretty happy with my layout.

    Of course, I'd like a bigger shop, but who wouldn't.

    You'll settle on a design that works for you. And, I'm sure, be very happy with it.
    If you drive at the speed of light, do your headlights work? - Steven Wright

    If a man points at the moon, an idiot will look at the finger.

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