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Thread: Creative ideas for shop lighting "on" a garage door?

  1. #1
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    Creative ideas for shop lighting "on" a garage door?

    I'm thankful that I have the space for a temporary shop until I can get a building up here at our new property. It's the slightly oversized garage and will be fine for the duration, space wise, albeit tight. Hopefully, mobility and some simple workflow/technique adjustments will help with that.

    Yesterday, in my primary thread for the temporary shop I posted that I got 8 of the 10 LED fixtures moved over from the old shop. (the other two will come once I get the machinery moved...need them to see well for that as well as insure things are safe for prospective property buyers to take the fifty cent tour) Getting these lights up has made a "yuge" difference in the space already.

    IMG_9508.jpg

    That said, the big downer about using a garage for a shop...for me, at least...is...the garage door. I really don't like "garage doors" in a shop space because, as this thread is pointed at, they block overhead lighting and other things. The "other things" will not be a factor because I'm not planning for any ductwork in the temporary space and if I decide to extend an air line somewhere, I can just use hose which is easy to hang out of the way. But lighting is a concern. When the door is fully open, it's going to block two rows of lights; half-open, one row. (the photo shows the door half open) Even in daylight, that's going to be a noticeable difference in light levels and at night, not a great thing. While I may put in a small minisplit to remove the need to have the door open (for both comfort and noise reasons), there are going to be times when working with that big slab of insulated (thankfully) garage door open will be appropriate.

    So...what kind of creative ideas do folks have for mounting lighting "on" the door such that one can avoid any accidental issues with the door suddenly being opened/closed without thought to how power flows? The best solution for me isn't going to cost a fortune, either... Enlighten me with your thoughts, please.
    --

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

  2. #2
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    LED tape stuck directly to the metal skin of the door. Mount the driver on the wall & use a length of curly cord to connect the driver to the LEDs. It's only low voltage out of the driver, so if the cord gets damage there's little danger of shock. I haven't put lights on my garage door, but I've used a LOT of LED tape both in my home & for customers & it works very well. You don't want to stick it onto wood though. LEDs need a substrate that will carry the heat away. If the surface is wood, you can use aluminum extrusions that the tape will mount in. There are lenses available to fit them too.

  3. #3
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    That's what I was thinking, Frank...LED tape or equivalent LED low voltage. (The door skins are metal) Are there any sources you know of for the "curly" cord?
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    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
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    Why mount the lights to the door? Moving electric connections is asking for trouble. How about running a beam side to side just below the open door, and putting the fixtures on it? The beam could be a 2x4, or even steel, like a unistrut. You could probably hang the beam from the door track, with a short vertical spacer to clear the door.

  5. #5
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    That's a valid option, Jamie. It does reduce headroom, however, and there would need to be two of them to provide the coverage I want. I'll have to do some measuring to see if I like that idea or not.
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    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    Jim, you can get coiled cords from McMaster as one source. Search for "coiled cords" at their site. You'd have to get a bit creative with choosing mounting points so it doesn't tangle, but would certainly be doable. Another option would be a cable trolley system (DAGS for that), that you could mount next to the opener rail. The cord attaches to sliders that ride in the rail so the cord folds and unfolds as needed. I used to see these used a lot on industrial machinery with moving parts.

    I've used a lot of strip lights from Armacost lighting. I bought some from lee valley and some direct.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  7. #7
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    I think Amazon has curly cords. The LED tape that Lee Valley carries is quite good, certainly for the price.

  8. #8
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    Regarding the cable trolley I mentioned...you could no doubt use the ceiling track stuff that Rockler sells as a cable trolley. Might be easier to source than "real" cable trolley. And if you end up not needing it for the lighting down the road, you can repurpose it to hold hoses and cords out of the way over your bench(es).
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pratt View Post
    The LED tape that Lee Valley carries is quite good, certainly for the price.
    I've used the strip lighting from Lee Valley a number of times including the kitchen at the property we have for sale. It's good stuff for sure.
    --

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

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    That's a valid option, Jamie. It does reduce headroom, however, and there would need to be two of them to provide the coverage I want. I'll have to do some measuring to see if I like that idea or not.
    There’s a unistrut which is 3/4” tall. Stick the LED tape to the side. With a little clearance, it will eat 1” of headroom below the open door — not much at all.

  11. #11
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    Him...yes, unistrut with LED tape could be a solution while still allowing for use of the "big guns" up at the ceiling for working with the door closed...which hopefully will be the normal thing. Thanks, Jamie.
    --

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

  12. #12
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    If you’re going to go the LED tape route: https://www.armacostlighting.com/

    Everything you’d need aside from the aforementioned coiled cord.

    Adding windows to the garage door not an option?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Kelly View Post

    Adding windows to the garage door not an option?
    Not really...it's a very high quality, thick, insulated 16' door. I don't want to change it out and it would cost a fortune to do so. The current opener (a Craftsman from 1993 that has defective sensors) is being replaced this coming Thursday with a smart jack-shaft opener that eliminates the stuff overhead, other than the door, itself.

    If I'm not mistaken, that brand of LED stuff is what Lee Valley sells, but I'm only going by memory. Thanks for the link. I may be able to embrace the UnuStrut and LED tape idea that Jamie mentioned and it might also assist with the overhead support for a dust collection hose to the CNC at the same time. I have to see what it will take for a 17' span of Unistrut when I can get to the electrical supply house and fondle the hardware.
    --

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

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    I have to see what it will take for a 17' span of Unistrut when I can get to the electrical supply house and fondle the hardware.
    I may be a little repressed, because I've never fondled anyone at the electrical supply house

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pratt View Post
    I may be a little repressed, because I've never fondled anyone at the electrical supply house
    ROFLOL!!! I'm guessing that the folks behind the counter are appreciative of that. But seriously, sometimes I find it best to be able to visualize details when I can see the actual options for connecting things like this together. All the unustrut I've used to-date has been simple lengths suspended between points A and B directly. Here, I'd have both joining two lengths together for over 16' of unsupported span as well as suspending them solidly below the ceiling...and there are multiple ways to do the latter.
    --

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

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