|Project by coloradoclimber||posted 10-12-2007 06:38 AM||5417 views||8 times favorited||15 comments|
I bought a mini lathe a couple weeks ago. I decided I wouldn’t break it out of the box until I had somewhere to put it without just setting it up in the middle of all my other projects in process. So I needed a Lathe Bench. Something simple, just enough to put the lathe on top of and someplace to store parts, chucks, work in progress, you know, lathe stuff. And possibly the lathe during periods of downtime, maybe freeing up the bench surface for other projects. I wanted it to roll around so wheels were required.
So that was criteria number 1, simple, cheap, big enough but not too big.
Along about that same time, a week or so ago, I decided I really should learn this sketchup thing everyone is yapping about. So I decided this bench might be just the project, simple, mostly squares, nothing too complex.
So criteria number 2, use sketchup to design and layout the bench.
I gotta say this sketchup thing is pretty nice. Pretty simple to use, allows you to do layouts, good visualization. I kind of like it. And by doing the project in sketchup before going into the shop I had a good idea of what pieces I needed and how the pieces were going to fit together. Designing, cutting, assembling, and laying out the project in sketchup before going into the shop really made things go quicker and smoother once I got in the shop. I already knew all the pieces I needed, I had dimensioned drawings that I knew would pretty much fit together, and I pretty much knew my assembly sequence, what I needed and in what order.
So I installed and fired up sketchup. It took maybe 4 hours to kind of wade my way through sketchup and get it together the first time. I messed around and got what looked like a reasonable semblance of a workbench. Then I realized I’d screwed some sizes and dimensions and miters and other stuff. So I tried to fix it and then realized I’d jacked it up so bad I just started over. Starting over knowing where I’d gone wrong and having a bit more experience with sketchup I was able to redraw the entire bench in a couple hours.
I printed some dimensioned drawings, headed for the shop, and in about half a day, with very very little frustration, guess work, or rework I kicked out the bench. I was surprised and pleased at how quickly and easily it all came together after stepping through it all in sketchup.
So here it is, my little lathe’s new home…...
Then I thought, well that wasn’t too bad, and that sketchup thing was pretty nice, and now I have a sketchup model. I realize it is a VERY simple design but I got to thinking, maybe someone would be interested in using it for a starting place, and maybe someone someday might have a sketchup model they might be willing to share with me.
So I’d like to toss this idea out there. Maybe we could start some kind of a sketchup model repository. Either by putting them all in a centralized repository or at least attaching the sketchup models to our project posts, when you have one and are willing to share. I’m not asking anyone who does this for a living to share out their livelyhood, but if you have a model you’re willing to share maybe we could build up a library. I’d sure be interested in other’s starting points.
Here are some more pictures from sketchup showing what it can do and the model file. If you do open and look at the model file you might notice that you cannot actually build a real bench from this model. The dimensions wont work. I knew I was going to be using a sheet of 3/4 inch ply, so I drew the ply 3/4 of an inch in sketchup. But we all know 3/4 inch ply is not really 3/4 of an inch. And I knew I would be using 2×4 lumber, we all know a 2×4 is really 1.5×3.5. So I drew the structure using 1.5×3.5 BUT in reality, in the shop, I took the raw lumber and milled it down. So the model says 1.5×3.5 but the actual final lumber was smaller. So all the notches and fitups wont fit if you use the dimensions from the drawing. You have to know you’re going to mill things down and kind of tweak it in the shop. I didnt know how much I was going to need to mill so I didnt try to put in hard numbers into sketchup.
Anyhow, let me know what you think of the idea of sharing sketchup models and here’s my first hat in the ring.
Click the images to get to larger views.
ISO View of the finished model
ISO view with dimensioned parts
A side view with some dimensioned parts
Top view with dimensions