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Forum topic by SteveM posted 02-14-2009 06:26 AM 1814 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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108 posts in 4132 days

02-14-2009 06:26 AM

Topic tags/keywords: shop layout


I wasn’t sure where to put this question so decided this forum was as good as any.

Some may know that my current shop space exceeds my skill set but falls short of my ego. I now have the opportunity for a major expansion into the area under my 3 car garage – about 960SF of clear space.

As with many things in life, a larger shop adjacent to the existing space creates good news and bad news. Today I complain about tripping over stuff but now wonder just how to best use what seems to be a vast amount of new space. I’m wondering how to best layout machinery, hand tools, work and assembly tables, storage (wood, clamps, stuff), etc. in what may be the new space. I’m sure there are some obvious relationships as to what should be near what, what amount and configuration of working space is best for specific machines to maximize safety and work processing, and more.

Does anyone have suggestions of resources I can check to give me ideas. I know the decision is mine and there are probably many “right” answers but I’d appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

It just dawned on me to list the larger tools that I have and need to position. They are: table saw, band saw, drill press, jointer, planer, router table (currently in the right side of the table saw), chop saw, Powermatic lathe w/ 2 mini lathes for buffing, grinder for lathe, belt/disk sander table, scroll saw, and drum sander. Compressor and dust collection are in another room for noise reduction. Then I have the usual hand tools and supplies as well as some jigs (dovetail, Kreg, etc) that I temporarily mount onto a work bench for use.

8 replies so far

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3850 days

#1 posted 02-14-2009 06:51 PM

Steve my idea would be to, as I’ve done in the past, then d an outline of your shop, then go to each of your tools and draw them out to scale cut them out and then try different tools in different spots until you get a set up that works for you. Grizzly also has a free save-able program that allows you to design a shop most of the tools available in it are Grizzly but you’ll find items there that are about the measurement of the tools you have.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3523 days

#2 posted 02-14-2009 07:58 PM

Wow, I had the same advice to give you but someone else beat me to it. Hope the grizzly site works for you, it did me.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3677 days

#3 posted 02-14-2009 08:07 PM

” current shop space exceeds my skill set but falls short of my ego. ” If I were to follow this all I’d need for my skill is a shoebox….thanks for a great line LOL! Can I use this as my tag line? Great link, John.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View hairy's profile


2655 posts in 3497 days

#4 posted 02-15-2009 10:28 PM

I have a program that I got at Staples , in the clearance bin. 3D Home Architect, Broderbund. I paid $3 for it. You can create a room, or a whole house. Make a room to your size, then put in objects the size of your tools. They didn’t have workbenches, so I used tables and other furniture piece sized accordingly. Then you can zoom around, looking at different angles, from above,walk through. I have seen the grizz shop planner, but really didn’t use it. You could do the same with graph paper.Or you could follow the way I ultimately do things, just blunder in headfirst, and worry about it later. Good luck!

-- My reality check bounced...

View pitchnsplinters's profile


262 posts in 3403 days

#5 posted 02-16-2009 01:26 AM

Lots of light. Lots of electricity. Lots of mobile bases.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

View PG_Zac's profile


368 posts in 3353 days

#6 posted 02-16-2009 07:40 AM

I am also in the same enviable position as you, in that I’ll soon be moving into a new workshop space of a similar size.

I have tackled my layout “problem” by looking at workflow to minimise to-ing and fro-ing.
I divided the shop into work zones by function
1. Receiving and Storage
2. Sizing
3. Processing
4. Joinery
5. Assembly
6. Finishing
and I even managed to fit in a “Mechanics Corner” for all the non-wood work required on the farm.

I have laid it out in SketchUp, and am quite pleased with the ideas. We’ll see how practical it is real operation over the next year or so.

If you want my SketchUp file, PM me with your email address.

Is there any way I can attach a couple of pdf files to this message showing the planned layout?

-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3955 days

#7 posted 02-16-2009 12:13 PM

Let me get this right…You have 960sq. ft. “under” your garage?! Wow!

My suggestions…Lighting, power outlets, having adequate power, ventilation…which also means that by partitioning with walls, you’ll need to heat or cool a smaller space. Partitioning will also allow you to create a finishing room, storage room, quiet room for your compressor, dust system, etc.

Todd Clippenger had a great idea to run 240vac to his outlets…4 way outlets…two on one leg, the other two on the other leg. Makes for two different breakers and the ability to have 240vac if needed.

Lots of stuff to consider.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3678 days

#8 posted 02-16-2009 05:40 PM

First I would think about the room and not the tools. Lights, elec outlets including over hear compressed air lines. What about air circulation ? are you going to include a spray booth, even if its for future use, now 1st the ideal time to do it. and of course dust collection lines. As for Machines I think that only you can decide that based on how you use them and how often. example next to my table saw I have my 6×48belt sander with 9” disc simply be cause those 2 tools get used the most. The most important thing is to allow plenty of space around each tool and I wouldn’t built any thing in Until I was completely comfortable with the placement. That really a lot of what its all about, what you find to be a comfortable with.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

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