Turning Archive 2006

Subject:
My NEW shop (SUPER-DUPER LONG post...REALLY!)

Peter Teubel
>As some of you may know, I’ve taken a hiatus from production turning due to being dragged back into the corporate world. What started out as a 3 month contract turned into a 20 month stint and is still going (not that I’m complaining!). It has allowed me to rebuilt and re-equip my shop to become an efficient, comfortable production turning shop and class room. So what free time I’ve had was spent doing just that…and NO turning (in the shop at least).

My goals were as follows:

#1) NO shelves or permanent horizontal surfaces. Everything has to be in enclosed cabinets.

#2) Everything possible OFF the floor. If it has to be on the floor, it must be on wheels. This along with #1 make cleanup very easy and quick.

#3) A well designed, efficient dust collection system.

#4) 24x7 heat in the winter.

#5) Room to move around! I hate a tight shop.

The first thing I had to do it build a shed to house not only my junk…er, I mean stuff… but also the large noise-makers of the shop. Compressor, cyclone, and vacuum pump. So I built an 8’ x 14’ stick frame shed with 10’ center inside height for the cyclone. This was the largest size I could build without a permit. Construction pics can be seen HERE.

Both are operated via wireless switches.

Once that was completed and the equipment moved in, it left a lot more room in the shop.

Next was to build cabinets. Nothing fancy just plywood or particle board or MDF carcasses with pocket holed frame & panel doors (ash, oak, liptus, padauk, maple…whatever I had handy) hung with Blum Euro hinges to allow adjustment for my less-than-perfect flat-wood skills. Total of 22 cabinets all hanging on French cleats so they can be moved at will. I started making the shelves adjustable with shelf pins, but after the 12th one, I just decided to permanently position the shelves (I was getting impatient).

Once all the cabinets were done and packed with stuff, this left even more room. The next thing to do was remove the center posts (which I installed years ago after flooring in the joists…I need SOME storage space). But they were ALWAYS in the way when either moving around or attempting to place machinery. So I ordered two 16” wide, 23’ long LVL beams and installed them with only end supports. Only a ¼” sag over the whole distance. Sweet! That freed up MORE room (see where this is going?).

I had a 3hp cyclone that was strictly OK when plumbed thru 4” duct. Since GOOD dust collection was a must, I did some research and figured out that I need at least 6” mains for the distance and number of drops I was planning. Lowes is only a couple miles from my house and they sell 6” PVC. Its more expensive than 6” metal duct, but it was material that was available NOW. I plumbed the 6” PVC from the shed (see Construction Pics link above), thru the shop wall, diagonally across the ceiling, branched into two main runs and installed 3 drops…each with TWO 4” blast gates and flex hose. Both hoses on each drop go to the same machine. That way I never restrict the flow to less than the main branch.

The cyclone originally has a HUGE bag filter (over 11’ tall), but since I was planning to route the air back into the shop (don’t want to loose heat in the winter), I didn’t want to make room for it. I decided to go with cartridge filters. Again, research paid off. By routing the air flow from the outside to the inside of a pleated filter cartridge, you get greater efficiency. By using TWO filters (14” diameter x 36” tall), I have almost ZERO back pressure. The air enters the box from above, goes thru the filters (the tops are capped and the bottoms are open), and exits on the bottom. The cyclone is so efficient, that it’ll probably be a year before I have to even think about cleaning the filters.

FYI: While cutting on the bandsaw last year, I filled up THREE 55-gallon drums with sawdust over a period of a week. You know how much dust there was in the bag filter? Barely enough to coat the inside of the plastic bag at the bottom. Its incredible how well a cyclone works to separate the dust out of the air stream!

Let me tell you, 6” mains really, really, REALLY makes a difference! The cyclone is 3 times farther away than it used to be and it pulls 3 times better. My bandsaw has never been so clean after sawing. Absolutely no buildup around the lower guides. The lower door is actually hard to open with the DC running. Of course, you’ll notice that I cut a collection port in the lower door and mounted one under the table near the lower guides.

Now, since the DC is so efficient, I’ve run the DC exhaust pipe down thru the floor of the shed to the ground outside. If anything is coming out of it, I can’t see it…meaning it’s that clean…no residue under there at all. When winter comes, I just rotate a PVC elbow to connect it to the main exhaust pipe to route the air back into the shop via the filter box.

On the other side of the shop, I have my Festool table and my most-used tools. Nice compact system. Eventually, all that will be transferred back to their home in my basement (flat-work) shop, so it will be all open space with just a smaller workbench there. The space in front of the garage door is the home of my next lathe (pre-gloat) which I am getting from a fellow turner-turned-motorcyclist (hey, he has to pay for his new hobby somehow). It’s already ducted for dust collection, but since that garage door is still operational, the hoses are tucked up into the ceiling for now.

Now for the heating system. I got a killer deal on this pellet stove. I was following up on an ad for a couple of pneumatic nailers. The guy selling them (way too cheap) asked if I was interested in his stove. He said his wife did like the idea of a fire in their basement. Its only a couple years old, rated for 42K BTU, w/thermostat, piping, and 17 bags of pellets. $450!!. Needless to say, I couldn’t pay him fast enough! I already used it last month and it works great. Nice fire view, too. I already have a couple chairs to put in front of it!

Remember I said everything has to be on wheels? Well, except for the 2436 (which CAN be moved with the Oneway mobility kit), everything else is on wheels. I used the Woodcraft “universal mobile base” kit. Instead of bolting the hardware to a sheet of plywood, I bolted it directly to the lathe (welded it to the bandsaw). I know, I know…mobile bases and lathes don’t go together. That may be true in some instances, but not here. The 1224 is VERY stable when released from the wheels. Same with the bandsaw (its over 500lbs).

So while I was on a dust collection binge, I decided to do something about the grinder. When dressing wheels, the clouds of fine dust is both annoying and unhealthy. I setup my new Delta grinder (been sitting in the box for 6 months) on a Craftsman tool cart. Its mounted on the backside so the drawers don’t fill up with dust and shavings. I routed some 1.5” PVC pipe from the collection ports on the guards to the base of the cabinet. In there, I installed a small ShopVac (with double cloth filters). It’s wired thru a router speed control so I can fine tune the speed to what I’m currently doing for noise control (dressing/full…grinding/half). One switch turns on everything (light, grinder, vac). I also built a tool tray that hinges down when not in use. The granite plate in the bottom is for ballast (the whole thing was kinda top-heavy).

Sweeping up the shavings is not a big deal, but sweeping up all the fines is a pain. Vac would be better. A couple years ago, I mounted a shopvac to a 55-gallon drum. Worked great and didn’t have to empty it every two minutes. It was on wheels, but took up a fair amount of room on the shop floor. So I installed it under the cabinets in a corner, ran a 25’ length of 2.5” DC hose up the wall, along the main DC run, and ended in the center of the shop. From there I attached another 25’ length of 2.5” hose and wrapped it around a couple pipes that were screwed into the main center beam. All I do now is pull it down, attach a nozzle, and I can reach every corner in my shop. Since its so easy to do, it gets done more often!

Of course, where do I store my tools? The tool tray on the grinder is for tools that I’m currently using for a particular project. I wanted a place to store them where I could grab any ONE of them without having to move anything out of the way to get at it. So I built another cabinet with holders so the tools could all be easily gotten or put away. On the doors, I mounted two white boards for design notes and general doodling (one board cut in half).

Anything that has an edge is in that cabinet.

So, now that my shop is nearly completed, what have I been doing? Turning, of course (finally)! Still have a few things to do, but that’s not stopping me from making shavings in the meantime!

Ahhhh….its so good to be back!!

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