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Small shop space layout and organization?

Old 01-19-20, 09:52 AM
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Small shop space layout and organization?

I'm building a workshop annex to move the "the bike shop" out of "the wood shop".

If I can keep my crap collecting impulses under control, I should be able to carve out a 10'x10' dedicated work space for light torch, saw and file metal work, and old stuff restoration.

I was looking at the ANTBIKEMIKE site, and Mike's home shop and recommendation for students is a 10'x10' space.

https://antbikemike.wordpress.com/fr...lding-classes/

Interestingly, he also recommends starting with a MAPP torch, but I picked up a near free O2 concentrator last week, so I will at least be starting with a hopped up oxy/mapp bernzomatic torch.

I've got a a bike stand, couple vices and have been checking the scrap yard regularly for a milling machine table or some other big flat reference plate.

As far as machines, I have a disposable chop saw, big grinder and a 1x42" belt sander. I am looking for a buffing set up and keeping an eye open for another heavy drill press so I can have one for metal work and one for the wood shop.

Any thoughts on what to do with my 100sqft of blank state?
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Old 01-19-20, 03:32 PM
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If given enough space I like to arrange the shop with a dirty side and a clean one. Sander, grinder, and such are the dirty and mechanical and machine tools are the at the other end. Or arrange the tooling to have a smooth flow from job to job. With such a small space perhaps the "working triangle" (borrowed from kitchen planning) is the ticket. With so much tooling and so little space I suspect you'll be changing the arrangement around dependent on what's going on for a project. Consider mounting as much as you can on castors to be able to roll machines in and out of the way. Andy
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Old 01-19-20, 04:02 PM
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That's the direction my wood shop was going before a bike shop exploded into the space. The "annex" is for the dirty work and unconditioned bike and junk storage. The clean bike work I hope will coexist well enough with the wood shop. I'm pretty heavily invested in dust collection, and realy don't want to build to many more kitchens/ plywood boxes in this life time.

I could still get talked into solid wood stuff...

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Old 01-19-20, 06:08 PM
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My first thought was a 10'+ bench along one wall butted into the corner with an wall exhaust fan at bench level in the corner and a Shop vac with a wet spark trap that will hook up to the bench tools. Is a rotovice on a pedestal worth setting up as a semi permanent fixture in the center of the space? I'm assuming a 3x4" flat surface for layout could be on a cart, but actual surface plate capable of levering off of would need to be stationary.
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Old 01-19-20, 07:43 PM
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No reason why a proper surface plate can't be mounted on a rolling base. As long as the plate is properly mounted it will be flat and most all the forces in aligning on a plate are vertical not horizontal. I have a wooden cover for my plate and it serves as both a protector when the plate is not in use and thus an additional counter/bench area. My plate isn't on castors but I have just over 500 sq ft in my basement working area (as opposed to storage and the garage solvent tank and mill). Here's a couple of shots of the basement as it is today. Note that some of the benches use 1" plumbing pipe as the structure. This is a very modular and moveable approach. I've had a serious work area in 12 locations (in 4 different states) and have moved this stuff a lot. Also note the South Bend lathe on the hand cart off to the side in one of the shots. My recent upgrade, still a few weeks from being able to make chips. Andy



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Old 01-20-20, 12:26 PM
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Andy, is this the normal state of your shop, or had it been cleaned just prior to the pictures being taken?
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Old 01-20-20, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Andy, is this the normal state of your shop, or had it been cleaned just prior to the pictures being taken?

My before..
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Old 01-20-20, 01:17 PM
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Future annex. Just needs 3 walls and 3 doors. 10◊10 space in corner will be the junk free . Half the stuff In here is lumber that get shifted to garage and the all the free bikes will find a better home.

Standard disclaimer: my last prekid and pre bikes shop space was an 80x80' aircraft hanger. I'm adjusting....

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Old 01-20-20, 06:21 PM
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I figure the Wright brothers might have had some ideas...
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Old 01-20-20, 08:27 PM
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High shelving wherever possible that doesn't conflict with floorspace needed below, machines mounted on rolling bases.
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Old 01-20-20, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Andy, is this the normal state of your shop, or had it been cleaned just prior to the pictures being taken?
Some of each. I get cluttered during a job with hand tools all about the vice or surface I'm on at the time. But I do try to put stuff away frequently (a mind calming device and sort of centering of focus) mid project every few sessions. Currently I'm between frames and as such am working on less time hog stuff. So the mess is less here and there then with a frame ongoing. Also with the new to me lathe a significant rearranging of bench duties is in mid stream. Hence the various Kennedy chests about. If my little "plastic" (who here understands that dig, coming form someone who cut their teeth on Simplex) Atlas 6" lathe sells tomorrow the mess will be less soon. I can only hope so. Andy
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Old 01-20-20, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by calstar View Post
High shelving wherever possible that doesn't conflict with floorspace needed bellow, machines mounted on rolling bases.
Vey good suggestion!. Andy
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Old 01-21-20, 07:33 PM
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My workspace is a dump. Need to clean it up! Thanks for the motivation.
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Old 01-22-20, 09:19 AM
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My shop is about 300sf, but that's not all frame manufacturing space -- it includes a fit area which also serves as my trainer set up, and assembly area (think "bike shop service area").
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Old 01-22-20, 01:33 PM
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I probably should have framed the question differently, as my requirements are a bit specific to my life right now. Any time I have to get things done is opportunistic, so if i was going to start project, I would need to be able to drop tools at any point, not knowing when the next block of an hour or two will present it self, so a bigger project like building a frame will need its own specific space or it will get buried, as have my woodworking tools that never got set up after moving. My "bench" hasn't been cleaned or organized in over a year, but a half dozen bikes have had major work done on the stand, but admittedly efficiency is nose diving. The bike shop proper and the wood shop will be sharing 500 sqft of floorspace, with almost everything on wheels. The annex gives me over 300sqft with the remaining 200 sqft for storage and flex space.

Point being, the planned 100sqft allotment, is purposely separated from storage or bike maintenance, so more correctly I would be asking about what a "Minimalist" hand tool frame shop would look like.


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Old 01-22-20, 05:00 PM
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Minimum tooling as I see it (and very close to what I used when starting- Vice mounted on something solid like bench. Work bench/surface strong enough to hammer on. Cordless drill. Tube blocks and files and somewhere to put these when not using them. Hacksaw. Radio, flame/arc device. The rest is what I would call hand tools like taps, drop out tools facing tools... as long as you have a way to store/keep these things they don't impact the space too much. But the lack of power tools like bench grinder, drill press, lathe/mill will certainly change the process as well as the space. So too not having a jig will free up space but effect build manor. Richard Sachs has written on the topic of less became more in his shop. Years ago he got rid of all the big power tooling he had acquired as he grew. He says going back to hand mitering and such freed up his approach to making frames.

Beyond my very basic set up I would next add a true flat surface, a Vernier protractor and caliper, set of builder's wheels and the list goes on. Andy

Forgot to add that good lighting is right up there, heat is less important
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Old 01-22-20, 05:46 PM
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Looking at the Wright Bro's L bench layout, it looks like one surface is lower. I wonder if that for ergonomics depending on the operation?

I'm also wondering if its possible to fillet braze a frame without a full jig. I've been looking at the Jack Taylor Rough Stuff bikes, and I'm not sure I can get there with lugs.


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Old 01-22-20, 11:25 PM
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Well one can always make the lugs (and turn a one frame project into a 1.75 one time wise)

With some creative fixturing jigless fillet is not hard. We would make a full scale drawing on the floor and hold tubes/subsections against it for angle. Tacking one or two tubes at a time. The first half dozen frames I built were using wheels clamped to a bench top and the frame/form clamped in the bench vice with a lot of back and forth nudging here and there to get everything straight. Slow but quite doable. Andy
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Old 01-23-20, 06:26 AM
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I think shop layout is pretty tough. Lots of people make a template and paper cutouts of their equipment and move them around.

I recently decided to park my car in the garage, so my frame shop is getting moved around. Making some hard choices.
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Old 01-23-20, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
I'm also wondering if its possible to fillet braze a frame without a full jig. I've been looking at the Jack Taylor Rough Stuff bikes, and I'm not sure I can get there with lugs.
Yes if youíre willing to use a lugged bottom bracket shell. It gets really difficult to get a rear wheel to center if you are hand mitering the end of the chainstays and fillet brazing a plain shell with vertical dropouts.

When I was learning to build frames in England in the 70ís, I took a day to visit the Taylor brothers further up north. Norm the framebuilder showed me how they built frames. He had a well-worn piece of plywood that served as his layout fixture. Many of the British learned the trade when they were young and trained their bodies to be like machines using just basic tools. Working class people didnít make/have much money after WWII and there wasnít a lot of profit in bicycles to buy fancy equipment. I admire what they did with what they had but their methods are not a model I would recommend. Furthermore, few young Americans today have a background in working with their hands that would make them great candidates to do things the way the classic era builders did. Young Americans do better using more specialized equipment.

We also have a small frame shop in Ukraine where we make fillet brazed transportation style of frames. It can be an example of organizing equipment in a small space. The foundation and most important tool is the alignment table. Because of translation issues it was made a bit bigger than I would prefer. It does make a solid foundation for a 2nd vise. The fixture we use to spot the front triangle together (which can also be used to design frames) was laser cut and etched out of 5mm thick stainless steel plate. Itís awesome. This type of fixture was used throughout the UK by builders in the classic era. Over the years Iíve added many bells and whistles to its basic design. Because it lays on the alignment table I can tune the cones that hold the tubes so they are exactly in plane. It can also be used to check the accuracy of a miter better than any other way.

A few years ago I brought over an Anvil fixture. It primary use is to speed up making the rear triangle. Iím glad it is there but it is a luxury and totally unnecessary for those on a budget. It does not help make a frame more accurately. I can do as well or better on the back end with true builderís wheel and a T tool and straight edge. In my priority system I would want a vertical mill and small lathe more than that fixture. I am always using them in my MIchigan shop. I love the precise way I can miter on the mill but I use them (I have 2) all the time for making other things. The tool I miss the most in the Ukraine shop is a 42Ē X 1Ē belt sander. For some reason they donít have them over there. While I wish I had a milling machine in Ukraine it is not necessary and a lathe would be totally unnecessary.


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Old 01-24-20, 06:04 AM
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That's quite the production set up in a small space. Is that a wood floor? If so, any concerns with brazeing over it?
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Old 01-24-20, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
That's quite the production set up in a small space. Is that a wood floor? If so, any concerns with brazing over it?
I presume the floor is wood and I don't have any concerns about brazing over it. We use a plate to catch flux drips that keeps the floor clean too.

Our project to provide bicycles to pastors in Ukraine really serves 2 purposes. Right now they go to those that live near the Russian border where vehicle traffic is greatly restricted. The average worker in Ukraine makes very little money and their choices to get around is either public transportation or walking and if they can afford it a bicycle. Most can't and that is where we come in. Our project also provides a training place for those that want to master making frames by providing repetitious practice. Over the years about 10 of my frame building class students have spent on average 2 or 3 months making frames in Ukraine. The shop is located on a college campus with dorms and a cafeteria. I was a high school teacher before becoming a full time builder and painter. I know what it takes to get to the next level and have provided a way for the dedicated to get there.

Yuriy the guy in charge of our project over there is looking at a batch of transportation bicycles we made before they were shipped out.
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