In all of my searching to find a house, a basement workshop area was high on my priority list. When I found this house I knew I could transform the space into my perfect work area. The dark dinghy space had the perfect had potential to have everything I needed to work on all of my future projects. It would just take some careful planning, help from some friends, and a little cash.

Planning

As with most of my projects I decided to throw several ideas around in CAD before I landed on exactly what I thought would be most efficient use of space. I wanted to maximize my bench space while planning for specific work areas. I also planned on creating a separate laundry room and utility room.

This is the initial list of wants for the space:

  • Clean and professional looking space
  • TV and stereo
  • Work benches – For Wrenching
  • Work benches – For Metal fabricating
  • Work benches – For Larger Tools (Drill Press, Lathe, ETC.)
  • Good lighting
  • Photo booth
  • Plumbed for air tools
  • Enclosed area for my CNC mill
  • Storage for all my parts and trucks
  • Area able to function as a workshop for my motorcycles too

This was my final version of the layout before I moved onto construction.

 Framing

The first day of construction was very productive. Aaron and I were able to swing all the walls, hang the sheeting as well as install both of the new doors. The new utility room was sheeted with peg board. This was for two reasons, one was for the obvious ability to hang things but the second was to allow for more airflow to the furnace since I was not going to be installing a louvered door.

Flooring

Making a decision on the floor was NOT easy for me. I was thinking of using a vinyl tile but this option had it’s problems. The cheaper versions are self adhesive but a prone to peeling on basement floors. After much research I decided to go with a garage floor epoxy coating. It turned out to be the cheapest option and ended up looking great. The process was simple, a thorough washing, followed by an acid etch scrubing, then rinse and let dry over night. Next simply mix the two-part epoxy and roll it on.

Benches

I was most excited to start the construction of my benches. I have never had an area that was really planned out well. Space was always the concern and it ended up causing too many compromises to make me happy. This time I would have exactly what I wanted! The benches that would hold my CNC mill, drill press, bench grinder, chop saw, etc. would get a 3/4″ MDF top and be set at a higher level which is more comfortable to stand and work at. My fabrication table would get a steel top that would be better for welding and brazing on. Lastly, my work table and photo area were getting a 1/2″ phenolic top, this material is perfect as it will not absorb fluids and is heat resistant. The only thing left to do was to build them!

Electrical

The entire area for the shop had only one electrical outlet and one overhead two-bulb florescent light fixture. Even during construction this was a major pain to work with. The house had an old sub-panel that had an adequate feed line to supply a 60 amp box. It was currently feeding the washer and dryer as well as the two sump pumps in the basement. The old panel used fuses and was very out of date. I wanted to run plenty of outlets as well as some reasonable lighting. I planned out exactly how I would be placing my outlets and marked everything with blue masking tape. I would be running everything that was visible inside of 3/4″ conduit. I would be using Romex cable because I was going to just be stapling the wires to the rafters above the drop ceiling.  For light fixtures I scored four, four-bulb fixtures. This was a huge improvement! Finally I could see in the shop.

 CNC Enclosure

Flying chips of material can create quite a mess. To combat this I wanted something that would contain my mess. I came up with a very simple solution. I had a short list containing a couple pieces of white melamine, some 3″ aluminum angle, a piece of galvanized pipe, 2 pipe wall plates, a tube of silicone and a shower curtain; a few hours of work later and I had my enclosure.

Ready to WORK!

I have been extremely happy with my work area. I have spent way too much time in it already and I’m glad I put the thought into planning it out.

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