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Shop layout illustrated- Google Sketch-Up will blow your mind!

2 Feb

It’s a snow day here- a perfect time to obsess over google sketch-up and shop layouts! Picture an object in your mind, any object… now search sketch-up’s 3D warehouse and POOF(!) you’ve got a virtual 3D version of that object! Okay so that’s only useful if you are,  say, trying to arrange a layout for heavy objects without having to move them physically. I’ve been living in a virtual 3D warehouse for a couple of days figuring out my future shop layouts. Here are the fruits of my labour…

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I originally was planning to rough out some boxes approximately the right size and move them around the floor plan- so if you’re about to create your own shop layout by all means do whatever is easiest or quickest for you. Sketching on a pad of paper works. I chose this route because A) I found it too cool B) I could get a realistic idea of spacial relations in the layout, and C) most of the ready-made models not only look awesome, but are the correct 1:1 sizes (the only dimensions I had to gather were those of the shop space).

As for layouts:

You can see I included the current layout and state the shop space I’m considering… it’s a mess!

Next I removed all of the items I hope to purge in the upcoming months (read: stash anywhere else)

Then I arranged the tools that I currently have into some semblance of a functional shop (which I hope to have “running” in May 2011).

And finally I couldn’t resist having a motivational foray into my dream shop layout. (including upgraded machinery)

I found this to be an excellent exercise in planning . I recommend that anyone who’s starting a woodworking  shop/business draw up a quick shop layout to figure out :

  • is there room for all the machines you plan to put in your shop space?
  • do you have enough space to move between machines?
  • does the flow of the shop work?  (moving traditionally from the miter saw, over to the jointer, planer, then table saw, and over to the bench from any given place in the shop)
  • where are the best places to put outlets and what voltage?
  • is your bench close to natural light?
  • can you store wood close to the entrance and/or miter saw or jointer? (this will save you from walking unnecessarily far, and wasting time)

That last one reminds me- I didn’t picture my wood storage in the layouts because I have existing overhead shelving along  two sides of the shop that I’ll use for wood storage.  Have yet to decide where plywood and other sheet-goods will be stored.

Also research layouts that work. I already had two books I had bought second hand because ” looking at other woodworking shops is fun”. But I finally put them to good use and studied the layouts. Especially the shops that were of similar size to mine. If you’re looking to take books out of the library, the ones I have and recommend are:

Woodshop Lust by David Thiel, published by Popular Woodworking Books

The Workshop by Scott Gibson, published by Taunton Press (finewoodworking)

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