Small workshop layout

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cluttonfred

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I am dreaming about finally having a proper workshop and learned recently that zoning approval is much easier (in fact, not required) in France for an outbuilding of 20 square meters or less. For the imperial holdovers among us (including me) that's about 215 sq ft, so call it a 10' x 20' interior. I think I could make that work for component production with a temporary canvas hangar or a move to another site for final assembly. Does anyone know of any resource on how to lay out and maximize the space in such a small shop? Anyone have any pics of a good example for inspiration? Cheers, Matthew
 

don january

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Matthew Here is a few pic. that shows you don't really need a huge fancy shop but more of utilizing the area you have. Most builders start with a pile of parts and gradually put the pieces together and at the end you have the whole back yard to test run.kr canopy.jpglou 7.jpgtail group finished.jpgtaylor mono 5.jpgjeep and all.jpg
 

Victor Bravo

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As for the shop layout itself, no. But if you will forgive a little "thread creep", one of the little gadgets I made for my shop which proved to be a big space-saver is a little rolling cart with several small power tools mounted on it. I'll try to take a picture next time I go to the hangar.

One of the "hacks" that might make a big difference is going up vertically. Make a "loft" or second story that is high enough to perform different operations, like woodworking on the first floor and metal fabrication above that. You will need to go up vertically no matter what, if only to store built components.

Then there is the additional option of going vertically downward, which also gives you the ability to outward down below, "without any Imperial entanglements" to quote Obi Wan :)
 

Hot Wings

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Beat me to it:
Third the loft or at least high enough to hang the finished wings and raw materials with adequate head clearance.
Height may be limited by local wind conditions and if the authorities allow you to tie it down.

VB's multi tool stand is a good investment. One such option:
tri stand.jpg
 

cluttonfred

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Thanks, that all tracks with what I was thinking. Oddly, the height limit in the code appears to be 12 m (39'!) so maybe the code was written to include things like small silos. Anyway, they code also talks about a "flooring area" of 20 m2, defined essentially as usable space with height to the ceiling of 1.8 m (almost 6') or more. So a multistory workshop is not in the cards, but a loft "storage area" could easily run the full length of the shed, say a 10' x 20' shed roof building with a 6' x 20' loft over head, double doors at one end, a side door, and clerestory windows at the top of the high wall. Roofed but unenclosed spaces also don't count, so that might be a solution as well. Combine the 20 m2 shed with a 20m2 carport and rig some canvas "walls" for the assembly period.
 
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Dillpickle

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Matt, when I had space limitations, I had a metal "army" desk, one of those grey metal super sturdy models from the fifties. I put wheels on it, and mounted a small table saw, drill press, grinder, and belt/disc sander to each corner. I used the center drawer for drill bits and layout tools, and the file drawers for other tools. I wish I kept it! Also, I have found we build way too big of work tables and benches. An 18" deep bench mounted to the wall is more than enough for most small parts, and a 48' wide build table is just TOO big to work around. If you picked tour project already--VP derivative?--ask fritz what the widest table you need will be.
 

Hephaestus

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A-frame, 10x20 with 20' walls. Use a pair of electric winches to lift your work bench to the ceiling at the center, flip down tables at the sides
 

Victor Bravo

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Here's the little "small tool center" I made out of a kitchen accessory that we had. I put a 20 x 20 plywood square on top of the butcher block. Holds a small 1" belt sander, a medium combo sander, drill press, bench grinder, 2 small vise's, and drill bits/stuff/extinguisher below. Real handy, I can roll it over to wherever I'm working and do a lot of stuff that otherwise would require walking somewhere else. More importantly, it rolls out of the way when I need it to.

Small Tool Center 1.jpgSmall Tool Center 2.jpgSmall Tool Center 3.jpg
 
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szigat99

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I am dreaming about finally having a proper workshop and learned recently that zoning approval is much easier (in fact, not required) in France for an outbuilding of 20 square meters or less. For the imperial holdovers among us (including me) that's about 215 sq ft, so call it a 10' x 20' interior. I think I could make that work for component production with a temporary canvas hangar or a move to another site for final assembly. Does anyone know of any resource on how to lay out and maximize the space in such a small shop? Anyone have any pics of a good example for inspiration? Cheers, Matthew
D05A63B8-4F4C-48A2-804A-1B1665DFB1E3.jpeg
Here’s a pic of my shop....11x25...note band saw and table saw placed so that I can rip 8’ pieces. 16 x 4 table works good and using ceiling to store completed wing
 

Lairdair

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View attachment 105557
Here’s a pic of my shop....11x25...note band saw and table saw placed so that I can rip 8’ pieces. 16 x 4 table works good and using ceiling to store completed wing
My shop is small too. I put my bandsaw and floor standing drill on locking casters. I use small moving mounted casters for sliding things under my second shelf beneath my building tables. Most everything is portable.
 

Jay Kempf

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Everything on casters with a landing gear lever here and all resolve to the same table top height. Most small things stow under the fixed bench on one wall on mover's dollies from HF on sale with a coupon. The other shop has all the big CNC tools and composite room. Only the big vacuum table is fixed in place.
 

blane.c

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Vertical space becomes a premium in a small shop. Very quickly. When you build your benches and any "stationary" power tools work flow consideration helps. The majority of my "stationary" power tools are on wheels. I like my table saw for example on wheels and the top of the table saw higher than the top of my benches, most anything with an out-feed or the ability to handle long objects needs the work area higher than the benches for me. The shop I had before this one I built a trolley as close to the ceiling as practical that went the full length of the shop and allowed a electric wench to traverse from side to side (an overhead crane) with careful rigging I could lift objects above the crane and affix them to the ceiling. The ceiling became quite eclectic over time. Of course the ceiling and roof need to be capable of handling the weight.
Also I like my compressor in it's own room, which has worked out for me so far but if I downscale in size again I may build a spot for it in the attic. They are just such a distraction with all the noise.

I recommend high ceilings 10 foot or more.

Attic space and/or basement space is very useful.
 
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kubark42

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Consider that it might be better to have a non-square footprint. This gives you more wall space for storage. Airplanes also tend to have components which are long and narrow, so the building more naturally fits it's raison d'être.

Consider how much space you need to walk around things. A human needs 1m of maneuvering space, and so it can be more efficient to make the dimensions long and narrow, where there's enough space to have a work bench on one side, storage on the other, and a walkway in between.

Can your outbuilding have an outbuilding? Anything you can move to the outside, from circuit panels to door hinges, will make your internal volume be much more efficient. If the outbuilding's roof is sloped, then you can put in an attic or loft or otherwise use that volume.
 

blane.c

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Oh yeah lots of electrical outlets, I mean when you question yourself if you are putting in to many don't listen to that person ... listen to the one that says well maybe another one over here? And some 220v especially near or better yet outside and outside 110 too. Or you'll be stringing extension cords like a hoarder.
 

Hephaestus

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Nah... Overhead retractable reel cords beat wall receptacles every time.

Especially in small spaces where you're always working around something obstructing your path.
 

kubark42

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Oh yeah lots of electrical outlets, I mean when you question yourself if you are putting in to many don't listen to that person ... listen to the one that says well maybe another one over here? And some 220v especially near or better yet outside and outside 110 too. Or you'll be stringing extension cords like a hoarder.
Nah... Overhead retractable reel cords beat wall receptacles every time.

Especially in small spaces where you're always working around something obstructing your path.

I say you're both right. Tripping across cords is a great way to make a space inhospitable. Some small things sitting on the bench will need to be semi-permanently plugged in, and having the cable run up won't be as nice as having it run across and down behind the counter.

Other large things will need to be permanently plugged in and could benefit very nicely from overhead reel cords.
 

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