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Old July 19, 2008, 11:29 AM
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Default Material for workbench or workshop

I'm looking to create a work area and I'm not sure of certain materials to use. For example: floor material....carpet, tile, vinyl etc. Same goes for the workbench: wood, metal, laminate, rubber mats, etc. This workbench will strictly be used for working on computers. As for lighting, I already have two 4' florescent lights which is great. Work area is about 12' x 5'6". I know it sounds like a weird size but it's what's left after refinishing my basement. Nobody is using this space but me. I'm already using this area for my computer desk or small office area (or dumping area right now).

Anybody got any ideas? :help: If required to get ideas, I'll post a graphic and photo showing the exact area I have to work with.
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Old July 19, 2008, 11:43 AM
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An anti-static floormat is a decent idea for where you sit. As for the surface, Ive always liked wood better than metal.
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Old July 19, 2008, 11:47 AM
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concrete floor
wood bench.

all you need.
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Old July 19, 2008, 11:59 AM
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Tile is probably not a good decision because a dropped tool or component could break the tile and it is generally more expensive. Vinyl is durable and easy to clean (especially if you basement is prone to flooding) but it could get cold and uncomfortable in a basement. A durable low pile carpet would be my first choice for a computer maintenance shop. I am assuming you do not mean Dremmel huge patterns or do a lot of soldering. These kinds of messier activities would dictate the more industrial suggestion of enaberif.

As for table tops I would just get a cheap Ikea desktop to start. The Amon series are pretty durable and very cheap. As you figure out how many wires you need and what tools you need and all the little things that go into the particular jobs you work on you can fit the most useful layout of shelves, bins, table space, or what have you. If you need a bench you can hammer on then I would suggest making one out of laminated 2x4s (or better yet, salvaged wood like old palettes) as you can make it beefy enough to stand up and the thing will be nigh indestructible. These decisions are going to be hugely influenced by your tolerance to clutter (or the tolerance of your SO ).
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Old July 19, 2008, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pike View Post
I'm looking to create a work area and I'm not sure of certain materials to use. For example: floor material....carpet, tile, vinyl etc. Same goes for the workbench: wood, metal, laminate, rubber mats, etc. This workbench will strictly be used for working on computers. As for lighting, I already have two 4' florescent lights which is great. Work area is about 12' x 5'6". I know it sounds like a weird size but it's what's left after refinishing my basement. Nobody is using this space but me. I'm already using this area for my computer desk or small office area (or dumping area right now).

Anybody got any ideas? :help: If required to get ideas, I'll post a graphic and photo showing the exact area I have to work with.
I have 2 benches. an L-shaped one(~6'6"x30x5'6"x20 all 29"tall)that i made out of MDF/2x4's for legs. It's almost like new after ~4 years. The other is an old office desk that my dad gave me(~5'x29"deep x28"H)..that's made out of steal with 3 steal drawers..and i bet it weighs 300lbs.The top is a very hard white plastic that doesn't mark or gouge easily...yet i never get any static charge from it. I find for me (~5'11") that 28"/29" is a good height.. maybe 30" could be better, but i sit when i work due to FUBAR back. The whole area is 101"Wx114"L...it gets tight. I have peg-board on one wall; from the top of desk to ceiling. I have 2x4' Flourescent's as well... and a desk-light that bends almost like a snake.. this works good w/9w CFL. I have 3-6'x30" bookshelfs, and an old over-the-toilet shelf unit for parts. Be creative... you don't have to buy a lot. I have an old "plate-rail" that my bro. made for me out of wood.. i cut it to size(6'6"), mounted it up high, and have mobos lined up on it.. ~12-15. GL.
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Old July 19, 2008, 02:05 PM
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Thanks for the info guys. Currently using an old wood desk, which is attached like an L-shaped to another unit that I got from old office furniture, all on a concrete floor for now but that is a bit cold. Gives me plenty of room for my own pc and a working area with a KVM switch for when I need to test a computer. I guess I was more worried about anti-static and what I should put on the carpet. Concrete is really making the wheel of my chair crackle alot and I'm afraid they will be busted before too long. Maybe I just need to organize thing a bit more.
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Old July 19, 2008, 02:13 PM
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If you have a concrete floor you could go with an EPOXY flooring. Properly applied and cured they are extremely tough. They leave a VERY nice finish... oils, fuel, nothing will stain it. It wont chip either.
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Old July 19, 2008, 02:30 PM
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@SiDiX007, Can you get epoxy floors cheap? I saw a reno show on the tele that had an epoxy floor and it looked really great but they said it was twice as expensive as marble or some crazy expensive figure.

@Pike, Do not worry about static unless you go for a 70's vintage wool shag. The kinds of materials listed here will not build up significant static. If you are doing this for a hobby you can pretty much ignore static entirely; I do. If this is a business and you need to be extra careful drop the $60 on a good mat and wrist cuff and read a comprehensive HOWTO.
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Old August 23, 2008, 09:36 AM
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Plain padded rubber mats make good soft surface to stand on, and wewt they are non-conductive!

Wooden work surface is fine and dandy, but pick up a Yoga Mat at a garage sale for a buck (or new for about $20), place it over the wood for a soft, non-slip, non-conductive, and non-case scratching surface!

Use an old power supply, plugged in but turned off, as a ground. Simply attatch a wire to it, then the system case you are working on with an aligator clip, to complete the ground. I also have an anti-stat wrist band attached to it, ready for use. Believe it or not, I rare use either and have never had a problem even though my floor has carpet on concrete.

Can't have enough power! Place a good surge protector on the side somewhere, and/or a UPS. If the walls are unfinished, consider adding more wall sockets, preferably on different circuits. I have two sockets in reach of my bench, on the same circuit. I then have three surge protectors, one very high qual and two mainstream. After all this, I only have six outlets free! They are taken up by lights, chargers, the PSU, monitors, speakers, and space for two computers. I also have at least two more computer power cables that are loose and ready to use for things like external drives etc, so it is very rare that I have to use one of the open sockets. I have yet to pop a fuse.

Use long nails or screws in the wall to hang various cables from. Lots of shelving and parts storage is also important. Costco sells a heavy duty wire rack for less than $100, it is food grade so very high quality. It's adjustable shelves are perfect for storing multiple computers and parts. High qual caster wheels make it mobile. Can't find the part number or make/model, but I am pretty sure it is the only one they sell in thatprice range and sheer size. NCIX got a bunch of therm when they moved their Broadway location, I saw them there and asked where they got them. I then went to Costco as a guest with a nieghbor and picked one up. I just wish I had room for another one.

I use Banker Boxes (cardboard file cabinets) for storing mobos that have heatsinks on them, perfect and cheap.

A KVM is a must of you want to run more than one computer while working on another. Never enough room for more than one or two monitors, and they generate a lot of unwanted heat. I can run three systems at the same time on my bench, two via KVM to a CRT, and one to a small LCD. And still have enough room to work on a 4th! I also have a layoff bench that I can run two or three more systems, via another KVM and large CRT. Once I have a system buttoned up, I move it to the layoff table for any further testing etc. The layoff table is just behind my main systems' desk on a different circuit, and just got another 4 port KVM so I can access them directly from my desk.

I mostly stand while working at the bench, which is why I like it so high. Kitchen counters are way too low for me, my back hurts when doing the dishes! A good stool is a must. Something that has an adjustable hieght and quite high at it's topmost is a godsend when doing delicate work or your feet are getting sore. Ideal bench hieght is just above your belly button, so you don't have to lean over hardly ever. You can raise the desk with blocks of wood. I got my stool for $30 at Outdoor Warehouse, and is a cheap POS but perfect for now. A better one is at Canadian Tire, the HotRod magazine stool for about $60 iirc -- want one! Expensive but best solution, is a drafting stool/chair.

Have you ever noticed how often you must turn a case back and forth to get to screws and wires on each side of a case? I am constantly lifting and turning a system when working on it, forcing me to get out of my chair. So...

For a future project, I plan to make a Lazy Susan for easily spinning a case around while working on it. I haven't locked down a plan yet, and may build it into the surface of the bench or just have it on top so I can move it out of the way when I am not using it. It needs to be lockable somehow so it doesn't rotate when you don't want it to. Lee Valley sells the rotating hubs, cheap and good quality with bearings. One of these ressesed into the bench with a plywood top and some more yoga mat material would be sweet.

.
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Last edited by Lithotech; August 23, 2008 at 09:52 AM.
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