Guest Blogger #985, Entry #2521, June 14, 2013
Father’s Day is coming up and why not give Dad a place for him to relax and create something with his hands? While many Dad’s enjoy woodworking or mechanics another great hobby is metal working. A home metal shop can be the perfect place for the avid DIY’er to make handy metal items, or even to create sculptural art. If your Dad enjoys working with his hands – here are tips to help him set up a metal shop in his home.
Image via: Rob Karosis
Find a great space
Some people might set up a metal working shop in a spare building on their property, while others want to find an industrial warehouse or unused space they can buy or lease. Once you have found a space with suitable power, lighting, heating, and other requirements, set it up by marking off areas on a floor plan for different stages of fabrication. This will help you decide on the placement and orientation of different machines so you can be efficient and safe. CNC or manual machines, metal bending, saws, and grinding machines will all require space, so make sure you can fit them all into the location you have chosen!
Place your mills together
When choosing a spot for your mills, keep them together. If you have them in the same area, make sure you won’t overload any circuits by running them on the same power outlets. Manual mills are more space-efficient than CNCs, which require a computer but allow more precise cutting. If you have a limited area to work with, a manual mill might be a good choice.
Locate your lathes together
Just like your mills are kept together, it’s smart to keep your lathes in one area. You won’t have to move around other machines in order to get from one to another at each stage of fabrication, and it will be easier to calculate power requirements. If you plan to hire any machinists, they often specialize in certain machines and won’t use others at all.
Image via: Jamie Laubhan-Oliver
Put your saws and grinders nearby
Near the areas where your mills and lathes are, put your saws and grinders. Bandsaws are a crucial component of any metal fab shop and must be kept at hand. When you cut raw material, you will need to use these machines, so it helps keep raw material transfers efficient. Ideally, you should be doing this on a floor plan before you set it up in real life, so envision the workflow up to this point. If you’re physically setting up machinery now, take a moment now to mime walking through the process and see if the workflow is disrupted.
Keep your welders away
Unlike most other machines, welding machines should be kept away so the sparks and heat don’t affect other processes. Since there is no automatic welding, parts may get backed up here, so make sure that there is room for backed-up materials without disrupting other areas.
Place sinks and safety gear throughout
Each area should be close to sinks and safety gear in case of accidents. Getting metal chips and pieces in your eyes or nicking yourself can be dangerous with this kind of work, and you will want emergency equipment readily available in all areas.
Setting up a metal fab shop is mostly a process of workflow design so you can ensure that every area runs smoothly, has its own space without interfering with other processes, and the process of metal fabrication will run smoothly from zone to zone.
Image via: Glenn Robert Lym Architect
This Father’s Day give Dad a gift that he can use for years to come. A home metal shop will give Dad a place to escape into his new craft and with these helpful tips – you can set it up with no problem. Thank the father figure in your life with the setup of a metal shop in his home.
John Ireland has had some hard times, but managed to make the best of things by setting up his own metalworking shop. In his spare time, he likes to advise and inspire others by blogging on the Internet. To learn more about metalworking and bandsaw blades, visit the bandsawbladesking.com website.