Sunday, October 29, 2023

Workshop Upgrades to Improve Organization and Workflow

Continuing my efforts to have better organization and improve the workflow in my limited space garage workshop (1/2 of a 2 car garage but where we have to be able to park one car), I tried to tackle two birds with one stone by using many of the scrap materials that were left over from previous projects that was taking up space to build an assembly table with some storage underneath and a mobile bench top tools cart.

All the materials used for the table were stuff I had lying around so the design was partially dictated by what I had on hand, but the final result matched exactly what I wanted:  a 3' x 3' mobile table (since in a small shop, I often had to move things around).  Having it be 3 feet allows me to be on one side and reach across to the other side without having to walk around the table.

A shelf on the bottom gave me additional storage keep items off the ground and I can move the table around while having all the tools move together.

I added drawer slides so that I can expand the work area, have storage and have easier access to the items.  When not in use everything goes back into a compact 3'x3' space.

Before building the assembly table, I was using two temporary Bora 2' x 4' Centipede workbenches which took up slightly more then 4' x 4' of space.  They had limited space beneath the top and everything would be sitting directly on the ground.  I had a bench top sander, band saw, planar and jointer on it which took up most of the space leaving me just a small corner as a work surface.  Again, with only materials that I had lying around, I made a mobile cart to hold all the tools in a more compact dimension (3x2) that I can roll around and store to the side.

In the above picture, you'll also noticed that I moved the miter saw from the built-in cabinet to a mobile stand (a repurposed Bosch table saw cart I previously built but not used since I sold the saw) that I added an OEM Kapex top.  Now, I have the saw, the bench top tools cart and router table (also on a mobile cart) lined up in a row so they take up less space but are still easy to access when I need them.

I added wings and fence with a stop block to the miter saw. 

I bought this pine plank around 10 years ago with the intention of using it as a wing for the miter saw.  The track fence is probably just as old (or older) and was also intended to be used for the wing to make repeatable cuts.  Well, better late then never, right?  I finally set it up.  The wings (yes, there is one for the other side) can be detached and folded so they can be stored away.  The fence can slide on-and-off of the brackets on the back. 

I also made some changes to the MFT3 and the cart it sits on.

I replaced the fence it came with with a UJK fence and I removed the fold-down bracket that held the Festool track and use bench dogs sitting in the 20mm holes to attached the track.  This allows me to not worry about making sure the bracket is calibrated to be 90 degrees to the bench dog holes and I also don't have the track standing up vertically all the time and having to reach over to pull it down.

I finally added drawer slides to the cart so I can pull out the trays and have easy access to the items stored behind the systainers.  I had bought the slides 11 years again with then intention of doing this and only gotten to it this year.

The dust extractor faces the back of the cart which made turning it on manually very inconvenient.  It turns on automatically when the connected tool turns on, but if I just wanted to use the dust extractor to clean up, I'd have to walk around to turn it on.  I added a Bluetooth on-off switch to the end of the hose so that I can turn it on manually without having to go behind the cart.

The final setup has not only increased the functionality, flow and convenience of my workspace, it also gave me more space even though I've gotten more tools the past year and it cleared away a lot of materials that were lying around.