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Modular construction for shop and storage.

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Author Topic: Modular construction for shop and storage.  (Read 752 times)
jakesrocks
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« on: July 01, 2013, 09:07:42 am »

I've recently accumulated all of the materials to build a specialized workbench for mineral and fossil prep work. All of the framing will be surplus extruded aluminum T-Slot material. I must warn that even surplus offcuts aren't cheap,  but the beauty of this material is light weight, strength and the ability to add, remove or move component positions with just an Allen wrench. I'll start adding pics this afternoon, and will continue until the project is completed. Sort of a step by step.

It should be pointed out that this material comes in several different sizes or series, so care has to be exercised in ordering. For my projects I'm using 10 series extrusions and related joining hardware. If anyone , after seeing what I'm putting together is interested in trying something like this, the only company I've found who sells brand new surplus material of this type is 8020 aluminum extrusions, http://stores.ebay.com/8020-Inc-Garage-Sale

To familiarize myself with this material, I first used it to build a storage rack for Riker Mount display cases. This isn't a good pic, but it will give you an idea of what I built.

There's only one Riker box pictured in the rack, with room for 9 more. Riker makes storage racks for their shallow boxes, but not for the deep boxes needed for some of my fossils, so I stole their design and improved on it.
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 01:39:51 pm »

Beautiful! If I could figure a place to put em, several of those would be ideal for easier access to the aluminum cases I have stacked in a corner. Thanks for sharing your project.
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 02:06:13 pm »

r2d, the storage rack was only a test project. The work bench is next. This rack fits nicely into a corner. The reason for building this way was for air circulation between the Riker boxes. It gets humid around here and I didn't want these rather expensive boxes sticking together.
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 03:25:23 pm »

A couple of months a go when I was down at the salvage yard the had a bunch of old Unistsrut or a knock of it and thought to myself, "Hey! I bet that stuff would make up into a good bench/shelf system for my garage", so is this stuff your using anything like Unistrut?
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2013, 03:51:59 pm »

Unistrut is steel, and is much heavier. Also, Unistrut tends to have only 1 slot for attachment, where as the extruded aluminum T-Slot material, depending on which configuration you buy, can have up to 3 attaching slots per side. The material I'm using is only 1" square and only has 1 slot per side. Yet because of the way the pieces are extruded, they are very rigid and will support unbelievable amounts of weight.
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2013, 04:58:40 pm »

Yes, Unistrut is steel but it does come in various formats, four by four with a slot facing a different direction, two by two,  three way, and of course the single. The beauty of the stuff in the scrap yard was the price, ten cents a pound, pretty inexpensive for me, but it had to be painted again, had lots of fittings with it. It was scrapped out of one of the old semiconductor plants around here and it is structural in nature.
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2013, 05:02:37 pm »

Well, the dreaded honey do list got in the way of taking pics today. I only managed to get one pic of the hardware needed to build this project. But never fear. The bearer of the dreaded honey do's will be gone for at least 4 hours tomorrow. Pics will come in the morning.

A very small portion of the hardware.


4 locking wheels. Piles of corner brackets. A large handful of reinforcing plates, Bunches of T-Nuts in 1 and 3 hole configurations and 1/4-20 button head screws in 3/8" and 1/2" lengths. Lots of screws. Also plastic caps for any raw ends left after assembly.

 
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2013, 05:13:38 pm »

Yes, Unistrut is steel but it does come in various formats, four by four with a slot facing a different direction, two by two,  three way, and of course the single. The beauty of the stuff in the scrap yard was the price, ten cents a pound, pretty inexpensive for me, but it had to be painted again, had lots of fittings with it. It was scrapped out of one of the old semiconductor plants around here and it is structural in nature.



LOL, you should see the storage shelves all along one wall of my basement. All heavy duty steel shelving, 4' long by 2' deep shelves 5 shelves high with solid steel shelf bottoms. A place I worked at was closing out one of its buildings. I was taking pallet loads of shelving out to a back storage area to rust away. I moved several 10' high sections into our building to use for storage, and asked if I could take some of the 8' high sections home. Didn't cost me a cent, and even got a 1 ton electric hoist with trolley wheels out of the deal.
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2013, 10:58:49 pm »

I forgot to mention earlier that the slots in the 10 series material are slightly more than 1/4" wide. For the side and back boards I'll be using 1/4" birch plywood, finished both sides. The wood will be captured in the slots on all 4 sides. There will be no need to fasten the wood with screws. For the top I'll use 3/4" MDF with a 2" overhang in front and both ends. There will be no need to fasten it down. the 2 front legs will extend 3/4" above the top supports. The rear legs will extend about 18" above the top supports. The top will be held in place by them. A shelf will be attached at the top of the rear legs, and a 24" neon light will be attached under the shelf.

This will be attached to the right end wood side, to supply air to 2 air scribes, an air pencil grinder and my mini soda blaster. It has a built in tool oiler which can be turned off when soda blasting, and a water trap to keep any moisture out of my air tools.
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2013, 09:21:13 am »

There are all kinds of uses for aluminum T-Slot material. This is 15 series 2 slot material used as adjusting rails for a sphere machine that is now nearly complete. It's very rigid, and allows easy adjustment for different sizes of spheres.

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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2013, 09:10:11 pm »

Well, so much for more pics today. I ended up mowing all day. Had to change the oil and filters in the lawn tractor this evening. With all of the rain we've had, the grass is 2' + high. Gotta take advantage of dry days. Now I've gotta have a shower. I smell like a goat what with temps in the mid 80's and high dewpoint.
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2013, 09:30:09 pm »

Great thread Don, thanks, can't wait to watch progress. I'll confess you've got me very interested in the sphere machine now as I'm betting it beats most I've seen hands down just based on that ... uh, base.
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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2013, 09:37:59 pm »

Hey Frank, I just bought 3 longer pieces of that same T-Channel, so I can cut larger spheres. The original pieces were only 10" long. I'm going out to 16".
I'll start another thread and post pics of the sphere machine build up to where it sits now. I need to find time to finish the wiring, and it'll be ready to role.
I've also mustered up most of the parts for an old school single head sphere machine. A leather gloved hand acts as a second cup.
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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2013, 09:50:21 pm »

Cool - I'll watch for it!

Leather gloved hand - seriously?! saved1
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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2013, 10:28:57 pm »

Yup, leather gloved hand. An old friend of mine, now departed used to cut bowling ball sized spheres that way.

Pics posted of the sphere machine as it sits right now.
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« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2013, 10:43:39 pm »

...bet he had a heck of a forearm, lol...!
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« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2013, 12:39:03 pm »

Actually, the gloved hand is only used to keep the sphere preform from jumping off the cutter cup. I helped with a couple of his spheres. Pretty simple and low tech.
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« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2013, 12:06:47 pm »

Well, for the last few days the dreaded honeydo list and a holiday got in the way of my bench project. After a couple of morning honeydo's, I think I can finally get a start on the project. Just for starters. here's a pic of the components that will be used as a dust extractor system.



At the bottom are the motor wiring connectors and the special screws used with muffin fans.

The top row.

Finger guards for the fans.

3 muffin fans at 90 CFM each, for a total airflow of 270 cubic feet of air draw per minute.

Motor mount for 3 fan motors.

1"thick, washable foam filter with metal frame.
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2013, 03:57:21 pm »

As usually happens, life got in the way of this project. (Actually honeydo's got in the way). But I have made a little progress prefabbing pieces.

First both end frames.



And next the pieces that will run the length of the bench.



I hope that I'll be able to get in to town this week for the birch plywood that will be used for the sides , back and top shelf. The work surface will be 3/4" MDF.
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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2013, 09:07:25 pm »

I should explain that the series 10 pieces that I'm using are only 1" square. The almost honeycomb interior of them gives them great rigidity and strength. There is a roughly 1/4" hole running the length, right up the center. The wall thickness of the holes is thick enough that I'll be able to tap them and add locking wheels to the bottom of the bench.

Not a good pic. Too much reflection from the flash. But this is what the cross section of these pieces looks like. The slot in each side is for T-nuts to attach other pieces. The slots are slightly over 1/4" wide, making them ideal for sliding 1/4" plywood or another 1/4" material into.

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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2013, 05:30:53 am »

Don, what's the combined power draw of those muffin fans? I almost bought some of the ones you linked over in carol's thread awhile back but it seems I remember the draw being kind of high. Been out sick for awhile so trying to catch up - apologies if I missed anything obvious.
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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2013, 07:50:52 am »

Frank, it varies by the brand and size of muffin fan. Top draw on the fans I'm using is 130 ma per fan.

OOPS !! Forgot watts. Each fan draws about 10 watts. 3 fans = about the same as running a small string of Christmas lights.

Since the fans will only run when I'm cleaning a specimen, there really won't be that much power usage. I have 2 similar fans pushing warm air from around the fire box in my fireplace. Even in times of heavy usage, I barely notice a difference in my electric bill.
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