Workbench makeover

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Workbench makeover

Postby wixwacing » Sun 17 Jul, 2016 4:39 pm

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The space in current use

In most hobbies there comes a time with some of us that the hobby actually outgrows the space allotted to it . In the absence of a word to describe this, I am going to call this Wix’s law, as it happens to me in most things I do. Am I disorganized? Not really, I just have a furtive imagination and need to start things while they are fresh in my mind regardless of how much is already going on. Also, having become a ‘Mr Fixit’, and racing with three race groups, more than fifty percent of jobs on the bench are other peoples!

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The original space with track

In this particular case the hobby, slotcar racing, has a strange pull on a sector of participants; namely, the scratchbuilder. As the hobby progresses it becomes more and more necessary to accrue plant, equipment and spares so that the creative process is not interrupted by periods of inactivity and delay caused by waiting for the mail to arrive or waiting for paint to dry, or waiting for glue to set …. or any number or combination of events.

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Bench complete with contact with outside world!

The second photo here shows my original workshop. There is a two lane board track against the wall, of which one lane is impassible due to the number of semi completed models on it! The bench to the right is also covered in parts and models waiting their turn for attention. The floor is a safety hazard with air lines and power cables zig-zagging the area and waiting for the opportunity to send someone headlong across the floor, causing them to drop freshly painted or freshly glued or finished items to an abrupt debilitating impact against the cold hard concrete.

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Phase two

It became apparent early on in the piece that the track, which was ‘snowing out’ the neighbour’s TV, was a temporary installation. With the advent of digital TV, with its freeze frame pixelisation of TV pictures, and still no cure in site, the track was restored to the home of its previous owner. The vacated space was soon awash with all aspects of scratchbuilding and other slotcar activity and so Wix’s law dictated that the new found space would soon have new occupants.

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Wheeled draw unit in stainless steel, ex wifeys workplace - $50!!

With the purchase of a new (1/1) car the wife was adamant that it was not going to reside outside the domicile as the previous ones had, and valuable space was reclaimed indoors to keep the weather off the 1.4 tonnes of newly acquired transportation. Mmmmmmm.

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Finished bench with T section legs

With space becoming more and more of a premium it was essential that all space was used efficiently, but Wix’s law was hard on my tail and was chipping away at the twenty square metres of prime real estate gradually, metre by metre, forcing occupation of the original free space into a smaller and smaller section of the allotted area. But help often comes from unexpected sources.

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You can never have too many tyres!


Local friend and fellow racer Peter suggested that some laminated board he had at home may well be a solution to the issue and after a period of inactivity I was at his home where he showed me the board in question! Mmmmmmm? With the brain ticking over gently I ran mentally through the possibilities of utilizing what looked to be a very handy piece of boarding. Eventually plans were in place and with the help of a second good friend the board was at home and a space (believe it or not), was cleared to facilitate somewhere to exercise my long dormant wood working skills.

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Emery paper and flat card storage courtesy Office Works


Slowly in the afternoon the plan came together and the bench was created from the new board, and some original displaced shelving was cut, glued and screwed into ‘T’ section legs. The picture shows exactly what was achieved, now for the tricky bit, the content of my slot building hobby which was pretty much at maximum occupation, needed to be sensibly rationalized and reinstalled onto the new bench, with the main goal being to make everything accessible from a single seated position.

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Spares stored at arms length

Having worked on benches of various sizes for most of my career I was able to lay out the bench space to utilize efficiently the space at hand. Some freezer containers were purchased, these would contain the parts of each job which would then be prioritised and placed in a couple of rows based on their priority i.e. Not important, waiting spares, glue/paint drying, curing etc.

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Paint – enamel and acrylic

Raw materials like brass and plastic tubing need to be with in easy reach. Model spares of a wide variety needed to be locatable at a glance and tools especially needed to be store off the bench but still in reach. Other things like the compressor, power cables and power tools also needed a home but these didn’t need to be too accessible as their use was infrequent. Luckily when my home was built I had the foresight for this side of the garage to have plenty of power points as the area was originally a music room. So there are plenty of wall sockets, and a couple of power boards help distribute the power.

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Job trays

Having achieved a state of near slotcar nirvana, and once the system has been in operation for a few days it can be fine tuned to address the minor anomalies which have appeared. When working on two or three models simultaneously it is inevitable that there are several sets of tools in use at once. It can be a bit annoying having to put tools away after each use knowing they will be back again soon; so ‘regular’ use tools have their own little desk tidy in which they live. They can be stored and retrieved at will without compromising the general tidiness of the work bench.

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Desk tidy in construction

Needless to say the whole process has made working on the models so much less frustrating, like when you know you have something, or you have momentarily put something down and can’t find it. Also there is an abundance of space when painting, when having painted a model and then discover there isn’t anywhere to place it to dry! It has happened. I have extended the culture to storage and retrieval of such thing as gears, tyres, wheels, guides and a whole host more and, when you come to a stop on a project, everything is put into its own container to wait for the next opportunity to work on it.

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Desk tidy in use

The storage of short ‘lengths’ is also important and the hardest thing to do successfully. My idea came from having used desk tidies at work. The solution was to cut and glue several lengths of plumbing pipe together, and after trimming on Pete’s radial arm saw, a base was fitted and ‘voila! We now have a desk tidy fit for a hobby workbench which stores with easy access, a variety of lengths of different lengths! It also contains paintbrushes, files, fibre tips as well.

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Desk tray for most frequently used tools

So there it is, stand back and have a long hard look at what you are working with and where you are working. Trust me, it alleviates frustration and can make a huge difference to quality AND quantity!
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When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
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wixwacing
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Re: Workbench makeover

Postby HotWheelsSteve » Mon 18 Jul, 2016 10:05 pm

Could you please direct me to the garage of Mr Phil Wix? :P :lol:

Really an incredible job. Now there's everything at your fingertips.
Neat, organised and professional. All you need now is a coffee maker at arms length :idea:
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HotWheelsSteve
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Location: Brisbane, Australia


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