The Shop

While the shop is not finished, I can start using it.

I have one rule.  Anything entering the shop must be mobile.  Since I must constantly reconfigure the layout of the shop for different projects and books this makes the job very easy.

In the configuration shown here, I am finishing up the MF70 micro mill book.


Cutting the posts proved a little problematic at first. 

The first thing I do is slip my vinyl fence post cover over the post and use my laser equipment to set the post height.

Next, I add a clamp snug up against the bottom of the cover.  This puts the clamp exactly 1.5" below the point to be cut.

The saw blade is exactly 1.5" from the short edge of the guide plate.

All in all it worked very well. 

Bay 2 Joists

The Joists for bay 2 have been installed.

In order to lower the floor (raise the ceiling) I mounted the joists flush with the beam using joist hangers. This gained me 5.5" of height but was a tremendous amount of work.

It is my plan to lower the posts in the remainder of the barn so that I can mount the joists on top of the beams. This will be a lot less work and expense.


Bay 1

As part of my project, I broke the barn down into six 12' x 12' areas I call bays.

Here bay 1 is completed. This bay will be the highest. It will sit at 5-1/2" above the rest of the shop.  Eventually the ceiling (second floor) will be removed from this bay. It is my plan to build a stair to the second floor of the barn.

Breaking Ground

The barn had some initial drainage problems. To fix them I had to build a French drain. Its time to upgrade the drain and do a little grading.

Here I have dug a new trench at the end of the barn with the drainage problem.

I waited until we had a thunder storm and used the standing rain water as a guild to help me properly grade the drain.

After the grade I had to build a bridge so my tractor could access the inside of the barn for little grade maintenance.

I took several inches off the high end of the barn. I made sure the inside of the barn floor stayed higher than the outside grade.

Just Too Crowded

After finishing up a magazine series for Servo Magazine I found that my current workshop is getting too crowded.

Even with some creative storage, I just don't have the room to start any more new projects/books.

Here is a quick tour of my current shop so you can see that I don't have the room to start a project like my Plasma Cutter CNC workbook.


Originally I was looking into building a new 20x30 structure near the house.  For various reasons, this was not feasible.  I decided to use the poll barn I built back in 1999.

The barn is 24 x 36 and has a loft area with an electric wench that lets me move items to the top story.


The goal after some engineering changes is to add a suspended floor for the lower shop area.  A stairway will be added to the second floor where the computer lab will be located.