Workshop Extention and Updates

PAToyota

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This week I picked up two Reynolds solar water panels - 4’ x 12’ each. When I put in the slab for the first floor of the original workshop I put the PEX tubing in it for heat. The idea had always been to set up a system with solar panels to keep the workshop warmer through the winter. Just with sun in the windows, the upstairs woodshop typically stays above 40℉ - although the recent single digit temperatures had it down around 20℉. Without windows, the lower level does get colder, but with some solar gain I think I can probably keep it up around 50 to 55℉ at least and by warming the thermal mass of the floor should be able to keep it more stable.

The stopping block had always been how to control things. What I needed was a system that compares the temperature of the floor to that of the solar panel and then circulates the coolant when it would add heat to the floor - obviously shutting things down for the months that would warm things too much. Basically: If Floor Temp < Solar Panel Temp AND < Maximum Desired Temp (say 70℉) THEN Power Pump to Circulate Fluid.

When I first started looking into it, discussions along those lines always ended up being cost prohibitive. In more recent years, the idea of running an older PC to control things started to seem doable, but still seemed cumbersome. Lately I’ve started reading up on Arduino and Raspberry Pi controllers and an Arduino seems to be the ticket.

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PAToyota

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I picked it up at auction - mom & pop hardware store going out of business. I got a good deal because most people were likely thinking of the effort to get it home and where to set it up. It was two fullsize pickup loads and the cases are a bit on the flimsy side - ok for sitting there loaded up, but not something that you can pick up a full case and carry it around. So I had to pull out all the boxes and trays, stack them up, and carry them out separate from the case.

The store obviously wasn’t taking care of hardware for awhile. Some of the bins are empty, others have miscellaneous crap in them, but for the most part I have at least a small stock of things. I know another local store that carries Midwest Fasteners stock and I know the owner pretty well. I’m going to get with them about “freshening up” my inventory.
 

PAToyota

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We got some cabinets up in the woodshop over the weekend to continue the work on getting things organized. A guy had bought dozens of these at a government auction and then was selling the excess. I like how the doors slide into the cabinet so they aren’t sticking out to hit your head on when they’re open. They also have fluorescent lights under them to add some more task lighting to the workbench. I have some similar ones downstairs as well.

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PAToyota

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This weekend I got the cabinets up at the other end of the woodworking shop. Now I just have to get the stuff IN them so that I have room to work.

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PAToyota

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Lately we've been working on the house and other things have been keeping us busy as well, but I've been getting the downstairs workshop ceiling in place. I really wish I had done that BEFORE I filled things up with equipment, supplies, and other things…

Ceiling Collage.png
 

PAToyota

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[UPDATE] I started this post to document the construction of the addition to the original workshop, but have changed the title to include "and updates" as I've been documenting various updates to the original workshop as well. I originally built the workshop in the late '90s, but it hit some roadblocks due to a divorce and career changes. About 2010 I started making more effort to get back to working on and in the workshop and in 2012 started on the addition. Since then I've been making a point to be able to spend more time out there. Particularly since late 2015 when I started dating an artist who (nicely) demanded her own space for wood carving, clay sculpture, and other artwork.
 

PAToyota

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This summer has been focused on other odds and ends when I have spare time, so the workshop hasn't received much attention. But when I put in the pallet racking last year, I had to jury-rig the compressor piping and I finally got around to getting that straightened out.

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Cut the pipe, thread the pipe, goop up the pipe, install the pipe, next pipe…
 

PAToyota

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I recently picked up a set of metal barrister bookcases at a surplus auction. Today we got them set up in the woodshop. Nice to be able to close the doors and keep the sawdust off of everything inside. Bottom shelf is my collection of Fine Woodworking magazines - #1 to #140.

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PAToyota

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Fortunately, we've been doing more IN the workshop than ON the workshop lately. However, this past weekend we had a break in the rainy summer and got some painting finished up on the workshop. I had changed the house colors, but hadn't started repainting the workshop until the addition was finished.
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