A New Small Space Workplace

Written by: techguru

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Everybody can be a maker, but every maker needs a space to work on his or her projects.

I live in a flat where there is not enough space for a workbench. Luckily I also have a small room with a little bit more than 7 square meters of space in the basement. It was small and packed with lots of stuff, but as I had no alternative, I decided to turn it into my maker space.

In this instructable I would like to show you how I replaced my old workbench by a new one, how I built myself a tool rack and how I installed lights and outlets.


Step 1: The workbench

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he actual workbench I used is simply a modular shelf, I bought two of those for 25€ each. I prefer those shelves because they are cheap, very stable, relatively easy to assemble and as I am using lots of boxes to store my tools and materials they perfectly fit my needs. Assembled as a workbench, the shelf has a size of 40cmX180cmX90cm.

I reused the original countertop of my old workbench and made a second one for the other side of the workbench. I added 4 small pieces of wood to the bottom to make it fit onto the metal base of the workbench and added a wooden rim to the back of it including holes, for the screws, that hold the tool rack, to fit in. Those wooden boards are 20mm thick and sit on top of the 3mm mdf boards of the actual workbench. One of them has a metal plate attached to it for soldering work. They are 90cmX40cm in size and the rim extends them by 2cm so that I have a small edge on the front of the workbench to fix some clamps.

I also attached the wooden rims to the tool rack with some more screws.

Step 2: Creating toolrack

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I wanted to have the most important tools and parts easily accessible and nicely arranged. Two 90cmX90cm pieces of chipboard with a thickness of 16mm where my base for that.

The wall I wanted to attach it to is not straight, there is a cable duct that stands out a little bit, so I glued some square pieces of wood to the back of the wooden boards to solve the problem.

I created a layout of how I wanted to arrange my tools. On the left board I used lots of screws and nails to hold saws and wrenches. I also bent some plexiglas hooks and used those and two straps with velcro attached to them to fix my ratchet box on the board. I took two wooden pieces with a length of 40cm, drilled holes of different sizes into them and glued those to the board as a holder for screwdrivers, pliers and clamps.

To store screws, bolts and nuts, I attached 6 blue storage boxes from the hardware store to the right side of the right board. On the left side of the left board I got a little bit more creative. I cut a pvc pipe into 9 small pieces, closed the ends of those with multiple layers of duct tape and a small piece of foam and finally attached them to the board. I used 3 pieces of wood to mount them in an angle. Above this storage section for drills, pens and small tools I mounted a pinboard to be able to fix circuit diagrams and other building plans right in front of me.

Step 3: Adding lighting

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Good lighting is an important thing, especially if you are working in a dark basement room like me.

I decided to go for two 10w cold white LED chips to have a brightly illuminated working surface.

I didn't spent much time on building two lamps from parts I had laying around. I cut a rectangular opening for the chip into a piece of metal sheet and bend it into a suitable shape as it can be seen in the pictures.

Those LED's produce a significant amount of heat, so I put some cooling paste onto the back side of the chip and attached it to an old heatsink. I later recognized, that the chips still get pretty hot because my heatsinks are not big enough, so I put a small computer fan on top of the lamps, to actively cool them down. To power the lights, I used a 12V 5A power supply that I attached to the back of the tool rack.

Step 4: Wiring

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The room only had one wall socket, so I used an extension cord and two 3x outlets with switches on them to have multiple outlets on my tool rack. The outlets I used are not constructed for wall mounting, neither for snipping their original plugs of and connecting them to an extension cord, but I got creative and did it anyways. I would recommend using regular wall-mount sockets because it is easier and probably more reliable. To mount them onto the wooden plate, I attached them to a sheet of perforated plastic using zip ties and fixed the whole construction with some screws.

I ran all the wires along the back side of the tool rack and used some clamps and a few staples to hold them in place.

After I had every wire coming out into a small box and cut to the right length, I connected everything, added a tiny light switch and pressed it into the housing.

This setup is capable of handling up to 2500W but as I am mostly running only one power hungry tool at a time it fits my needs.

Step 5: The result

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The whole project did cost me about 70€ and a few hours of working time and I can surely say, that I am really pleased with the result. It is much more fun to work in a bright and organized environment.

I really enjoy creating new things at my workbench and I highly recommend building something similar to anybody out there who likes building things as much as I do.

I hope you liked my instructable and I could give you some new ideas for other workbench projects. I would like to hear what you think about it, so leave a comment, and if you think this ible deserves it, you might give it a vote in the before & after contest.

Thank you for reading.