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Hacked Gadgets Workbench Contest
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Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 1
Location: Fargo, ND

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Hi I am new to this Forum but I guess I am the second 19 year old Bart here lol. This is my workbench. The quality isnt very good since I dont have a digital camera and had to use my phone.

My DIY soldering stand made from 96mm fan, alligator clips, and a hanger

* Lighting
Two Florescent lights on the ceiling plus a lamp for extra lighting.

* Electrical Outlets (can never have enough)
There is a power strip on the wall plus 3 more outlets under the bench.

* Test Equipment
I have one DMM. There is also a 12v battery under the bench connected to the posts on the top used for testing 12v things.

* Storage
2 storage containers with little drawers for holding small parts is on top on the bench. There is also a cabinet underneath for storing bigger things and another one on the side for more room. There is also cardboards boxes scattered around the room full of parts from parted out devices and what not.

* Bench Surface
The bench frame was built out of 2x4s with 2x8s on the sides. The top material is the back of a piece of slat board from an old cell phone store which is surprisingly strong and easy to clean.
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Joined: 29 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:31 pm    Post subject: My work bench Reply with quote


Over all the bench is great, easy to assemble, lots of storage, and very customizable.

it comes with a 5ft florescent bulb light fixture which is perfectly placed, also comes with a power strip with a power switch.

the top is a thick durable material that is like very compressed cardboard.

the rest of the bench is metal.

The drawers slid incredibly smooth and quiet even when they are fully loaded and heavy.

it is not in the picture but i added a small vice to the top which helps alot.

All in all I would give it a 9/10 , basically the bench top is not indestructible which would be best.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Well after more than a month of procrastination I finally got around to posting pics of my workbench.

As you can see its more of a crowded storage area than just a workbench.

Some of the features are the old Commodore 64 monitor for watching tv shows or what have you while working away. I also have an abundance of misc. computer parts and old consumer electronics. And I am sure everyone has noticed the halo 3 paper craft helmet(all you need is a printer) However the true heart of my work area is the solid steel desk I use as a workbench. It's five feet by three feet and could probably support a fully grown elephant. I don't know much about the desk other than It has a tag that says

The Steel Equipment CO Limited
Pembroke. CANADA
(any history here would be greatly appreciated)

well thats my workbench, hope you like it.
If at first you don't succeed try again, if you don't succeed a second time, give up, no use being a darn fool about it.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Contest Entry #30

Okay, so first time poster, long time reader. Enough of the formalities Smile

Here is my bench. There is no prep here, I just opened the door and started shooting. My bench is pretty messy, but I tend to do a lot of work on there. A messy bench is a used bench Wink
I live in rented accommodation, so all my stuff is designed to be fairly easy to remove. Most of the benches are just wood screwed to a base, or in some cases repurposed furniture. The shop is full of hacked up tools, and converted hardware.


Higher Res
As we walk in the door.

Higher Res
1) Pillar Drill
2) Proxxon Micro CNC milling machine. This was modified from the old stock machine to run with some large stepper motors and EMC2 CNC machine controller software.
3) Robot Arm. rescued from the trash in many small pieces. Retrofitted with new everything.
4) Breville hotplate toaster. Used to reflowing PCBs
5) CNC mill monitor.
6) General purpose workbench PC. Runs Cad software schematic design etc.
7) Milling machine PC running EMC2
Cool Laptop for the Digital Storage Oscilloscope (see A)
9) General purpose expendable machine. I work with a lot of homebrew USB hardware Wink
A) Hantek Digital Storage Oscilloscope x 2

The bench itself is part of a folding sofa bed. The sofa is long gone, but the wood itself was reused for a large workbench. It is currently sitting atop of 2 small metal racks. We have lots of power behind there with 2x 6 way gangs.
The little trolley holding the laptops rolls away underneath when I need more space.
The Pillar drill is bolted on top of an old coffee table, which is bolted to the floor.

Higher Res
Main "sitting down" workbench.

1) dual displays. mmm. Plugs into the Cad/Eagle box.
2) The desk is just a large piece of MDF screwed to an old computer desk. Oh and a vice is handy.
3) Servos retrofitted with OpenServo motor controllers Plans and code available.
4) Usb to I2C converter. I am currently hacking a Lego NXT ultrasonic sensor to work with AVR. Plans and code for the converter available at http://www.robotfuzz.com/OSIF
5) Current work in progress. Robot arm controllers. Each one is a CPU and H-Bridge to drive the heavy duty motors on the robot arm.
6) Soldering/Relow station. Amazing bit of kit. Highly recommended!
7) Area for general crap that tends to accumulate
A) The scope again. Not too bad for the price (i.e cheap)

Higher Res
Tools and stuff.

1) An OHP with an LCD screen attached. This is a hacked up projector for showing schematics/etc. I generally point and focus this on the desk so I can see in scale what I am doing. Like a poor mans Heads Up Display
2) A TV stand that I rescued from a skip. nice!

Generally we have power supplies, tools and components. All the stuff I need regularly is on this stack. There is another larger toolbox on the floor.

Higher Res
Bench behind the TV stand.

1) It used to be a scanner, but now it is a UV exposure unit. Works well and was a nice hack too.
2) This workbench was an old IKEA shelving unit. the benchtop is actually one side of the unit, and the other side is used for legs.
3) Spares, scrap material and cables.
4) A massive wooden CNC machine, now retired, used for milling the robot arm

Higher Res
more racking and amazing comms!

This racking holds components, components and well, you can guess the rest.
The amazing comms area is a Neatgear NSLU2 network server with a couple of terrabyte harddisks in there. Broadband, wifi and workshop vlans come from here. Also is the DVR for the video camera system and some switchgear.

There is my workshop. Not the best, but more than suitable for what I do.

As for lighting. I use large swing-arm lamps (the ones with magnifiers) I normally have a couple running at a time.

BTW you guys have some great benches! Good luck all!
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:22 am    Post subject: Hacked Gadgets Workbench contest Reply with quote

Contest Entry #31

Electronics Workbench Contest

I am a teacher who works in a trade school for adults in Anjou (in Montreal). I teach CNC machinists (see photo) Among other projects, I have designed and made an 8 in. Dobsonian telescope from scrap aluminum (see photo) and now I am getting into robotics. Because I teach CNC machining, I can make parts for my robots on our 12 CNC machines at the school using MasterCAM (see photos) .

With my students I do a project making a chess set.

I am 57 years old and I love my job as a teacher.

Here I am showing my first robot to a group of 6th graders.

Everyone of us who has started out learning a new hobby has done the same thing : first of all, we end up working on the corner of the kitchen table until our spouse tells us to get ready for supper and we waste more time at each session looking for tools and such than we actually spend doing anything useful. Then, when we are finished, we have to take even more time to put everything back. Therefore, the time we actually spend on our hobby is greatly reduced. When you sit down to work at a proper workbench, your time can be more productive.

I am not likely to win the Best Workbench Contest because some the entries have great equipment that I can’t afford, so I would like to use my entry to make a few points :
a) Small : A workbench does not have to take up a lot of room - you can install one in a corner of a bedroom - the one I have made measures 16 in. (D) x 43 in. (H) x 53 (W-including the shelves on either side).
b) Not expensive : It also can be very inexpensive - the one I made cost me a few bucks for screws. The wood and everything else was all recycled stuff. Scrounge, Scrounge, Scrounge / Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
c) Alzheimer’s : Apparently the best defence against Alzheimer’s is to keep your mind active. So our hobby is very good for that as we are constantly learn other things about electronics, etc. Another good defence is learning another language or other activities that keep the brain active (being a couch potato is not going to hack it, guys!)

So here’s my entry : NOTE : Refer to the numbers on the photo.


The actual workbench frame is made from an old computer desktop I found in the trash.

Just before submitting this entry, I bought some 2nd-hand lab equipment (#'s 01 and 02):

- (01) oscilloscope (on a shelf made of an old stand for a tractor feed printer). Great for tracing electronic signals. The tool par excellence for electronics. One suggestion for getting an oscilloscope or other equipment – check to see if there is a Freecycle site in your city (I got the impression that there is one in every major city in North America – at any rate there is one in Montreal). Freecycle is a sort of club (the Montreal one was on Yahoo) where everything is given or offered for free. . And ASK for one. It worked for me. I never thought anyone would give away one but a really nice lady gave me a single trace oscilloscope (not the one you see in the photo). After using it for a while and realising it is a top class tool for electronics, I looked around for a slightly more modern dual trace one. My conscience would not allow me to sell the first one (I got it for free), so I gave it to one of my friends.

- (02) Function Generator (good for injecting test signals).

- (03) Stereo amp (on shelf up near the ceiling) & headphones (for music while you work)

- (04) experimenter's board

- (05) various multimeters. A multimeter does not have to be expensive - I bought one at Canadian Tire for $29.99 and it included (besides the normal AC and DC voltage, resistance and amperage measurements) a frequency counter, a square wave test signal output and a capacitance measuring function.

- (06) an old Black & Decker cordless screwdriver with a cord to replace the non-functioning batteries - no batteries to recharge or wear out and lots of torque (powered @ 5v from the PC power supply - see #19, below). I don’t need batteries – I’m using it at my workbench after all!

- (07) Flood light (I prefer incandescent lighting instead of fluorescent).

- (0Cool Safety Glasses (I tell my students : 'Just because you have two eyes, it doesn't mean you have one to spare!')

- (09) I recycled my old Panasonic laptop for use on my workbench
- List of useful software :
- Waveform generator output by headphone socket
(pros : cheap (free!), cons : limited in bandwidth to audio frequencies)
( http://www.esseraudio.com/TTG_Setup_en.exe ) or
( http://heliso.tripod.com/download/generator/dsg.htm )
- Calculator for resistors for LED's (see appendix for Internet resources)
- Ohm's Law (use Excel or the equivalent from Open Office)
- Music .mp3 (play the .MP3 output from your computer through your stereo - #3, above)

- (10) - separate electrical box with a separate switch for the soldering iron

- (11) - soldering iron station (I need to get one that has a variable temperature controller)

- (12) - "spare hand"

- (13) - output sockets for 5V and 12v from converted PC power supply (see #19, below)

- (14) - power bar (you never have enough power bars!)

- (15) - PCB holder made from an old printer tractor feed mechanism - recognise the parts ? (can open to about 8 inches and can flip over PCB and lock in any position - see separate photo)

- (16) - current robot project – all ready to be wired up (my 2nd robot - see photo). I am experimenting with infrared detectors (3 in front and 1 in back for obstacle avoidance and 1 in each corner pointing down for edge-of-table detection). I use the Picaxe microcontrollers (the 28X) (see reference at the end). I am also have made the design for a 6 wheeled robot . My first robot :

- (17) – Dremel tool.

- (1Cool - shelf slides made from old plastic suspended ceiling angle and 1/4 in. hardboard

- (19) - a power supply made from a PC power supply - I literally hacked the case down in size to the minimum possible - just enough to hold the electronics (look for how to use a PC power supply on the Internet - see references at the end).

- (20) - the workbench is mounted on castors from an old office chair (so I can move the workbench around)

- (21) - Magnifiers : (1) head mounted loupe (not shown), (2) hand rectangular magnifier, (3) #3 eyeglasses (not shown). See also photo of stereo microscope.

- (22) - wiring for projects

- (23) - Main switch, so you can turn everything off in one shot (don't want to leave that soldering iron on , do you?)

Tools for Electronics Workbench:

- It isn’t worth scrimping here – you’re better to buy a good quality tool than have to re-buy a new one after it breaks in your hand. Pliers, screwdrivers, misc. hand tools, tools for de-soldering, mats and bracelets for eliminating static charge when working on electronics parts that are sensitive to static. etc

Microscope Photo:

- (01) - stereo microscope for inspection (with X-Y slide). I designed the X-Y stage with a ¼-20 threaded rod (i.e. with a pitch of .050 in.) and graduated the dials with 50 divisions so that I can use the microscope for measuring. There is little or no play in the X-Y stage because the nut that moves it back and forth is made out of nylon. I would also eventually like to use the microscope for perhaps soldering small SMD chips. I also designed and made a digital camera adapter so I can take pictures through the microscope (not shown – see photo of tiny screw)

- (02) - digital calipers - very very useful for measuring

Also great to have around :

- a digital camera - great for taking pictures of what it looked like BEFORE you took it apart! I also use it when working on my car. Also great for taking a photo of something you need and then going to the store and you then show the salesperson a photo of what you need instead of trying to describe it.

- old office chair with castors so you can be comfortable while you work

- resistor chart

- better laptop : with access to internet for searching for info
- favourite sites (see Annexe -A-), favourite magazines etc.

Photo of shelves:

- Shelves for parts - made of 1/2 in. particle board that the school was throwing out with 1/2 in. aluminum ‘U’ channel (also thrown out) screwed into both sides so I can adjust the distances between each shelf. The containers are from the Dollar store (3 for a buck) but I always ask my wife for the transparent potato salad containers (about 4 x 4 x 4). Other storage needed : for binders, magazines, internet research (make a filing system so you can find everything)

Other parts of my Workshop:

- Emco F1. This is a miniature CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine (X travel 8 in, Y travel 4 in., Z travel 8in.). I eventually want to machine PCB’s with it [see separate photo: ]

- Drill press (with shelves and tooling); To make the drill press easier to use: First make sure the table of the drill press is square to the spindle by putting a cylindrical metal rod (say, 3/8 in. in dia.) in the drill chuck and then use a try square and adjust the angle of the table until it’s square with the rod. Then, drill and ream a small hole (say, ¼ in.) underneath the table, through the flange supporting the table and into the body of the drill press. Then, any time you use the drill press to drill holes at any other angle than perpendicular, all you have to do is insert the dowel pin in the hole you drilled and reamed and the table will be square again. [see separate photo: ]. See Annexe –B- for suggestions that I sent to Nuts and Volts magazine regarding tapping threads (hope this will be useful to someone).

Annexe -A- (Internet resources)

Free or shareware CAD (great for drawing sketches or even doing life-size printouts for transferring lettering to fronts of projects)
- I use Eagle for my PCB designing
- DeltaCAD - one of the only two shareware programs I have ever bought, I use it all the time

Picaxe microprocessors: Great microprocessors for both the beginner and even the more advanced. Free programming interface (in BASIC), about $10 for the 28X, $20 for the board (no programmer to buy), great support and excellent users forum.
U.S. Picaxe dealer:
Click on : 'View all pricing in Canadian Currency' if you want Canadian pricing. They have a Picaxe dealer in Alberta for Canadians.

Making a power supply from a PC power supply (there are lots of references on the Internet - here's one from Instructables:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Use-that-old-PC-Power-Supply-as-a-high-current-%2b3./ )

http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz (online calculator for resistors for LED's)

(favourite internet sites)
http://hackedgadgets.com (duuuuh)

(Scrounging parts)

(Magazines on Robotics)
www.servomagazine.com (Servo Magazine - my all-time favourite magazine about robots). You can buy a CDROM with a whole year on it.
www.nutsvolts.com (another great magazine on robots and electronics)

(Taking things apart)
http://www.thinkcomputers.org/forum/showthread.php?t=632 (taking apart laptops)
http://www.irisvista.com/tech/ (taking apart Toshiba laptops)

(Electronics (General))

Annexe -B- (Suggestions sent to Nuts and Volts magazine regarding tapping (threading) holes in metal that they published in their letter’s from readers)

Great magazine guys. I am going to get into robotics and your magazine is fantastic!

I have some suggestions regarding the reader (Mike Montgomery) who wondered how he could remove a broken tap.

All of the 10 suggestions you gave were very good. Maybe I could add some more. I teach adults in a trade school in Anjou, Quebec (in Montreal) sometimes in the machinist course but mostly the CNC course.

Additional suggestions (to continue your list):

11) Buy and use only machine taps (not hand taps). These are sometimes named gun taps or spiral point taps. The advantage of these is that you do not have to keep backing out the tap - just keep on going (just be careful when you get to the bottom of the hole). They don't cost much more than the hand taps and are much easier to use (for example, at KBC Tools a 3/8-16 manual tap sells for $3.60 CAN and a spiral point tap sells for $4.88 CAN).

12) Make yourself an alignment block. This can be any small piece of scrap steel (say, 3/4 in. by 1 in. by 1/2 in thick) in which you drill a series of holes that are simply slide-fit holes for all the taps you will be using (say #4 up to 3/8 in.). As an example, you could drill a 1/4 in. hole for a 1/4 in. tap, etc. Ideally, you should drill these holes on a drill press (verify that the head of the drill press is reasonably square with the table). Then, when you wish to tap a hole in a part (after you have drilled the proper sized hole – example a #7 drill for a 1/4-20 tap), just position your new alignment block over the hole to be tapped, hold it down with one hand, insert the tap in the appropriate hole and tap away. The alignment block will keep the tap at right angles to the surface being tapped (so it starts square). This works even when tapping in awkward positions like vertical or overhead. Of course, the tap-drill has to be drilled square to the surface for this to work. I made one of these alignment blocks about 20 years ago and I still have it and use it in my basement workshop.

13) Buy yourself a ratchet-action T-handle. I bought 2 sizes, a small and a big one for about $20 each. After you have used one of these, you won't want to go back to thee old T-handle!

14) To know the right size of drill for each tap, get a Tap-drill chart (usually free). I even typed the info that is contained on a tap-drill chart into my Zire Palm, I always have the info at hand. I also compiled and entered into my Zire Palm charts for the sizes of various hardware (such as Socket-head cap screws, etc) and various handy formulas for calculating threads (if someone wants the tables for their Zire, I can send them).

15) There was an article in the Oct/Nov ,2002 issue of Machinist’s Workshop on how to make your own simple home-made EDM machine of the plunging type. When asking for a reprint
, make sure you ask for the update information in the December 2002/January 2003 issue of the same magazine (it’s a magazine that comes out once every 2 months) for some very important updates on safety and modifications to the original article (pages 3 and 35). Just keep it away from children. (By the way, I find their site a bit hard to navigate).

16) For lubricant, try and buy some tapping oil, sometimes you can get some for free at machine-tool shows and the like. Sometimes the places that sell tools will give you a small free sample bottle. A small bottle can last a long time, especially if you only tap once and a while. For aluminum, I usually dilute the tapping oil with Varsol. In reality, any lubricant would be better than tapping completely dry – if you have to and you’re desperate, use old motor oil.

17) Recycle! The next time you throw out a toothbrush, keep it to clean the threads of the tap.
Sometimes you can break a tap because the chips are not cleared out.

(1Cool Use small transparent cases for each tap size containing the tap drill, the clearance drill and the tap so you don’t have to look around each time you want to tap something.

Your readers may find some of the following formulas useful: In these formulas the following terms will be used:

Nominal Diameter (ND): this is the outside diameter of an external thread (also known as the Major Diameter),
for instance the nominal diameter of a 1/2 in. bolt is 1/2 inch (.500 in.).

Thread Pitch: (P) the distance between the crests of two consecutive threads (the distance from the crest
of one thread to the crest of the next thread), measured along the length of the thread. Most Inch
threads are written in the form of: 3/8-16 where 3/8 is the nominal diameter (outside dia.) (.375 in.),
followed by the pitch, expressed as Threads Per Inch (TPI). In this case of 3/8-16, there are 16 threads
per inch, therefore 1 inch divided by 16 threads results in a distance between 2 consecutive thread
crests of 1/16 = .0625 in. To use another example, a 3/4-10 thread has a pitch of 10 threads per inch =
1/10 = .100 in.

Minor Diameter (MD): the diameter that is at the root (bottom) of the threads.

Thread Depth (TD): the distance from the outside of a thread to the bottom of a thread (a radius
distance)(useful for machining threads on a lathe)

Pitch Diameter (PD): the diameter that lies equidistant between the Nominal Diameter and the Minor
Diameter (this is easier to show with a diagram, which I can send you if you want it ).

Note: all the following examples will use the threads of 5/16-18, for which ND = .3125 in. and the Pitch (P)
= 1/18 = .0555 in.

Formula: Thread Depth (TD): TD = .6495 * P
Example: .6495 * .0555 = .0360 in.
Note 1Sad.6495 is a constant)
Note 2: this value is a radius value and is useful for machining threads on a lathe

Formula: Pitch Diameter (PD): PD = ND – (.6495 * P)
Example: .3125 - (.6495 * .0555) = .2764 in
Note: this value can be found in the Machineries Handbook and is the value meaured by a thread micrometer.

Formula for calculating the diameter of the tap drill (if you don’t have a tap drill chart):
ND – P
Example: .3125 - .0555 = .257 = drill F

Minor Diameter (MD): MD = ND – (1.0825 * P)
Example: .3125 – (1.0825 * .0555) = .252

Additional formulas:

Nominal Diameter (outside diameter) of numbered screws :
Example: # 10 screw
Nbr. of screw * .013 + .060 (note: both .013 and .060 are constants)
= 10 * .013 + .060 = .190
Example: # 6 screw
Nbr. of screw * .013 + .060
= 6 * .013 + .060 = .138

I hope this information is of use to somebody.

If you find this information useful and you want the same information on metric threads, just ask. Some of
the formulas are the same. Regards, Lorne Wilkins

End of Document
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Location: tucuman - argentina

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Contest Entry #32

Well... after watching all the participants Shocked, my workbench is a shame hehe.
Instead saying what can be found in my desk y could say what its lackig Laughing

So here is a photo. Rolling Eyes

What i like:
-PC DC Source its really useful for testing projects and its very very cheap
-Lupe with arms. Must have.
-A very powerfull and old soldering gun Razz
-A PC in wich you can follow schematics
-Vernier Caliper

Waht i would like:
-A Oscilloscope
-A CNC PCB making machine

Well thats all.
I ve read very good ideas from all the posts.
Good luck everyone.
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Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Contest Entry #33

Over the years I collected some old testing gear such as protocol analyzers, logic analyzers, dmms, scopes, etc, and combined with some new stuff. Everything is operational.

-- Jorge
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Contest Entry #34

Hello everyone,
I've been meaning to do this for some time, but I've just been too busy..

Since I've seen other postings of various definitions of 'workbench' I figured I'd add to the list..

By day my 'workbench' consists of various optical tables, lasers, and fiber optic equpipment.. I'm currently working on my PhD in Electrical Engineering with a concentration in applied physics working with fabrication of waveguides using ultrafast lasers.

Here is my characterization stage used to test the devices that are created:

Another shot while in operation:

The laser used for waveguide inscription is the Coherent Mira/RegA 9000 system producing tunable 150 fs pulses with a center wavelength of 770 nm. Sample positioning is done via a 3-axis air-bearing stage:

Inscription wavelength is selectable by using a BBO crystal for frequency doubling, producing light at 485 nm (produces much better results):

In addition, I also do alot of work with optical fiber. Using the ultrafast laser, modifications within the core of the fiber are possible without damaging the outer structure of the fiber:

Argon-ion lasers are also used to heat gratings for various remote sensing applications (mostly for testing and proof of concept):

When I'm not working, my home retreat is my basement (quite possibly the best location for a workspace). Moderate temperature year-round and you usually get left alone (and the mess is 'out of sight' so the significant other doesn't get on your case too much Wink ) Here is a shot along the main workbench just as you come down the basement steps:

The space is approximately 25 feet square (I haven't actually measured it) fairly isolated from the rest of the basement. A second bench sits along the front wall with a smaller table in the middle of the floor for larger projects:

A better view of the center table:

The octagonal chassis on the left is the remains of a project from an embedded systems class a few years back. It's now considered a 'work in progress' (like most of what you see here). I've been meaning to work on running a mini-itx board as the 'brains' in it for some time now. On the right is my 'waterfall' project consisting of 20 PIC controlled water solenoids. Completion dates are still yet to be determined..

Both benches were built entirely from reclaimed packing material that shipped with expensive equipment to the univeristy. Most of the time, this just goes straight in the dumpster (really a waste, there's usually decent quality lumber used for the crates). The main workbench is about 10' long and somewhere around 35" high (a bit higher than usual). The top surface is 3/4" plywood re-enforced and supported by 4x4's with a secondary shelf on the bottom for extra storage:

Shelves were mounted above the bench with several outlets wired into the breaker panel to provide power. All test equipment sits on these shelves to allow for more workspace on the bench surface (in reality, this makes more room to collect a mess):

Some of the test equipment you see here:

Computer: AMD Slot A processor - 700 MHz (old machine) with around 500 meg of memory. Wired into home network. Used mostly for programming and datasheets. Cad work is done on the office computer upstairs.

3 Tektronics 60MHz analog scopes. All are two channel scopes, one with digital storage (no delayed sweep) while the other two are your run-of-the-mill delayed sweep scopes.

HP 150MHz Digital scope. This is a recent addition to the collection. Complete with GPIB data acquisition backpack, cable, and PCI card.

Custom power-supply built from old (Digital VAX era) server equipment. Provides +/- 12 and +/- 5V at somewhere around 5 amps each.

8 Channel scope multiplexer. MUXes 8 channels into 1. Haven't had a need for this yet.

16 channel logic analyzer made by Agilent. I actually have 3 of these, but the two that aren't in use have a few blown channels in each pod so they're mostly for backup incase the main dies. This is the parallel port variety.

Tektronics modular equipment rack. I have several modules for this including pulse generators, DMM with temp probe, waveform generator, frequency counter, and variable power supply.

There's also a second frequency counter (stand alone) in there somewhere along with a 19" rack mount HP multi-function DMM which is unfortunately not working at the moment.

Analog decibel meter and light meter. (also tektronics)

Fist full of virtex-II and virtex-IV FPGA dev boards.

EPIC programmer along with Microchip's ICDII.

Ni-MH/NiCAD fast charger.

Magnifier lamp and regular desk lamp. A well lighted workspace is a MUST.

Several soldering irons one of which is variable temp.

Hot glue gun.

Old PC sound-system (gotta have tunes as well).

Moving on to the second bench:

My lathe is on the left, currently going through a re-build to clean it up a bit. I just got this from one of the machinists here and it needed a few parts (in addition to a belt).

Small craftsman bandsaw on the right.

At the extreme right (not in the picture for some reason) I have an old microscope with 5 - 100x magnification.

Cordless drill with dust-buster (it's mostly useless).

Dremel tool, etc...

Of course, no workspace would be complete with out the 'stash' of parts. The back wall opposite the main bench contains a number of alcoves built into the foundation that support the fireplaces above. These have made convenient storage areas with the addition of some shelves:

On the side opposite the second bench I have a 4x8' whiteboard for working out circuits, logic problems, etc.. this has been a great addition and I highly recommend it for every workspace:

Last but not least we have the heart of the network, the server rack. Unfortunately, it looks much cooler than it actually is. The actual rack was an old HP data acquisition equipment rack from the 80's. It's solid aluminum and would probably support a house. The instrument panels you see were originally installed with the intent of having them actually DO something, but I just never got around to it. The two large analog meters will eventually display upstream/downstream bitrate once I get the script worked out. Other than that, it's just a PII 500 running FREESCO and a 24 port DELL switch. Nothing special (but it will be).

That about sums it up.. I've got more projects 'in progress' but if I keep this up, I'll be here all day.. If you're interested in seeing more, just let me know..


- medix Wink
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Site Admin

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Location: Winnipeg, MB

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had 34 fantastic entries for the Workbench Contest. These entries have been viewed more than 11000 times so far! They will continue to provide inspiration for years to come when people are looking for bench ideas. It was very hard to come up with a winner for this contest since there were so many great entries, many of them describing fantastic layouts and equipment ideas. It was nice to see that so much could be achieved in small places.

The winner has been announced here (November 16, 2008)
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Posts: 1399
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Make is having a show us your shop contest that some of you may be interested in entering.
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