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So Where Do You Do Yours Then (Model making That Is)

Where do you do yours then?  

538 members have voted

  1. 1. Where do you do yours then?

    • On the kitchen table.
    • On the living room table.
    • Other living area facility.
    • In the basement.
    • In the attic.
    • In the garage.
    • In a workshop.
    • In the patio (yes, I've seen it before).
    • Other...

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    My shop is located below our sun room that has a sunken hot tub. (Here are two shots of the area from my blueprints.) Originally that area was designed as a slab on grade with frost footings and compacted fill.  Due to grade changes, the frost walls became full height walls.  After the foundation was done and waterproofed, I found that  it would be a cheaper option to put a wood framed floor above and a basement floor slab below than to haul in and compact that much fill, plus it would just make that much more usable space in the basement.  So I decided to have the builder cut an opening through the separating foundation wall for access to that area.100_4260.thumb.JPG.f2f4fc5483cf740cfd7528741d6cbc26.JPG100_4261.thumb.JPG.874c78e18526f25102b66c2053cd3205.JPG              Eventually, after having used the hot tub regularly for many years, it developed a lot of problems leaking from inaccessible (short of pulling out the tub) areas so we decided to just drain it.  (As it turned out I wouldn’t be able to get in and out of it any more anyway.)  So I thought that the area would be a perfect area to set up my model shop as it had its own power sub-panel, basement floor drain, and with the addition of a solid core wood door and a vent fan to the outside, it could be separated from the rest of the basement.  (Just trying to keep saw dust and flammable vapors away from the furnace.)  It was also a better alternative than continuing to use my unheated garage shop area, considering our WI winters.                              But then, right in the middle of all my remodeling, I found myself confined to a wheelchair, which kind of made finishing the rest of the room just a bit more challenging.    If not for my stand-up frame shown here and a helpful neighbor it couldn’t have been done!  I also ended up having to modify all of my stationary power tools so that I could still use them. Perhaps reading this posting may give other people with disabilities some ideas on how to make the best of it.100_4024.thumb.JPG.ebac512d13a757da0842d5889d1edce7.JPG              I installed additional outlets and ceiling lights. I also had a white finish acoustic ceiling installed by a friend to help brighten up the room.  Almost all of my equipment was made to be mobile on casters to make it easier to move around. (I no longer have the strength I used to have)  Running my power tools in the room still proved to be a bit too loud, so I tacked up some cork bulletin board panels over the black tar waterproofed concrete walls with a few tap-con fasteners and fit them around the electrical conduit, which had the added benefit of lighting up the room some more.  (Adding several years’ worth of nautical calendar photos to the cork panels didn’t hurt either.)

            Here is the entrance to the band saw and drill press area (approx. 7 ft. x 11ft.) of the shop below the sunken hot tub above.  My Dads old Craftsman band saw needed a much lower base, so I removed the metal stand and made a custom roll-around cabinet with some ¾” birch plywood, ¼” hardboard, 2x4’s, 2 1/2” locking casters, an old piece of countertop, and some recycled plastic drawers.  I designed it similar to my other bases but mounted the motor on a hinged shelf.  (The motor projects into a gap in the stud wall)  Beyond the band saw is a Ryobi drill press mounted to a similar base but I used some cardboard box bottoms from quite a few orders of premium pears for the drawers instead.

100_4224.thumb.JPG.e22d536091ea5ab1c0afd9517fc2d548.JPG           Here is the reused old band saw stand on its roll-around base with a heavy generic disc/belt sander mounted on it. (I can use it in the garage for the real heavy sanding jobs where I can be wheel it outside if necessary.)


          This is the entrance to the main part of the shop, (approx. 11 ft. x 15 ft.) where I seem to be hard at work. (Or play?):P


         Here is a small generic belt/disc sander and a MicroLux table saw mounted on another one of my custom wheeled benches. I have a small (but quiet) shop vac next to a converted roll around kitchen cart that I used a recycled heavy piece of solid laminate for the top.  It has a Craftsman scroll saw bolted down on one end (It’s at a perfect viewing height for me in the chair.) and a couple of movable cutting/sanding jigs that mount on some threaded inserts.



        This is the rest of the kitchen cart with all of my Dremel tools including a drill press with a Proxxon XY table.  Next to that is a roll around drawer cabinet re-purposed for misc. supplies and hand tools (Formerly a waxing station reclaimed from my wife’s closed hair salon minus A LOT of scraped off wax!) with a small reused plastic drawer cabinet and a weather radio on top.  (Also from her shop)  Next is a modified roll-around retail sales case for basswood storage.  (I picked it up at hobby shop closing and trimmed 18” off the bottom for easier access from my wheelchair.) 


    This is the soldering station end of a custom designed heavy duty roll around workbench I built to allow my wheelchair to roll under.  By using the top row of wood screws on the face of the bench, that allows me to temporarily mount some interchangeable plywood base-plate mounted tools including a small metal vice (that is shown mounted here), an anvil, and several bending jigs. A shelf for my I-pod and Bose powered speaker is mounted above.


          This shows the rest of the heavy duty bench with a portable Sjobergs wood vice (several threaded insert mountings allow various different placements) and a portable desk lamp. (With several pre-drilled mounting holes also.)  Next to that, I have some general storage made from metal shelf supports set on the basement floor and bolted to the foundation wall with shelving made from some salvaged 1 3/8” hollow core bi-fold door slabs.  (All of my basement shelving is made with these slabs.  They are light weight but are still very sturdy and resist sagging quite well.


         The rest of my general storage including an old steel hinged auto parts wall cabinet salvaged from a closed gas station and several plastic drawer cabinets.  (From my wife’s shop of course.)


         This is my primary modeling table.  (It’s a very sturdy recycled roll-around computer station with a shelf and a desk lamp that I added to the top.)  I added a homemade plan holder, a power strip, and two drawers made from some extra roll out trays from our pantry cabinet added below.  Beyond the modeling table I have a roll-around steel tool stand with a fan for hot days and an electric heater for the cold ones.  Also next to that on the floor I have a dehumidifier and my old stereo cabinet with a glass door for reference materials below.  It has a brush cleaning station and radio/disc player mounted above on a sink cut-out from an old kitchen countertop.  (All of that stuff on that dividing stud wall behind everything is all of the equipment for the hot tub above.)

100_4230.thumb.JPG.eb8355d25e723f26f55cb8666b0031de.JPG          Just outside of the shop is a computer dedicated to modeling only.  It’s not connected to the internet at all, so no crashes for my info.  (It’s also safe from all of my modeling dust.)



             Besides the basement shop, I still had the full size equipment in the garage that now also needed customized bases.  Everything was too high for someone in a wheelchair to adjust, operate safely or maintain.


            My Grandfather left my Dad his old Craftsman cast iron top table saw and Dad built a two wheeled semi-mobile dust catching base for it.  When that saw was passed on to me I originally just remounted it on a fully adjustable four wheeled roll-around base, but now being in a wheelchair, the table top was right at my eye level.  Not the safest situation to say the least!  So now I unassembled the base and cut the height down about 18” while still retaining the dust drawer below.  Now it’s not ideal, but definitely more usable and safer.  Now I can still cut my own planks.


          Also handed down from my Grandfather is this very heavy duty Walker Turner ½” bench top drill press. For this tool I took two old reclaimed kitchen cabinets, cut 18” off the tops, remounted the drawers for drill accessories, cut the doors down to fit, added a couple sections of solid countertops, and placed them about 12” from each other.  I mounted another section of that solid countertop between them to lower the drill enough to bring the drill controls within my reach.  The biggest shortcoming of the drill press was that the table had no lift mechanism and as the table was very heavy it was too tough for me to lift it from my current position.  Other than that, its large capacity still comes in quite handy at times!


         The last tool, and probably the most used, is my Dads old Power-Kraft radial arm saw that he mail ordered from Montgomery Wards back in about 1960.  (Except for the motor, it came totally unassembled in a couple of wood crates.)  This included a heavy gauge steel base that I had previously put a wheeled base on, but once again this saw was too high for me.  After a lot of work with just a hacksaw, I managed to shorten the legs, enclose the space below, add a shelf, and reassemble on the mobile base.  The power switch was bad and stuck in the on position.  The replacement switch was no longer available, so I mounted a power strip to plug it into and use that to turn it on and off.


         I had to carefully measure the height from the floor to the bottom of the radial saw table top to allow the table saw to nest under it and save some room in the garage. (For the cars, since that’s what a garage is really for, right?)


          As you may have guessed by now, I am one of those people who really believe in recycling.  (We really have become a “throw-away society” haven’t we?)  If I can modify or fix something to suit my use, why spend money to buy it new. (Especially since a lot of the “new and improved” versions of that equipment are probably of poorer quality anyway.)  Being in a wheelchair now, finding new tools that would work for me now would probably be both hard to find, and a lot more expensive anyway.

           Personally, I have found out the hard way that it seems that if someone is to be handicapped they should first be rich!  It seems that every piece of handicap aid equipment that you need starts out at about three grand.  My current manual wheelchair that I’ve had for about ten years now, for example, ran about $3,400.  Eventually I’ll be looking at some kind of power chair that comes in at two or three times that, not to mention some kind of conversion vehicle to accommodate it!

            But, all things considered, I still feel more fortunate than most of the other people like me with muscular dystrophy.  I just remind myself of the old saying “things may look bad now but then things could always be worse”, so just enjoy what you do have!


JRB9019, EJ_L, reklein and 21 others like this

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Dave says: "Personally, I have found out the hard way that it seems that if someone is to be handicapped they should first be rich!  It seems that every piece of handicap aid equipment that you need starts out at about three grand.  "


My wife uses a left foot gas pedal on her car.  Has about $20 in parts, and maybe an hour assembly and another for installation.   The company charges around $500.  Turns out, a pile of that is "insurance" in case the manufacturer or installer get sued".   Seems to be that way with anything labled "handicapped". Hell if I understand why, though.


I like your attitude and the modifications.  Well done on all counts.   

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     Thanks for all the likes guys.  Like I said in the post, I hope that it shows others with disabilities that you may still be able accomplish quite abit even with them.  As Dirty Harry once said:  “you’ve just got to know your limitations”, then find a way around them.;)

      By the way, when I said that I know other people with MD that are worse off, some of that comes from having a younger brother who also has it.  He is 18 years younger, has the same variety (Beckers) of MD as me, and yet has already been confined to a power chair for about 15 years.  This disease is inherited and quite often in families having more than one sibling affected, the younger one gets it worse.  So, all I need to be reminded of how good I have it, is to think of him.

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Excellent post, it is easier to give up and vegetate, your a poster boy for one with severe injuries that has overcome and has not given up the ghost, I have had 6 back surgeries when I start feeling sorry for myself or get a little depressed I will come back to this post Kudos to one that has overcome.

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Its not much but I manage. I have a shed out on the patio with a small workbench for my drill press chop saw and other power tools.



I also have to store a small part of the RC Fleet in here.




The green one is a CR-914 ready to sail when ever I want to go to the lake across the street and relax. The other is a Fairwind that is under construction hopefully ready for the summer season.

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That's a very nice setup.

Having a smaller building area reduces the clutter....... something that doesn't apply to me.....:P

I see two of AL's Bluenose II kits..... are you to build a fishing version and a racing version?

EJ_L, BETAQDAVE, Canute and 2 others like this

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Since I picked them up for really cheap and the fact that it will be my first real ship build I had planned on one to keep in reserve in case the first one winds up a mess. As far as the clutter goes it only looks that way because the Admiral insisted that we hold a stem to stern field day (spring cleaning) last week.

mtaylor, Canute, BETAQDAVE and 3 others like this

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Richard.


They are all over the place in the RC Sailing world so while I did design that one i cannot take credit for the idea. I did do some dimensional drawings with parts lists in Auto Desk Inventor and would be more than happy to share them if you are interested in building one.



Edited by Osmosis

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