My Shop Notes


Staff member
Jul 9, 2023
well, the new shop is not yet ready, so i will start with the old shop. it is a old gutted out camper, with my CNC machine in the back, and a mess everywhere else.

as the new shop is not ready, i will have to take out the A/C and re-install the RV furnace for winter heat. this time, i will tie the thermostat input into my automation/alarm system, so i can start the furnace remotely if needed, though i would need to leave the gas turned on for that. i plan on taking the regulators out of my other camper, too, and use those with the furnace.

the new shop is covered now. the pic above was before the top cover went on. 8-foot step-ladder for scale.

still to do... i need to build up the two end walls with studs, build and install a double door, test and install the oil furnace i bought, install an electrical panel, and wire some outlets and lights. and that's all before even the machine goes in, say nothing about insulating the shed...
the furnace will just sit on a base that has a deflector to push the air out, rather than just onto the floor. i may duct it toward front for more even heating.
the machine will sit about the center of the shed, leaving room behind to work on the furnace, and room all around to work on the machine. the control computer will be on the front right of the machine, with the control panel and pendant storage to the left. it will be able to roll around anyway.
the main control cabinet will be behind the machine, on the wall. likely beside, but not close to, the furnace.
compressed air will be supplied from the garage, via 3/4in PEX, or larger. it will be sloped so water drains back into collection in the shop. this will need to be in the warm office of the garage shop, so it won't freeze up. the reason for the 3/4in PEX is so that if water freezes, it takes longer to freeze the pipe solid. wouldn't hurt to have pipe insulation, and a heat-tape, perhaps.
power coming in will be 240V @ no less than 30A. i could, to start, use just the 10AWG wire powering the old shop. the biggest power draw will be from the dust collection system. next, the 4.5KW 3PH 220V spindle, and the machine itself, computer, and the LED lighting. if i can figure out how to tap into the garage-shop dust-collection system, i can run on even less power. but with much more hassle, as it too would need to be insulated, and a return air system brought back. really, too much hassle.
that dust collector is 120V @ 15A, 2HP 1550CFM. i think it would work very well, if i can figure out a dust-shoe for my machine. though just as a post-run vacuum cleaner, it would work well too.
thinking of still using the old RS alarm system for the shop. it still works good, and seems reliable.

if i can insulate my shop well enough, it would be nice to have it minimum heated in the winter, to keep it from freezing electronics. maybe set the thermostat for 35F. but that depends on the cost of fuel, and the ability to get it, plus, how much i use the shop. i really wish i had insulated the floor... too late now, unless i build the floor up. :rolleyes:
when it comes time to insulate walls, i will have to just build walls inside of the shed. i think i can just make a 3-step system. up the walls, up the rafters, and along the ceiling. i will also need paneling inside. likely with strapping behind it for support.
not even sure what the cheapest insulation would be... cheap HD Styrofoam from Home Depot?

i think all my wiring may be in surface boxes. easy access, i think, for upgrades. or i can just build some channel boxes out of wood to cover the wires, and mount the boxes in that. also gives the mice a handy place to run around... :rolleyes:
i am wondering if my little diesel heater would be enough to maintain heat out in my shop when i am not out there... it has not been run for a while... but if the shop is insulated, maybe it will be enough heat. :unsure:
for minimal insulation, i can use that thermal bubble-wrap for radiant heat thermal barriers. at least then i can have heat and A/C in my shop. the attic will need to be partitioned off and vented (power vented?) to prevent heat build-up in the summer. in theory it should help remove the green-house effect, so i can cool it easier in summer.

the insulation will be stapled to strapping for support on walls and ceiling. lighting will drop down from strapping to allow room for wires. i think i have enough for 8 light fixtures, or more. when i do the outside lights on the garage, i want to add one to my shop on same circuit.

outlets on wall can be attached to a ribbon of 1X6 if i choose, for simpleness.

i need some place to mount the electrical power panel, and the alarm control box. maybe i can build one section of solid wall in the side for mounting that.

the alarm system is mainly just to monitor the door and the smoke detectors (that may get set off by dust). i want a siren for security, but for fire, a red strobe light will work until i know dust will not set it off. the smoke detectors have a reset button on them that needs to be pushed. so the smoke detectors can not go on the high ceiling, but must be wall mounted. i may even connect them as regular sensors so they only activate when the alarm is armed... or not use them. depends on how sensitive they are to dust. and then there is my laser on my CNC, it makes smoke when it burns wood, so... yeah. may not use the smoke sensors. just not practical. but i want some windows in back of my shop for ventilation, so i can open the door and catch a breeze. so those will need alarm sensors.

so, back wall will have the furnace and i hope two windows. one window big enough for an A/C unit to go into. the alarm sensor for that window will have to be made to allow for the A/C. i would like some sort of motion sensor inside, but in a tent building, in a wind-storm... how does that work? just have to keep them from going through the door or windows.

the front wall will be mostly all door, with a 6-foot wide double door. one side will latch closed when not needed, leaving a standard door.
in my bedroom i have a 2 foot X 8 foot counter i would like out in my shop as a work bench/desk. i can make it rugged, but also so a chair can roll under. if i make it the right height, my CNC computer thing can roll under it and the monitor and keyboard can stick out for use. just an idea... it would also give me something to mount my collet fixture jig onto. and a place for my laptop when using both computers. i do plan on having a network switch out there as well as a WiFi router, so those too can go on the counter. though those may be better in a dust free enclosure of some sort.

that will be another consideration, machine dust... i should build a room air dust collector of some sort.
thinking about a warm closet in my shop. an insulated closet that i can put the alarm and network electronics into, and place a regulated space heater, or a baseboard electric heat unit in there. as it is the electronics closet, i could put a smoke detector in there, as i would hope no dust would be getting inside. could even be just a large cabinet. as long as it is dust free, and insulated from cold. it should not get too hot too, but i am unsure how to cool it in the summer without letting in dust or humidity. the equipment should not make too much heat, i don't think. just natural summer heat getting in. will have to monitor it, i guess. maybe with enough insulation, the heat will not get in.
so what is in there? the alarm control panel (RS alarm, and/or Konnected), network switch, network WiFi, possibly the Arduino for the HA shop control.
the strapping can be secured to the pipe frame with either angle steel bracing, and sheet-metal screws, or suspended with metal strapping and sheet-metal screws. the strapping would be doubled over at the end to prevent sharp edges against the tent surface. i would prefer to secure angle steel along the inside if the pipe frames, with either sheet-metal screws or carriage bolts (if possible). this would provide a much stronger frame to hang material from. the problem is, i don't think we have enough angle steel left... so i will have to just use small pieces where needed. then i can use stronger lags into lumber.

if i have 2 X 4 ribbon along the wall floor (bottom plate), then i stand up 2 X 4, to another ribbon of 2 X 4 (top plate), then build the ceiling frame, and hang it up. the walls and ceiling will have the insulation barrier installed on the outside and top surfaces, before fixing the wall and ceiling sections in place. the ceiling will be installed in sections the size of the span between "collar ties" using metal strapping looped over the pipe, and lagged with short lags into the frame. the first section will get loops on two sides (front and back), while each following section need only get loops on the new end. the tail end can be secured to the previous frame.

UPDATE: all above 2 X 4 will be 1 X 4 strapping, to cut costs (i think), and save weight.

the door frame will be 2 X 4, but the rest will be strapping. my dad says HL has pine strapping, where JL has spruce, that will warp and twist.
I have solved how not to have smoke detectors in my shop. due to dust and laser smoke, they would go off all the time. but i can use a temperature alarm! if the temp rises above, say 130F, set off the alarm!
i ordered a Emporia Vue2 kit, for monitoring the power usage in my shop. i should be able to track for cost of electricity with it, or at least that is the idea. but i will need a larger power panel, like this: Square D Homeline 100 Amp 24-Space 48-Circuit Indoor Main Breaker Plug-On Neutral Load Center with Cover(HOM2448M100PCVP) HOM2448M100PCVP - The Home Depot (

i don't need 100A but i need the space inside for the monitor. i will supply it with 50A, and label the main breaker as a disconnect.