Home > VansAirForceForums

-Advertise in here!
- Today's Posts | Insert Pics

Keep VAF Going
Donate methods

Point your
camera app here
to donate fast.

Old 01-21-2016, 04:25 AM
felixflyer felixflyer is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: UK
Posts: 8
Default The perfect workshop

I will soon be moving house and as over here in the UK, houses do not tend to come with garages the size of the ones in the USA, I will probably be building a purpose made workshop in the back garden.

I am only part way through my empennage at the moment on an RV7 but am about to start designing the workshop and would appreciate some input.

It is not going to be vast, final rigging will be done at the airfield but I assume there are some things I can build in to make life easier later on.

Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016, 05:03 AM
1001001's Avatar
1001001 1001001 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Just Minutes from KBVI!
Posts: 1,138

Similar to kitchen design, i like to see my workspace be no more than a couple of steps from frequently used tools and small supplies. This makes it easy to put tools away when done with them rather than let them pile up on the workbench, which has always been a problem for me.

Also, it reduces time spent walking back and forth, which has a real effect on productivity by minimizing fatigue. I set my workshop up to have a long and narrow work area but which has access to all sides of the work tables.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016, 05:11 AM
rmartingt's Avatar
rmartingt rmartingt is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 1,131

I just finished building a workshop for my project. I had just enough room that I could make the building just large enough to put the wings on sans tips, and do the control rigging/checkout and the fuel connections. I have time, but eventually I'm going to need to find a new home for some things if I actually want to do that

I'm not sure how building codes work over there or what construction methods are popular, but here are a few things I did/wish I did:

First, I would have subbed out a little more of the work. Just prepping for the foundation pour took me three months, and framing took three or four more, because I was doing all of the work myself up to that point, with no helpers. The project would have gone faster and made for much less irritation with the wife had I just subbed most of it out. As it was, had I not paid someone to do the roof, siding, and drywall, I'd still be working on it. I learned a whole lot about construction and building codes, though, and I would still do the wiring myself.

If you're going to be doing any of the design/construction work yourself, familiarize yourself with the intimate details of any and all applicable codes and local requirements. It will save you lots of headaches later. I did this; others I know did not.

I placed outlets every 4' (every other stud), and placed them so they'd clear a standard 4'x8' sheet of plywood laying on its side against the wall. That way I could store material and not block those outlets, and I would have plenty of them. Convert to metric and standard UK material sizes as appropriate.

I went ahead and pre-wired everything I could think of. I have a 30A outlet in one corner and a 50A outlet in another corner for future use for welders and/or machine tools. I have a 30A disconnect in a third corner for an eventual large air compressor, and a fourth 30A disconnect outside for a mini-split air conditioner/heat pump. I haven't yet installed any of those items but I put the wiring in before I closed out the walls so I wouldn't have to tear things open later. For a few bucks, it's not a big loss if I wind up not using them. I also placed a pair of outlets in the ceiling for pull-down extension cord reels. Also, make sure your outlets and lighting are distributed across a couple of circuits. You don't want to lose all your lights at once or have to turn all of them off if you need to work on one fixture. Perhaps my method of every wall getting two independent circuits (every other outlet) was a bit excessive, though. Having more outlets is never bad, in a shop or a house.

Speaking of air conditioning, I insulated the entire shop. I think this building is better insulated than my (cheap builder-grade) house. It's helped so far, and when I do finally put the mini-split on it should be very comfortable inside (and therefore making my wife more willing to come help). Heat might be more of a factor for you; here, air conditioning is more important.

If you can, run an ethernet cable out to a wireless router in your shop; otherwise, get a range extender if your house wireless performs poorly. Being able to pull up VAF, builders logs, Spruce, and other resources while working is important.

If you can, put in at least a utility sink and running water. I couldn't do this because running water would have been too much of a pain.

Lighting is critical. I prefer 6500K or 5000K daylight fluorescents and LEDs. I painted my walls semigloss white; it shows every little flaw in the drywall but I don't care--it's nice and bright inside.

Make sure you have enough turning room and access to at least get your fuselage out when it's done. If you can, have enough room to back your car/truck/trailer up to your workshop so you can unload. I may have cut mine a bit too tight; I can back around to the shop but trying to turn the truck to actually get in will involve an 8+ point turn. I haven't yet actually tried it, and probably won't until I have some gravel down in the "driveway" to it. Unloading the fuselage kit last night, I had to back up to the door and unload it piece by piece from the bed.

If you close your walls up, document where your electrical and such is running before you close them (might be a good idea for your wings, too!) Figure out a way to mark stud locations so you know where they are later.
RV-7ER - canopy and wiring
There are two kinds of fool in the world. The first says "this is old, and therefore good"; the second says "this is new, and therefore better".
Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016, 06:53 AM
paul330 paul330 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Mpumalanga, South Africa
Posts: 1,065

UK? - Heating!!!

Oh, and a beer fridge - you're going to need it on some days.......
Mercy Air, White River FAWV
RV-10 ZU-IIZ - "Zeus"
Building Bearhawk Bravo - RV-18 not available
2019 Donation Made
Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016, 08:20 AM
mike newall's Avatar
mike newall mike newall is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Yorkshire, England
Posts: 2,196

Got the beer fridge in ours !

Felix, If your are up north in England, drop me a PM and come look at our workshop. Purpose built 5 years ago - 42' long x 23' wide. 14' roller shutter door on one end with concrete apron outside. Electric double sockets every 6' or so, air in 4 places with a dedicated low pressure extra filtered outlet for spraying. Floor is Lafarge self levelling concrete -level to under an inch every way.

Layout starts with a 12' x 3' bench, storage under facing the windows, then a drill, then a metal working bench, then the lathe. Gas bottles complete that wall. Other side of the shutter is a Tig station, then storage on the back wall.

We can assemble a 7 or 8 both wings on across the shop.

Finally - all round the ceiling edge are screw in eyes that I can snap blue poly tarpaulins to. They simply drape over the storage and benching, trap the extract fan under the roller shutter door and bingo - paintshop.

Even with this, I still would love another dedicated machine room, but that will have to wait !

Oh, the missus has her studio upstairs - that is how I got my permit to build
"I add a little excitement, a little spice to your lives, and all you do is complain!" - Q

Donated in 2021
Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016, 08:25 AM
rmartingt's Avatar
rmartingt rmartingt is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 1,131

Originally Posted by mike newall View Post
Oh, the missus has her studio upstairs - that is how I got my permit to build
Yeah, wife got the garage as an art studio when I moved out. I did the same thing in there (added outlets, insulation, lighting, and extra plumbing).
RV-7ER - canopy and wiring
There are two kinds of fool in the world. The first says "this is old, and therefore good"; the second says "this is new, and therefore better".
Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016, 09:05 AM
felixflyer felixflyer is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: UK
Posts: 8

The beer fridge was all I had on the list so far.

Mike despite being a Yorkshireman I have been down south for a few years now. It does sound like the perfect workshop though.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-22-2016, 10:56 AM
joe_rainbolt's Avatar
joe_rainbolt joe_rainbolt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northern California
Posts: 107
Default shop comfort = reduced build time

My two cents:
The time spent making your shop as comfortable as you can will be paid off handsomely in reduced build time. If your shop is a nice place to be, you will be eager to get there and stay longer. Also, no shop is too big
Joe Rainbolt
RV-7A slow build complete 4 July 2016
Visited all 48 contiguous states July 15-29 2017.

Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2016, 09:15 AM
Fearless's Avatar
Fearless Fearless is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Crestwood, KY
Posts: 848
Default Sent PM


I sent you a PM about the Savannah area.
RV-9A Based K6I2
Flying - out of Phase 1
Building RV-12 with brother
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:22 PM.

The VAFForums come to you courtesy Delta Romeo, LLC. By viewing and participating in them you agree to build your plane using standardized methods and practices and to fly it safely and in accordance with the laws governing the country you are located in.