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Building a workstation for modeling

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  • Member since
    June 2019
Building a workstation for modeling
Posted by kdryan on Sunday, December 15, 2019 12:37 PM

So I spent a lot of time and effort building a workplace for models in my dining room only to find out it really is just cluttered and ugly in there. To that end, I came up with the idea of converting an old TV cabinet into a self-enclosed workstation that could hide all of that clutter and be somewhat attractive at that. I want to add a power strip to the interior and light it so bright I need sunglasses. I want to paint in it but will probably end up buying a spray booth for it. With the advent of large screen TV's these cabinets are pretty much obsolete now as today's TV's will not fit in them. This gives the advantage of being plentiful (currently), cheap, and almost tailor made for this project. The one I chose was $50 at Salvation Army, but they are all over Facebook Marketplace, Goodwill, etc. You might even find people giving them away.

I had to disassemble it to get it home in my Kia and didn't think to take pics of it while in the store. I bought the smaller compressor at Harbor Freight and while I understand some people have issues with these, I am on a tight budget. That pancake compressor is what I was using and the smaller one seems like an improvement.

Before Assembly

 

Took an hour or so to get it together

 

Door open.  Enormous work are...

 

Compressor I was using...

 

New compressor (dog not included)

 

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by kdryan on Sunday, December 15, 2019 7:43 PM

Adding a lining to the back and extensions to the sides.

 

 

I found this at a thrift store for a few bucks and though it might be nice to fill some of the empty space at the top with drawers.  Does anyone have any advice on the best way to secure it?  It's a little heavy...

 

 

 

  • Member since
    September 2015
  • From: The Redwood Empire
Posted by Aaronw on Monday, December 16, 2019 1:09 AM

That is a nice idea. When I first got back into modelling I was working from a tray table, so I feel you on the no place to hide the mess.

 

First the negative, you may run into an issue of no leg room. I know it would drive me crazy not being able to tuck my feet under the "desk". Otherwise it seems like a good idea.

For lighting I'm a really big fan of assemble yourself track lighting where you buy the channel and light fixtures seperately. This allows you to tailor the lighting to your needs, with floods, spots or regular bulbs and as many as you can fit. Many can be set up to use a regular plug in cord so the electrical work is super simple. I love having lots of light where I'm working and LEDs are awesome these days. They are fairly cheap, long lived, bright and available in all kinds of useful shapes and sizes.

Since the work area is rather tall, you might consider adding a shelf near the top. That could be used for your smaller storage bin and other misc storage. You could mount the lights on the underside of the shelf.    

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by kdryan on Monday, December 16, 2019 3:49 PM

When I first thought this out I figured the no leg room to be a fair compromise, but I have a solution I think will work.  Save that for when I get to it.  I want to go with LED lighting, but track lighting sounds like a good idea too.  As for the shelves, I showed that above. :)

 

Thanks!

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: Naples, FL
Posted by tempestjohnny on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 5:02 AM
I've had the HF compressor for years. No issues yet

 

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 10:14 AM

I agree that is a nice idea. The concept of being able to hide the work area and also having everything organized in one area makes sense.

What I have always found to be most important in worktops is depth. I believe my current benchtop is 24" deep and 8' wide. It isn't deep enough. (and with the messes I constantly make, isn't wide enough either. I could probabably model on the salt flats and run out of room.

Having said that, I am trying to figure out how to manage model-making in a small space at the moment too. Seems to be a recurring there here lately. So understand I am applauding your idea here, just suggesting it is going to be tight.

 

-Greg

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by kdryan on Friday, December 20, 2019 10:01 PM

Mounted the upper shelves and added a light bar and power strip.  I haven't drilled the hole yet, but the power strip will be for immediate needs and it with the light bar will run through the back where another power strip will be mounted for permanent things like the lights and the air compressor and probably a ventilation fan. I did have to remove the hardware that assists the door in closing, but they still close okay. I thought that all 4 slots were equal size so that I could mount the frame upside down and the drawers could still be on bottoom.  Alas, that's what I get for assuming...

 

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by kdryan on Saturday, December 21, 2019 12:31 AM

I'm starting to develop a bit of a backlog...

 

  • Member since
    July 2018
  • From: The Deep Woods
Posted by Tickmagnet on Monday, December 23, 2019 10:05 AM

Great idea. I will have to keep this in mind when I relocate my workspace to what is soon to be an unused spare room.

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by kdryan on Thursday, December 26, 2019 11:02 PM

Got a bit more done.  The light is hooked up, as is the power strip.  I added a magnet bar to hold some of my more frequently used tools and I had bought some small shelves for my vintage camera collection but I thought they might be put to better use here.

  • Member since
    December 2019
Posted by Budmor on Thursday, December 26, 2019 11:15 PM

kdryan

 I bought the smaller compressor at Harbor Freight and while I understand some people have issues with these, I am on a tight budget. That pancake compressor is what I was using and the smaller one seems like an improvement.

I worked out of a roll top desk back before I had room for a hobby area. Your entertainment center looks to be a much better idea.

Ive been using one of the HF red pancake compressors for about 5 years now. about a year after i got it somone gave me a normal airbrush compressor but I ended up going back to the pancake compressor with the tank as it didn't have to run all the time when I was working.

  • Member since
    June 2012
Posted by Compressorman on Friday, December 27, 2019 9:15 AM

I made something like this long ago and here is how I solved the legroom problem. I made a false bottom for the main compartment and mounted it a little over 3/4" above the original bottom. I then made a shelf and inserted it into that gap. I was able to pull my shelf out a foot or so giving me a more typical 'desk'. When finished with a work session I put everything that was on the pullout shelf back inside the cabinet, I then slid my shelf back in and closed the doors. 

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by kdryan on Friday, December 27, 2019 9:59 AM

My plan is to remove the center divider below the main shelf, find a piece of shelving that fits with the door closed , then use the rails from an old under desk keyboard tray to slide it in and out.  The divider is really there to support the weight of what used to be a heavy TV and the shelf is thick enough to support any needs I might have.  This way I have the slide out work area and the original shelf for workspace.

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by kdryan on Friday, December 27, 2019 11:40 PM

As I mentioned, I want to put a slide out drawer to work on and I had this I had purchased for the old work desk.  The tray is unsuitable, but the slides are just what the doctor ordered here. Now I could use some advice on how to mount this thing without taking the cabiinet apart again. :)  There is no way I am going to be able to get a drill or a screwdriver up in there.  Last shot shows how much work area it will give.  I was going to just paint the shelf black but I am thinking of using some rubberized undercoating that you use for cars to give it a more textured surface that might stand up to a little cutting.

 

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by kdryan on Saturday, December 28, 2019 7:36 PM

I decided just to put the screws through the top.  I had been thinking about covering the desktop with Vyco (for covering drafting tables) anyway, but it's kind of expensive.  Or I may just use some shelf paper I have laying around.

 

Making a template for the screw holes

Theoretically the holes should be the same upside down as they would be when hanging on the bottom.  Theoretically...

Holes are marked.

And it worked!

Tomorrow I will work on painting the board, but I am really happy so far with the way this project is going.

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by kdryan on Sunday, December 29, 2019 7:20 PM

So I just went with shelf paper for now.  I used some scrap to make a little ledge on the back so things don't get pushed off and used an old yardstick for the front, figuring that would come in handy.

 

All done with the shelf!

 

I'm going to replace the yardstick with a metal one first chance I get.

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by kdryan on Monday, December 30, 2019 1:42 PM

In the home stretch.  I wanted a ventilation fan so I could paint on the upper shelf with the paint booth I will either make or buy venting into this fan.  It could also remove any other fumes from glue and such.  The cabinet is directly in front of a windo so all I need to do is open the window for it to vent outside.

 

Fan is a 2 1/2" computer fan.

 

Oredered both the fan and this cord with switch from Ebay.  I will have to modify the switch a bit so the cord comes out of the back instead of top and bottom.

 

Since I am left-handed I put the fan to the right, figuring any paint or anything would blow that way and the switch to the left.

 

Fan hole is a little rough but I will file it out a bit and a filter will cover it.

 

And there we have it.

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by kdryan on Monday, December 30, 2019 1:45 PM

Added a few clips to hold istructions and maybe a few pics or whatever and I am ready to call this project complete!  I'll post a pic or two after I get completely moved in, but this project is done!

  • Member since
    June 2008
Posted by lewbud on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 6:20 PM

kdryan

I'm starting to develop a bit of a backlog...

 

 

Not a backlog, the beginning of the stash.

Buddy- Those who say there are no stupid questions have never worked in customer service.

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 6:43 PM

Nice job!

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    July 2018
  • From: The Deep Woods
Posted by Tickmagnet on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 7:00 AM

Looks great man.

 

 

  • Member since
    February 2017
Posted by ugamodels on Saturday, January 4, 2020 5:07 PM
I have a small m piece of Vyco leftover from a drafting table. I was just moving it around this weekend while cleaning. Not sure if it is big enough for your needs but you can have it free if you send me a mailing address. BTW, I went the roll top desk route. Works reasonably well and has space for the legs. I think I spent $35 on Craigslist.

I type on a tablet. Please excuse the terseness and the autocorrect. Not to mention the erors. 

  • Member since
    June 2019
Posted by kdryan on Saturday, January 4, 2020 6:20 PM

The upper shelf is around 35"x17"  Thanks for the offer!  I sent you a friend request...

 

Next project is a small spray booth custom fit for the cabinet. :)

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