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  • EEVblog #194 – Lab Bench Build

    Posted on August 10th, 2011 EEVblog 46 comments

    Dave installs a new bench in the EEVblog lab. Car in the way? – no problem, just build over it!

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    46 responses to “EEVblog #194 – Lab Bench Build” RSS icon

    • I’d just run a steel cable up to the rafters. Put an eye bolt on the corner with the biggest washer you can find underneath. Then put another eye lag bolt up in the rafters. Crimp a cable to size (use the eye bolt to adjust the tension) and it should be solid as a rock.

    • How about adding not one but three posts up to the ceiling, that way you’ll have a nice solid base to put up some more shelves on. You can never have enough shelves.

    • Though not as cool as ultrasound range finding, a tennis ball on a string can let you know how far to pull in.
      http://hoathome.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/automatic-garage-doors-and-infrared-tripwires/

    • Dave, I’d still run the cable to the rafters, even with the extra leg. Anything marginally heavy, even a medium sized book, on that back corner will cause the pine to warp over time and sag. a 1/8″ or so cable from the back corner would be tiny, and incredibly supportive. Other than that, the bench looks fantastic!

    • Drop a pine panel from the ceiling/roof and you can support the cut side of the bench across it’s entire length. I’d be putting a back across the bench too. will give you enough support for another shelf and hanging space on the car side too.

      BTW I do hope thats your car and not hers the bench hangs over. My sister’s ex didn’t heed that advice and lets just say the inevitable was a contributing factor to his now being an ex. :-)

      You should have notched around the brickwork,at least make a piece to fill that ugly gap. Show some pride man.

      For anyone needing to claim space above or needing a bench in a shoebox garage take a look at Dexion long span shelving (or the much more reasonably priced Chinese eBay equivalent). It’s the ducks guts for this stuff not too industrial for domestic use and still sturdy enough to provide a solid work surface across a long unsupported span.

    • Sweet setup you’ve got there. As a college student with no space I am very envious.

      Rather than an ultrasonic sensor, maybe you could hang a tennis ball from a string attached to the ceiling so it just bumps your windshield when you’re pulled far enough in? Also, you might want a backsplash on that bench so you don’t push something too far back on the bench and have it scratch up the hood of your car.

    • Threaded rod hung from the ceiling. That would do for suspending that loose end.

    • Hmm… what happens when you strech your legs facing the table over the car? A clean car wouldn’t probably be much of an issue, but getting mud on your trousers wouldn’t be nearly as neat.

    • Like someone suggested threaded rod (all thread). Use one of those bolts used for table legs. 3/8 Inch diam with a lag-screw thread on one end and machine thread on the other. Drive it into a rafter, then use a sleeve nut used for joining all thread to connect the machine thread on the table leg bolt to the piece of all-thread that runs down to the bench top.

    • Dave nice video!!!! Check out this´╗┐ link Chris savage did a nice video on a parking asstant

      http://www.savagecircuits.com/forums/showthread.php?19-Episode-3-Garage-Parking-Assistant

    • You could have it fold out from the wall, like your very own baby-change table.

    • My immediate thought was a chain and turnbuckle.

      Steel cable and threaded rod are other options too.

      As for the stopping the car in the right spot, put a sand bag on the ground and you then have a quick and dirty stop you can move about.

      Failing that I know you will only accept an FPGA solution reading out to nanometer accuracy!

    • Good thing you don’t drink. Coming home and parking after a party might be tricky before having a vehicle position sensor installed. LOL

      I used the cable technique to hold shelves up in my garage. I used angle brackets to attach cable to shelving so as not to waste shelf space. The horizontal leg of an angle bracket was bolted under shelf so the vertical leg of bracket was flash against shelf edge. Then the vertical leg was attached to cable. If nothing else the advantage of cable is it will provide a sense of open space in front of your lab even if you put in multiple cable supports.

      A splash plate on the back of the bench will prevent tools or parts from rolling off the bench and denting your car hood/bonnet.

    • um Tennis Ball from ceiling for the windscreen.
      A chalk mark on the wall as a guide say where the mirrors are?!

      Some polystyrene sheet under the work surface just in case(nasty squeaking noise but no scratches)and maybe a squeaky toy on the back leg.

      Supported from the ceiling by steel cable and an hook and eye arrangement.

      A batton around to catch junk falling off the table.

      There you go belt braces and a clean pair of undies!!

      hope thats of use?!

      John A

    • Excellent video.

      A few comments…

      Is it just me, or the camera angle, or is the new bench not leveled with the existing one?

      Dave, get that saw on and cut a notch in the wall side of the bench and align it to the wall… it increases the effectiveness of the mounts, and prevents things from dropping into the gap.

      Since you get that saw on, cut a slice of the existing board (the entry way). Getting that corner of wood to poke your back on the way out is no fun at all.

      If you go for the chain/steel wire set, get a beam and reinforce the back of the board (from the wall up to the corner where the cable will be fixed). It prevents wrapping the wood. I think you can even put a small plank an create a bevel so things cannot roll/fall on the car (I’ll go for a big board and create some shelves).

      For the sensor, a wire loop and a simple switch (the one with the little clapper with a roller in) should work like a charm. You can even use 2 of those switches and wire a 2 color signal (yellow for ok and red for too far). Also, there is a trick to use an old tire and position it so your front wheels try to climb it when you reach the end of the parking space.

      Anyway, nice lab space!

    • I think I would have notched the table top to fit snugly around the bump out on the brickwork there and against the wall. As it stands now it looks like an invitation for stuff to roll off and drop down into the gap. You could at this point just drop a piece of wood in there to fill the gap.

      I assume there will be a wall behind from the countertop up to the ceiling eventually. Some kind of backstop is necessary to keep stuff from falling off the back side onto the car.

      I agree with the idea of steel cable or threaded rod to the ceiling. Also of using a tennis ball. Tennis balls still work when the power is out and ultrasonic range finders do not work any better.

    • I thought the standard way to hang a tennis ball was to use a stocking or one leg from a pair of pantyhose.

      Alternatively you could try a pair torches angled so that the beams coincide at the correct distance. Just like in the movie “Dambusters” when they needed a way to fly at the 60ft(?) above the lake during the bomb run.

    • 1. http://l.westfalia.eu/medien/scaled_pix/600/600/000/000/000/000/001/005/31.jpg

      2. Just drill a big “rectangular block of wood” -hope the translation is ok- where your car can’t go over.

      3.There are things like a “parking matt” you just lay on the floor: http://www.tuning4streets.de/images/Cargraphic/CG138.JPG

    • or very easy something like this:

      http://www.digital-designz.at/typo3temp/pics/a0be846a0b.jpg

      ok totally without electronics but I like it.

    • Don’t forget to paint the lower side of the bench with the same fluid you used on it’s upper side. Otherwise it can camber one day triggered from your wet car. In winter you can warm up your feet upon front lid after coming home :-)

    • Just a couple of things Dave.

      I would be careful if you alter the integrity of the garage ceiling to provide support for the bench especially if there is living spaces above or connected in any way, building regulations in most places make garages a special location and have stiff requirements for fire proofing design which you do not want to damage. Its not always obvious that they have more layers of plaster or other materials for a reason, before you drill any holes.

      Another point is that if you park a wet or rained on car under that bench you might be better to seal the wood on that side to stop moisture absorption over time, it may and probably will cause the wood to warp a bit otherwise. Wood expands across the grain on the damp side more than the dry side and causes bending. A batten or two across the grain of the boards of the bench would be a good idea as well.

      Hope you think this is all helpful.

    • Dave, just wondering what you are doing about heat. Can’t tell, but if your garage is like most it gets devil hot. How do you work in there in the summer months? I’m in the process of turning a small portion of our garage into a electronics bench but this Texas heat is unbearable (its 91 degrees F (32.77 C) at 22:00) and the garage is easily 5 to 10 degrees hotter. If you are doing anything fancy it would be nice to see a blog about it.

      • Dave is going to run the car with the windows down and the A/C on. :-)

      • It can get in the 40′s outside on real hot summer days, but inside the lab is cooler. This isn’t a tin garage, it’s part of the terracotta roofed house. There are insulation batts in the gyprock roof, and the walls are only single brick, and the peak afternoon sun is on the other side of the house, so it’s bearable in the lab. Maybe the low 30′s, I can’t recall exactly. But you can see me sweating in some summer time videos.

    • I agree with the tennis ball idea but with a 555 based flashing led, possibly energized by wireless power from the cars ignition system or something.

    • Electronic solution: an infrared distance sensor, widely used in robotics to let digital critters wander around without smashing themselves onto other objects.

      Put an analog distance sensor on the bench leg, pointing towards the car, then add an analog VU led bar (DC coupled). Adjust the bar sensitivity so that when the car is getting too close it lights the first red led and voila.

      http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8959

    • Hope your next car isn’t longer or have a taller bonnet!

    • Sometimes space is limited and this is an excellent remedy for that. Someone commented about working in the garage and how the elements will effect it. Any contingency plans? I can’t imagine sitting in the garage and roasting to death is conducive to getting work done.

      • No contingency plans. It doesn’t get that hot, maybe mid 30′s in summer, it’s not like a tin shed. You just put up with it. Still cooler than outside.

    • A horizontal back wall will give it stability and something to anchor your upright post to the ceiling to without too much clutter.
      Also avoids stuff from sliding off the back of the bench and on the car.

      My 0.02 GBP

    • For parking your car at the right distance, keep it simple and just bolt a wooden bar to the floor, which stops your wheels.

    • I agree that it needs more support. However, do be cautious in how you go about it – residential roof structures tend to be a bit lightly built.

      If you are going to go the sensor route; how are you going to do the display? Some LED streetlights mounted on the wall? Or perhaps a HUD in the car? :)

      Oh, and speaking of the car – what is that? I don’t recognize it… ???

    • Park the car outside and take the whole garage. Where are your priorities man?

    • A 1/4 lip on a bench will keep most anything from rolling off of a bench.

    • Dave,

      I think some sort of a barrier so that bits and bobs dont roll off (or slide) and drop on the bonnet of the car.

      santy

    • Our home I always are living in had something along these lines within the basement.

      It was actually great. I miss it in my brand new home.

      Here is my website :: Garage Storage Designs

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