Author Topic: Your Benchtop Material  (Read 9983 times)

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Offline Keith

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Your Benchtop Material
« on: October 27, 2011, 03:20:05 pm »
You spend a lot of time in your shop, bent over, hunched over, etc. I find that I have the opportunity to move into another location in the house and build a new bench. The first one I designed and constructed has met my needs to ensure I'm not crippled after a days work. The only outstanding question is the benchtop. I used heavy plywood last time. This time I'm thinking about using stock kitchen counter top. I'm not sure I like the overall depth(2 ft). Anyone really happy with their selection of a benchtop material that they would recommend? Thanks
 

Offline deephaven

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2011, 03:41:25 pm »
My bench is 30" deep. I find the material it is made from not important as my main working area is covered with a large anti-static mat.
 

Offline david77

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2011, 04:00:49 pm »
My bench is about 60cm deep made from some old bits of formica topped kitchen counter. I have to say 60cm is not deep enough, 80-90cm would be brilliant, sadly I don't have the space.

Although I like proper wood surfaces like Dave's bench, I know I'd drill holes in it and scribble on it and what not, so I would not spend a lot of money on nice wood for my workbench. The kitchen counter stuff is very robust and available quite cheap - as long as you don't have special needs like a deeper than standard work surface  :-\.
 

Offline RCMR

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2011, 10:05:27 pm »
Where are people buying their benchtop anti-static material?
 

Offline DrGeoff

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Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2011, 11:44:32 pm »
Kitchen worktop is OK, cheap and readily available, and even moderately soldering iron proof, but as you say not really deep enough. The simple answer is to add a filler piece of wood (or worktop offcut) at the back to add some depth. As it's out of the way it doesn't have tp be as resilient as the main bench area.
The hing I don't like is they tend to have a rounded front edge - this makes it easy for things to fall off, especially if a cable is hanging over the edge, and can make it hard to attatch smaller clamp-on vices to the edge.

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Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2011, 03:24:41 am »
Im intersted in more people writing their bench depth. Until now i had 60 cm which forced me to put long instruments above work space which is terrible. Now im making a 80cm bench and calculated i would have 40 cm infront the longest instrument (analog scope). That should be enough?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 05:06:17 am by hacklordsniper »
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2011, 04:04:29 am »
Beware any sort of laminated kitchen benchtop, they can be very slippery and gear can slide around when buttons pushed etc.

Dave.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2011, 04:24:02 am »
I saw a pic a while back on this forum.
Someone had a work surface made of two separate levels, one ~8cm above the other, and the top surface was transparent.

It gave them twice the area to put things and since the top level was clear you could see what was on the bottom level.
I thought it was quite a good idea in theory. Dunno how well it works in practice though.
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Offline GeoffS

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2011, 06:06:07 am »
I made my last benchtop from 25mm MDF, stained and coated with a 2 part polyurethane finish. As I'm quite tall, I made it 800mm deep.
The top was scrath resistant without being too slippery. MDF is cheap as chips and easy to work with. Just be careful with the dust!

FWIW, Kitchen benchtops are usually 600mm deep
 

Offline RCMR

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2011, 06:16:15 am »
 

Offline DrGeoff

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2011, 06:38:50 am »
From Okay Technologies, it's about $280 for the 10m roll of 600mm stuff.
http://www.okay.com.au/okay2009/index.php?cPath=37_233_240
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Offline kripton2035

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2011, 12:15:42 pm »
my lab is also 80cm depth.. 60cm is too short.

Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2011, 12:44:16 pm »
my lab is also 80cm depth.. 60cm is too short.


How does it work in real life? Do you have enough space infront analog oscilloscope (40 cm long average)? Im afraid the 90 cm would be too long in normal use bacause i could not reach something on the end of bench
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Offline Conrad Hoffman

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2011, 01:53:30 pm »
I had a local carpenter build my bench. It's 40" (101.6 cm) plywood on a 2x4" close spaced frame. The surface is laminated counter top material. Ten people could stand on it with near zero deflection. It's been perfect in every way and I wouldn't want it any shorter. I use boat anchor equipment like the HP3455 and you need room to work in front of this stuff. The bench needs to be strong enough to hold everything up- if you have tiny, light modern digital equipment you don't need my bench!

Here's a photo of the (heavy) GR end of my bench-
http://conradhoffman.com/GR_images/GR_bench.jpg

It goes all the way down the long wall of the room and here's my "day to day" work area (warning, this is my commercial site, but that's where the photo is). You can see the very long HP 3455 in the stack on the right for scale-
http://www.deeprundesign.com/benchwork.htm

IMO, there's no substitute for having a comfortable place to work on projects or just hang out!
 

Offline kripton2035

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2011, 09:52:39 pm »
my lab is also 80cm depth.. 60cm is too short.

How does it work in real life? Do you have enough space infront analog oscilloscope (40 cm long average)? Im afraid the 90 cm would be too long in normal use bacause i could not reach something on the end of bench

as you can see on the picture, the desk is 80cm depth, but the shelves just over the bench are half this, 40cm
so they are perfect to support measurment units like oscilloscopes...

Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2011, 01:36:26 am »
Hello, i dont see the attached picture?
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Offline kripton2035

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2011, 06:02:21 am »
Hello, i dont see the attached picture?

it is in my previous post (and bigger than I expected ...)

Offline JuKu

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2011, 07:05:59 am »
I have two tables in front of each other, and a shelf on the back table. On that shelf I have some books, but mainly, my instruments. This way, I have a full width table in front of the instruments. I like that arrangement very much, I've had the same for years. An additional plus on current setup is that I have access to the back of the tables, so it is easy to attach cables to the back of the shelf, access the back panel of stuff etc.

As the desktop material, it doesn't really matter, the important thing is that the desk is sturdy. You really, really want to have an antistatic mat on the table anyway, so it is irrelevant what is under it.
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Offline Lawsen

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2011, 03:53:17 am »
Most inexpensive kitchen top is a saw dust fiber glued together with a Formica laminated top.  You can add an anti slip rubber mat and anti static mat on top of that.  You can saw a sheet of quality plywood, stain lightly and clear coated it.  It still might be slippery. 
 

Offline lavo-1

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2011, 09:17:30 pm »
If your looking for a good 2 meter work bench material then look for an old fire door.  I picked one up on ebay for £12 and it was 2034mm x 730mm wide x 53mm deep and plywood faced so grippy enough to work on and guess what? Fire proof (up to an hour) which seems ample for a work top use. 8)
 

Offline buxtronix

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2011, 03:14:42 am »
My preference is to go 900mm, though 800 I could probably get away with.

Basically, stuff at the back needs to be accessible without stretching, and at the same time the "empty" bench needs enough depth to be useful for the projects you are working on. It is very tedious to find your free space is cramped because all your gear is taking up the depth. This means that your depth is really determined by your equipment and arms.

If you're worried about stuff falling off, route a groove near the edge to catch things as they're about to roll off. Just remember to think about any clamping needs you have.

 

Offline Conrad Hoffman

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2011, 02:27:35 pm »
I forgot to mention one other feature- I put big holes and plastic inserts at the rear of the bench for power cords. Under the bench are power strips to plug everything in.

Something to keep things from rolling off is good, but I also want to sweep off the bench surface into the waste basket- especially when projects don't work! A square lip catches all the bits of wire and solder and SMT parts, making it hard to keep the bench clean. A rounded lip is probably better. Or the purchase of a Shop-Vac(R).
 

Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Your Benchtop Material
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2011, 06:12:56 am »
I forgot to mention one other feature- I put big holes and plastic inserts at the rear of the bench for power cords. Under the bench are power strips to plug everything in.


Isn't it better to mount power strips on the wall or just put them behind instruments? Something like i did before on the photo i attached?

I regret to drill the bench and later when you reorganize something it might not fit anymore and there is no way back.
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