Author Topic: Bench Dimensions and First Riser  (Read 2173 times)

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Offline Dawn

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Bench Dimensions and First Riser
« on: November 25, 2013, 11:51:17 pm »
I figured that this would be more appropriate under test equipment as dimensions are dictated by the hardware.

My years of commercial bench work has mostly been on modular benches since the mid 70's when equipment was migrating from rack sized instruments and the communications equipment was becoming much smaller. Most everywhere I worked after that time period was a primary 30" depth surface with a riser about 17"above the benchtop and usually about 16" deep. Most benches were waist level with barstool height seating. If there was a light source beyond a magnified ring light, it was either suspended from the ceiling or about another 17" inches or so above the riser and part of the bench frame lighting from above and often made working with glasses on difficult. Typical American modular bench. Desk height benches were rare although almost any of these could be adjusted to that height.

I never particularly like that high riser as the only shelf. I didn't like my benchtop cluttered with instruments against the back and usually either improvised or had them order a 2nd shelf that wasn't as deep, around ~12" and set about eye level with my bench DMM in the center. That limited my vertical, unfettered clearance workspace to about 15", before the first riser where it was reduced, but equipment was getting smaller and 15" was enough space to comfortably work on most equipment.

Now I'm in a dilema with a home bench that I have very little space to work in where I live. I opted for a 25" deep pre-fab kitchen countertop 6' long and replaced a 30" office desk surface with it. Net loss is 5"and gained an extra foot of workspace. I've mounted track shelving behind it about 50" high at 16" vertical intervals (wall studs for strength) to lessen sagging of veniered covered particle board shelving. Equipment has gotten much smaller, so even with equipment the size of a rigol scope and other pieces across the back aren't taking much space. I have the freedom to move the brackets to any height arrangement for the shelves.

This is currently in flux and I'm just fishing for ideas.  My work is naturally transitioning to primarly working with SMT rework, so I'm looking to follow what I'm seeing on a lot of rework benches where a divided, rectangular cubicle on the far end of the bench house all soldering,desoldering,hot air, and a temporary space for a pre-heater to keep all those units out of the way but accessible for use without taking much bench space. That's been one gem of an idea that I've seen in photos and videos of workstations to reduce clutter and I think it would be a great addition.

Any input, suggestions, or examples would be greatly appreciated for ideas.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 12:08:28 am by Dawn »

Offline SLJ

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Re: Bench Dimensions and First Riser
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2013, 12:43:49 am »

I know you are using shelf brackets and press board but if weight becomes a problem you could add a piece of angle bar stock under each shelf.  This helps prevent the shelves from sagging under weight.   I've seen smaller angle bar stock added to the front of each shelf with the tip of the shelf brackets sticking in the holes.  It's steel so if it's in view you can paint it black or whatever to make it look a little nicer.  Most home improvement stores sell angle bar stock in different thickness and lengths and it usually has pre drilled holes. 

Even though I have a commercially made sheet steel riser on my main bench I added a 2 inch angle bar underneath.  I have equipment stacked up 3 high in some places and there is no chance of it sagging.

As far as the rework station, here's how I did those adjustable cubicle shelves:  (scroll down to "Shelf Construction")

« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 12:55:31 am by SLJ »

Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: Bench Dimensions and First Riser
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2013, 07:32:07 am »
Dawn, I did the opposite of you.  I went from 24" by 6" to 34" by 8".  On my new workbench, I am using 12" by 8', 3/4" MDF for shelving.  I have 4 brackets spanning the 8 feet and have no sag on the MDF.  The brackets are on tracks and are adjustable to revamp the shelving as my needs might change.  My bench is 34" deep but I have no issue reaching the shelves in front of me as I have long arms.  I will post pictures soon.

Tom, NW0LF
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