Shop Upgrade Nearly Complete

My apologies for neglecting my blog for the past few weeks, but things have been a bit nuts.  One thing occupying my time has been a total redo of my workshop.  Allow me to run down the upgrades and changes.  First, we (myself and buddy Mitch) moved all the fabric racks around.  Previously, all the rolls were hanging over the table.  This was necessary for the carbon and fiberglass, because they need to be carefully cut.  However, for all the secondary materials – bagging films, breather/bleeder, peel ply and such, this was a big pain.  To cut a piece off often required a trip around to the far side of the table, since I could not reach across the table to complete the cut.  So, the carbon and fiberglass rolls were more or less kept the same, but all the secondary materials are now mounted on the wall and come out perpendicularly to the table:

This has been a huge improvement over the previous system.  You can also see in the first photo that the first section of the table has an extension.  Since most carbon and fiberglass comes in rolls wider than 48″, rolling it out and cutting it on a standard piece of shelf board is annoying – you always end up with some hanging over the edge and often it gets snagged.  So, we installed this 18″ extension that’s attached with a piano hinge, in case I need to fold it down.  Most of the time it just stays up though.

Next task was to install a complete shop air system.  I bought this compressor from Grainger:

To dry and filter the air I bought this filter and desiccant from Eastwood:

To distribute the air I got this kit from McMaster-Carr (scroll to the bottom of the page) which has these nice manifolds for quick connects:

What’s all this air feed, other than pneumatic tools?  Why this brand new high volume resin dispenser from Michael Engineering, of course!

It’s got a nine foot long hose, with a mixer manifold at the end, so with a static mixer I can dispense fully mixed resin straight onto the carbon on the table.  It puts out up to a few quarts per minute, so I can wet out most layups in about 60 seconds.  This is, suffice to say, wonderful.  I mounted it on a furniture dolly from Home Depot so I can wheel it around if I need.

The lighting situation in the shop left a lot to be desired – there were no bulbs where the garage door went up.  Since this is the part of the table where I do my layups, this was a big problem at night.  We installed six new fluorescent boxes, and it’s now bright as day.

Lastly, and I’m not completely done with this, but I’ve been getting lots of storage bins and putting everything in its proper place.

So other than a few organizational details, the shop renovation is done.  Just in time, no less, since I just got an order for another set of L-39 wingtips.   I have to say that the amount of time and effort saved has been wonderful.  While everything is always easier the second time, the improvements in equipment and organization have been apparent from the get go.

Okay, enough bloggin’ for now, time for some dinner, then back to the garage for another layup!

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