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Old 02-01-2013, 10:02 PM   #1
hoyt
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Default Re-Purposed Machine Shop

I own a commercial building, part of which was a machine and welding shop. The building is old (construction on the oldest part began in the late 50s) and has been enlarged through several additions. It used to have multiple tenants, but eventually one tenant occupied all 10,000 square feet. Encroachment from highway expansion reduced parking significantly and when the remaining tenant downsized, the "leftover" 3,000 square feet was not rent-able due to lack of parking, so I moved my auto shop into it. Since it was a machine and welding shop, the electrical service is a stout 208 3-phase at 400 amps. The downside is that the ceiling is only 10-1/2 feet high, so I had to sell my asymmetric Rotary lift (it needed a 14' ceiling), but I got a deal on a Benwil two-post and an Eagle four-post lift. Interestingly, when raised to the maximum height on the lifts, I can comfortably work under them sitting on a roll-around stool. I also have a Kwick-Lift mid-rise ramp on roller skates.

The original '60s-era shop building was long and narrow, the size of four single car garages laid end-to-end; that is now used for my machine shop area (3/4 of it) and air compressor/large item storage (1/4 of it). There was originally a detached office and garage the size of a two-car garage with a center dividing wall. In between these buildings was added in the late 60s a one-car sized area. a two-car sized area and the main space, a four-car sized area. I only have one 12x10 overhead door and two exit doors. There's only one very small window, but two skylights. It's all cinderblock construction and mostly metal roof, but the original two buildings have wooden roofs all covered now with rubber membrane roofing.

The space was last occupied by small-engine lawnmower mechanics and was . . . filthy. It cleaned up nicely and all the interior walls have been repainted white, which brightened it up considerably. There is no heating and A/C, but I have plans to insulate and condition one of the single-car spaces for use as an office.

At first I hated the idea of the space being so chopped up, but quickly realized that there was lots of wall space. In the main area, I put up 40 linear feet of pegboard along just one wall. It's certainly not palatial (I did install a very nice toilet, however) but I can keep all my stuff in one place, have plenty of room and am getting things well organized.


Before moving in, the main electrical panel was well-hidden by the junk-pile.


One nice surprise, this Gasboy pump was used to pump Varsol (I could smell some that was left in the hose) and it was left on the interior wall.


My front door, before I made the tenant clean up. The smaller overhead door opening was filled in with cinderblock since the door was rotten and access was blocked by the storage containers anyway.


The back half of the main work area. there was a thick layer of dirt and grease all over the floor. The tenant left the exhaust fan because it "didn't work". I cleaned off the dirt, greased the bearings, replaced the fan belt, replaced the power cord -- good as new!
UPDATE: The fan motor finally self-destructed after 4 years of use and was replaced


The machine shop area. There were just two light bulbs in that room, only one of which worked. There was also a Korean War vintage fluorescent fixture hidden under an inch of dust and mill scale. The floor was covered in a layer of grease and dirt. It all cleaned up nicely.


Just inside the overhead door, this is a two-car sized area. The original office/garage area (that was a free-standing building) is just to the right. A single-car sized area is the the left; the machine shop area is further to the left. The two-post lift is now located here as you enter, the four post lift is in the far left corner of the main room and the Kwick-lift is straight ahead.


The machine shop area is shaping up. More lights certainly help. I added even more after this picture was taken. I should have painted the ceilings white as well. 8(


Still getting things organized. You can see how low the ceiling is, but the lift can get the car just high enough so that I can sit on a roll-around stool and reach under the car at a comfortable height.


This is the view to the left (from the camera's point of view) of the overhead door and is the front of what was the detached outbuilding. Office on the left, garage on the right. Just to the left of that red bucket is the restroom (there's no light in it for now). It was the mechanic's restroom for 40 years - it did not appear to have been cleaned during that time. The room on the left may or may not become my wife's crafts work area because I have some tentative plans to add a shower stall. The area on the right (the old garage) will house parts I now have stored in a mini-storage facility and save me more than a few bucks a month.


This corner was just wasted space, so I built some workbenches. The blue tape marks where I'll cut some interior windows for that office I plan just so I don't feel cooped up.


Another shot of the four-post and Kwick-Lift. Again, note the low ceilings. It does help with the heat in the winter and the back door helps with a cross-breeze in the summer.


Every once in a while, I get a visitor. She likes to help clean up. That scaffold from Northern has come in very handy and makes a nice portable work table as well. Note the blue stripe on the wall. Each room has a different colored stripe (green, blue, red) and it makes it easier to tell the occasional helper where things are to be found, "It's in the blue room". The walls in the room with the air compressor are not painted and it has only one small light, so it got named the "dark room".

There is still a lot of work to be done on the space itself, but it's becoming more organized and fun.

Last edited by hoyt; 05-09-2017 at 03:27 PM. Reason: typos, de-Imgur
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:54 PM   #2
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Default Re: Re-Purposed Machine Shop

I don't think your pictures are big enough.
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: Re-Purposed Machine Shop

Really man, bigger pics next time : ) The space is beginning to come together nicely. Keep us posted as it progresses.
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Re-Purposed Machine Shop

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I don't think your pictures are big enough.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Re-Purposed Machine Shop

I discovered I can link to a "large thumbnail" size in Imgur just by appending a lowercase letter 'l'to the URL. They should be more better now.

I also discovered that Imgur doesn't like you to link your images as "content" to another site, so I just self-hosted the images myself since I run several websites for car clubs.

Last edited by hoyt; 05-09-2017 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Re-Purposed Machine Shop

Here's a few shots from my old shop, about 1/4 mile away from my present location. It was about 2200 square feet (1/3 of that was an office), had 24-foot ceilings and , while it accommodated my Rotary lift, it was impossible to keep it warm in the winter and had no cross-ventilation in the summer..






Last edited by hoyt; 04-19-2016 at 02:48 PM. Reason: typos, de-Imgur
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:32 PM   #7
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Here's a photo perspective most guys don't have for their shop. This was taken in May, 1967 before many of the building additions were made. The shop can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the photo. The large rectangular dark-roofed building in front of it is an upholstery shop. Behind that is the long rectangular building that was/is the machine shop. Just above that building to the right you can see the freestanding office/garage area. It was about a year later that the upholstery shop was demolished and replaced and the area between the shop and the garage was "filled in " to create a 10,000 square foot building. That cluster of buildings to the left and the adjacent open area are now occupied by a new car dealership. The buildings to the right of the shop are now all gone and the property is owned by the state. I imagine my place might fall to redevelopment within a decade.


As requested, here's a modern day image of the same location.

Last edited by hoyt; 04-22-2016 at 10:44 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Re-Purposed Machine Shop

Nice shop you've got there!
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: Re-Purposed Machine Shop

I'll take a stall in there. What would you offer per hour to a shade tree mechanic like me? Looks great!
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:38 PM   #10
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The Benwil BW9 lift came from a local Ford dealership when they updated their service area. I had to dig and pour two 4x4x2 footings for it since the concrete shop floor is only about 3" thick! The lift is solid as a rock now. That's the future office behind that wall with some potential windows marked off.

Last edited by hoyt; 04-19-2016 at 02:49 PM. Reason: de-Imgur
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:43 PM   #11
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Inside the front door (note the Gasboy pump) where I've organized my electrical work tools and supplies.

I scored all those nice, modern cabinets when my daughter remodeled her kitchen in a style better suited to her turn-of-the-century farm house, so that's my office for now. That strange, bright light from above is not a heavenly blessing, just an infrared heater.

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Old 02-04-2013, 09:52 PM   #12
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Default Re: Re-Purposed Machine Shop

Looking good so far.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:52 PM   #13
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The car on top is a 1954 Triumph TR2, TS-561L, which was the 561st TR2 manufactured. Since body panel shipments were delayed, the bonnet (hood), dash and spare tire cover were hand-made at the factory from aluminum. I fabricated the stands to free up some floor space since the TRs are a longer-term project. The car on the bottom is a 1960 TR3-A which was included with the factory steel hard top and overdrive transmission I purchased; a bonus car! On the floor, here's a low-mileage Mopar 360/727 a friend pulled from the boneyard for his vintage Winnebago which was subsequently crushed under some snow, so he gave the engine to me. Maybe I'll find a nice Chevy pickup trucks sans motor and trans.


I have a ready-to-be-assembled red 1959 TR3 stashed in my mom's garage that needs to make its way here so it can be put together. My first car in high school was a TR3; I couldn't afford a muscle car of the era. When I was 17, I nearly bought a '40 Dodge Business Coupe with a 440 Max Wedge, but the guy refused to sell it to me because I'd kill myself with it. He was probably right.



Forty-four feet of pegboard.

Last edited by hoyt; 04-19-2016 at 02:49 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:57 PM   #14
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Unpainted, dark, smelling like the oil that leaked in gallons from the crappy Ingersoll-Rand air compressor, this is the "dark room". The room needs some more shelves. Think I have enough junk?

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Old 02-04-2013, 10:06 PM   #15
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The machine shop continues to become better organized. I assembled bases for the 3-in-one and belt sander and finally got the band saw operating properly. A red stripe needs to be painted on the wall (this is the "red room") and I have some re-purposed ceiling fans to hang (the room gets little to no ventilation in the summer).


For now, the machine shop is the temporary home for the webserver for my car club's website. We host a car show in Williamsburg, VA every Spring for the past 42 years. It will be moved into the much cleaner office when that is done.

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Old 02-04-2013, 10:12 PM   #16
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I've got too much stuff. Besides my stuff, I have all the garage stuff from my late father, my late father-in-law and a closed radiator business I had with my nephew. There's also some stuff from the family business. I also like the Marx 'Big Red' hotrod as you can see. I started panting the stripe in the "red room", then it got cold.

The Weiand supercharger is the same one as seen here. It's for the GM Goodwrench 350 destined for the Auburn. All the machine work is done, just awaiting assembly.

UPDATE: My son-in-law Matt and I finally built the SBC with the Weiand blower in 2016, but it will go in my wife's car, a 1939 Plymouth convertible. You know, you have to keep the wife happy . . .

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Old 02-04-2013, 10:20 PM   #17
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This is the original office space. That hole in the wall to the left leads to the toilet; no door so far. Sharp eyes might spot a hot dog rotisserie machine to compliment the Body Twirler on the left.


This is the area adjacent to the old office that used to be a single-car garage. It will eventually hold the contents of a mini-storage unit full of Triumph TR2/3 parts. Those are TR3 transmissions on the floor and a motorized Worksman bicycle in the corner. Sharp eyes may notice the cast iron Chevy big block headers at the back. I like the Chinese lantern from the Chinese food store across the road. It blew over here during a storm a decade ago and never left.

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Old 02-04-2013, 10:25 PM   #18
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I took all these pictures today because I cleaned up this mess in what will be my new office space, but I failed to take an 'after' picture. Actually, it wouldn't look much different, but I did find some things I've been looking for.
UPDATE: It's still a mess, only with new stuff in it after I cleaned out the old stuff.

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Old 02-04-2013, 11:02 PM   #19
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hoyt, I have TS 582 L.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:23 AM   #20
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Sweet!

Here are some pics of mine. The drive-train had been upgraded to an early TR3 which also provided some seats and interior pieces and the front apron. The original color was Sebring White with Blackberry interior. I'm missing the taillights and passenger grab bar. I do have all the very rare baby-Tenax fasteners. I hope your TR2 is in better shape than mine.

[IMG]http:/tsra-va.com/gj//Vu3lOJI.jpg[/IMG]



You can see where somebody painted the Blackberry (it's really a dark purple) trim black.

Unmolested long door. I also have the original wing beading buried under Bondo.

Hmmm. I've misplaced my other TR2 pictures . . . . .

Does yours have any aluminum panels?

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