I originally wrote this 11 hours into a 14 hour flight when I finally had some time to reflect on the last 10 days of setting up my new and improved workshop.
This year has been nothing short of exciting, I have spent years wondering if ETS could become a full time job and now I am making it happen.
My lease at Deakin University has given me the tools to take things up a level, bring a new look to ETS and expand the possibilities and the future prospects as a company.
It hasn’t been without its struggles though, the first was the workspaces and the separation between them.
I love my home garage, I struggled with the prospect of shifting everything out to fit out my new workshop and spent a long time (maybe too long) believing that I could have both spaces equipped with everything I need.
With the office above the workshop operational I spent most of my mornings planning future projects and the afternoons usually combined a mix of fabrication work in the workshop and in the home garage.
Through all the back and forth between home and the workshop I finally had enough and decided to bring all the large machinery into the workshop and just sort it out from there.
Loving my little room in my home garage I wanted to have a similar setup in my workshop after a lot of my plans needed fire engineering approval (and the subsequent building permit and fire sprinklers) I decided to construct something that would contain the mess and dust but keep within the rules and allow the machine room to come together with a minimum of red tape.
Just 10 days ago I ordered 110 meters of steel tube to begin construction of my room.
These projects start with a meticulous plan that often takes longer to execute than the actual building phase.
I have learnt that a solid drawn plan with detailed cutting list can make the build process extremely simple.
In this instance, I was using 50mm x 50mm x 1.6mm tube and pre-cutting the whole lot with 45-degree corners perfect down to the mm.
With all the tube cut I could begin the process of putting it together, I TIG welded this whole project, it did take me a little longer than MIG welding but when you weigh up the time taken to grind back those welds that sit against mating faces then I believe its possibly quicker to TIG weld.
Not to mention the cleanliness of the space and the fact that I don’t want weld spatter on my table.
The large table I have in my workshop has been the best addition to my workspace, it allows me to easily make large, square and flat sections like this.
I made the wall sections to suit the 1220mm x 2440mm Acrylic clear sheets, these cost me $115 each and make a durable and easily replaceable clean and clear room.
These Acrylic sheets are attached with tape, yep that’s right tape! I used clear double-sided tape on the 20mm x 20mm cross braces and then 25mm grip take bent at a 90-degree angle for the top and bottom 1220mm lengths.
I did this because I often over-engineer things and make them way more involved then they need to be. To put 90-degree bracing around the whole perimeter of the Acrylic sheets would equate to over 90 meters of angle, why go to that effort when the tape will do the job?
One thing I have always wanted to do but never had the room has been a roller rack for my Brobo Saw, these rollers allow me to easily cut and measure tube without struggling to straighten or hold what it is I am cutting. I used a 3-meter length of rollers and also a 1.5m length with a 50mm x 50mm base.
I kept my saw on its original base as I can take it outside to cut up 8 meter lengths when I need, I am planning on making a steel rack above the saw too.
Oh and I haven’t finished the door for the room yet either, that will be hung via some rollers on the top channel and slide open to allow my large table to come in and out.
I am also super excited about getting my own tyre machine, its been a long time coming and a luxury item that will save me so much time and running around. Through shopping around for machines the Corghi range stood out to be the best of the best.
Above the machine is a fresh stock of Falken RT615K ready top be fitted up.
I just came back from giving this another thrashing at a local proving ground, hold tight because the footage is coming.
With the lathe in place and the tools in their new room, it looks amazing, I repainted my drill, the vices and anything else that was either red or blue. I know I’m weird right but I just love grey machinery.
Speaking of grey I have just finished up what I am calling my “Acoustic Workstations” when I first moved into my workspace I noticed a lot of sound reverberation from all the harsh flat surfaces and with plans to film a bunch in here, I needed to address it.
The thing that started this was the search for sound-absorbing materials and their effectiveness, I didn’t just want to kill the sound I wanted to create some storage so I set out on a search for a product that filled my needs.
I didn’t find much but I came across Planex and their Acoustic furniture, I fell in love with the look and function but couldn’t afford the price tag.
Lucky for me I found a second-hand furniture store in Melbourne with 4 of these Planex cupboards for 1/10th the new price. I quickly loaded up the trailer and went to pick them up. To my surprise, they had 4 so I was in luck!
I made up some 50mm x 50mm bases on caster wheels to sit them on and went to work looking for the items to finish off the workstations. The cabinets alone would do next to nothing in terms of sound-absorbing but I had plans for the backboards to do the majority of the work.
I looked into all the products on the market and found that the CSR Martini 50mm sheets are the best thing for sound-absorbing, at 1220mm x 2400mm and in a pack of 6 for just over $200 a pack I was sold.
I had trouble finding a product that would contain the material but let it work at its optimum absorbing levels. The answer came in a company called Perftech, they happily perforated 8 sheets of 1220mm x 2440mm x 1.6mm aluminium sheets with 7.2mm holes to create a 65% open area.
With alloy capping around the perimeter and lockers either side I had my workstations complete and this grey on grey on grey aesthetic creeping further and further into the space. Oh, and do they work? They sure do, they create a real dullness to the sound quality and will be super handy when filming.
Oh and the 7.5 meter long Sidchrome tools wall is complete, big thanks to Sidchrome and DeWalt for helping me fill all these draws with everything I need to work at my optimum level.
I used Sidchrome new EVA Foam inserts for a neat and tidy install.
and also DeWalt's new XR Flex Volt 54v cordless tools which replace everything that ever had a cord on it.
Between up and downstairs my workplace is literally what my dreams are made of, I couldn’t be more excited to come to work every day.
So with everything happening at work what’s the go with the home garage?
Well, I think it has found its style.
The Econoline now resides indoors and I think it’s fairly happy about that.
There are memories and achievements scattered throughout this garage.
Even with the machinery gone, it is still a useful space, my little machine room still has the mill drill in place, the grinder, linisher and DeWalt cold saw to take care of most projects.
I have my large Sidchrome roll cab packed with tools and ready to work on the various vintage motorcycles that surround it.
It has taken 7 months and only now am I feeling a strong connection and understanding of both my spaces and the roles that need to be undertaken within them.
In other news I am about to touch down in Germany for BMW’s Motorrad Days festival where I get to see the BMW R18 Concept bike in the flesh to inspire the BMW Chopper build that will take shape in the coming months. You can stay up to date with that by signing up to BMW’s update list to keep progress on the build.
As always thanks for reading and if you haven't already check out my first course release, Motorsport Fabrication Fundamentals.