Thursday, July 7, 2016

Designing My Ultimate workbench

If you're like me, at some point you've dreamt of how you'd build your ideal desk or workbench. Everyone will have a different vision depending on their needs, but I think most people, even if they don't know it, have a list of requirements floating around in their head.  As a bit of an exercise in CAD, I decided to visualise my ideas so that when I have the space, time, and money I'll be able to build it without too many problems.

Workbench Design
My design is fairly straight forward.  I wanted a lot of open space and also wanted it to be easy to add extra features in the future.  To accomplish this there are equally spaced pre-drilled holes in the rear uprights.  These also allow the desk to be made in bolt together sections so that a single person can transport and assemble it without help.  At this point I've used 50mm x50mm square sections of steel, but I'm not sold on bolting across a hollow tube.  I prefer to bolt flat plates together, but I think it'll be fine though if the steel section is thick enough.

Bolting the bench frame to the uprights.
A welded frame is bolted between uprights to form the bench.  It's made mostly of square steel with some rectangular section cut on an angle welded to the bottom for brackets.

Bench frame
The workbench is made of inch thick pine with a rubber antistatic mat on top.  Once again these components are all easily managed by one person.  Cross bars are also used to mount computer monitors so that they are off the desk.  In the rendering below the monitors are bolted directly to the cross bar.  In reality it's likely that they will be mounted to a swing arm so that they can be moved closer to the user.

The pre-drilled uprights also allow shelves and lights to be easily mounted.  In this case the brackets for these aren't shown, but it's not too hard to imagine a triangular shaped support with internal bracing if needed.  The lights used are 600mm x 1200mm LED panel lights.  The nice even spread of light minimises reflections and shadows cast on the work area.  Ideally I'd also like to have a camera mounted on a swing arm to record any work I'm doing.  That's why I also don't mind over sizing the rear supports as this will minimize vibrations the camera may experience.

Monitors and Lights
The lights are set forward to allow maximum illumination of the bench without wasting light on the shelving.

Location of shelving and lights
At the moment the thing is built like a tank.  I can afford to reduce the size of certain elements to reduce the weight, but at this point it's just to get a feel for the concept.  My bolt holes in the upright are 50 mm apart and 10 mm in diameter.  This is just a first guess and will eventually be different.

Bench Frame

OH NO!!!  Someone broke in and replaced two of my uprights with light sabers.  OK, I may have got a little carried away with the self illuminating materials in Fusion 360.
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I'd love to know if you have any ideas or examples of your own.  If you have any ideas for things to mount at the back let me know.  I've been thinking along the line of small parts bins or something like that.

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