Machine tools and a wood floor

Hi all

I've just gotten semi bad news with my primary project for the year. Basically due to silly zoning rules the 2 car garage/workshop i wanted to erect cannot be put at the end of my driveway. (yup its stupidity at work)

Since today is one of the first warm snowlesss days here i went out and started laying out the maount of space to be taken by a 21x21 foot and a 24x24 foot garage. Both of which are way too big where i want them.

so FLUSH go the garage plans. the loophole in this planning is to skip the concrete pad and knee walls and make a dedicated detached workshop to serve me for a few years until i change homes to a more suitable one for a home shop machinist.

My question is Are there Machinists setup in wood floored shops right nowand waht concernes so i need or any good ideas to acceptably overbuild the floor to fit proper sizes machine tools (Bridgeport 1J or Index sized mill) and eventually a lathe of similar weight to replace out my current Atlas 10"

Due to my being in Canada a direct to gravel foundation is not an option if i am to get proper heat in to work in it

Opinions appreciated and i'm aware the prevailing logic will be to pour a concrete pad or to move and thats longer term than me receiving the mill

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Can you leave cutouts in the wood flooring to accommodate a small concrete mounting pad for the individual machines? A 4x8 for the lathe, a 6x6 for a mill?

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Is the problem that you can't put anything there, or is it that you can't put a building that BIG there, or is it that you can't have concrete there?

Have you considered getting a variance? This can be done with some clear forethought and an analysis of the people who make the decisions. Go to

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to learn how to do it.

Could you go to a one car garage with a 2nd floor for machinery? Could you attach a garage to the house?

There's nothing wrong with a wooden floor. I used to work in multi story factories that had wooden floors for everything. The heaviest machines did seem to go on the first floor. That floor was concrete with 4" X 4" X 6" hardwood blocks paving over the concrete.

Pete Stanaitis


Brent wrote:

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If it's temporary and zoning is ok with it, put the temp shop in a standard cargo container (rent or buy as appropriate). They are more than strong enough as is since they are designed to support a forklift and cargo on the floor, vastly heavier than a Bridgeport. They are weather tight, secure, locking, easy to move (relatively speaking), inexpensive and have no construction time, noise or debris. The only foundation required is some concrete blocks in the four corners. The floor structure has room to insulate if needed and you can stick rigid insulation on the interior walls and ceiling if needed. If you anchor all machines and whatnot solidly to the floor you can have the whole thing picked up and moved to the new location intact and ready to power up again.

Pete C.

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Pete C.

There are plenty of machine shops operating in old mill buildings with wooden floors here in New England. The buildings were originally built to support heavy loads, most commonly textile machinery, so it's certainly possible.

I don't know what you mean by direct to gravel foundation, but my shop has a floating slab with radiant heat, insulated below and for a couple feet beyond the perimeter with styrene foam. I'm in coastal Maine, so unless you're in PEI or Vancouver it's probably colder where you are, but I don't think my heating system is pushing the practical limit.

Ned Simmons

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Ned Simmons

I programmed a guy's Fadal which was on an old wood floor on joists, above a basement--about 6,000+ #. He just added a cupla lally columns, and might have put 1/8" HR sheet immediately under the Fadal.

I've seen other shops use 1/8" 4x8 HR to protect nice semi-finished loft floors, with 10,000 # knitting machines.

There's a program you can download for free called BeamBoy, for calc'g deflections, etc., which might have data for wood, don't recall. If it doesn't, you can find out what the bean data is from standard texts, and the program allows you to use this data. You plug in your support points, anticipated loads (point or distributed), and bang, deflections pop out.

Reply to
Proctologically Violated©®

Hey Brent,

One thing you could do is build your workshop with the wooden required floor, and leave space(s) for the machine(s) in between the joists to pour concrete in machine-footprint sizes to suit.

In fact, that's the way most commercial shops have their larger machines done. When they build, they pour a ten inch floor throughout, but if they get a large machine they just cut a hunk out of the floor to suit and set in a foundation for the machine, many of which end up with "pits", so they are then over-decked flush to the existing concrete floor with wood!!

Where are you located, and what exactly was the by-law restriction about? Property line setback? Frontage sight line? I recall many years ago a "no garage" by-law that was circumvented by building an open-three-sides car-port. Then a year later a 4 foot bottom wall all around was put up. A year of so later, one side would get filled a bit more, then next year a bit more, until it was 3 solid walls. Then sneak on a garage door. Took time, but it "worked".

Take care. Good luck.

Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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Brian Lawson

"It's easier to get forgiveness then permission"

Depending on your local building codes you may be able to erect a "temporary structure" i.e. shed without a permit if its under 120 sq. feet.

Hope you have good neighbours

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If you have a crawl space, you can always put joist supports in place for heavy loads.


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I used to work in a factory in Cleveland where the floor was just as you describe. Not only is there nothing wrong with that, but I far prefer standing on that floor to standing on concrete all day (or night, as the case may be.) Only downside was having to scrape the oily debris off the floor every day or it got treacherously slick (this was a screw heading/threading area) with an unholy mix of kerosene, fine metal powder, and waxy wire lube, but that probably would have been almost as much a problem with concrete anyway.


Reply to
Nate Nagel

I cant put it at the end of my driveway where it makes sense to put it due to Setback regulations my alternate location in the back corner eats away at too much backyard. I dont know how to explain it but the end of the driveway is where it "fit" without intruding on other stuctures.

I am aware i can apply for a variance but there have been recent "modifications" to city limits and i'm now included in a section of the "Larger city of Ottawa" (Not greater) where they had bylaws about what color you could paint your garage door in relation to your neighbours. The variance filing fee is $850 to enter into a popularity contest and if the council and my neighbours all like me then maybe i''ll get it.

My raised ranch bungalow is not friendly to having a garage tacked on and there is a height restriction on a detached building of 13 feet on a detached building

That is great news as it is indicating that a wood floor is suitable to hold up a machine shop if doen right

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Hey again Brent,

I too live in a recently "amalgamated" area, on the edge of Chatham-Kent. When I was getting around to having a new shop built here, the question of "height" came up. The contractor said something similar to what you write, but then went on the explain that the measure was from the ground to the eaves, and was not the total height planned. If the 2 story idea is still in your consideration, check that out with the local people up there.

Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario.

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Brian Lawson

Say no more - the rulers in our capital city have just about succeeded in regulating everything but being screwed, out of existence. Who do they think they are? federal silly servants? ( I used to be one, myself until they bought me out.) Gerry :-)} London, Canada

Reply to
Gerald Miller

Unfortunately the most crazy silly section was the city of Kanata and being within the next town out (Stittsville) I've been sucked in going the fold of their suburb pipe dream where they have bylaws from the stuff you put in your lawn to what you park to the color of your house

Long term goal will mean longer commutes but a property with a proper detached workshop Garage

though funny as it sounds the new Canadian budget will likely mean a HUGE amount of used machine tools will be available in the next few months

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Height is to the peak of the roof... it was one of the first questions i asked =(

4 metres comes fast
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I could my biggest concern there is frost, heating and cold problems associated with the concrete "Hole" in the floor even with the mounting pads i could claim TEMPORARY Structure as in theory they are liftable "blocks"

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By direct to gravel i meant a gravel floor. I know some more southern readers can do it but i wanted to communicate that i'm above the Frost line and i couldnt get the shop heated acceptably if i was trying to thaw permafrost (Even the Ontario temporary frost)

Because the city bylaws are going to foul me up i need to not use a true concrete foundation so that i can say it is a "temporary building" if questions are asked

Its a shame when you want to follow the rules but they make doing anything reasonable impossible. The person i got in the zoning office understood where i was coming from when i said

"You realize youre telling me that it is against the rules to have a garage at the end of my driveway where it makes sense to have it."

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Do tell.

Been to detached from the real world to pay much attention to the whole shmozzle. Don't watch much TV, and only read about one paper a week.

What part of the budget? Is there a bunch of incentives in there somewhere for capital equipment?

Cheers Trevor Jones

Reply to
Trevor Jones

In fact there are the capital cost writeoff for manufacturing is going up to 10% per year from 4% per year and especially there is an incentive program for businesses to write off new capital tool and equipment purchases at 50% a year for the next 2 years to "bolster canadas ability to compete globally" or some such political rigamarole

What that tells me is there MIGHT be a large increase in available used canadian machine tools as several companies upgrade and as smaller gusiness can afford to buy good and use the same write off on new t them tools.

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According to Brent :

[ ... ]

There are machine shops with much larger machines with wood floors. The floors, however, are lengths of 2x4 (or larger) about 10" long stood on end. They are put within a foundation of appropriate size so the last ones have to be driven in to get them to fit.

Lag screws can be used to hold the machines in place.

Dropped end mills or other tooling fare a *lot* better than they would dropped on concrete.

Oil spills soak into the wood and eventually make their way down to the dirt or concrete underneath it.

However -- this is in *big* shops, built for the purpose, and I'm not sure what the rules would be about the oil spills these days. The shop which I have personally seen with this kind of floor was built around WW-II time, I think.

Indeed. The on-end wood would be nice for that, however. I wonder how much it would cost -- and what codes would apply to that construction technique.

Good Luck, DoN.

Reply to
DoN. Nichols

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