I have never taken much stock in "work benches" I would suggest getting a
standard inexpensive banquet table 6' long at BJs or Staples (or, gasp,
walmart) with a top that can get marred by soldering irons, drills, and so
I had home depot cut me a piece of high density plywood with sizes that
would fit my garage, nail two studs and put on top of workhorses. This way I
could care less when it gets scrapped. I can even temporarily nail things to
it to help me on whatever I'm doing.
When it gets too crappy, I can just replace it with another plywood sheet.
Good luck getting worthwhile responses...I have asked the same
questions several times before with lackluster results.
Could it be that people just talk about building robots instead of
actually building them? ;<)
I would recommend several differnet work areas and I would suggest
looking at the specialized workbenches available to industry. Many of
them have specialized features that can be incorporated into your
One would be dedicated towards the electronics side of the hobby. Power
supplies, oscilloscope, soldering irons...oh my..darn near anything
your budget will buy.
The second would allow for physical construction of the robots...think
dust and metal filings here. Saws, drills and any other tool known to
Both of these would also have storage for the many parts and components
you will acquire to support the sickness...err I mean the hobby.
Third would be software development...computers, printers and a white
board. And oh yes, food and drink for those long all night debugging
sessions in your future.
Also I would include an area for robot testing. It is very convenient
to have an area where the robot can roam free as you test your latest
mod and allows your pets the peace of mind that comes knowing that they
will not be participating in the testing.
Welcome to the hobby....enjoy the journey. ;<)
You may be on to something.....think about it...have you actually seen
one in person?
And if they exist, where are they created? When I asked for pictures of
robot labs, there were no takers.
Next someone will tell me that Unix is the only great OS. :<)
You know, I never really thought much of my robot work area to post pictures
to my site or anything. But here are some pictures I threw up to my web
server of my constructions area. Its a bench I made in my shop. No web page
to go along with the pictures (yet), but I think they are fairly self
Oh, and no making fun of my designing, construction or electrical methods!
I like that. Big Beefy construction. You will never have to worry about
the bench moving on you. That drives me crazy when I'm working on
something like putting screws into hardwood at an odd angle.
I think your electrical work is more than adequate. It leaves you open
to modify it at any time. I remember my dad built his dream bench back
in the early eighties. It was all prebuilt cabinets and butcher block
tops so he could build his model airplanes. We had the wall sockets
spaced out along the wall just above the counter top where we thought we
would never be without a socket.
We were wrong. We were always hooking up a power strip or a short
extension cord, because we never ran any to the cabinet fronts where we
could keep the cords off of the work piece. And because we had run them
in the walls behind his paneling, we couldn't get into them easily to
run new ones.
I like what you did better. It's all open, so you can store stuff
underneath and get to it easily. You might try adding a few shelves
above and below, but watch that you don't put them where you can bang
For anybody else reading this, and you have a little money to spend,
Craftsman makes these mechanics workbenches that haves butcher block
tops. They have built in power outlets on the front underneath the
counter top and along the front edge of the shelf over the bench itself.
They have switches for both sets of outlets. These are what we use at
work, a radio shop. We put everything up to 42" high Master IIIs, which
take two of us to heave up there, on these things.
They've also got a set of drawers on one side and a cabinet on the
other. On the top shelf I keep all my test equipment and a fair amount
of technical manuals. The counter top itself is at least 36" deep, about
6' long and 2" thick. They have taken a lot of abuse over the years and
I expect them to be there for many years to come.
When I worked in the defense industry, our technicians had these great
workstations. We called them "tech benches". The had a large, white, Formica
work surface, and a high shelf above that wide enough for an oscilloscope. I
think they also had drawers and/or cabinets under the work surface.
I want one of those.
Hey -- my friend sent me this link earlier. Check out those cabinets::
apparently the guy uses it more for woodworking, but that's neither here
here's the index page for the gallery:
If you want something fancy and expensive try Jensen Tools or Contact East.
If you want something that works just fine and is reasonably cheap go by
Home Depot and pick up a solid core door and a couple of sets of sawhorse
As long as it's strong enough to hold up what you're working on and big
enough to give you adequate workspace and reasonably level and flat it's
not the bench that matters, it's how you accessorize. A power strip across
the back, a good light, a static mat, and lots of drawers are the most
useful adjuncts. Maybe a shelf across the back for instruments.
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