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'[OT] Bench organization'
2004\09\12@155454 by Josh Koffman

face picon face
I just make a mess. Cables, components, old prototypes, new
prototypes, test equipment, they all have a place on the menagerie
that is my desk. Typing on my computer is sometimes hard as the
keyboard is often boxed in or used as a parts tray, and I think I need
to switch to a trackball to free up some mousing space.

Josh
--
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
       -Douglas Adams

On Sun, 12 Sep 2004 11:07:23 -0500, Dave VanHorn <spam_OUTdvanhornTakeThisOuTspamdvanhorn.org> wrote:
>
> I'm looking for ideas on how to organize a workbench again.
> I've seen a number of implementations over the years, but nothing really satisfactory.
>
> The central problem seems to be that the prototype is a relatively small thing, that in surrounded by a bunch of test equipment and cables.  Also, there's a bunch of small stuff from components to screws, to keep organized.
>
> Worse if you're doing multiple projects, since each project may need some of the same things, and it's own special things.
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2004\09\12@161011 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
At 02:54 PM 9/12/2004, Josh Koffman wrote:

>I just make a mess. Cables, components, old prototypes, new
>prototypes, test equipment, they all have a place on the menagerie
>that is my desk. Typing on my computer is sometimes hard as the
>keyboard is often boxed in or used as a parts tray, and I think I need
>to switch to a trackball to free up some mousing space.

I know the feeling, but this is what I'm trying to get past.
I keep thinking that there must be a better way.

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2004\09\12@164117 by Jinx

face picon face
My worktop is a tip at times too. The trick is making spaces,
shelves or compartments big enough only for for meters/scopes/
keyboards/stuff that's always there. Everywhere else can get as
messy as you like without being a nuisance. For example, I often
have two PCs running -> 2 k/bs. One is on an angled shelf 12"
above the worktop, the other is in front of me on a pullout for
typing or on another shelf just below and in front of the other k/b.
Helpful if you can do your own woodwork and make exactly what
you need. It doesn't need to be Chippendale, just put together so
everything you need is within reach and everything you don't need
is out of the way

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2004\09\12@164939 by Bob Blick

face picon face
> At 02:54 PM 9/12/2004, Josh Koffman wrote:
>
>>I just make a mess. Cables, components, old prototypes, new
>>prototypes, test equipment, they all have a place on the menagerie
>>that is my desk. Typing on my computer is sometimes hard as the
>>keyboard is often boxed in or used as a parts tray, and I think I need
>>to switch to a trackball to free up some mousing space.
>
> I know the feeling, but this is what I'm trying to get past.
> I keep thinking that there must be a better way.

I'm a big fan of "tupperware" type containers (Sterilite, Rubbermaid) for
projects.

Also Iris plastic storage drawers from Target. The drawers pull out easily
and you can move projects to and from your workbench and keep them
separate.

-Bob

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2004\09\12@172403 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
>
>> I just make a mess.

Me too.  I've started to put each project in its own box (and I'm
learning
to appreciate having a bunch of same-sized, clearly identifiable
'project
boxes.)  Sometimes a box will contain more components than will be used
for just that project, or tools that might be need elsewhere as well,
but
it's still better than having those parts and/or tools scattered across
a messy desk...

BillW

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2004\09\12@174450 by Denny Esterline

picon face

> On Sun, 12 Sep 2004 11:07:23 -0500, Dave VanHorn <.....dvanhornKILLspamspam@spam@dvanhorn.org>
wrote:
> >
> > I'm looking for ideas on how to organize a workbench again.
> > I've seen a number of implementations over the years, but nothing
really satisfactory.
> >
> > The central problem seems to be that the prototype is a relatively
small thing, that in surrounded by a bunch of test equipment and cables.
Also, there's a bunch of small stuff from components to screws, to keep
organized.
> >
> > Worse if you're doing multiple projects, since each project may need
some of the same things, and it's own special things.
>

I have a wide shelf over my desk with room under it for my PC monitor. I
keep my larger equipment -scope -bench meter -freq counter -function
generator etc, on the shelf. It helps, but my desk still devolves into
chaos more often than I'd like :o)

-Denny


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2004\09\12@184515 by hilip Stortz

picon face
i've been thinking about the same thing.  things that help to keep
everything organized help.  for instance, cabinets for all of your
parts.  the "normal" cabinets are expensive, particularly for the "esd"
cabinets.  i've found a cabinet type that is great, and i got 2 out of 3
of them free just for moving them.  there's an old, old filling system
used to keep track of business accounts, basically it's a bunch of
drawers about 6-8" wide, about 3/4 inch tall, and about 18" deep (i have
to dig them out of storage, but that's the rough size).  they are made
of steel, so no static problems if you use foam.  i'll be making trays
for them from 3X5 cards cut and glued into 5 sided boxes.  i should be
able to get all the 1% resistors in 2 drawers!  these things usually
come with the old cards in them, attached to the drawer with a wire that
acts as a hinge, it's easy to pull all of those out and have a lot of
space.  each cabinet has 15-20 such drawers, perfect for chips,
resistors, small caps, small tools, connectors, etc.  i doubt i'll wind
up using more than 2 of them, and i may only need one (i hadn't done the
math for how many open parts boxes i could put in each drawer before,
and the second and third one i have came together).  you may want a
dolly too move them or 2 people, they are heavy being steel, but also
tough as nails and inherently conductive.

the other thing that helps is a cable rack to mount on the wall to keep
your' unused cables untangled and easy to find.

a shelf over the back of the bench can be really useful as a place to
keep power supplies and other things you usually don't need to adjust
during testing.

tool drawers or a tool box with drawers for your most often used tools
really helps.

trying to pick up some of the mess every day (like tools you won't be
using again on the project and random parts you had pulled out but won't
be using now) also really makes a difference.

thinking about the "layout" also helps.  i've decided to have the parts
cabinets on the right, the soldering iron, my test gear stacked up, my
monitor next to that, and space in front of all of this for the
prototype to be built/soldered/tested.  i'll probably have a little room
on the end as well.  i also plan to stack my keyboard and mouse on top
of the monitor when i don't need them.  then again, i may decide i hate
that arrangement and move things around or spread them out more.  i may
or may not use my scope cart depending on how things work out (i'd love
to use it, but the space is crowded with a desk on the other side of the
bench and many computers that will be just off the floor under the
table).  on smaller tables i've had the scope and test gear on the end
pointing across the length of the table, iron on the right, and parts
bins on the wall above and more in drawers (it was a small wooden desk,
worked very nicely).  also get plenty of outlet strips, it's amazing how
many things you wind up plugging in.

good lighting is also essential, i'm making an overhead fixture with old
track lights with individual dimmers for each spot (surplus, and the
fixtures were free, they'll be on an aluminum tube rather than a track
so i can wire separate dimmers), this allows more than enough light
where you want it but also the ability to save electricity and not get
as hot when you don't need light every where.

after a project, or occasionally during a long project, collect up all
the spare test leads/wires and misc.  that alone helps a lot.  (i've
made great messes on benches, even though i'm good at organizing, it's
something that happens as you get more and more into a project that
takes some time).  i keep my leads either hanging ( i need to buy/make
some of those racks) or neatly rolled up in a drawer.

the whole trick is to have some organizational plan, and as they say a
place for everything and everything in it's place when not being used.

a really huge bench works great as well, i have one in the garage (won't
fit in this room and will be used for mechanical stuff in the garage)
that's 4'X8' made from panels used in a trade show someone was throwing
out (plywood on top and bottom with 2x4 and 1x4 wood separating and
reinforcing them, it pays to see what people are throwing out and think
how you can adapt it), it also has a shelf made from a smaller panel. it works really nicely (once i got the pvc top treated to be antistatic
with detergent which has lasted over a decade now).

right now, i'm using a used solid core door on a pair of legs from
grainger for a bench, because i once had multiple monitors on it i
strengthened it with a couple of pieces of angle iron bolted/epoxied
across the bottom, no more sag.  you also want a piece of reasonably
heavy steel angle iron or something similar across the legs in back for stability.

you just have to have space and whatever cabinets or drawers you can get
to keep things reasonably organized.  and while i've worked on multiple
projects at the same time, doing one at a time also really helps, when possible.

p.s., i use a trackball to save space myself, and because i love
trackballs, though you either hate them or love them generally.  get one
with a large ball, the ones with small balls are a bad design.  they
also make it easier on your hands/arms and help avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.

Dave VanHorn wrote:
{Quote hidden}

-------

-- Philip Stortz--"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I
didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a
Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I
wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a
Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
-- Martin Niemöller, 1892-1984 (German Lutheran Pastor), on the Nazi
Holocaust, Congressional Record 14th October 1968 p31636.

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2004\09\12@201435 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 03:10 PM 9/12/2004 -0500, you wrote:
>At 02:54 PM 9/12/2004, Josh Koffman wrote:
>
> >I just make a mess. Cables, components, old prototypes, new
> >prototypes, test equipment, they all have a place on the menagerie
> >that is my desk. Typing on my computer is sometimes hard as the
> >keyboard is often boxed in or used as a parts tray, and I think I need
> >to switch to a trackball to free up some mousing space.
>
>I know the feeling, but this is what I'm trying to get past.
>I keep thinking that there must be a better way.

Try not to keep too many projects active at any given time. ;-) And always
make the time to clean up and pack the stuff away when a project is
complete. Also, spending a couple thousand dollars on storage, files,
cabinets and custom bench space really makes a noticeable difference.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
speffspamKILLspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com




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2004\09\12@204345 by Josh Koffman

face picon face
Part of what I struggle with at work is that my main desk is also my
main bench at the moment. I do my soldering and component work in my
lab, but when I'm programming I need to be by my computer. So, then I
need to work at my desk. Then I need test equipment at my desk. And
jumpers, spare parts, extra chips, etc.

And, since this is my regular desk as well, I also have tons of
paperwork, trade journals, sample parts, prototypes and other things
slowly accumulating. It's a bit of a problem, my boss doesn't like
anyone having a messier desk than him, and I'm the only one that can
accomplish that! I'd like to put in another bench area so that I can
keep the projects off my main desk, but I don't think I have enough
space in the room.

Josh
--
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
       -Douglas Adams

On Sun, 12 Sep 2004 20:27:15 -0400, Spehro Pefhany <.....speffKILLspamspam.....interlog.com> wrote:
> Try not to keep too many projects active at any given time. ;-) And always
> make the time to clean up and pack the stuff away when a project is
> complete. Also, spending a couple thousand dollars on storage, files,
> cabinets and custom bench space really makes a noticeable difference.
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2004\09\12@231755 by hilip Stortz

picon face
i solved that problem by having my bench directly in front of my desk. i can turn 1 or 2 monitors around if i need them on the bench side and i
can do pure computer design/programming at the desk and keep most of the
books on that side.  i'm really only a hobbyist at this point (i'd love
to write construction articles or have a few little toys for sale
eventually) but i've done commercial work and i know what you mean. just be glad you aren't doing chemistry!

Josh Koffman wrote:
>
> Part of what I struggle with at work is that my main desk is also my
> main bench at the moment. I do my soldering and component work in my
> lab, but when I'm programming I need to be by my computer. So, then I
> need to work at my desk. Then I need test equipment at my desk. And
> jumpers, spare parts, extra chips, etc.
-------

-- Philip Stortz--"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I
didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a
Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I
wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a
Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
-- Martin Niemöller, 1892-1984 (German Lutheran Pastor), on the Nazi
Holocaust, Congressional Record 14th October 1968 p31636.

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2004\09\12@234023 by M. Adam Davis

flavicon
face
Well, you're an engineer.  Sit down and figure it out analytically...

Problem (current state of the world):
A single project takes little space, but requires a substantial amount
of test equipment and nearby support materials/components.

As the project progresses more equipment and material is added to the
workspace - often the old is not cleared since it may be later used or
is still needed.

The main problem being that space becomes constricted and you are
uncomfortable, less efficient, or simply don't like the aesthetics of it.

Possible solutions:
Larger work area or work bench
Better/more space efficient prototyping and testing methods
Better self discipline
Occasional 'forced' cleanups - put /everything/ away and come back to
the project later
Better organization
Are you using the area for a single purpose, or is it multipurpose and
becoming cluttered with irrelevant projects/materials?


When I've been able to work on a 4x8 foot table I felt I had plenty of
room for all the tools I need when that entire table is dedicated to one
project.  Space is limited, though, so I don't have that luxury.  On to
the next solution...

Generally I need up to 3 DMMs, one oscilliscope, a powersupply, and a
few other components plus associated cables/wires/etc.  (soldering
station and computer station are seperate, but located nearby).  Is
there a way to make these items take up less space or use them more
effectively?  If I get a DMM that reads voltage and current
simultaneously then I might be able to consolidate.  The scope does have
DMM functions, but it's a pain to use since it uses different cables and
settings - is there a better tool?  Can I mount my 'standard' equipment
to an angled board behind the table for easy access with little or no
footprint?  Can I consolidate test wiring?  A single ground going to all
the test equipment can suffice in many cases rather than having several
grounds going to the circuit.  Can I design my prototypes so expected
test points go to a single header for the logic analyzer and other
testing equipment?  Am I focussing too much on cost savings and wasting
a lot of time trying to save a little money on test fixtures and prototypes?

Do I really need to do it the way I've always done it?  Old habits die hard.

Forced cleanups may seem weird.  When I've had multiple projects running
concurrently I found that I do better if I simply completely clean up
the previous project including putting everything away that I may need
for the next project before starting work on the next project.  My work
area always is easier to work on and nicer to use just after a clean
up.  It's not a great general solution, but when nothing else helps
maybe the solutions is to 'start over' in a sense.

Better organization seems to be a given - of course if I were better
organized I'd have a nicer work area. If it's easy to get something out
and put it away, then I might be more apt to put it away immediately,
even if I know I'm going to use it later.  Easier said than done,
especially since I'm still growing my equipment and materials cache (I
suspect there isn't any such thing as a 'complete' setup - it just grows
and grows).

What works well for one doesn't work for another.  I suffer from poor
organization, and while usable I find that I have to spend perhaps a few
hours a month just cleaning everything up from the floor to the
ceiling.  I've also discovered that typically my pack rat tendency works
against me - my time and space is more valuable than a motor which is
'perfect for this idea I have' or a gadget which 'I'll wish I had in the
future'.  Half the time I can't find the thing I stored away for future
use anyway, and when I do find it it's usually barely usable for the
intended purpose.  Toss it, it's certianly less valuable than the space
it's taking, and the time it will take when you think you might use it.

Of course, that doesn't count for those things that really /will/ be
useful in the future... ;-)

Thanks for making me do that, it'll help me make my area more
productive.  Hopefully you'll find the answer to your problem...

-Adam

Dave VanHorn wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2004\09\12@235059 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
At 10:19 PM 9/12/2004, Philip Stortz wrote:

>i solved that problem by having my bench directly in front of my desk.
>i can turn 1 or 2 monitors around if i need them on the bench side and i
>can do pure computer design/programming at the desk and keep most of the
>books on that side.  i'm really only a hobbyist at this point (i'd love
>to write construction articles or have a few little toys for sale
>eventually) but i've done commercial work and i know what you mean.
>just be glad you aren't doing chemistry!

Ok..

What I've evolved, is a large "L" shape.
On my left, is a 6' x 3' door as a desk top, sitting on some prefab cabinets.
One has drawers, the other a drawer and a bigger space below, where the "B" system tower sits. Above that cabinet, which is the far end of the system, is the monitor and  keyboard for the "B" system.

To the right of the monitor, is the soldering gear. Metcal, Vacuum parts picker, fiber optic illumination, wick, solder etc..  Above this is an assortment of radio receivers and transcievers, which I use for working with the prototypes, part 15 prescans, or hobby activity.  This is one "module" on the desk.  

To the right, another set of stackers, with the scope, power controller, Anywhere-USB, and a couple of edgeports, and network router, TLS-2 line simulator, multiple power supplies, tracking signal generator, and some smaller test gear.

In the drawers below this, is a bunch of small test gear, special cables, adaptors..

In the corner, my spectrum analyzer. Down below, toxic chemicals.

Now on the main desk in front of me, another stacker unit, with spare scope modules, special paper for the printer, a couple of offline projects in boxes..
Then in front of me, the A system screen and keyboard, and a video monitor above that.
USB hubs, spare media, bills, notes..

To the right, another stacker with VCRs, cable box, DVD player, audio amp, books, spare media.

Below that, the A system in another cabinet like on the far left, and the infamous "junk drawer".

Unfortunately, I have enough ancillary equipment to almost fill the room! :-P

I found a nice inexpensive tie rack, and that's on one wall holding cables.
There's a larger one in the basement for less frequently used cables.
A lage four-drawer file cabinet has all my files, some equipment that I'm not using at the moment, and holds up a couple printers.

Behind me is the door, and just off to my left from that, is the Wall-O-Parts, framing the HP Draftpro plotter.
Add enough books to make the floor sag, cables, tools, parts, and you should have the picture.

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2004\09\13@002003 by David Challis

face picon face
I think it is time we start seeing some digital pictures of these
benches...Any volunteers?

Dave Challis

{Original Message removed}

2004\09\13@003752 by Peter Johansson

flavicon
face
M. Adam Davis writes:

> Well, you're an engineer.  Sit down and figure it out analytically...
>
> Problem (current state of the world):
> A single project takes little space, but requires a substantial amount
> of test equipment and nearby support materials/components.

I'm ADD+OCD and I don't like medication, so I've developed all sorts
of odd coping strategies to deal with my many projects.  One method
I've found to work very well is what I call the "bin method."  Every
project has a bin.  Items come out of the bin when I need to work on
them.  They go back in the bin when I'm done with them.  Every bin has
a home.  Tools that are only used by a specific project live in the
same bin with materials.  (I also have a dozen-odd toolboxes, each
tailored to a specific task or set of tasks.)  And I always have a
stash of extra bins of many sizes, so that as a project expands and
shrinks it always has an apropriate home.  Mostly I use clear plastic
flip crates and storage totes.

Such a system could work very well for EE people, though you wouldn't
want to use the cheap common plastic bins as they are a static
nightmare!  That, and there is a *much* better solution in this case:

If I were in the above situation (which I may very well wind up in
given the results of some recent investigation -- my hobby may have
turned into a paying gig this weekend!) here's what I would do:

I would make a bunch of boxes that were the size of my work area,
perhaps 3 ft. wide by 2 ft. deep.  The bottom would be 3/8"
in. plywood.  The sides would be 1x3s.  The front could be hinged to
lay flat, though this isn't even necessary.  There would be no top.
Anyone could go to home depot and have the materials pre-cut.  It
would take perhaps 10 minutes to screw together each box.  Personally,
I'd build a rack with rails so any project could slide in and out as
needed, but these boxes could be just as easily stacked on an existing
shelf or shelves.

This may *seem* like a lot of work, but really, it's trivial when you
consider the amount of time spent making a "context switch" from one
project to the next.  All of your various components and breadboards
stay in tact, and are simply swapped on and off your desktop!

-p.
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2004\09\13@004210 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
At 11:20 PM 9/12/2004, David Challis wrote:

>I think it is time we start seeing some digital pictures of these
>benches...Any volunteers?

Google news, 9-14-04:

A large number of engineers have mysteriously turned to stone.
The phenomena seems to have started sunday evening, but the root cause has not been determined.  The affected engineers were all memebers of the "MIT Piclist". MIT officials could not be reached for comment.


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2004\09\13@014341 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Sep 12, 2004, at 1:49 PM, Bob Blick wrote:

>
> I'm a big fan of "tupperware" type containers (Sterilite, Rubbermaid)
> for
> projects.
>

Do you worry about static?  I feel a lot better with cardboard...

BillW

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2004\09\13@015827 by Engineering Info

picon face
home.earthlink.net/~devinelectronics/Workshop.html

David Challis wrote:

>I think it is time we start seeing some digital pictures of these
>benches...Any volunteers?
>
>Dave Challis
>
>{Original Message removed}

2004\09\13@020129 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
At 12:43 AM 9/13/2004, William "Chops" Westfield wrote:


>On Sep 12, 2004, at 1:49 PM, Bob Blick wrote:
>
>>
>>I'm a big fan of "tupperware" type containers (Sterilite, Rubbermaid) for
>>projects.
>
>Do you worry about static?  I feel a lot better with cardboard...

I use the hardware type plastic drawers, with mosfoam sheets for the chips and transistors.

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2004\09\13@022255 by Kevin

flavicon
face
Well, here is a link to some Piclister's Desks from 2002

> Wagner Lipnharski wrote:
> More and more pictures are being included.
> Check it out

> http://www.angelfire.com/apes/desk/

> You can send your pictures too... don't be shy -
>everyone is welcome

Somehow, I pictured Olin's desk to look like it does :)

~Kevin

On Sun, 12 Sep 2004, David Challis wrote:

> I think it is time we start seeing some digital pictures of these
> benches...Any volunteers?
>
> Dave Challis
>
> {Original Message removed}

2004\09\13@030603 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> >I just make a mess.
>
> I know the feeling, but this is what I'm trying to get past.
> I keep thinking that there must be a better way.

If you find it enlighten me, I am still in the 'make a mess' phase. My
wife would love me to move on to the next phase.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


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2004\09\13@031744 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Also, spending a couple thousand dollars on storage, files,
> cabinets and custom bench space really makes a noticeable difference.

Something I find difficult (small-budget hobbyist background): don't
hestiate to throw away the small stuff you used in a project but will
not need (for that project) any more. Do the math and decide at which
price per component it is worth your time to put it back where it can be
used again (and don't forget the non-zero risk that is was damaged).

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
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consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


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2004\09\13@042835 by hilip Stortz

picon face
sure, in a couple of months when i'm done setting it up, i just move it
into this room!  i'll have several old macs and pc computers under the
table networked for eventual software development (i want to use old
macs for virtual instruments eventually for some electrochemical
inventing i want to do..).  i'd love to see dave's!  a dream come true! actually, in middle school i figured what you want is a multi level
cylinder with shelves full of gear, and you in a chair in the of the
cylinder going up and down with cables going between levels!  alas one
would have to be working on some awfully big projects and have an awful
wad of cash to do that, but it was an interesting thought.  it might
also be bad when things failed catastrophically... the middle of it
might not be a good place to be... ;)

David Challis wrote:
>
> I think it is time we start seeing some digital pictures of these
> benches...Any volunteers?
------

-- Philip Stortz--"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I
didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a
Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I
wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a
Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
-- Martin Niemöller, 1892-1984 (German Lutheran Pastor), on the Nazi
Holocaust, Congressional Record 14th October 1968 p31636.

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2004\09\13@045651 by hilip Stortz

picon face
i suspect, that just like my bench with the pvc top a good cleaning with
a relatively lot of detergent in the solution left to air dry might
solve that problem, though you'd defiantly want to see how long it
lasted with cheap projects before using it for expensive parts.  i like
to use laundry or dish soap and some alcohol for wetting, seems to work
pretty well after 2-3 cleanings letting it air dry.

William Chops Westfield wrote:
>
> On Sep 12, 2004, at 1:49 PM, Bob Blick wrote:
>
> >
> > I'm a big fan of "tupperware" type containers (Sterilite, Rubbermaid)
> > for
> > projects.
> >
>
> Do you worry about static?  I feel a lot better with cardboard...
-------

-- Philip Stortz--"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I
didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a
Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I
wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a
Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
-- Martin Niemöller, 1892-1984 (German Lutheran Pastor), on the Nazi
Holocaust, Congressional Record 14th October 1968 p31636.

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2004\09\13@063448 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> > Do you worry about static?  I feel a lot better with cardboard...

I use Butyl Rubber (BR) on my various work benches - usually sold as roofing
material or for industrial pool liners.
Characteristics vary but most is electrically conductive to some extent.
Rugged, cuts with scissors, smells very rubbery unless weathered for some
while (hang on clothes line :-) ). The most useful is a type which is grey
on one side and black on the other and is highly conductive on the black
side and not very conductive on the grey You use this, of course, grey side
up.

You can test any given Butyl Rubber sheet with a standard ohmmeter set to as
high a range as you have. If there is ANY conductivity at all when the
probes are pressed into the rubber in close proximity then it will (almost
certainly) be adequate for electrostatic protection purposes. (This is also
an excellent demonstration of the concept of "ohms per square". For a
reasonably conductive sheet the resistance between two probes is about the
same regardless of the probe separation PROVIDED that the area enclosed in a
square of which the probes are on a diagonal is smallish compared to the
total sheet area.

Note that some BR versions are much more conductive than others. Some are so
conductive as to pose a shock hazard (as working on any well earthed surface
tends to help you be part of a ground return path) AND placing a working PCB
on the circuit may produce "interesting" results. (I have seen smoke occur
:-) ). Placing a thin insulator under working PCBs may be prudent - SEVERAL
layers of A4 paper or a single thin sheet of cardboard usually suffice. If
you have mains or high voltage on the PCB you may wish to choose your
insulator appropriately. Note that thin plastics may puncture under heavy
mechanical load and sharp conductor ends AND that using some plastic here
may re-introduce ESD problems.

The sheets that I use are sold as bale covers off pallet loads of Butyl
Rubber and are extremely cheap (about $US5 per square metre last time I
bought some!). Most people buy them for roofing playhouses or garden sheds.
You can buy new material in many hardware stores. it is dearer than my
source BUT still far far cheaper than "real" ESD conductive work surfaces. I
note that some "real" ESD mats look suspiciously like the grey and black
material that I mentioned above.



           Russell McMahon

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2004\09\13@073230 by alan smith

picon face
Put your projects on trays, so when you need to move
to a new project, disconnect the cables and put it on
a shelf.  At home, place the projects in those nice
boxes that come with the flip up lids, mount the demo
or project boards in there, then they can be closed up
and put away.

--- Dave VanHorn <EraseMEdvanhornspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTdvanhorn.org> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

               
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2004\09\13@144501 by hilip Stortz

picon face
that's why i was delighted to discover the free cabinets i mentioned. it's worth checking garage sales and business supply stores.  mine are
buried in the garage right now, but if people ask i can email a digital
photo so you know what i mean.  2 should be more than enough room to
store all of my small active and passive parts, and i have 3 of them. for the larger items, i have the boxes numbered and an inventory (the
boxes are also sorted).  this works great on a computer, i've even done
it manually.  
i do occasionally cull the items i'm really sure i'll never need, but i
save a lot of large things that would be expensive if i had to buy them,
like motors from large instrumentation recorders that will make fine
spindle motors when i build a larger mill, and probably even good servo
motors (if not i'm sure the capstan motors i saved will work nicely. honest, getting a good assortment of parts laying around is really
helpful, even when i did live close to surplus store.  
i've also recycled things from dead/obsolete equipment that would be
nearly impossible to find or afford but can be highly useful.  it's a
matter of how much space you have and how disciplined you are at
organizing it and keeping it organized.  with good metal shelving a
great deal can be stored in boxes.  besides, 1/3 of my boxes have books
in them, so a few extra boxes for good parts is no problem (i do get rid
of old catalogs and magazines, though that also requires some time, i
almost wish mouser and digikey didn't send me a new catalog so often).

thomas edison said "to invent you need a good imagination and a pile of
junk", and i agree with him, it's simply the only way to have a wide
assortment of objects and materials available in the middle of an inspiration.

Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
>
> > Also, spending a couple thousand dollars on storage, files,
> > cabinets and custom bench space really makes a noticeable difference.
>
> Something I find difficult (small-budget hobbyist background): don't
> hestiate to throw away the small stuff you used in a project but will
> not need (for that project) any more. Do the math and decide at which
> price per component it is worth your time to put it back where it can be
> used again (and don't forget the non-zero risk that is was damaged).
---------

-- Philip Stortz--"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I
didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a
Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I
wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a
Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
-- Martin Niemöller, 1892-1984 (German Lutheran Pastor), on the Nazi
Holocaust, Congressional Record 14th October 1968 p31636.

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2004\09\13@190204 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
I haven't had a bench specifically for electronics since before the days of PCs, so finding space for a
keyboard and monitor wasn't a problem.  Then I had a desk (about 6' x 2') in a corner, with shelves behind it
on which I had "fixed" equipment like power supplies, signal generators, multimeters, frequency counters (and
would have had a 'scope if I'd had one small enough!).  The lowest shelf was angled at about 30 degrees
downwards, with a lip at the front edge, and was used for paperwork - circuit diagrams, magazine articles,
whatever I was working on.  Because it was off the desk and unsuitable for putting things on, I never had the
problem of having it covered with stuff!  The lip of this shelf was about 4" above the desk, to make it easy
to read the paperwork sitting down.

I'm righthanded so the soldering iron, solder, and small tools were on the right, and a waste-bin was on the
floor on that side.  A multi-drawer cabinet for parts was against the left-hand wall.  The central area was
covered by a stainless-steel plate that had a rolled-over front, so made an excellent antistatic, heat
resistant worksurface (I'd salvaged it from a machine that was scrapped at work - a "lector" optical mark
reader, I think).  The thing it didn't solve was stopping dropped small parts from following Howard's Law of
Dropped Small Parts: "They will land much further away from the point of dropping than you ever think
possible, even when you take Howard's Law into account" :-)  I often thought of building an extending "apron"
that fitted around my waist to catch things I dropped, but I never did it.

Having all the equipment off the desk was a really Good Thing, as it left more working surface, and nowhere
for small parts to roll under.  When (if!) I get the chance to set up a dedicated bench again, I will repeat
this, and probably add an LCD computer monitor to the shelves (or have it swinging-arm-mounted).

On second thoughts, I might have an L-shaped bench, with computer and its peripherals on one wing and the
board-building area and such on the other - less likely to get cut-off resistor leads in the keyboard!

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


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2004\09\13@201240 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face

> Because it was off the desk and unsuitable for putting things on, I never had the
>problem of having it covered with stuff!

This is what is called an affordance.
Read "Turn signals are the facial expressions of automobiles".
(yes, that really is a book title!)


The thing that brought all this to my mind, is that I may be re-doing the whole thing in the next 2 weeks or so..

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2004\09\14@021709 by Luis.Moreira

flavicon
face
Olin's Bench is exactly as I tought it would be... :O)

-----Original Message-----
From: Kevin [kbenspamspam_OUTuniversal.dca.net]
Sent: 13 September 2004 07:23
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: RE: [OT] Bench organization


Well, here is a link to some Piclister's Desks from 2002

> Wagner Lipnharski wrote:
> More and more pictures are being included.
> Check it out

> http://www.angelfire.com/apes/desk/

> You can send your pictures too... don't be shy -
>everyone is welcome

Somehow, I pictured Olin's desk to look like it does :)

~Kevin

On Sun, 12 Sep 2004, David Challis wrote:

> I think it is time we start seeing some digital pictures of these
> benches...Any volunteers?
>
> Dave Challis
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: @spam@piclist-bouncesKILLspamspammit.edu [KILLspampiclist-bouncesKILLspamspammit.edu] On Behalf
Of
{Quote hidden}

of
> the system, is the monitor and  keyboard for the "B" system.
>
> To the right of the monitor, is the soldering gear. Metcal, Vacuum parts
> picker, fiber optic illumination, wick, solder etc..  Above this is an
> assortment of radio receivers and transcievers, which I use for working
with
{Quote hidden}

scope
{Quote hidden}

cables.
> There's a larger one in the basement for less frequently used cables. A
lage
> four-drawer file cabinet has all my files, some equipment that I'm not
using
> at the moment, and holds up a couple printers.
>
> Behind me is the door, and just off to my left from that, is the
> Wall-O-Parts, framing the HP Draftpro plotter. Add enough books to make
the
> floor sag, cables, tools, parts, and you should have the picture.
>

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2004\09\14@064508 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
On Tue, 14 Sep 2004 07:17:13 +0100, Luis Moreira wrote:

> Olin's Bench is exactly as I tought it would be... :O)

Yes, me too.  I sort-of hope that it was photographed
when it was set up, before any actual work was done, but
I have a funny feeling it wasn't!  :-)

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


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2004\09\14@082424 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> Well, here is a link to some Piclister's Desks from 2002

> > http://www.angelfire.com/apes/desk/

Confession: The photos labelled "Roderick Macdonald" was sent in by him but
is not OF him or his workspaces. It had another label but this was changed.
No prize for guessing who it really is :-)


       RM

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