Laying out a new shop

      Advice on dust collection, electric, and general layout from those who have built their own shops. March 16, 2001

We are planning to construct a 5,000-7,000 sq ft building. Can others who have done the same share ideas and concerns?

Forum Responses
Try to keep the main duct run in the middle and place the largest chip producer closest to the machine.

Take a look at The Business of Woodwork by Bill Norlin.

Obviously the floor will be concrete. You could run the main ducts under the floor. Think well ahead about equipment layout, including power requirements. It is much cheaper to run conduit through a slab rather than running it around or overhead.

Keep in mind that the work should always flow smoothly from station to station and out the door to achieve the best possible profit percentage.

We took the floor plan of our shop at 1/4 scale and then made paper 1/4 scale footprints of the machines we owned and planned to purchase. We included in the footprints the maximum stock size feeding into and out of the machines. This combined with looking at the processes and material flow gave us maximum use of the space available.

Build your shop with room to grow!

I put the electrical and dust collection ducts under the slab on my first new shop (8,000'). Soon we were adding on and the machines needed to be moved. I put off moving them and operated less efficiently than I should have for awhile. Had I known then how much more space would be added and how often machines would need to be moved I'd have run buss duct for power.

I just completed building my new shop with an underground vac system. I first took the PVC piping and prepped it with a 1/4 x 1/16" braided ground wire along with 2" HVAC metal tape. I put this through every length of pipe and all the fittings, making sure it came out and overlapped the outside. This allowed the connection of additional fittings to electrically mate, thus providing a continuous ground. The system was installed before the cement was poured, leaving all ports exposed above the surface. The ground is connected right at the inlet of the main vac system. This, in addition, does not allow any materials to hang up in the pipe due to the wire not running perfectly against the wall of the pipe. It's flat! It won't snag or rip.

We just reorganized and added more equipment to our 4000 sq ft shop. I spent several hours with Mac Draw (a simple program) laying out the shop. When we got down to moving machinery, we had to tweak the plan quite a bit. The book Business of Woodwork helped a lot. We set up work cells to have the best flow for our products.

I would not put any electric or dust under the floor. If I were starting from scratch, I would use the quick connect dust fittings. They cost a lot but if you ever have to move things, it will pay.

If you contemplate running the electrical in the slab, it is much cheaper, even if you run pipe bigger than is required. Not only can you run pipe to where ever, it can be used for future purposes. It also adds some strength to your concrete foundation.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Business

  • KnowledgeBase: Business: Plant Management

  • KnowledgeBase: Dust Collection, Safety, Plant Management

  • KnowledgeBase: Dust Collection, Safety, Plant Management: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Dust Collection, Safety, Plant Management: Material Handling

  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article