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Shop layout help

DS Member

I recently bought a new slider, Felder 550. I am trying to rearrange my shop to best fit the slider. I need to figure it out before the machine gets here so I can go ahead and run all the electrical and dust collection.
My shop is 70' long x 50' wide. I have a 16' wide x 24' long spray room/cabinet storage. I don't finish every job so that room usually is where I store built cabinets until they are delivered.

Here's a list of the tools on the drawing:
1. Felder 550 w/12' slider (need about 30' for full stroke)
2. table saw with out feed tables
3. Edge sander
4. oscillating spindle sander
5. band saw
6. 42" wide belt with out feed table
7. planer
8. line boring machine and miter saw built in to same cabinets
9. 2 shapers with in feed/out feed support
10. unique door clamp table
11. face frame table
12. row of cabinets with 2 pocket hole machines and a door hinge machine
13. 3 assembly/prep tables (main table is the one on the left)
14. several floater tools like the router table and drill press
15. I also have 2 9' wide racks for plywood and 8-10 racks for lumber storage( the 2 main lumber racks are drawn in the upper left corner.

Couple notes:
ē I do need the plywood racks close to the 16' overhead door so I can unload trucks straight to the rack with my forklift (tractor). Proximity to the slider is not a huge deal since I have a cart to transfer material from the rack to the slider without picking it up. Lumber is not as big of a deal because my lumber racks are shallow and must be loaded by hand.
ē The crosses on the floor represent in floor electrical.
ē I've never owned a slider so I'm not sure about where it should go.
ē I do have to leave room in from of the 10' wide overhead door to be able to roll cabinets in and out of the spray room.

This is the layout I came up with. I figured this would be a good place to get help and see if there's a better layout.

If I missed anything just let me know and I'll try and answer.

Thanks for the help

To help understand the scale a little, between the WBS and the planer is 48"

View higher quality, full size image (1844 X 890)

8/22/19       #2: Shop layout help ...
Alan F.

Draw a map of how each type of part moves through the equipment then try and eliminate wasted movement that doesn't add value.
That's how machines are "optimally" organized.

For panel parts we cut sheet goods, next step edge bander, next step machining centers, next step pre-assembly (drawers, doors, rails divideers) then assembly.

Wood parts move through a gang rip, straight line, molder, Wbs., finish, assembly or assembly finish.

Every time you move something it should be to the next step that adds value to the piece.

Try and eliminate steps that don't add value.

You also want to group machines so dust, air and power drops are central.


8/22/19       #3: Shop layout help ...

I also try to create overlapping infeed/outfeed spaces to gain floor space for more machines. Cant have too many machines.

8/23/19       #4: Shop layout help ...

I think the main question I have is how you build cabinets? Are all of your cabinets faceframe? Do the faceframes get painted before they are put on the box? If so you have solid lumber coming in the back, then to the far side to be ripped, around the table saw from storage, Back around the table saw, then I would assume parts edge sanded through the wide belt then all the way to the front of the shop to be built, then all the way to the back to be finished then all the way back to the front to be assembled onto the boxes. Looks like the same thing is happening for doors.

Also how many people are working in here? This would help as to which pieces of equipment are being used at the same time. I have my shapers all lined against a wall. I know that more than one won't be used at once so the second one works as an out feed for the first. It takes up a lot less room and gets them out of the middle of the floor. The pocket hole machine that the buildup uses, line bore, and miter saw should be directly beside them. No reason for them to walk around to get to it all. Place pocket hole machine and line bore on the same side of their build up table. This way a part can get line bore then pocket hole and straight to being built.

Think FLOW the more a part travels or the more it is handled the more it cost you. This adds no direct value to the customer.

I would think turn the slider so that it feeds out toward build up. Turn your table saw so that it out feeds the other way. Lumber comes off the rack and straight into the table saw. Face frame and doors somewhere in front of your storage room or shapers there and put the face frame and doors along the very front wall. Keep the middle open for your wide belt and planer. This gives you solid wood flow down one side and box parts down the other side. I know your doors and face frames will have to go from the front to back to get finished and then back to the front for build up but if your material come in the same door as your materials this will have to happen with something.

8/23/19       #5: Shop layout help ...
Tom Gardiner

You haven't mentioned the number of employees on the floor.
I would turn the table saw 180į so that potential kickback is less likely to hit another employee at the shaper.

8/23/19       #6: Shop layout help ...
Alan F.

Ideally parts move in a straight line through a plant.
We typically have to adjust to fit existing buildings or land. So an "L" or "U" both work but the point is parts follow a consistent path through different production steps depending on the part.

If we don't define a path the assemblers will move carts and determine a path that may or may not be the best practice.


8/23/19       #7: Shop layout help ...
DS Member

This is a one man shop. I build face frame cabinets.

My process starts with lumber, since this is going to be my first slider I am unsure, but after talking to several people who own sliders, this is my new process:

-rip 1/8" too wide on slider
-planer (for thickness and final width)
-back to slider to cut to length (door rails and stiles are run thru shaper full length, then brought back to slider cut to length
-face frames pieces to pocket machine
-assembled on face frame table
-wide belt sander
-set aside waiting on cases to be assembled


-cutout on slider
-then prep pieces, either dado's on old table saw, to the pocket machine, to the line boring machine

Last, all pieces are sorted and stacked near the assembly table.

I do not use an edge bander.

I have carts for almost all the steps so when I built and moved into this shop I did not pay much attention to the flow.
Now that I have to rearrange for new machines I thought this would be a good time to fix that. I'm just unsure, having never used a slider and wanting to maximize the space for future machines.

Thanks for the help, any feed back is very appreciated

8/23/19       #8: Shop layout help ...
Larry Schweitzer Member

Missing info: # of employees, volume of work of different types. Flow is king, reduce handling. If possible always use the same in & out feed space for several machines in a few man shop. What future changes are you likely to have? New machines, hydraulic assembly tables, edge bander Ö.. change to Euro boxes.... Minimize dust duct runs. Consider roller conveyors, much better than carts! If you take 12 extra steps (6 over & 6 back) an hour X 8 hr X 200 days a year = 19,200 extra steps a year! X 30" steps = 9.3 miles of walking!!! & it's a lot worse if you have to go hunting for an empty cart and walk it back to the start.

8/23/19       #9: Shop layout help ...
Alan F.


If you want to grow / expand machines then now is the time to develop a path or system that reduces movement and allows for future machines, you may just need to reorganize in the future. Right now you don't have to look to see if someone took a cart and put it in the space you just cleared for the next cart. As soon as you have help these issues come up.

I would at least get a system started so if you hire someone in the future there is definition in how things are done, it can change later once you start doing it and learn what works best.

Basically movement that doesn't add value is just cost that the next guy may not have so he can do the exact same steps for less.

If you can sell at a price that it doesn't matter then it just takes profit from your future but in a downturn when you need to sharpen your pencil it is a harder time to learn efficient methods and pricing. Now its extra profit , in the future its margin you can give up if you need /want to.


8/23/19       #10: Shop layout help ...
rich c.

Where's the dust collector? Moving carts will be like a slalom run. A major dust producer right outside the finish room will require very frequent cleanup. Where does the air makeup come from for the finish room?

8/24/19       #11: Shop layout help ...
DS Member

Dust collector and air compressor are in the storage room.

8/26/19       #12: Shop layout help ...
David R Sochar Member

No joiner? How do you get solids flat? Our process is: rough length, rough width, face and edge at the joiner, then plane to S2S or S4S.

Length is cut by radial saw, upcut saw, or circular saw. Rough width is on a tablesaw or ripsaw. Jointing - or face and edge - is a fundamental step to make lumber flat and straight. Shops that do not have a joiner often do not know why they need one.

8/26/19       #13: Shop layout help ...
Larry Schweitzer Member

I see you intend to use the slider to cut your lumber. I suspect you will soon tire of that. Cross cutting will work OK but is quicker on a miter saw with a decent fence. Ripping on the slider is awkward. Easier on the TS. Putting the air compressor & dust collector in the same room isn't a good idea. In spite of your efforts to keep dust under control it will get in the compressor filters. They are usually very small & it takes very little to plug them. Dust collection is far better located outside. Some insurance companies and fire departments will require it. Are the floor electrical outlets already there? If not you would be better off dropping from the overhead. Main reason being that you will want to relocate equipment multiple times. My feeling in looking at your layout is that there is much back tracking going on, wasted movement. Try this: Draw your shop on a large sheet of something easy to put nails in. Make scale cutouts of each piece of equipment out of Masonite or something that doesn't slide all over the place too easily. Drill a hole through each and put a nail all the way through to hold them where needed. leave some of the nail sticking out the top. This nail will also serve as the attachment point for a next step. Make scale pieces that represent the sizes of the parts likely to be use at each piece of equipment. These will help with determining operating areas needed. With an assortment of colored strings or yarn to color code each component to be made, loop the string around each equipment nail in the order of the operations. When finished this will give you a very good idea of all your flows. Photograph each iteration from above before doing any changes. Print each photo to a page so you can see your progress. Remember these strings represent your time you are not being paid for. When done store the entire mess for when you need to add equipment. If you are now considering any additional equipment, model that now.
A lot of fooling around, yep, but in the end less than all the wasted steps that will result from not doing it.

8/26/19       #14: Shop layout help ...
DS Member

You are right, I donít have a jointer. Currently my supplier runs lumber for me with 1 jointed edge and planed to 7/8Ē.

I then rough rip on table saw 1/8Ē wide and turn on edge and plane down to final thickness. The helical head on the planer leaves a super smooth edge. Doors are also edge sanded to be even smoother after assembling.

Like I said, never used a slider and may not like ripping on it. One of several reasons Iím keeping my cabinet saw. If thatís the case Iíll probably upgrade to a straight line rip saw. My understanding with straight line rip saws is Iíll still have to rip wide and edge plane to final thickness (never owned straight line rip saw either).

Thanks again for the input, very much appreciated

8/27/19       #15: Shop layout help ...
Larry Schweitzer Member

DS, I waited too long to buy a SL rip saw. about 10+ years ago I finally bought an Extrema Model XR-12C. They had a show "special" that included a very good blade, digital fence & laser. Made in Taiwan. It has been excellent. The cut edge is perfect for gluing, very little blade marking. Easily cleans up with a little sanding for finishing. We always run at full feed speed, 99'/min until we have to rip 8/4 where it runs out of power and we need to slow the feed. 15hp. We primarily use it for molder blanks & panel gluing. I'm pretty sure our yield went up VS buying SL from the suppliers.
I don't think you would want to run a small shop W/O a good cabinet saw. We've got the 5hp SawStop, very good.
We had reached the point where we were running our SCM slider 2 shifts a day before we bought a Schelling beam saw.
Over the years much has changed in methods/technology and products produced. My first CNC 20+ years ago was not designed for nesting, neither was my software. The next CNC was bigger, heavier, faster, eliminated a lot of steps & improved product quality. No way would I run a business W/O one today.

8/27/19       #16: Shop layout help ...
DS Member

Does the SL rip saw leave an edge good enough to go straight to the shaper to run sticking for doors? If not I could run them on edge thru my wide belt to smooth them out. I do not have a molder.

I'm definitely not sure about a big cnc. I run cabinet vision so I assume I'd be covered on the software if I did get one eventually.

I did see a small cnc at vegas this year that you put individual case parts in. So, cut out all case parts on slider then put them in the cnc one at a time. I didn't look into it too much since I had a pretty good list of things to see already.

Thanks again

8/27/19       #18: Shop layout help ...
Larry Schweitzer Member

DS, Yes, the SL edge is very good, no problem straight to shaper.
Cabinet vision probably requires some additions to the basic version to output code to the CNC. We use Top Solid for design, CadCode for most other functions.
"I did see a small cnc at vegas this year that you put individual case parts in. So, cut out all case parts on slider then put them in the cnc one at a time." That would be a mistake. Decent 4x8' CNCs capable of nesting can be had for $45-85K. Well worth their price. You get what you pay for in a CNC like many other things. Machines capable of all day, everyday running for years on end, cost a lot more.
There are many things to consider in picking out a CNC. Talk to as many users of the machines you are considering as possible. If the distributor won't give you a complete list of users, write them off the list. When I've used lists to call I've always gotten excellent responses.

8/27/19       #19: Shop layout help ...
DS Member

Never shopped a cnc so I had no idea prices. Those prices are definitely doable. I was thinking 150k, which would be out of my budget.

Sounds like the next purchase needs to be a SL rip saw. Is it a 2 man job or do you need a return conveyor. Or do you just feed 1 at a time and walk around and get it.

8/30/19       #20: Shop layout help ...

If you haven't already paid for the slider I would use the money for a down payment on a cnc and the software. This will be a MUCH better investment. i would also do this before I spend 15K on a straight line rip saw.

8/30/19       #21: Shop layout help ...

To add to my post. If you have bought the slider I would next buy an edgebander and learn to build frameless cabinets. Yes you can do this as traditional as faceframe. This will speed up your production a lot. Then look at a CNC. With a cnc and an edgebander if you can get everything setup in cabinetvision shelf holes, dados, screw holes, hardware mounting holes you can stay a one man shop and produce a lot more than you do now. I would easily say as much as a two man shop, 3 if you order in your doors.

8/30/19       #22: Shop layout help ...
Larry Schweitzer Member

I'll admit up front that I don't see any reason to make face frame cabinets. Others will disagree BUT: With a CNC you can make all the parts in far less time, end up with any style you want, ("Style" is mostly defined by the doors & fronts.) My CNC takes 6-7 minutes to machine a 5x10 sheet of melamine board. that will make 1 1/2 cabinet boxes with all line bore, hinge & drawer mounting holes, fastening holes etc. located dead on. My machine is a bit old and is not equipped with auto load/unload. It takes abut 3-4 minutes to change out parts/sheets. Parts are put on the conveyor and slid to the bander. A good bander will apply and fully finish a band every 15 seconds or less. There are many ways of connecting the parts, we use dowels & a CNC doweling machine but there are other ways that don't require the expense of the machine. All hardware is installed before assembling the cabinet, then glue is injected into the dowel holes and the case is placed in the case clamp, press button. While that case is in the clamp the next is prepared, 4 minutes? Take case 1 out place case 2, continue or snap on the doors and install the drawers. Fast efficient and produces a good cabinet. You don't have to have a case clamp! It does have some advantages. Virtually all commercial work is frameless. The frameless system was developed after WW2 in Europe. It has been under constant improvement ever since. It finally hit the states when high $ cabinets started to be imported. Now everything from dirt cheap, crapily made to high end are made as Euro boxes. Even if the only part of that system you've ever used is the hinge, you can see how much easier the hinge is to use. The rest of it is much the same.

8/31/19       #23: Shop layout help ...
DS Member

Iíll look into frameless cabinets. Iíve never seen a frameless cabinet in my area. Iím self taught, well read lots of books, cabinet man.

I looked briefly at CNC nested routers. Is the Laguna shopsmart 2 suv any good. Looked like 5x10 table with software and vacuum is about 65k.

Definitely like the idea of a cnc since I am a one man shop.

Other than my trip to Vegas Iíve never really seen a cnc run. Couple questions: I understand you get what you pay for but a machine like the laguna or similar price, are they reliable enough to run 40 sheets of plywood a week? Also, on top of the initial cost of the machine, about what are the cost of tooling?

Iím expecting my slider to arrive in a couple months. Iím hoping it will speed up my sheet good processing over the cabinet saw. At least increase accuracy, better safety and no tear out( which is a pain now).

At least I can start researching cncís and the slider will help out for now.

Thanks for the help and suggestions

8/31/19       #24: Shop layout help ...
DS Member

I guess Iím asking if you have any recommendations for cnc machines that are not in the 150k price range.

Are the 65-85k machines considered low quality Chinese imports? Like I said I have no experience at all in this realm of machines.

Iíll plan on being very informed so I can go to iwf in Atlanta next year.

8/31/19       #25: Shop layout help ...
Larry Schweitzer Member

I think the Laguna series is made in China. Imported under the Laguna name. There are a lot of different brands available. Go to IWF next year. Take a look @ NewCNC, they are made in MI. They use OSAI controllers, good brand. Most of their machines come with HSK spindles, preferable over the ISO type. One thing all the makers tend to do is sell too little of vacuum pump. Most of them sell the rotary vane pumps which are fine and easy to service. As for operating costs beside power and dust collection, they do use a fair amount of compressed air. Primarily for blowing on the cutting tool. Tooling: We use Onsrud Marathon 2 flute compression spirals. I think the price is around $75 each in lots of 6 or more. Depending on how fussy you are about the quality of cut they last from 80 to 180 sheets except for HPL laminated sheets, those are very hard on bits, 20-25 sheets.

8/31/19       #26: Shop layout help ...
DS Member

I guess Iím asking if you have any recommendations for cnc machines that are not in the 150k price range.

Are the 65-85k machines considered low quality Chinese imports? Like I said I have no experience at all in this realm of machines.

Iíll plan on being very informed so I can go to iwf in Atlanta next year.

9/2/19       #27: Shop layout help ...
Larry Schweitzer Member

The NewCNC machines are made in MI, There are also machines made in Taiwan. There are also several very cheap USA made machines that I'm not personally familiar with. Some of the guys on the wood web have them and like them. I personally would stay away from machines that use PCs as controllers. The operator interface is typically a PC until you get into very expensive machines. Use Google search. You will find enough to spend many hours looking. For sure plan a trip to Atlanta. You can learn more in 3 or 4 days there than years of other searching. Many of the sellers will have service technicians available to talk to, much better than talking to the salesmen. Plan your trip carefully. They put some very helpful show planers on line. It is a very big show, you can get lost trying to find your way back to someplace.
I've attended all but two of them. I can offer some travel and show tips when you get closer. Lets do it with e-mail.

9/3/19       #28: Shop layout help ...

In that price range I would look at Camaster. They are made in Georgia. They also have a huge user based forum. When we were looking we were looking at them or SCM. We ended up with SCM just because of the push off table. You can get a very nice Camaster in your budget.

9/3/19       #29: Shop layout help ...
Larry Schweitzer Member

The Camaster Cobra line seems like a decent small shop router solution. I like that they use HSK spindles, they are better than the ISO30s, 12hp is a good spindle power. I'm not a fan of WinCNC for control but Fanuc is out of your price range. Don't buy a machine with 2 1/2 axis control! What that means is that it will only be able to use 2 axis of motion at one time. There will be times when you want all 3 in motion at one time (a ramping curve.)
I disagree with their (Camaster's) assertion that rack & pinion drives are better than ball screw, just my opinion. I've had 2 machines that were all ball screw & one that had R&P.
Many manufacturers quote very high rapid speeds. With the exception of a new electronic system your machine will rarely utilize those high speeds due to most moves being relatively short and the ramp up & down times. One thing I've noticed on less robust control systems is a hesitation lag at the start and end of a move. For the typical short moves, that can represent a fairly large % of the total time, again greatly reducing the average speed.
Cutting speed, assuming enough power, also has ramp up & down times. But what mostly controls it is the cutting tool. You need to try and have the optimum chip load. Too small of a cut is almost as bad as too heavy of cut. A chip load that is too small will increase your time and will wear the tool more, partly because of lots more cuts to get there and partly because no cutting edge instantly starts cutting as it engages the work. That lag of the start of cutting causes friction/heat, never good. You should be able to bare handed take hold of the cutting tool right after it stops cutting a full sheet & not get burned. Not having enough spindle power to achieve the correct chip load decreases tool life and/or increases time.
There are better explanations of all this on the tooling manufacturers sites, see Onsurd tooling.

9/3/19       #30: Shop layout help ...
Pat Gilbert

Another one to consider is AXYZ

Their rack and pinion is helical

It seems like a ball screw on the x axis would be subject to whip

9/3/19       #31: Shop layout help ...
Larry Schweitzer Member

I've had two machines with ball screws on the long axis, no problems. I suspect it depends on how good the design is. Our Komo has a 2" ball screw that is still the original and has a lot of hours on it. It is a heavy machine with no vibration. I think it all comes down to proper design. It seems like a ball screw is capable of very smooth operation just like a ball bearing. Where as a rack & pinion is two gears that have to have some slop to prevent binding as each tooth engages and the position of the rack is subject to variations of the left/right drive & the flex of the steel structure of the machine. Ball nuts can be made with pre-load meaning no slop. The on center location of the screw means it should be less affected by any twisting of the machine frame.
Either system should be good enough for a wood router assuming the same level of design. I suspect the gear teeth are more subject to wear than the ball screw which is constantly lubricated and uses a rolling action.

9/3/19       #32: Shop layout help ...
DS Member

So I need to be looking for a router that has xyz axis?

You mentioned the need for a lot of compressed air. Will my 2 stage 60 gallon Quincy be enough?

Thanks for all the good information

9/4/19       #34: Shop layout help ...

The compressor should be good since you wont be running anything else that uses a lot of air at the same time being a one man shop. Just make sure you have a dryer. Clean dry air is a MUST.

9/4/19       #35: Shop layout help ...
Larry K Schweitzer

Virtually all routers made for cabinet shop use with have at least 3 axis of motion. Usually described as X for the long travel on the table, Y for the short table travel and Z for the vertical moving the spindle up & down. You can also get a C which is rotational and used with aggregates. See
From 4 axis you jump to 5 axis machines that are an entirely different game. I would want a tool changer and a boring block on your router. More drill spindles are better!
About compressors, I agree that you should be using an air drier (not to be confused with a water separator filter.) Referring to your compressor as a 60 gallon doesn't give any information about how much air it can deliver. Compare the CFM rating @ industry standard 90psi and take into account that a router will be continuously using air. That means you need to determine the duty cycle rating of your compressor. Recip compressors shouldn't be continuously run.
YouTube CNC routers.

6/28/20       #36: Shop layout help ...
DS Member

Since I first posted my shop layout question Iíve done a lot of research on CNC machines.

I like the NewCnc machine. I was ready to check them out as well as a few others in Atlanta. Now that the shows canceled Iíll have to figure out another way.

My question is, does the CNC machine make since for a 1 man shop? If it takes 10-15 minutes to process a sheet I could use that time to do other task. Iím not looking for or planning for the machine to run all day everyday.

That said, Iím wanting it for eliminating other steps. If I could take the pieces off the cnc and they would be ready for assembly then it seems to me I would have more time to do other things, like bring doors back in house. In the last 2 years I could have paid for a cnc with the money I spent outsourcing doors because I couldnít keep up with jobs , if I continued building doors myself.

Also, is the auto load / unload worth 10k asking price?

Thanks for the help.


6/29/20       #37: Shop layout help ...

Simple answer yes, it makes sense. We are now a two man shop thanks to the cnc. There is no way a one man shop can produce the work a cnc can in one day. The amount of panels you can process (cut, dado, bore hinges and drill shelf holes) is absolutely incredibly fast compared to one or two man processing them.
There is also the side effect of having a cnc. New work will come in. We picked up a customer that is strictly production. We cut parts for them and then spray them. Simple and well worth the money. We were not looking for this but it came about because of the cnc.
We looked long and hard at several machines and settled on the Shop Sabre. Solid good machine with great tech support.

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