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Studio -- Show us your studio setup

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  #1  
Old 2012-07-13, 7:29am
Signguy Signguy is offline
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Default New Studio - Building a great hood with only hand tools, glass storage, and more...

Hi All,

As many of you know I recently had to relocate across the country on short notice (form AZ to VA) and leave my sweet studio behind just a few months after having finished it.

Been frustrated at not being able to melt any glass for the last several months so I decided to get going and finish a new studio in our new home.

In AZ I had access to a complete metal fab shop so I was able to easily get materials and have cutting, bending and welding of metal done. But here that is not the case so I had to figure out how to build everything using just the typical hand tools I had, and no navy equipment.

Plus, since I have a lot more room here, I wanted to go with a bigger hood, bigger work table and incorporate some improvements that I wished I had thought of when building out my previous studio.

I think the new one worked out pretty well, and that some of the ideas I came up with might be helpful to others so I am posting some of the major parts of the studio for all to see. If I can answer any questions, or help anyone else to incorporate these ideas, please post in the thread and I am always glad to help!

Following are some pix, with comments explaining them. I'm sorry that some of the details are hard to see - I built all the studio stuff before I have erected the finished walls for the room, so a lot of these show silver colored metal components in front of the silver foil faced insulation on the walls and thus are lacking in contrast, but they are the best I can get for now:


This is a picture showing the whole working area. I have set up a U-shaped work space. For the center table (under the hood), and the two tables immediately to the left and right I used stainless steel table tops from Ikea, with legs from Ikea. Not real expensive, lots of leg room and quite sturdy (vs stainless rolling tables and such) and just a few minutes to put together. The two tables further back are the same size as the stainless ones but are the cheeper plain white melamine covering as normally nothing hot goes on them.


The hood is 6' long and 2' deep and 1' high. It is actually made from a livestock watering tank purchased at Tractor Supply. These are made from very heavy galvanized steel so are ideal to get the hood structure without having to fabricate it from sheet metal. And this size lines up well with the table configuration as the center table is 5' across, and the ones on each side are 2' wide, so I have a 9' wide work area with the center 6' covered by the hood.

I used an angle grinder to cut out openings in the top (originally bottom) to mount the two blowers onto. By using two blowers side by side I get much more even airflow vs. one bigger one. The blowers are mounted over the openings and secured to the top with sheet metal screws through the blower flange, and the edges sealed with caulk.

To safely hang the (heavy) assembly I secured L-shaped angle iron to the ceiling joists, and also to the top front and back of the tank. I then used all-thread rods with washers and locking nuts to extend down from the ceiling mounted angles and then through the tank mounted angles. This allowed me to hang the tank and then just turn the nuts to precisely adjust the height and get it level in all directions.

In order to increase the efficiency of the blowers and dramatically increase airflow, I wanted to add a shroud around the back and sides. In order to do this easily, and without having to fab metal or weld, I purchased light weight corrugated steel roofing in 2' x 8' sheets at Lowes. Using the angle grinder I cut them into an appropriate length, inserted them inside the tank (to make them run from the top of the tank down to the table top) and screwed them into the side of the tank in several locations thru the concave ribs using sheet metal screws. Each sheet was overlapped the width of one rib as they went around the tank to keep them reasonably air-tight. The ribs keep them rigid, and because the sheets go all the way to the top (former bottom) of the tank and touch it there is no air leakage going behind the convex ribs.

Although it is not yet installed in this picture, I have also added a "seal" at the bottom now which is rubber pipe insulation placed along the bottom edge of the panels and glued into place, protected by a shield of steel flashing material just in front of it. All of this maximizes the efficiency of the ventilation by forcing all the fumes to stay under the hood and get extracted.


With this done I wanted to add a way to hang tools right over my work area. On my previous studio I had used magnetic knife holder strips which worked great, but since many tools were not attracted to magnets I was not able to use it on all of them. So this time, I instead used a pair of U-bolts fastened into the side of the hood at each end, and then added two turnbuckles and aircraft cable assembled to fit running between them. This is tensioned to remain rigid, and now I can hang all my tweezers, mashers, etc. right from it. Works great!

I also added a switched junction box to the front for my exhaust fans, and mounted three inexpensive light fixtures from Ikea so that one at each end comes out on an arm and bounces cross-light into the hood area, and with a third one (which is not visible in the photo) mounted just inside the front center of the hood bouncing off the top of it. The combination of these three lights, combined with the diffusion from the light bouncing around inside the tank and off the shroud wall makes for very even, glare free illumination on the work area. These lights are plugged into a power strip, and it is plugged into a dimmer control which is mounted to the front of the hood so that I can easily control them while working.


To finish up the work area, I decided I wanted a better solution to having stable elbow (arm) rests and a table top that is impervious to everything and allows me to marver directly on it when desired.

This part did involve having some metal fab done as I could not see how I could do it myself. Basically, I had a waterjet shop cut me out some 3/16" cold rolled steel in the shape you see. To determine what I needed I made mockups from cardboard until I had the shape and dimensions feeling right and then drew it up for the cutting pattern.

The steel was cut for me (I had it made in two halves so it was easier to transport) and I brought it home, sanded it down all over (to get it clean and have a nice finished surface) and just laid it over the stainless table top.

The weight alone makes it pretty secure, but to play it safe I suggest clamping down the back, or securing it with some Gorilla Tape or a piece of screwed on angle.

Once it was installed, I drilled two small holes at the very front on each side of the seam and used them to bind the two pieces side-by-side and make sure the steel does not shift.

Finally, I wanted a better way to secure my torch (have never liked having a C-clamp in the way) so I marked where the two holes in the torch base lined up on the steel top and drilled the top and then tapped (threaded the holes). After that I picked out two nickel-plated cabinet knobs at Lowes, epoxied one end of the threaded screws into the knobs, and carefully trimmed the screw head off the other end leaving the threads intact. Now I can just screw the knobs into the steel top and secure the torch in an elegant way.


With the work area done, I was faced with a huge box of boro color rods I had brought with, and another huge box of frit. While I was not really unhappy with my previous vinyl fence rail stack, there were two things I did not like about it. First, the storage was too low - pain in the butt to see the rod colors bending over. Second, I hate labeling rods, plus you can't see the labels when the rods are in the "cubbys" so you are constantly pulling out rods trying to find your correct colors (especially with boro where many rods do not look like the color they actually are).

As a result I used the fence rails again, but this time I put them into a rolling stainless steel rack from Costco and used only the middle of the rack to have them more at eye level. I used the other shelves (for now) to hold my frit (until I get a new custom frit rack built) and for extra tools, etc.

I also decided to separate each row of "cubbys" (where the rail is placed with the open end out) with two added rails placed above it at the front and back with the side of the rail perpendicular to the cut ends of the rail pieces below. Although this required buying some more material, and takes up more space (at least for me) it created a couple of major advantages. First, I now have the ability to label each "cubby" right above it so I can see what is in each at a glance and without pulling the glass out, or leaving the ends sticking out to be bumped, broken or cut me. Second, it makes the whole structure way stronger and more stable as now it it has rails running at 90 degree angles to each other in the alternating layers. And, finally, it is so much easier to pull rods out as they are not all surrounded on all sides by other full "cubbys" of rods.

I've got more projects coming which I will post later, but this is what's done for now!

Hope it is of help...

Erik
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  #2  
Old 2012-07-13, 8:33am
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AmorphousDesigns AmorphousDesigns is offline
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OMG! I totally LOVE your studio, fabulous. Thank you for so generously sharing your idea's and "how to's"
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  #3  
Old 2012-07-13, 9:22am
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Nicely done! Thanks for posting instructions and pics.

Mimi
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  #4  
Old 2012-07-13, 9:26am
Diane (clarus) Diane (clarus) is offline
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Awesome! Very well thought out and safe. Love all of your beadrollers!
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  #5  
Old 2012-07-13, 9:39am
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Great work. Very functional and clean design. Have fun.
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  #6  
Old 2012-07-13, 11:42am
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Love the glass storage and the method of labeling. Great studio!
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Old 2012-07-13, 12:10pm
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That is gorgeous!
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  #8  
Old 2012-07-13, 2:11pm
greghumphrey greghumphrey is offline
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Default Cool Workspace

Hey Erik,
Very Inventive workspace. Hope you are enjoying VA.
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  #9  
Old 2012-07-13, 2:15pm
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I am drooling here. What a fab set up you have now ! Congrats !!
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  #10  
Old 2012-07-14, 4:51am
jconsidine11 jconsidine11 is offline
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Thanks for posting!
I want to try your method of glass storage.
Your whole studio is an inspiration.
Joan
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  #11  
Old 2012-07-14, 6:34pm
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Spectacular! That is a very impressive studio set up.

Are those your torching slippers?

Alli
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  #12  
Old 2012-07-15, 5:48am
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Love the studio, Erik...I have a restaurant grade steel rack that I am planning on using for my glass, but was going to use cut rainspouts to hold the glass. How did you separate the individual levels between each fence rail?
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  #13  
Old 2012-07-15, 5:54am
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Hi Alli,

More like sandals (grin) and comes in handy when glass is on the floor...

Hi Donna,

The spaces in-between are additional sections of fence rail turned perpendicular to the open ended ones. One at the front and one at the back. But I dont think this will work with the gutter pipe as it is much more wobbly due to the thinner material. It might work to use solid sheets of building foam inbetween (another way I had thought of doing it). You mig want to look I to the fence rail instead of the gutter. It's stronger, cheaper given the amount of storage, and gives you more, smaller cubbys vs fewer big ones.

Thanks to everyone for the kind words!

I'll be posting some updates soon showing more of the studio build...

Erik
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Old 2012-07-15, 6:15am
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Looks wonderful!!!!
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Old 2012-07-15, 8:28am
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love it!! Be sure to wear sunburn protection when you light up your torch!!!
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  #16  
Old 2012-07-15, 12:52pm
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it looks really great. i love the hood. we kicked around a similar idea on a much smaller scale, but my husband decided to go w/the a below the table system.

I love how organized you are!!

jen
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  #17  
Old 2012-07-15, 6:32pm
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I thought pretty seriously about down draft, but somehow it seemed counter-intuitive to me as I kept thinking about how hot air rises, so it seemed like you would be fighting the natural convection air currents.

But I'm no physics genius!

However, the idea if not having a hood above is appealing. Ill be curious to hear how it works for you...
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  #18  
Old 2012-07-15, 6:35pm
ginger2 ginger2 is offline
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Wow! It's a wonderful workspace that you've created and thanks for sharing all of your helpful tips. It's great how we learn by doing, but shared info is fabulous!
Happy creating,
ginger
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Old 2012-07-15, 7:27pm
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Erik, this is fantastic! Is that a blast shield with your torch?
Also nice assortment of CG Bead rollers!
Where in VA are you? I have a handful of friends in and around Charlottesville

Duane
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Old 2012-07-15, 7:46pm
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I'm living in Fredericksburg, but I travel for biz all around VA, MD, WV, DE and DC.

Yes, it's a blast shield - I have a lot of his stuff, all high quality and customized as you wish. Great tools! It's on a Bravo, which I love and would recommend.

Just converted to NG instead of LP with no notable performance difference. Still Using 3@ of Jacks M-15 oxycons with a holding tank and getting the same performance as I was with tanked oxy, so left the tank behind in AZ.

As regards bead rollers - love these also. Hers are the best by far! I used to have about three times this many when I was doing soft glass and beads, but sold a bunch in the GS when I moved since I knew that I would not be using all of them for boro. Honestly haven't had a chance to try out he basic ones I kept to try with the boro yet, but I'll be curious to find out how well they work...
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Old 2012-07-16, 5:45am
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Hi Erik,

Thanks for sharing. I have a 3rd bay of a garage that I hope to convert to working studio space in the next year or so. Great to see what you can do relatively quickly.

Do you have makeup air coming in to the studio? I'm going to have to condition my makeup air...too many allergies.

Where did you get the blast shield? I'd love to have one of those.

And great use of the things readily available in Virginia. I have a brother up in Winchester (raised a couple of kids in Fredericksburg) he sharpens surgical instruments for a living and has picked up some great metal working tools, like a laser cutter and a metal lathe...I'd love to get in his shop some weekend!

My best

Bette
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Old 2012-07-16, 4:11pm
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The blast shield is actually from The Blast Shield. Just google it and you'll find the site. Great people, great stuff!

I'm building out the basement now and will have mackup air coming directly off the A/C venting when it's done and the walls are up. Its going to be about 10' x 20' so will actually be about the size of a single garage bay when the walls are up.

But for now I have 2000 sq ft of air conditioned and not air tight space feeding it so it's fine as a temporary situation.
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Old 2012-07-17, 6:01am
many.facets many.facets is offline
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Thanks Erik, found the Blast Shield guys.

I hadn't thought of tapping in to the house A/C. I'll have to figure what kind of volume of makeup air it could provide but it is right on the other side of the wall in the laundry room. More things to consider...

Thanks for freely sharing all of your ideas.

Bette
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  #24  
Old 2012-07-17, 6:20am
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Bench mounted shields can also be found here...

http://www.phillips-safety.com/store...Path=40_155_60

Dale
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  #25  
Old 2012-07-17, 11:04am
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You have a fantastic place to work, love how you did up the walls, is that insulation that is that thick or my imagination? Looks like a really fun place to do beads. You did a wonderful job. Congrats on your new place.
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Old 2012-07-17, 7:48pm
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The insulation is pretty thick and covered with foil. It's nailed over the block basement walls by the builder and creates a thermal and vapor builder.

Next step is to add framing and drywall over it, and then it will look like a regular room
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Old 2012-07-17, 8:23pm
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Going to be a fabulous room when your through. You must post pictures
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  #28  
Old 2012-07-18, 8:09am
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Very nice
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  #29  
Old 2012-07-18, 8:09pm
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More improvements:

Im just about finished with my new frit storage system, and also with a new idea for clear rod/tube storage.

Should be able to post pix this weekend...
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Old 2012-07-19, 4:01am
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I like the under the table system, because I have some hearing loss, and having the hood above me made it much more difficult to hear what was going on around me in the room. We used a blower from northern tools, aprox 1200 cfm. A little over kill now, but hopefully my daughter will start torching soon. Ours has about 6 feet of piping sucking the air out, and then about 3 feet of piping to push it out, does that make sense? If it doesn't, it is my explanation, not you, lol. I am not technical AT ALL. It passed the incense test in spades! Make up air is the AC on the opposite side of the room. When it is too cold in FL to run AC (not often), there are 2 windows in which I can place a small fan. I will try to post pics in my thread tonight. P.S. I can't wait to see the frit system. I still "need one" but after vacation, it is my husband's turn to work on expanding his small workshop.
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