Well, I’ve hit the wall on this one. When I moved to my new base of operations deep in the Missouri Ozarks, I had 2 buildings: A small house, and a 30 by 40 foot Pole Barn I paid a crew to erect on the property.
A “Pole Barn” is a simple structure… a basic pole frame (The poles are 6×6 treated wood posts.) clad in a minimalistic steel skin. It has a concrete floor, but no insulation at all. In the summer, it gets HOT inside there, so hot and humid you can’t keep complex tools like a Lathe or Vertical Mill.
So what I keep in there is my Tractor, it’s accessories, and a lot of stored stuff… mostly tools. Tools I can’t use because all the space in the Pole Barn that isn’t Tractor or it’s accessories if full or stored stuff. Like tools. It’s a vicious cycle. I was able to free up enough space in the house for a couple small workbenches (Made in a previous post.) but I can only make electronics in that small space.
I reached the point where I need to be able to make machined metal parts long ago.
This left 3 possible courses of action:
1) Otherwise known as “Plan B”. That’s where I abandon the T1′s design goal of a custom fabricated chassis and drive system and buy a 1/10 scale RC car to use for the robot. There’s certainly no shame in that approach… There’s a whole new world of challenges to meet there, jamming all that stuff into that tiny chassis. But no. That’s not my style. I have to be true to my long term goals… and that means custom fabricated chassis and parts.
2) Pay huge money for a crew to build what I need. Hmm. I have to ask myself… “What would Goku do?” Would Goku pay a guy to fight for him? No! Goku would train until he could do the fight himself. How can I call myself a “Maker” if I turn to hired guns every time I need something made?
This leaves option 3. Just like in the game “Doom”, “The only way out is through.”
3) Build a Machine Shop myself inside the Pole Barn that incorporates sufficient work space and includes a “Mezzanine Level” above for storage. This shop needs to be well lit, insulated, and climate controlled to support machine tools.
Option 3 it is! Only one problem… I’m a 52 year old Computer Nerd who’s spend his entire career sitting on his obese ass at a computer. That’s really not good training for building what I need to build.
But the only way out is through. What would Goku do? Goku would act as if and train as he goes along. In effect, “what does not kill you makes you stronger.”
Here’s where I’m at now:
This picture is from the Pole Barn’s door looking in. The Machine Shop is in the back of the Pole Barn, occupying a space 30 feet wide and 16 feet deep (As viewed in the picture.) Notice all the crap in boxes in the foreground. All that stuff was where the Machine Shop was before I started construction.
This is the left side of the new shop space. the entrance door (That huge hole for a double door in the previous picture.) is to the left, and the rear of the Pole Barn is to the right. See that brown space in the middle of the far wall? That’s one of the poles that comprise the Pole Barn. I integrated them into the structure of the Machine Shop. The wall that separates the Machine Shop from the rest of the Pole Barn is a 2×6 stud wall, the other walls are 2×4.
Looking in the other direction. You can see the huge opening for the entry door to the right. The entry door itself is tied to the stud wall ready to be installed… the door itself is a double door, made of steel, with the main door 36″ wide, and the side door 24″ wide. So it can open to a full 5 feet to allow huge pieces of equipment to get in. The header above the door is a beefy 3 deep 2×12 sandwich. If a tornado comes along, it’s gunna look at this and say “I can’t break this! I better look for a Mobile Home instead!” You know how tornadoes are.
That’s the entry door framing. I doubled up the Trimmers under the Header to better support the load of the storage area above.
This is the area directly over the entry door. You can see the 2×12 header for the door in the middle. The joists above are also 2×12, as they need to support the weight of all the stuff stored above the shop. Normally, a “Rim Joist” is used on the outside of the floor joists, but I used blocking between the joists instead. (That’s why you can see the end grain of the joists themselves.) Notice the double wide joists to the left and right of the door? Those are to transfer the roof load to the floor so I can cut out the center of the engineered rafter components, thus making room so I can get up there to store my stuff.
This is an enormous effort. I’ve completed the framing, and have moved on to roughing in the electrical. There are over 40 electrical boxes, and 1250 feet of wiring. This is huge.
The down side of all of this is that I’ve eliminated the possibility of competing in Sparkfun’s competition in June. The plus side, however… is that in the future I’ll be that much stronger.
The T1 is not cancelled. Just delayed until the 2013 competition.