Atlantic Illumination Entertainment Lighting

AIEL Shop Tips


This Will Assist in Constructing
a Suitable Work or Shop Space
for Stage Lighting Purposes

    For the lighting tech, or one to be, having a work area and surface that is ready for your purposes is a must. Even if you now work for someone else, acting upon the suggestions found within each article can make you a better employee. If you eventually go out on your own, you will be much better prepared.

    Although most discussions are overviews that are general in nature, some will have more depth and greater detail. Additional, relevant information may be also found in other articles at this site. Links pointing to them will be provided when such information is suitable and available.


Work Area Overview        Detailed Articles


The Work Area

    This guide is written with the idea of starting a shop from scratch in an open area. Adjust this if you have an existing area which is to be modified. If the latter is the case, it is best if you can clear such an area so you may start from scratch as much as possible. This will eliminate the domino effect of having to move or change existing things in order to fit in something new, which of course, will require that yet something else will have to be moved first, which then requires...

  Deciding Upon a Space

    The first consideration is the location and layout you choose in which to work. If it's your own home or workshop, this decision is more personal than if made under an employer. Still, your recommendations should be considered if it is you to be you working there. What follows will help you with those recommendations.

    Plan Next:  Begin by listing on paper or in a computer file the types of work you expect to do and tools/facilities which might be required. Do not include lighting equipment storage -- just supplies and parts storage. Although gear storage is important, a proper work environment should take precedence. If you only have a small area available, try to divide it in such a way that equipment won't encroach upon the work area. Being in cramped quarters is frustrating and leads to procrastination of needed maintenance.

    You'll want to refer to the other topics in the Shop Tips section to narrow down your exact requirements. If you're building within an open area, consider walling the shop for privacy considerations. An open work area invites interruptions from fellow employees and customers. A closed area allows for concentration on the task at hand. Be sure to think about worklight considerations when placing benches, including any natural light from windows or skylights.

    Work Stations:  Now decide the type and number of benches/work areas, general lighting, and power requirements you'll need; then place them accordingly on the paper diagram, or into the computer layout if you have suitable software. Regarding the latter, even a simple "paint" program will suffice if you don't have office or home design software. Simply draw rectangles to represent the various areas, benches and storage units. Try to make it to scale, if possible.


    Peruse Your Plan:  Study the diagram for conflicts or problems regarding bench types, separation of various areas, overhead and side clearances, and traffic considerations. The latter is important. One would not want to have to step aside for every person coming into and out of the work space. At the same time, do not place a main work bench at the back of an area where it might get boxed in. Try different combinations until the items fit well with no conflicts, and then decide upon the materials required to construct your work space. Remember to visit surplus and used office supply companies for suitable shelving, benches, counter tops, desks, and so on.


    If you have an existing space, do the demolition/clearing necessary to begin your new space. Consider floor and wall repairs, and electrical work, as required. If it's a new space, begin preparations to install the electrical, lighting, and benches. Again. consult the other sections of this website for details. Think about insulation for both heating/cooling considerations as well as sound isolation. Books for most of this type of construction should be available from your local library, or scan websites for instructions, as well.

  A Safe Area

    Ii's important to make space for a safe area. This space should be one that can protect breakables during equipment maintenance. These would include lenses and lamps, and other fragile parts. The location could be as small as a large drawer or it may be be entire cabinet. Line some or all of this with felt and/or provide soft containers for such parts. If you are to have many items in there from different pieces of equipment, arrange a convenient labeling system so days or weeks later you won't forget to what the parts belong.

  Paint Booth

    If you are to be painting equipment, and this is likely to happen with stage lighting fixtures, set aside an enclosed area or small booth in which to do the work. The enclosure is necessary so as to prevent dust from contaminating the paint job, but also for fumes safety. Arrange to ventilate this area to the outside, and to install strong, direct lighting. The latter is important so that paint coats can be monitored for completness and evenness.

Now move on to the detailed articles listed below to
continue the required labour to finish this project,
and/or to the installation of individual components
needed to tailor the work space to your individal taste.


  Detailed Articles

To see some of these ideas in
everyday usage, take the
AIEL Photo Tour.

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