Atlantic Illumination Entertainment Lighting

AIEL Shop Tips

for the

Here are some extra things about which to
think. These will add an air of completeness
to your shop and provide some additional
advantages, should you decide to implement them.


(Image Left: Desk Telephone Clipart)  Telephone   This is a must if you spend a lot of time in the shop and don't have, or don't want to use, a cordless or a cellphone.

    If you do not make it part of the next item below, a wall-mounted phone with a note tray and phone book is suggested at the minimum. A phone on the wall does not take away from the work bench and is not as likely to be made as inaccessible as can a desk phone when it's covered or blocked by some bench-top object. A shop phone saves steps, allows you to be contacted and provides easy access to parts and outside help if required.

    Try to keep it away from the work area if there is more than one person in the shop. This is to lessen the possibility of the work area being blocked by someone talking on the phone. It also allows one to be away from noise while talking.

    You may think that a cordless or cellphone could be used. However, if your shop is dirty and is prone to damaging items because of heavy work or cramped quarters, an old wall phone is a better idea than a portable phone. As well, a portable phone tends to get left somewhere and either gets hidden by work items, gets paint or oil spilled on to it, or has its display screen get cracked. If you must use one, have a wall holster for it to keep it accessible and damage free.

(Image Left: File Cabinet Clipart)  Paper-Work Station   If you have the space this is desired. It would consist of a small desk or table, telephone, file cabinet, clock, and optional computer (see next). Place the desk away from the work area so as to keep it clear and relatively free from dirt generated by any repair/construction work.

    If the space is small, the phone should be wall mounted with a phone book and paper tray. A file cabinet need only be a small two-drawer model and would hold shop product information, shop equipment manuals, and lighting repair information. The other drawer can be used for literature and catalogues. Also, you should keep a log file for equipment maintenance. If the cabinet is not possible, at the least, get a desk-topper file holder for manuals, repair information and the repair log. However, I recommend the cabinet because the desk-toppers tend to collect junk and the files get dirty over the years from shop work fall-out.

(Image Left: Laptop Computer Clipart)  Computer   It may seem unnecessary for a small shop, but a computer will make your maintenance life much easier. One may store inventory, maintenance records, product information, and if hooked to the Internet get information for the items you are repairing.

    Can't afford another computer? This application doesn't require major processing power. One may pick up an earlier, complete Mac or Pentium system for just a few tens of dollars, if not for free. A simple database, spreadsheet, or word processor will hold the information suggested above. Then you will have the quick capability to search through, and/or cross reference that information, compared to searching through paper files.

    Contrary to computer salesperson talk, Internet access can be had on even 25-year and older computers. For basic searching and product information a high-speed connection and super processing power are not always needed. One may use a simple DOS or Linux program to connect to on-line services. Shareware communication softwares are available for Internet text hookups, which cost very little per month, or you could patch into an existing Internet setup.

    In addition, one can run a simple database, spreadsheet, and word processor on such a system for very little money. Many such programs are available for free, or at Shareware prices from the Internet. See DOS Websites for programs to accomplish this. Don't want to set up a DOS system? Run a DOS emulator on your chosen system to access a wealth of free programs. Alternatively, set up a Linux system as there are many free programs available for it.

    Install the computer at your paperwork station so that it may either be plugged directly into the phone line or connected via a router. You should consider a cover for the computer so as to keep dust out. Remember, the power supply has a fan which draws dust as well as air, and it will be used in a workshop where dust will be generated. With this in mind, only run the computer when it is needed. Position the monitor at eye level, with the screen away from any window or bright light source. Set up the lighting as discussed in Work Lighting.

Well, there you have it. This and the other
articles presented here should start you on
your way to a well designed, efficient shop
that is a pleasure in which to work.

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for other articles regarding specific aspects of shop design.

To see some of these ideas in
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