Update 6/26/2015 -This entry is deprecated. I’ve bought a larger building off site and no longer work in the facility described here. I will update this post soon.
As any rational person would imagine, a post about factory organization opens with a picture of a humming bird nest and a bit of Scottish poetry. From To A Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest, with the Plough:
Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast,
O, what a panic is in your little breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With hurrying scamper!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With murdering plough-staff.
I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
And fellow mortal!
Remember when I said Monday that “The best-laid plans of mice and men/ Go oft awry”? I wasn’t kidding. The latter is a line from the above poem and couldn’t be more apropos. You can click on her for a larger photo.
My shop entrance is enviable; it has a 15 by 10 foot high roll up door with an automatic opener that actually works -one of the few things around here that does. Path to the door is clear sailing. Or rather it was until Ms. Humming moved in. She’s sitting on three of the tiniest eggs you’ve never seen (smaller but rounder than a jelly bean). You can’t tell from the angle of the photo below but were you to look at the door straight on, Ms. Humming’s nest is midway through it, six feet off the ground. Meaning, my 15 by 10 foot door is -for all intents and purposes- 7 by 6 feet. I knew I should have trimmed that branch last February.
I know that Man proposes and God disposes but I have the truck parked to prevent the worst of possible mishaps because I’m going to be a nervous wreck until fledging season is over. I’ve never watched humming birds fledge. I hope I will have only good news to report when it’s all said and done. If you’re curious, the nest is comparable to the size of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper wadded into a ball.
At right is the basic layout of the shop. When setting up yours, some things are immutable usually based on budget. The constraints of this place are:
Size: 30′ x 75′, that’s good enough. It’s broken into three rooms, also fine.
Power: The mains is at the lower left corner by the main entrance. I don’t see any need to change it. Outlets are too few, are in the wrong places and lack the load capacity needed for given equipment (220/110). The typical solution for most garment manufacturers is feed rail which is suspended overhead. In this place, feed rail should go under the lights. Feed rail is going to have to wait for awhile. The layout includes circuits we recently installed.
Lighting: is lousy. It consists of 8 foot shop lights mounted to the ceiling (12 ft high). There are a total of eight units; six in the front and one in each back room. The maximum wattage is 75 per bulb with 2 per unit. Not enough light at all. And besides, the ballasts in 6 of the 8 units are toast. I’m dreading replacing those like you wouldn’t believe.
Entrances: There’s a door out front (lower left) and an overhead door in good shape. The back left room had a smaller overhead door opening to the back pasture (whatever for?) that wasn’t salvageable. I had that framed in and installed a standard 36″ door. It’s half glass so it lets in some light. Clearance to all entrances is good with the previously noted exception of Ms. Humming’s family planning.
This layout required new circuits in the office (back left) for the computer and CAD system accouterments. An additional two circuits were needed along the left wall 0f the main room. One of the sewing machines (the Adler) takes 220/20A -which is totally silly; Eric tested the machine at top speed and it only drew 5 +/- amps but that’s German engineering for you.That’s not a complaint either. I prefer over to under engineering so what’s a separate circuit among friends?
The pressing station midway through the length of the left wall in the main room needs its own circuit. The boiler runs on 110 but it draws every bit of it. Better to be safe than sorry.
Lighting is a serious problem. For now we’ll have to make do with augmentation, clusters of four foot shop lights I had in Las Cruces. It’s clunky looking, not an elegant solution by any means.
There is still room to spare (note the grey box marked “lounge area”) and I don’t have anything to furnish it with but will work on that. One thing I’ve needed in a work space is a place to sit comfortably to eat, read and take notes. It gets old doing that at your work desk. I don’t plan on adding more than one or two machines in the future (nod to Paul’s comment) so I should have room.
The desk in the back room doesn’t exist yet. It’ll be framed and built into the wall. I’m working on that now. None of my stuff is gorgeous, I’m the farthest thing from a finish carpenter. But it will be sturdy with a plywood top and a layer of melamine on top of that for smoothness.
Feel free to kick the tires of this plan around. I’d sincerely appreciate it!