An Apartment Machine Shop


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Not living in a house?
You can have a Apartment Machine Shop!

Many years ago I had a beautiful machine and wood shop in a 16′ x 24′ basement area. Times changed, I had to move and ended up in an apartment.  It has a 10′ x 11′ den which I’ve used for my computer and photography efforts.  I’ve revived my interest in having a ‘real’ shop – and discovered that the Chinese mini-lathes and milling machines have come a long way.  Still light duty and need much ‘tune-up’ before using, these machines open the door to having a very capable shop in a den.

As I started planning my machine shop, I found there was some but not a lot of info on the web about apartment-based shops, so in that spirit, I’m adding details of my efforts in hopes it may help someone else get started. Here I’ve documented the conversion of my den from a photo printing area to a shop with milling machine, lathe and Arduino development area.

UPDATE: March, 2015
The shop has now heading into it’s second year of operation.  Many changes and expected growth have happened. One of the biggest lessons learned was the need to Be In the Moment! I can’t say how often I’ve ‘lost’ a tool I just laid down second ago… selected a 9/16″ mill when I meant to take a 1/2″… and was wondering why all my movements with the DRO were off…  The addition of the DRO was another huge mile stone, and worth every penny.  It has increased the value and productivity of the mill by many orders of magnitude. Still don’t think I want a full CNC system, but power feed on the mill table is in my dreams… cranking long distances gets old fast!

Joining the volunteers at the Battleship New Jersey museum-ship has brought in new work for the shop (as well as many new friends). As a result of becoming part of the Ham radio club on the ship, I re-activated my expired ham license (WA3USI) by taking advantage of the ‘grandfathering’ of my old Advanced Class license: I just had to test for Technician, then I could go for Extra! Now if I can just find time to get on the air.   🙂

New: Arduino Interface to Harris Radio

Also doing work for Cook Tool & Machine – helping them get onto the web and making sales from eBay.  Almost a full time job – at 4 days a week.

If you have any questions, please use the Contact page – (your info is safe here:  no emails are harvested from this site!). Always glad to hear from visitors.

I’ll be posting Arduino-based projects as well as any machine-projects that come out well.