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Building a new lab at work. Need workbench recommendations

Discussion in 'Buy, Sell and Trade' started by Mongobit, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. Mongobit

    Mongobit New Member

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    I am a technician in the US with over a decade of hands on time with circuit boards everything from new build manufacturing, testing, troubleshooting and RMA service and repair. The last few years I have been at a company were I am the only tech onsite that works with or is even remotely comfortable working with circuit boards. I see that need increasing in the next few years possibly to include 2-3 more techs like me. The room the lab is currently in is not huge so I have to maximize the usable space and after noodling on it for a few days I have a rough idea of how to do it now I need to find a reputable modular workbench vendor. due to the space constraints I am looking for corner benches were the user would typically have his computer work station in the middle of the bench were the 2 side benches meet at a 90 degree angle. I have not been involved in the industrial engineering side of things much before and have just made do with the benches my employers have had but this is a chance to recommend exactly what i want and i do not want to screw them up. i have already looked at a few modular bench builder tools that some of the main vendors put out but haven't found exactly what i am looking for. i've also heard the horror stories of cheapo benches falling apart after a few weeks and i definitely want to avoid that
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  2. KeepItSimpleStupid

    KeepItSimpleStupid Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I know no one has commented on this thread, but I;d like to share a few things:

    I made a workbench when I was 10 YO and it's still standing, I was only allowed to use a jig saw. What I did, was place 4 duplex outlets along the front surface individually controlled by duplex switches. There was also back mounted wire mold for outlets for test equipment.

    Some stuff needs to stay on all the time. In any event, I was easily able to assure that everything that needed to be off was off when I left. Space heater, soldering iron in my case.

    Stuff that I was working on had an isolation transformer and variac wired in a wierd way. I know at work, I wished 240 was available at the bench.

    So, you can have power coming from the ceiling, the front of the bench and the back of the bench, All have strengths and drawbacks. In front of the bench, you can easily pull it with your foot and something goes flying, At the back, I used to risk cord burns.

    A lot of times, there's a risk in what is unplugged, The metered Variac (I,V) I had, had a 15A isolation xformer and the box, could bypass the variac for a full 1500 W isolated, but not variable. Most of the time (I was mostly working on audio amps) bringing the amp up on a 3A Variac was sufficient.

    Sencore suggests having two fuses. One on the AC line and one for the DUT in case you need to change that. I did that too,
    I also provided a set of binding posts for the AC as well. I was 10 YO and I didn;t think it out as well as I could now, but the biggest improvement would be an indicator that says the DUT is on, no matter the voltage.

    I also didn't think the grounds, Most of the stuff was two prong at the time, but I did use a grounding receptacle, but it might defeat the isolation.

    An overhead retractable cord makes a lot of sense for that drill/grinder or whatever is needed. It I was more active, I would not mind a coiled cord above as an additional DUT outlet.

    My bench was about 3' x 8' with a replaceable 1/8 masonite top. It's never been replaced,

    Height was chosen to be comfortable to stand and comfortable to sit with a stool. Computers didn't exist at the time, so i didn;t have that issue to deal with.

    My bench at work was pretty standard. Formica top and metal drawers on either side to the floor. A shelf for instruments and two side mounted mult-outlet strips built-in,

    These features are really worth considering:

    1. A single place to plug in a DUT
    2. At least one retractable ceiling mounted cord.
    3. Replaceable top.
    4. Height suitable for standing/sitting with the proper chair.
     
  3. Mongobit

    Mongobit New Member

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    The work constraints and demands on my time are such that I can't devote most of a week to measuring cutting screwing and redoing all over again to make this happen. I am looking for something I can mock up in a 3d rendering tool spec out the accessories I want and have them show up in a box for me and 1-2 coworkers to put together in a day or 2. This also needs to look professional not just some stuff we whipped together at a moments notice. At a previous employer we upgraded to a Dimension 4 system and it worked wonders for us shrinking our footprint but still having everything we needed at hand so I have seen the benefit of modular benches with multiple shelves, power rails, dedicated lighting, and equipment rails for mounting accessories needed at each station. Unfortunately looking at their current offerings i am not seeing what i want so am looking at other brands. I am also aiming to have the bench-tops made of ESD laminate with smaller blue esd mats available for the occasional heavy duty idem to prevent damage.
     

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