“[Spaces for making things] have just about
doubled in the last ten years,” says Nelson. “People
aren’t just stuffing junk in their garages any more.
It’s become the male domain, the place where they
can do their work and have their tools.”
There are scores of books providing advice on
setting up a wood shop or metal shop, and many
others that describe setting up specialty areas: a
paint shop, a photography studio, or a chemistry
lab. But what I wanted was not a single-purpose
workspace. I was seeking the ultimate, multipurpose
Maker’s Workshop: a versatile, flexible space capable
of handling nearly any project I could think of —
from building a cedar-strip canoe to compounding
fuel and oxidizer for a rocket engine, from soldering
a Minty Boost to developing a model ornithopter.
This article is the first in a series detailing the
creation of a modestly sized yet state-of-the-art
Maker’s Workshop, which I named the Barrage
Garage. This installment covers the design and
construction of my Barrage Garage, and the considerations behind its climate-control systems, floor
coverings, and other infrastructure. Future articles
will describe the equipment inside it, such as work-benches, machine tools, hand tools, and welders.
Workshop Design Criteria
The first step was to determine which features were
the most important and practical.
Egress A 9-foot-wide, automatic, well-insulated
door outfitted with required safety equipment was
essential. The huge door makes bringing materials
in and out of the workspace a snap.
Fenestration Natural light and a view to the outside
were high on my list of priorities. Therefore, the
design called for four east-facing sliding windows
having a total glass area of 24 square feet.
Organization I devised a plan for a combination
of stackable modular cabinets, which, along with a
slotted wall storage system, maximize the efficiency
and versatility of my space.
Surfaces I wanted more functionality and style than
a concrete floor could afford. I selected a special-purpose tile floor for workshops and garages that
makes walking and standing more comfortable.