Setting up a workshop properly is very important for a good work environment. From the layout, to the size of the space, to the paint color on the wall, every detail plays an important role. However, the arguably most important detail is making sure that you have the right tools to do the job. It is essential to think through what you will need and it's performance before going on a “tool” buying spree.
Make a list of what you want to do in your shop
What would you like to accomplish in your workshop? Is it cutting metal? shaping metal? drilling holes? pressing bearings? Once you have decided what it is you would like to accomplish you can start shopping for your needed equipment. Not everyone needs the same tools and not everyone’s budget is the same. Here are a few suggestions that may help fill up the vacant spaces in your shop.
If you are cutting metal and want the best cut you can get so you can eliminate having to grind or deburr the part (saving you money on grinding wheels and deburring tools) you should look into purchasing a cold saw. Many times, cold saws are available in 120 volts so you will not need to specialty wire your shop for the machine.
If you are cutting metal but do not need the extreme tolerances and milled finish of a cold saw, then a 120-volt bandsaw is a great way to go. Both vertical and horizontal models can be a great, and safe, time saver. They cut quickly and easily and are priced right for your pocket book.
If your shaping sheet metal into a 3-D shape for those impossible to get parts or repairing sheet metal parts, then a power hammer should be on your shopping list.
More likely than not, you are going to need a drill press at one time or another. You should think about the maximum size hole you will ever need to drill or tap and choose a model that’s right for your applications. Think about if changing the speed by changing a belt or by variable speed is right for you. Then, decide if a bench top or floor model will be better for your space and needs.
Do you think you will need a grinder? If your application requires a lot of grinding and a hand grinder won’t cut it, a belt grinder will remove metal at such a fast rate you won’t believe it. The belt grinder could be a very good investment for your shop.
Arbor Presses and Hydraulic Presses
We all have used a hammer and socket or a piece of pipe to seat a bearing. If this sounds familiar, you probably wished you had a press to do the job right. This is when you should consider whether an arbor press or a hydraulic press will work better for your needs. Once you have a press you will wonder how you ever got along without it, being so much safer than a hammer and much more precise. You will probably want one of each!
In the end whether you are setting up a shop at home or for a business, carefully plan what your goals are and buy good tools as they will be your best business partner at the end of the day.