Engineering House

A Proposed New Bench, Brought To You By Amazing Tools

After talking about my planned bench on Episode 26 of The Amp Hour, I thought it’d be fun to animate the finished versions of my plans (or at least where I’m happy with for now). I know Dave likes making fun of me, but the implications of such free and powerful tools cannot be understated. Even 10 years ago, CAD programs were inaccessible to the layman. Now, a very simple and intuitive program like Google Sketchup is letting someone like me design something like this. Amazing. It’s a subtle message for engineers to keep increasing their values and their skills over the years, as skills that were once coveted become more mainstream and commoditized.

Also, I should explain before I get more questions about it. The thing hanging off the left side of the bench is to hold the mixer for recording music and The Amp Hour. My drumset usually is just to the left of that and I’d be able to control it while sitting and playing as well as when recording the radio show.

Basically, I’m continually amazed at the power of the tools available to us today. If you’re not already taking advantage, I’d suggest giving it a try.

What kinds of tools do you use that you continue to marvel at their ability and power?

By Chris Gammell

Chris Gammell is an engineer who talks more than most other engineers. He also writes, makes videos and a couple podcasts. While analog electronics happen to be his primary interests, he also dablles in FPGAs and system level design.

5 replies on “A Proposed New Bench, Brought To You By Amazing Tools”

Pretty cool! My older boy has discovered the wonders of Google Sketchup, and he's making 'sets' for Halo as well as taking Lego cars and really decking them out. It's quite the tool!

I've always said the best reason to buy a house is so you can setup your own large workspace. I'll be jealous of the bench once you build it! Although would there be a way to get rid of the legs that are close to you? It might be obnoxious when rolling your chair along the bench when you need the entire space for a project….

The facing 2×4 should remove the need for forward legs.

If you need more support for heavy loads, you can repeat the facing 2×4 about 12inches back then use 45deg supports to the back legs.

Lag the back into the brick wall, and wah-lah! no more supports to smack your knees into. And you save on material. 4×4's are quite expensive.

I have been using Alibre for mechanical design, though not free it is very inexpensive. I also use Eagle for electrical design. Having these tools available for hobby work is amazing. As for your bench, I would have a 2" over hang on the bench to for ease of cleanup as well as for tools that clamp to bench edges.

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