I like playing around with my mig welder / plasma cutter and digging everything out of our attached garage every time I wanted to make a quick weld or grind something was getting to be quite a pain in the butt. We had always dreamed of having a nice detached garage or workshop and had even purchased our house with an extra lot in hopes of building one in the future. Well, the future finally arrived in March 2012. After talking about it for years we decided it was really time to get started.

After getting estimates from four different contractors we decided on one and work was started on 4/4/12. The building construction lasted 17 days (not including weekends). I always take tons of pictures while doing my projects but I was worried about getting in the way with someone else actually doing all the work. Because of this I thought time lapse photography would be a pretty neat "project within a project". I did a little research on how to shoot the film and the initial 2.5 hour test of a basic time lapse setup yielded this little gem of a video:

I ended up using a Canon ZR-500 digital camcorder mounted on a DIY tripod and stuck it in the upstairs window looking down on the worksite. I hooked this to an old Dell desktop computer and used a shareware program called Sky Studio Pro to capture individual 720x480 images every 5 seconds. The typical 8 hour workday gave me 5,760 pictures (98,000 pictures total for the entire project) and these were rendered into 30 FPS AVI video. I ran these AVI files through Windows Movie Maker on another Dell desktop to edit out the sections that didn't have any action and then turned them into WMV files. The total movie length was around 54:30 long but was edited down to around 10 minutes in the final cut:

After a week of shooting video I came to realize that since I was only shooting the front face of the workshop there was going to be a lot of action I would miss. I figured the installation of the shingles was going to look pretty sweet on video but there was no way I could capture that with the window mounted camcorder. Since I was not using my digial camera to take pictures of the work I started looking for a way to use it to automatically capture stills. In the end I mounted my Olympus C-770 camera to a 6' ladder and hooked it to an old Toshiba laptop. I used a program called Pinetree Camera Controller to capture 640x480 pictures every 5 seconds. After ten days of shooting I had around 50,000 pictures that I ran through a freeware program called JPGs To AVI. This gave me about 30 minutes of footage that I edited down to around 4 minutes in the final cut:

So, you've seen the videos but you want more details on the build. The building is on a 4" concrete slab, has 16" centers (24" in the roof joists).

Construction costs:

$ 1,350 - Move the septic drain lines away from the build site.
$ 17,590 - Concrete, framing, hardy plank.
$ 900 - Paint
$ 350 - Lights
$ 1,850 - Garage door motors, OSB, electrical
$ 250 - Power company hook up
$ 500 - Screw gun, screws, drywall lift

After the contractors left the job was only half done. The workshop stood empty and unfinished. I could not wait to move in:

I had been working out of my garage for 10 years and it was time to start moving everything over:

Even more stuff in the garage:

After spending a day getting most of the stuff moved over I figured out that it was a huge mistake to move everything before I had the interior completed. This mistake would cost me a ton of extra hours during the coming weeks:

I got my electrical permit and had the electric company dig the trench for the new line:

They charge a flat rate $250 for digging the trench, dropping the line in it, and giving you the box for the outside. You are responsible for everything else:

Most of the inside work consisted of wiring the shop, insulating the walls, and installing the interior walls. I decided that OSB would go on the walls instead of drywall. I did not want to go through the mud/tape/sand hassle of drywall and figured that a shop would have a lot of things hanging off the wall so OSB would be better suited. After hours of planning I finally ran my first wire:

I really had no idea what I was doing but the electrical work was kind of fun. Here was my panel and some additional wires:

You can see four recepticles mounted very close together. This would be my main 220V area:

My parents made a trip up from Pensacola to visit for a few days. My dad gave me a hand installing the OSB on the ceiling and putting in the lights. You can see the cheap drywall lift I bought to help with the installation. I bought the lift with the expectation of using it for a week and then selling it on Craigslist. This ended up to be a great idea:

As I said earlier, there was too much junk in the way. It was a huge mistake to empty out the garage:

After 5 days of hard work most of the OSB was installed on the ceiling, most of the wall insulation was in, and all the lights were installed. I ended up getting 18 really nice lights for $300 off Craiglist. I was only going to use nine of them and sell the rest for $120 or so. Craigslist turned out to be very important in the workshop build but in this case my plans fell through. I advertised the nine lights on CL for weeks and didn't get a single call. In the end I took them to the scrap yard and sold the 260 pounds of scrap metal for $23. Pretty crappy for lights that would cost close to $100 each when new:

One of the many mistakes I made was running the garage door power to the center of the workshop. I didn't take into account that the garage door wasn't actually centered but off to one side due to the entrance door. I am a perfectionist and this extra wire strung two feet across the ceiling really bugs me:

Another Craigslist find was my $120 heavy shelving:

Before closing in the walls my wife decided that she wanted an outside plug with a timer for lights and such at night. I had already did the wiring for that circuit but I did a quick splice into it:

All the outlets are installed and the OSB is on up to the 4 foot level:

Wow, we started with 56 sheets (my pickup truck AND trailer were completely full) but the pile of OSB is getting small:

Several weeks later and there wasn't much differnce:

Getting ready for the final electrical inspection (three total inspections).

As I said before, I had never done any wiring before but it ended up being one of the highlights of the build:

The breaker box is finished. I was pretty proud of this:

Now you can see the reason behind all the outlets in one place. All my 220V equipment would be here. I kept it close to the breakers due to the high cost of the heavy wire:

My benches are finally in place and my Craigslist anti-fatigue mat is down:

When you move all your stuff you realize how much junk there is. I have no idea why I have SEVEN sets of sissor jacks:

Cutting a hole for access to the attic. I was thinking about putting some of the pull down stairs here but it ended up being used for another purpose. More on this later:

My first project in the new shop?:

It is a rolling 4x8 saw table:

My wife thought I was crazy for building such a nice table and then cutting a hole in it:

The reason for the hole is a nice recessed table saw:

The walls of the shop are 9' tall and I only had OSB to the 8' level. I used the new table saw setup to quickly rip thirteen boards for the final 1'.

Making all these 8' long rips would have taken me forever with the battery powered circular saw I had been using:

Some more stuff from Craigslist. My new (old) compressor. It was twice as powerful as my other compressor and I only paid $85 for it. Since I sold my other one for $125 I got paid $40 to upgrade:

My $300 Craigslist stainless shop vac. It had a broken wheel mount (which I glued back together) so I only paid $20 for it:

It was getting a little crowded on the 220V wall so I wired my mig welder and plasma cutter together and put them on the same cart. I'm not sure what would happen if I turned both on at the same time but I doubt I would ever need to anyway:

Remember the attic access hole? Well I framed it out and stuck a box fan in it. There was a lot of heat pouring down from the ceiling during the day so I did this to make it cooler:

The access hole would go through another evolution before it was done. I moved the 4-position fan speed switch and installed a light switch as an on/off toggle:

The broom that I use around the shop has a swivel loop on the end so you could hang it on a hook. I used duct tape to make the swivel stationary and cut the loop a bit so it would fit over the 4-position switch. This allows me to stand under the fan, flip the switch on with the handle and then use the modified loop to turn the speed switch:

My first weld in the new shop - tying pegboard hooks together for my grinder:

My second weld was also for a custom pegboard hook for a grinder:

That is so much better than laying them on a shelf:

A good friend had given me a heavy welding table a few years ago but it was alway in the back yard and too heavy to move to where I needed to weld:

A quick trip to Harbor Freight for a trailer jack and a couple of wheels:

I slide a scrap piece of pegboard under the wheel to raise it off the ground before welding it. This ended up being a little too high but it still worked:

Using the jack you can make the rear wheels contact the ground:

Now it is fairly easy to move a 200 pound table:

Charleston in June is way too hot to even be outside but it was getting far too warm in the workshop. I bought 25 bags of fiber insulation, rented a blower, and went to work:

Plans are to build something nice for the front (toward the street) of the shop because it looked so plain:

I haven't built anything yet but a set of shutters made a huge difference:

It took months to get to this point but the shop is finally completed (if you can ever complete a workshop). It is still a little messy though:

A quick tour. My welding and cutting area:

Gun smith / cleaning table:

Hand tools:

More hand tools. Yes, it is a little messy but I am going to tackle that next week:

Cordless tools:

My paint booth. This is the final configuration of the attic access hole. I strung welding wire from hooks in the ceiling and purchased four cheap shower curtains from Walmart. I ended up getting paint all over the floor (even though I had a fifth shower curtain on the floor to catch it) so I bought two more curtains and exteneded the sides all the way down:

Note - You are probably seeing missing links to some pictures above. I still use Notepad to create the html code and have a template with plenty of extra references to pictures to save on typing. As I continue the page I will add pictures and descriptions and these missing links will disappear.