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such products, I recommend that you wear a respirator to
protect yourself. Breathing in the harmful contaminants is
nothing to take lightly. Wearing a dust mask when doing heavy
sanding jobs is also encouraged.
I am fortunate to live in southern California where we usually
enjoy mild weather. This allows me to do most of my painting
and projects using solvents outside. I can also open my garage
door and turn on my fan in order to provide plenty of fresh air if
necessary. Be sure to provide adequate ventilation when setting
up your soldering station as well. I have a fan that blows across
my work area and an open window whenever I am soldering.
Fume hoods are also available for an extra level of protection.
Continually inhaling solder fumes is an unhealthy practice and
needs to be avoided.
Examine your available electrical service to be sure you have
the power available for all your needs. Tripping breakers is not
only inconvenient but could be a sign of a potentially dangerous
situation. You want to verify that you have sufficient electrical
service in order to run the tools and equipment that you plan on
stocking your shop with. I had my electrician come in and add
additional circuits to my work areas to satisfy my growing power
needs. If you are uncomfortable working with AC circuits, please
consult a professional for the installation!
A generous number of grounded and GFCI electrical outlets
strategically placed around your work area will allow you easy
access to power. A generous selection of fused outlet strips and
extension cords will come in handy when you need to take your
This area is one that I have spent a considerable time trying
to improve. It is discouraging to have to spend my precious build
time searching for a part. I have incorporated a system that
works for me using clear plastic storage boxes. They are labeled
and kept next to my bench for easy access (see Figure 6 and
Figure 7). Every time I purchase an extra component, it
immediately gets placed in the appropriate container. I cannot
tell you how much time this has saved me!
Building up a PCB (printed circuit board) uses multiple
components, and you can waste an unbelievable amount of time
searching for all the necessary pieces. I remedied that by putting
together individual boxes for each of my boards that include all
the parts for that particular board (Figure 8).
Granted, I do have to stock some additional components,
but the amount of time saved more than makes up for the small
added expense. Mounting pegboard above my bench allows me
to store many of the hardware items I use. It also provides a
handy method to store the hand tools that I most commonly
need. It is a big time saver to have them close at hand so that I
don’t have to go dig for them in my toolbox. With all the
completed projects I need to stockpile for my Halloween display, I
Figure 7. Organized
Figure 6. Small and bulk