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20 Foot Shipping Container Metal Shop

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samthedog

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#1
I have recently moved and need to move my machines. I don't have the ability to build a garage as we are renting so the plan is to make a 20 foot container my shop. I will be getting the container this week (hopefully) and then will insulate it. The plan is to have an RPC to get 230 3 phase, and a transformer to step that up to 400 volt 3 phase as well. This way I'll have 230 and 400 volt three phase outlets in the container with 230 single phase as well.

I have needed to sell on some of my machines such as my lovely Wadkin tablesaw but I will still be keeping my combination machine (table saw, planer thicknesser, morticer and spindle moulder) and wood bandsaw.

Anyway, here is a list of the equipment I need to house in the container so that it functions as workable metal shop:
  • lathe
  • mill
  • metal bandsaw
  • combimachine
  • wood bandsaw
  • floor standing drill press
  • bench drill press
  • compressor
  • workbench
  • rolling bench with grinders
  • 2 x large tool chests
  • assorted plastic trays and containers
I am not sure how I will be housing all this but the plan is to insulate with styrofoam plates 2 inches thick. I will be gluing the wall studs and the ceiling battons on. I will be using OSB sheets for the walls as it can withstand loads and will enable me to screw into the walls to hold shelves and racks.

Anyway, I am looking for ideas specifically on how to hold the machines down in the container as I will be using it as a mobile workshop and will take it with me when we move next. I am keeping it certified for sea freight on the off chance I move countries and take the shop with me. Ideas, thoughts and comments are welcome.

Paul.
 

davidh

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#2
and for heat ? ? ? that seems to be a lot of stuff to jam in there. the saws and floor drill should be placed at about mid point (10 feet from front or back) two strips of lights about 18" in from walls, on both sides, full length. don't forget a exhaust fan and fresh air inlet. . . . .
thats quite a project looming in the dark, so to speak.
 

Franko

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#3
I considered using OSB for the interior walls of my converted carport, but opted for 3/8 BC plywood. Styrofoam is pretty good insulation. I used 5.375" slabs between the rafters. It is messy to work with. You'll have little white static charged specks everywhere for quite a while. I've found that a bandsaw is good for trimming foam to size.

You've probably already made your deal on the container, but I should mention that you can get an insulated refrigeration container that has insulated and skinned interior walls. The refrigeration compressors and stuff is removed. A friend who lives on the Gulf Coast got one for his shop.
 
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ogberi

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#4
My workshop is an old reefer semi trailer with the chiller removed. I would recommend a 40' if you can swing it, because these things are narrow. Mine is about 7'8" wide inside. You have to put almost everything against the walls, and space goes fast that way. The walls are thin plywood, and I use furring strips as a frame to secure my pegboard. Conduit and shelves that support heavy items are screwed to the ribs. A shipping container is steel, whereas my trailer is steel framed with aluminum skin on the outside. I have to be careful not to punch all the way through with a screw.
 

samthedog

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#5
and for heat ? ? ? that seems to be a lot of stuff to jam in there. the saws and floor drill should be placed at about mid point (10 feet from front or back) two strips of lights about 18" in from walls, on both sides, full length. don't forget a exhaust fan and fresh air inlet. . . . .
thats quite a project looming in the dark, so to speak.
Heat will be a small panel oil heater. Since it is so well sealed and insulated it won't require much to keep warm. I can't cut into the container as I want to retain the CSC certification in case I ship it later. I was thinking of LED spot downlights as they require very little electricity and have a longer life than flourescent tubes. I can get them quite cheap from IKEA and they will require less power which is a consideration since it is likely I will only have a 16 amp 230 volt supply.

I am having to thin oout my equipment substantially as I it will be a tight squeeze.

Paul.
 

samthedog

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#6
My workshop is an old reefer semi trailer with the chiller removed. I would recommend a 40' if you can swing it, because these things are narrow. Mine is about 7'8" wide inside. You have to put almost everything against the walls, and space goes fast that way. The walls are thin plywood, and I use furring strips as a frame to secure my pegboard. Conduit and shelves that support heavy items are screwed to the ribs. A shipping container is steel, whereas my trailer is steel framed with aluminum skin on the outside. I have to be careful not to punch all the way through with a screw.
Unfortuantley I can't have a 40 footer as the neighbors will never forgive me. I just look at this as a challenge to showhorn 10 pounds into a 5 pound bag.

Paul.
 

brav65

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#7
My suggestion on the floor would be a couple of layers of osb T and G floor decking. Glue and and screw the decking and you will have a very solid floor. You can paint it with an epoxy paint and it will be bulletproof. Mount your machines directly to the osb. I am not sure what your budget is but spray in closed cell foam would fill every nook and cranny. It would also absorb sount well. Definitely bring in fresh air as mentioned above. Mitsubishi makes a Great Wall mount AC unit with a remote condenser that you could mount outside. If you have to move just disconnect the condenser and your off.

Good luck with the project.
 

juiceclone

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#8
Always wanted to try one of those for a shop!! I had a small one for storage a while back.--- In my experience at least, they will rust out starting at the top flat surface surprisingly quickly. Plan on putting some serious paint into protection. Maybe even adding some kind of "slope" to the roof? Splash from the water running off the top also rusted the bottom 6 to 10 inches. I guess they aren't supposed to last long in use and are discarded when they are deemed not suitable, so be careful you aren't getting one already on it's way out.
Please show it off to us before and after . :>) :>}
 

samthedog

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#10
I was advised by a friend who rents construction storage containers and trailers to steer clear of anything but one-way containers.
It is a one way container nad has 4 1/2 years CSC certification so I expect it to hold together for at least that long. It production date was 6 months ago so it's like new. I'll still get up on the roof and ensure there is no rust and do touch-ups if necessary to keep it in shape.

My suggestion on the floor would be a couple of layers of osb T and G floor decking. Glue and and screw the decking and you will have a very solid floor. You can paint it with an epoxy paint and it will be bulletproof. Mount your machines directly to the osb. I am not sure what your budget is but spray in closed cell foam would fill every nook and cranny.
Here in Norway that kind of insulation is expensive. The styro is the cheapest I found. I am not settled on what to use on the floor but I like the idea of T&G and epoxy. As far as I know it already has marine grade ply flooring however I want a way to strap the machines down so adding a couple extra layers would be a great way to add thickness so I can screw the machines down.

Paul.
 

brav65

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#11
It is a one way container nad has 4 1/2 years CSC certification so I expect it to hold together for at least that long. It production date was 6 months ago so it's like new. I'll still get up on the roof and ensure there is no rust and do touch-ups if necessary to keep it in shape.



Here in Norway that kind of insulation is expensive. The styro is the cheapest I found. I am not settled on what to use on the floor but I like the idea of T&G and epoxy. As far as I know it already has marine grade ply flooring however I want a way to strap the machines down so adding a couple extra layers would be a great way to add thickness so I can screw the machines down.

Paul.
You could try coating the roof and sides with elastomeric paint. It adhears very well and will flex with the metal as it expands and contracts. Prime any bare metal with rust inhibiting primer then coat with the elastomeric coating. You can even have them tinted to the color you would like.

There should be 3/4" plywood floor the additional 1-1/2" would allow for 2" of embedment of the lag bolts which should hold the equipment down pretty well.

If you have not priced the spray foam you should. I was surprised to find that it was only 20% more than standard batt insulation here in the states.
 

Dubbie

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#12
For my temporary home shop, I currently have a 20' container. Inside I have:
Lathe,
Mill,
Metal bandsaw,
Surface grinder,
Workbench
HT oven
Welder
Welding bench
Computer
Small Cnc desktop mill
Bench grinders
2 large rolling toolchests.

All that is a squeeze but I still get a lot done in there.

I cannot imagine having wood tools in there as well. It would never work.
 

rrjohnso2000

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#13
Very cool. If you need to skin in wood I have to recomend plywood over osb. Screws hold so much better. Good luck on the buildout. Please keep us posted, pics too.

I will now search usernames for pics of shops. If posters don't have them, kindly post some of your shipping container shops.
 

fastback

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#14
I also have a 8 x 20 storage container. I bought mine to store my daughters furniture etc. after she lost her husband. Mine was an older unit and we noticed some leaks so last fall I placed a large tarp over the top. I'm thinking about installing a pitched roof this summer this should cure the leak problem. I can tell you that 8 x 20 is not all that large. Good luck on using one for a workshop.

Paul
 

Boswell

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#15
If you can't put any holes in the container, the how about a "False" front to temporarily replace the opening. It can contain a normal door, window and A/C-heater and any other openings. You could even make it so it breaks down and can be put inside the container when you need to re-position it.
 

Ianagos

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#16
Man I'm sure you can do it ill snap some pictures of my shop later in a 23ft box trailer. And my lathe is 15ft long and 5ft wide ha. I also have a 10"x50" mill in there a big bandsaw 8'x32" bench press and tons of other stuff.
 

cjtoombs

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#17
Before you go at putting everything in there, I would recommend getting some CAD software and making some crude space claim models of all of your tools and then using the computer to arrange them in the space. It's not perfect, but it will give you some idea of where you can place things and how much isle space you will have. You will need to pay attention to things like access to electrical boxes and belts that need to be changed so that you can make space for them. It beats trying to move all that stuff around by hand and guessing at it. It will also give you an idea of how much cabinet space and workbench space you may be able to build into it. I've done this with my shop, and it has worked out fairly well.
 

samthedog

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#18
Before you go at putting everything in there, I would recommend getting some CAD software and making some crude space claim models of all of your tools and then using the computer to arrange them in the space. It's not perfect, but it will give you some idea of where you can place things and how much isle space you will have. You will need to pay attention to things like access to electrical boxes and belts that need to be changed so that you can make space for them. It beats trying to move all that stuff around by hand and guessing at it. It will also give you an idea of how much cabinet space and workbench space you may be able to build into it. I've done this with my shop, and it has worked out fairly well.
I have drawn up the container on grid paper and made some cut-outs. I found this to be faster and cheaper than modelling it on CAD. So far the figures look like this:

Square meters of space in container: 13.8
Square meters of equipment combined: 6.8

This includes all the machines, tool boxes and rotating small parts storage. This didn't include a work bench as I am looking at making a folding bench to maximize space. I had allowed for taking up 2/3rds of the floor space so if I need to, I can still add a fixed bench. I have not calculated the amount of space for access to the mill and lathe yet as this could be organized so that the space needed can be combined with the walk way or open space.

Paul.
 

cjtoombs

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#19
That will work, too. The only thing doing that won't give you is how it is going to feel trying to get around things and actually work. I did that in my shop, but I did have to make a few adjustments after working with it, as there were things poking out that were uncomfortable to get around sometimes. Good luck.
 

ogberi

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#20
I found that the least painful arrangement for me was to have all the machines on one side, storage and pegboard on the opposite side. Had a nice little bruise on my back from stepping back from the drill press right into the handle of the Atlas horiz mill's Z handwheel. Right angles may work as well in the corners if possible. I used graph paper and cutouts, too.
 

samthedog

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#21
I found that the least painful arrangement for me was to have all the machines on one side, storage and pegboard on the opposite side. Had a nice little bruise on my back from stepping back from the drill press right into the handle of the Atlas horiz mill's Z handwheel. Right angles may work as well in the corners if possible. I used graph paper and cutouts, too.
I have been considering going this route but it makes the container very one sided with regards to weight. This may cause some issues with stability later. I also have the added challenge that I have a wood bandsaw and metal bandsaw that are quite high and will interfere with the cupboards I will be installing. The plan is to have cupboards with plastic tubs that hold my small items so that the cupboards can be closed and locked to avoid spilling items under transport. This quite a challenging puzzle however I need to get the container insulated first, rust proofed (I am thinking of zinc cathodes attached in the walls and ceiling) and electricity connected. The placement of the powerpoints depends on machine placement of course but I need to get an RPC installed into an electrical cabinet with my transformer from 230 - 400 volt 3 phase and my step down / up from 230 - 110 single phase. Oh, and I need to get some decent lighting organized ASAP.

On a positive note, the container arrived today however I am in Houston on business so I can't do anything for 10 days :mad:

Paul.
 

ogberi

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#22
If the machines need to be on opposite sides, offset them so you have machine on one side, cupboards floor to ceiling opposite it. That will distribute the weight better.
I believe the sacrificial anodes will only work if there's conduction between the anode, the cathode, and the corrosive medium. I'm not sure it'll work in air. Maybe ospho the heck out of it, and slather on por-15?
 

samthedog

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#23
If the machines need to be on opposite sides, offset them so you have machine on one side, cupboards floor to ceiling opposite it. That will distribute the weight better.
I believe the sacrificial anodes will only work if there's conduction between the anode, the cathode, and the corrosive medium. I'm not sure it'll work in air. Maybe ospho the heck out of it, and slather on por-15?
Apparently the containers are made from Corten steel which by it's nature is rust resistant. Rather than bolting scarificial blocks to the container I will just build a roof for it to keep the water from pooling on horizontal surfaces and keep up the inspection and maintenance of the paint. The container is new so all I have to do is be diligent in maintenance. I am looking into my flooring options at the moment as I have purchased some recessed tie down loops while in Houston so I can secure the mill. I could only find 6 and since I am car-less while I am here I am not able to get around to the other Home Depot stores to get the rest. The plan was to have about 20 - 24 of these to secure everything when it came time to move the shop. I'll have to order the rest from ebay and have them shipped to Norway when I get back.

shipping container.jpg
 

ogberi

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#24
Living in Florida, I can tell you, a sloped roof that keeps the sun off will shave a lot of temperature out of your workshop. If the sun doesn't beat down on it, it won't get as hot.

Norway.... For some reason, the Monty Python skit about the dead parrot keeps coming to mind.. Pining for the Fijords..... Bea'iful plu'mage 'at! 'E's 'ust sleepin!

Douglas Adams comes to mind too. Yeah, I'm a nerd. Proud of it. For some reason, everybody I know asks me to fix it, make it, or repair it. And I usually can.

I'll shut up now. Had two fingers of good vodka, a good cigar, and got off work early. Life Is Good.
 

stupoty

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#25
It is a one way container nad has 4 1/2 years CSC certification so I expect it to hold together for at least that long. It production date was 6 months ago so it's like new. I'll still get up on the roof and ensure there is no rust and do touch-ups if necessary to keep it in shape.



Here in Norway that kind of insulation is expensive. The styro is the cheapest I found. I am not settled on what to use on the floor but I like the idea of T&G and epoxy. As far as I know it already has marine grade ply flooring however I want a way to strap the machines down so adding a couple extra layers would be a great way to add thickness so I can screw the machines down.

Paul.
A friend of mine insulated their roof with kingspan 2 inch foam board, it has a protective foil like coating on both sides, its very very good, also very expensive but they found a source of seconds/returned sheets they had minor surface defects like creases in the foil coating, nothing major and were about 10% of the price of the pristine sheets.

Worth having a hunt around for that sort of stuff.

Stuart
 

mark_f

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#26
I think it will work nicely. My shop is not a container, but it is an 8 x 20 shed (Out side dimensions)(7'4" x 19'4" inside) and I have a good bit of room. Everything is against the walls and I have an isle down the center. I hang everything I can to use all the wall space.I have storage drawers and spaces under everything (floor real estate is a premium and does not get wasted). I have two lathes, a band saw, a mill, a workbench, tool chest, a die filer, tool and cutter grinder, air compressor, two bench grinders, and a drill press. and I still have some space left for a couple more machines and a good bit of wall space left too.
 

samthedog

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#27
I think it will work nicely. My shop is not a container, but it is an 8 x 20 shed (Out side dimensions)(7'4" x 19'4" inside) and I have a good bit of room. Everything is against the walls and I have an isle down the center. I hang everything I can to use all the wall space.I have storage drawers and spaces under everything (floor real estate is a premium and does not get wasted). I have two lathes, a band saw, a mill, a workbench, tool chest, a die filer, tool and cutter grinder, air compressor, two bench grinders, and a drill press. and I still have some space left for a couple more machines and a good bit of wall space left too.
After reading your post I got all inspired and roughly planned out the floor of the container. See attachment *note, grid lines are equal to 125mm or 6 inches and container doors are to the right.

Some things to note -
  • The metal bandsaw does not protrude so far out normally, only when the saw is in the lowered position during cutting
  • The tool chest is the rolling variety and so can be rolled out of the way when the lathe needs the changewheel config. altered
  • The milling machine is a Deckel FP1 and therefore requires working from the side. The current position allows more room where the majority of controls are located
  • I have allowed excessive room for the small parts storage as it is a rotating variety
  • The red arrows indicate the working position of the operator
  • Hatched lines indicate space required for the opening of drawers, cupboards etc... of items that will be floor standing
  • There will be cupboards mounted on the walls, and also cupboards mounted on the doors

This exercise has literally been cramming 15 pounds into a 5 pound bag. I still have welders and grinders to accomodate however I think these will be mounted on the walls, along with the compressor and electrical items (RPC, transformers etc...).

Opinions are welcome.

container floor plan.jpg
 

catskinner

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#28
You might want to consider putting wheels on your equipment that is not bolted down. I have wheels on both of my welders and my radial arm saw. They can be wheeled out of the way when not in use, or wheeled outside weather permitting to get it out of the way or used where you have more room. Here are a couple pictures of my saw with two wheels on the back and folding handles on the front.

raidial arm 005.JPG raidial arm 006.JPG raidial arm 005.JPG raidial arm 006.JPG raidial arm 005.JPG raidial arm 006.JPG
 

samthedog

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#30
I guess my attachments were uploading sorry for the duplicates.
Iwas thinking about this and will have wheels on the combination machine, mill accesory cabinet and am also considering putting them on the wood bandsaw. I was thinking of downsizing the workbench as the one I have is huge and super heavy duty but having the extra space and rigidity is really nice. The metal bandsaw has wheels and that has made it very easy to move around when the mood hits me. The mill and lathe won't have wheels as I want these to be very rigid. I am considering making a special metal pallet for the lathe though to make moving easier.

I will have a challenge with stock storage. I was thinking of making a rolling rack that will slide under the work bench that I can slide out when I need to however this will be quite heavy. You realize just how much you have when you need to start getting rid of things. I also have a bunch of shadow boards in metal that I need to hang so I am considering the wall layout next. There won't be an inch of wasted space in this shop and it will have to be kept immaculately clean otherwise it will get unmanageable very quickly.

Paul.
 
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