Help With Shop Layout/design

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Active Member
Jun 8, 2016
I would like some suggestions on layout/design/machine placement in a 'new' shop.

What I have is a "Barndominium" style house (Metal building with 3bdrm 'apartment' inside and 30x25 shop space). The shop area is currently one big space with four walls around the perimeter. This currently has all my tools inside in various states of use. I currently have both wood and metal shop tools in one space. My plan is to build a wall dividing the space into 2 separate spaces, one for wood and general shop work, and one for metal working machines. I want to keep the wood dust and clutter out of the 'machine shop'.

What I am considering is a 'machine shop' area of 10x25, leaving a wood shop/general repair area of 20x25

My tools consist of a Hobart TIG welder, abrasive cut off saw, bench grinder, bench mounted belt sander, 10" cabinet table saw, 10" contractor table saw, 12" radial arm saw, 2-10"chop saw (wood), 12" drill press.

I have recently found a package deal from some distant family and bought 2 lathes. A 12" Logan turret lathe, and a 16" South Bend tool room lathe. I would like at some point to add a milling machine to the shop.

My thought was to put the lathes, mill (when I get one), bench grinder and Drill Press in the new machine shop space. I also will add cabinets and assembly tables.

The outer shop space will have the wood working tools and the welder is positioned by the door so that I can use the floor space of the shop or the welding table, or run the leads outside of needed.

My question is this; Is there any recommended layout for a machine area? Any recommended space requirements, or nice to have space? Should lathes be set against the wall or across the open space of the floor (free standing)? Basically I am looking for suggestions because once I build in the wall and move the machines, I'm likely gonna leave it as is.

Thanks, all suggestions welcome.

Bob Korves

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Jul 2, 2014
So much of shop design depends on what tools you have, what kinds of things you make, and how that will change in the future. The first two can be used to design your space now, but the last makes it important to be able to change things around to meet changing needs, wants, and new interests. In my own shop I just acquired a surface grinder and had to fit it into the mix. Surface grinders are dirty, gritty machines. I also have a handful of other grinders and sanders that are also dirty, gritty machines, and are best kept away from milling machines and lathes. So I have rearranged the shop so all the dirty, gritty machines and a big shop vac are in one corner of the shop (3 car garage, 720 square feet, still requires room for one car, yard care stuff, washer & drier, freezer, life's accumulations, yadda yadda.) My radial arm saw is on wheels and gets pulled outside for dusting the neighborhood, in fact most wood cutting is done outside. My plan is to install clear, sliding vinyl or poly curtains around the dirt and grit corner to help contain it there. The tools are now all moved to their new positions, still deciding on what curtains to get. Anyway, my main points are to leave the space as flexible as possible for life's changes, and to not think so much about metal spaces and wood spaces but rather spaces for dirty, oily, clean, and fussy work, regardless of the materials being used.


Active Member
Oct 16, 2014
Sketches....... must..... have.... sketches.....


Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Jan 22, 2012
Bob had some good comments.

I also vote for a separate space for the machine tools.

A couple of years ago I banned most all wood working tools from use in my shop due to the dust and mess they make. If I did a lot of wood working I would also make a space for the wood tools. I tend to only work in metal so my shop leans heavy to those tools with plenty of automotive related ones also.

I built a loft in my shop that takes up the first 12'x36' bay. It provides lots of storage and under it is my main work area so the lighting is close to the work surface. The only issue is hauling the stuff up the stairs.

Any pictures of the current space?
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