Ralph S Bacon

MicroControllers, Electronics and IOT

Workshop Construction Begins

The bad UK weather – with the Beast from the East Siberian weather front – stopped my workshop base construction in its tracks last week. Well, it was -5 degrees Celsius (23°F) and the builders figured it was not a good temperature in which to pour concrete!WorkbenchBase1

You can still see some of the snow behind the shuttering, after the snow melted a few days later. The workshop will be about 3.6 metres (11.8 ft) by 2.4 meters (7.8 ft), which, whilst not as big as Benny’s run (which you can just see to the right of the picture, behind the storage bin) is still bigger than my current video room and workshop combined!

Despite the bad weather, they returned as scheduled and have poured the base which has set nicely as we now have a balmy 10 – 14°C (50 – 57°F).WorkbenchBase3

They are returning in just a couple of weeks to build the workshop after which I will spending all my waking hours there to bring it into shape – after all, I’ve a YouTube videoing schedule to keep!

I’m going to do my best to film (in super fast motion) the workshop construction; we shall see whether I’m successful when (or if) a video snippet appears in one of my future videos.

Initially, I had plans to install a partition within the workshop (with an internal door) so I could do “clean” stuff, like videoing, in one part and “dirty” stuff like wood cutting and soldering in the other part. As it happened, I didn’t really have enough room to warrant this and I had to ask myself the question “How much wood cutting do I do in a year?”. The answer was very little, and soldering isn’t exactly dirty work, so we now have an all-in-one workshop, with a computer area (and where I’ll do my videoing), and a soldering station nearby (where I might be able to video too), so I can show oscilloscope traces and other interesting stuff “from the lab” without using my phone to film all that.

A new Arduino-based board

I want to use an Arduino (or ESP8266, or perhaps a combined Arduino & ESP8266 all-on-one board), like this one here to allow me to monitor the workshop so I know I haven’t inadvertently left the soldering iron on:

Arduino AT328P and ESP8266 combined boardYou can see the DIP switches in the middle of the board that determine how the two processors are linked together. Here’s the reverse side showing the RobotDyn name:dav

I’ll explore this board in more depth in a future video, no doubt, but it just goes to show what there is out there, for a very reasonable sum.

Anyway, that’s all for the (near) future, but in the meantime I must organise all my Arduino (and other) parts a lot better so I can find any component or part just by going to a storage bin location. As they seem to arrive from the Far East en-masse (do they save them up for me at the airport or something?) I need to be far better organised. Once I have the space that task becomes a lot, lot easier.

The days are counting down; all things being equal, by Easter 2018 it should be constructed and then the real work really starts!


6 replies

  1. Being one who suffers (and boy does it make you suffer some days) with arthritis the Beast from the East really was dreadful (as in I was full of dread, lol) even here in the SW where the weather is usually quite mild. The worry now is the forecast for the coming weekend (17-18th) is for another Mini-beast from the East. Fortunately this time I am stocked up on groceries and components so let it do its worst.


    • The Beast from the East was really quite awesome in the south Midlands area (that is, I was in some awe as it covered my car in snow, lol) but I was thankful when it left. Today it returns, a shadow of its former self and as welcome as a root canal. Stops me getting some outside electrics done until probably Tuesday, when we have a heatwave forecast of at least 11°C, I don’t know how I shall cope. More pictures as things unfold on this subject… thanks for posting Nick.


  2. Looks as though things really are well underway despite the weather. 🙂

    Can I suggest a small Excel page for the parts you have with their location etc, then just filter and go directly to the shelf & box.
    ( This just made me think I should do something like that, too much time spent looking in boxes without finding what I’m looking for 🙂 )

    Keep up the wonderful videos, I enjoy your relaxed, inquisitive and informative style and obviously so do many others.


    • You may suggest, indeed, Gary.

      What I really want is to be able to say “Alexa, where are the left-handed Arduino widgets”, and she would answer “They’re in location 14B”. Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, I suspect Excel or similar would probably fit the bill rather nicely. I bet there’s a template for that too, better go and Google it right now! Thanks for posting!


  3. Hello Ralph! I’m happy for you for your new lab/workshop… there’s never enough room for our “toys”!
    I also have arranged a lab/workshop combination in a room next to my garage.. but not enough walls to fit storage boxes…
    The best of luck with the weather!


    • Thanks, Daniel, but it looks like rain. (Then again, when doesn’t it look like rain in the UK?). Still, unless there’s a sudden monsoon with a tornado combined, I’m hoping work will continue! Keep tuned.


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