How to build a workshop… Part 1

Spring in the Pacific Northwest is an exciting time. The clouds are starting to clear, there's a break from the seemingly endless grey and rain of winter, and there is an explosion of growth everywhere you look, including our headquarters in Issaquah. We began year two with an increased demand in production, which brought us to a pivotal moment in our company history. We had to make a choice: continue business as usual; or expand, innovate and grow. As engineers, and designers, naturally we chose the latter.

Our headquarters in Issaquah has served us well for the past 14 months, but we've been feeling a little cramped. Since day one, our plans for Phase 2 of Function Foundry have involved expanding into the large barn on our property, bringing in new machinery, new technology, and new personnel. The problem is, the barn is old, un-insulated, unventilated, has a dirt floor, and requires some serious power upgrades. Our goal was to turn something originally intended for housing horses, into a fully functioning metal fabrication and woodworking shop. Here is our journey so far in photos.

red barn
Former horse and hay barn, future workshop.

Our first challenge was to address the uneven dirt floor. Our work requires precision, which means our workspace needs to be completely level. The barn itself is split into two halves. One would be a dedicated wood shop, and the other half would be for metalworking and heavy machinery. For the wood shop, we decided to build out a new floor of plywood.

Laying out the blueprint for the new floor.
Laying out the blueprint for the new floor.
Construction begins! Preparations for the framing of our new floor in the woodshop. Check out that dirt floor! Lets cover that up.
Construction begins! Preparations for the framing of our new floor in the woodshop. Check out that dirt floor! Lets cover that up.
Installation of the wood floor framework.
Installation of the wood floor framework.
With framing complete, it was time to lay down plywood boards that would become our new shop floor.
With framing complete, it was time to lay down plywood boards that would become our new shop floor.
The new floor of the woodshop is almost complete! The two doors on the right side of the image used to be stables. We removed those walls to open up the space.
The new floor of the woodshop is almost complete! The two doors on the right side of the image used to be stables. We removed those walls to open up the space.
New LED shop lighting in the rafters of the woodshop.
New LED shop lighting in the rafters of the woodshop.
Atlas, our shop supervisor, pointed out that the thin barn walls aren't insulated, making it quite cold in the winter for dogs and humans.
Atlas, our shop supervisor, pointed out that the thin barn walls aren't insulated, making it quite cold in the winter for dogs and humans.
So we added insulation and put up new walls so we could stay toasty all year round.
So we added insulation and put up new walls so we could stay toasty all year round.
With new floors and walls completed, it was time to install our custom built workbench. Pegboard walls are keeping all our tools nice and tidy.
With new floors and walls completed, it was time to install our custom built workbench. Pegboard walls are keeping all our tools nice and tidy.
We reclaimed these gorgeous solid wood tabletops from a local resturant to use as our workbench surfaces.
We reclaimed these gorgeous solid wood tabletops from a local resturant to use as our workbench surfaces.
Workbench complete! Our woodshop is up and running!
Workbench complete! Our woodshop is up and running!

The second half of the barn would become our metalworking and machine shop. This is the area that is going to house heavy-duty, precision instruments such as a CNC plasma table, CNC Milling machine, lathe, and brake press. For the functionality of our machinery it was imperative that we create a stable and level surface. Also, with the plasma table throwing sparks and lightning everywhere, a wood floor would not be safe. We decided to level out the dirt floor and pour a concrete slab before bringing in our new machines.

The machine shop side of the barn, completely cleaned out and ready for an upgrade. As seen during snowpocalypse 2019.
The machine shop side of the barn, completely cleaned out and ready for an upgrade. As seen during snowpocalypse 2019.
Leveling out the dirt floor and prepping for concrete required some heavy machinery.
Leveling out the dirt floor and prepping for concrete required some heavy machinery.
Atlas inspects the new concrete slab in the machine shop. Atlas approves.
Atlas inspects the new concrete slab in the machine shop. Atlas approves.
As with the other side, we needed to frame out new walls and insulate the machine shop. Those barn walls are thin! Brrrrrr
As with the other side, we needed to frame out new walls and insulate the machine shop. Those barn walls are thin! Brrrrrr

With the new concrete floor ready, we immediately began moving in our new tools so we could get our machine shop up and running ASAP.

Set up of our brand new CNC Plasma table, which can cut through sheet metal with ease.
Set up of our brand new CNC Plasma table, which can cut through sheet metal with ease.
Setup of our newly aquired milling machine
Setup of our newly aquired milling machine

Thats all for now! Check back soon for part 2 of our shop build where we'll show off the completed workshop!

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