Studio In a Box


So this is a project I’ve been working away on designing for a while now, as a way to solve a lack of accessible studio space, and the need to stay at home during Covid social-distancing.

It’s a trifold-door cabinet, with internal power supply, that will be installed in my carport, between the secondary entrance (left) and laundry (right) doors of my home. It’s designed so that all the equipment stacks inside it – Welders and foldup welding table go in first, then welding screens, then workbench.

All the equipment within is on wheels, so it can be rolled out and the space configured, with no lifting required. All it requires me to do is move my car forward a couple of metres, but the cabinet is narrow enough that my car can fit beside it when closed.

There’s a long, narrow workbench for my drill-press and bench-grinder, as well as storage, and a table for my metal-cutting bandsaw (a quiet alternative to a drop-grinder), that sits over the Air-Compressor. The compressor is an interesting piece of kit – it’s a silenced model, that uses two small motors, rather than one large one. You can easily hold a conversation at normal speaking volume, while standing next to it.

The power supply, which will sit roughly in the middle of the cabinet, is already installed – a pair of 15 amp, and a pair of 10 amp plugs, on a 32 amp line, so I can drive both the air compressor (10) and the welder’s plasma cutter (15) at the same time. Or, I can keep both my TIG and MIG welders powered up at the same time, and alternate between them, using  MIG to tack things in place, then TIG for the finished welds.

All in all, it should be a super adaptable, and quick setup / packdown low-effort workspace.

2020 – Week 32

Intense concentration on CAD models and quantity-surveying has resulted in a finalised cutlist.

Studio In A Box is going to consume 14 6.5m lengths of 25x25mm steel. I’ll have to cut those in half, into 3250mm lengths, so I can manage and store them, and from there they get chopped into 105 separate pieces, to be welded back into place, like a jigsaw puzzle.

2020 – Week 31

Spent the week working on the Studio In A Box, locking down the external form, and trying to get quotes for the cladding material.

A big achievement of the week has been to make some decisions about placement of the major components of the cabinet. There was a whole bunch of physically placing the gear again, but I’m pretty happy with the result.

Part of the process was to decide to build in a dedicated drill press station, and to interleave it with the bandsaw table while it’s all packed away.

2020 – Week 30

The GOOD NEWS: I received a grant through the Qld Government / Arts Qld stART Grant programme. This is a great boost that’ll more than make up for the stuff that was cancelled due to Coronavirus. The funding is going to allow me to construct my Studio In a Box project, so that’s my time spoken for until the end of September.

Other news, I finally bit the bullet, an bought a third monitor for my computer. After much tooing and froing over what display to get, an fretting over how to deal with 4K resolution, I decided to just stick to standard 2.5k non-retina and pick up a 1440p 27″ display. It’s another BenQ, to match my twin 24″ models, and will give me the desktop Battlemech setup I’ve craved for ever. More importantly, it’ll give me more room to stretch out my palettes etc onto side monitors, while keeping my main content front & centre. The other thing it gives me, is yet another welding project, as I’ll have to build a shelf for my desk to support the new display over where my Graphics tablet sits.

 

2020 – Week 29

Working on administrative stuff, a bit of time chasing down bugs in software (maybe I should be a paid QA person). I managed to put together a .cbz version of The Metaning, which seems to have worked out well – and I’ve got ideas for how to solve some of the other issues that are cropping up.

In other news, GOOD NEWS. However, it’s embargoed until Monday, so I can’t say what the good news is, but it’s good news.

2020 – Week 28

The great metal-cutting happened.

Twenty lengths of steel, measured and cut. Going to take a couple of days off to recover, but it reinforces how necessary the studio-in-a-box project will be to alleviate the setup / packdown time.

While chilling I took the opportunity to rework the EPUB of The Metaning, to pull out all the interactive functions, and make it a more standard fixed-layout book. I’m pretty happy with the result, it’s a little less 2013 in style, and includes details about the exhibition, which almost makes it an exhibition catalogue. It kinda makes me think I should make the big art book version as an EPUB as well.

Related to that was a need to recreate a couple of webpages from the Australian Comics Journal, one of which was an interview with me, which seemed to have disappeared from the internet, as the ACJ’s website no longer resolves. it’s amazing how difficult it is to convert a .webarchive from Safari, into a normal webpage.

2020 – Week 27

A bit of admin on Monday, then ordering some roller-stands to support material going into the band saw.

Tuesday, they arrived – sneaky delivery guy left them at the front door, and was gone by the time I came downstairs upon hearing the truck. The rest of the day, indeed most of the rest of the week was spent on tax paperwork for the end of the financial year.

2020 – Week 26

Continuing to work on small bits and pieces, taking a few days of downtime after a grant application. Still reorganising my Aperture library so as to make the migration over to Capture One more effective.

I had a success with scripting Aperture to change the names of projects to a format that’s easier to order, since organising by date is broken. I found a really helpful online community – macscripter.net, and a couple of folks there have been writing up scripts to help with the task.

I spent some time fixing the clothesline, which had been broken by the solar installers – it involved getting out my big swage-crimping tool, and re-crimping a sleeve.

The other big task was getting the bandsaw set up and working – with an initial cut test showing that it should be more than capable of doing all the cuts I need to get my welding cart done.

2020 – Week 25

Another week of grant application writing, and continuing to fine-tune my photo management strategy. I am increasingly disappointed in software that seems to ignore the existence of edge-cases.

I mixed up my first batch of cutting oil – buying the squirt bottles with the markers on the side was a stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. I’ve used it a lot over the years, but never actually made any up myself. It’s one of those weird liquids, where the oil is a translucent red, but when you mix it with water, it produces a milky emulsion, that doesn’t separate.

In my photo process, I’ve made a huge discovery as to why some of my Aperture projects don’t import correctly into Capture One, losing their organisational structure:

Turns out the projects that were created by iPhoto, prior to iPhoto and Aperture sharing a common library format, were tripping up the import process, and unable to be read by Capture One’s importer.

The solution, was to just rename the projects in Aperture, even renaming them to the same name seems to do the trick. Obviously a part of the process touches the Project’s metadata in a way that makes it readable by Capture One.

2020 – Week 24

Picked up my steel – I ended up not having offcuts, as the vendor cut it down and only charged me for the specific lengths I required.

Planned & modelled the cutlist, unpacked the bandsaw, bought tungsten electrodes and filler rods for the welder, as well as some cutting oil, and spray bottles.