The Evolution of an RC Workshop - RC Groups
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Dec 08, 2009, 12:14 AM
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The Evolution of an RC Workshop

My entry into the world of RC modeling came late. In September of 2007 I commandeered a corner of our unfinished basement and set out to create a work shop for producing the flying models I’d been daydreaming about since childhood (See Photo #1).

Enthusiastically, with little experience or clear concepts I gathered tools, references, supplies and some models. Some of these efforts turned out to be “learning experiences.”

I learned that micro-planes are not easy and inexpensive to build because they’re tiny. More likely the opposite is true – they demand painful precision and unforgiving exactness; and their electrical components tend to be more expensive than their larger brethren.

I learned that little mobile kitchen utility tables (four square feet) do not make for suitable building benches. The opposite is true – larger is better. Small building surfaces are a limiting compromise for construction.

I learned that this is an “expansive” hobby. Models come in small boxes, but the planes that emerge from those boxes tend to grow by the square of the box length. The cost of the finished model grows by at least the cube of the model cost, if not by some greater exponential.

I was blissfully unaware of environmental consequences. Everybody knows that model glue is hazardous, but this hobby can be down-right smelly, dusty, noisy, dangerous, and seriously unhealthful. It’s not an activity to casually bring into the house; especially, if one’s spouse is not enthusiastic about little airplanes.

So, somewhat wiser, the original basement modeling area was packed away in October of 2008 (See Photo #2) and plans were laid out for a new basement “bedroom” that could function as an RC workshop.

The planning stage ended up taking over a year to complete. Numerous home improvement projects and family priorities delayed the start of construction, but in October of 2009 plans were formally submitted to the County Building Department and a formal construction permit was issued. For the record, the plans were created in Google Sketch-up (which was by itself a “learning experience,” but that’s a story for another thread).

By the beginning of December 2009 the framing was completed and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing improvements were nearly ready for a rough inspection by the Country (See Photo #3).

The rough-in inspections were passed, with only minor modifications in the electrical work, and then the messy parts of the project began.

It required 67 sheets of 4’x8’ drywall (gypsum board) to cover the project walls and ceilings, and an additional six sheets of durock concrete board to cover the bathroom shower. After drywall installation, the County conducted another inspection to insure the drywall was properly affixed to the framing and I took a week off for the Christmas holidays (See Photos #4 & #5)

In January, the drywall joints were taped, and the durock joints were sealed with nylon mesh tape and thin set mortar. Tiling the shower ceiling, walls, and bathroom floor took about three weeks full-time effort and a lot of tile cutting (See Photos #6 & #7)

The second and third coats of plaster on the taped drywall joints are next on the critical path; then texturing the walls and ceilings with a knock-down finish; and then several coats of paint.

The major portion of the work was completed in February or 2010. And the model shop opened for business a week after that.

Since that time, I finished constructing the custom cabinets, counter tops, plumbing in the bathroom, and bathroom hardware.

When all was said and done, my basement modeling space was reduced by about half. I originally had about 400 square feet of space, and now have 156 sf. I'm not complaining. It's all MINE. The reduced space has much improved lighting, electrical capacity, and ventilation - a fair trade-off IMHO.
Last edited by Jugjock; Oct 27, 2011 at 11:32 PM.
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Jan 24, 2010, 02:06 PM
Cut it twice, still too short
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Nice work Chris, quite a project. I wish I had the space for a larger indoor RC shop, my basement space is cramped to say the least. It works well for up to
50" span kits, but it's a bit of a balancing act turning the Fort's wing around at
75". Your space is going to be awesome, I'm quite envious. Now get to work, I want to see you start on your B-17.

Feb 13, 2014, 09:02 AM
Registered User
I'm very jealous of your RC man cave. When we bought our new retirement home in Hudson Florida my wife same 'NO' Trains in the house. At our previous home I had a three rail main line 'O' gauge train layout inside. So she was real hard nosed about 'NO' Modeling inside. I assumed that meant the RC helicopters and Planes also. So We bought a home with a three car garage to support my hobbies. However - this is Florida. It's Hot. Summer modeling out in my man cave is at night only because of the heat! Or right now in winter is OK. I do have a small gas heater that does very well. For summer modeling even with a portable air conditioner it's still hot. I'll have to insulate the ceiling and install a real air conditioner.

You've done a real nice job. So should be very proud for your work!!.

I too am looking forward to seeing your B-17 pictures & I hope a movie.

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