Saturday 2 March 2013

Work Benches, Paint Holders & Space Mats

Tired of having random paint pots laying around my workbench, I took matters into my own hands. I wanted the paints to be visible side-on (I know you can dab the colour on the lid, but half the time I have to pick the pot up to check the exact shade anyway) and my old paint holder was too small, and had taken up too much room on my bench.

As usual, the solution had to be cheap and very fast to build. I like to spend my time painting and playing with models, not woodworking.  Could I make my own paint rack in under an hour?

CNC Workshop Miniatures scenery holds 33 pots for $30. It also takes up valuable bench space. You'd also need two or three of them, unless you have a tiny paint collection...

I used to have a rack a bit like the one above but I found it took up to much table space, and "looking down" it was not always evident what colour the paint was.  I usually ended up with random pots I was using sitting on the bench, anyway. I got rid of the "custom holder" and experimented with keeping paint in clear drawers, and clip open containers with partitions. 

So some sort of shelving, preferably at eye height?  A quick trip to Bunnings later and I had
6 x $1.50 pine strips (120mm)
1 x $8 MDF sheet (120mmx60mm)
1 x $3 pack of small nails
Cost - $20 total

1. Since the pine strips and MDF were of equal length there was no cutting required.  Score!
2. Eschewing a tape measure, I spaced the pine strip "shelves" with a few Vallejo bottles (they are the tallest paints I own)
3. I PVA glue the pine strips to the MDF, clamping at both ends to hold them while it dries
4. Flipping the MDF over, I mark the other side to show where the pine strips are
5. This makes it a cinch to whack in a dozen nails each row, in a  fast "production line"
Total elapsed time - 43 minutes (hah, well under deadline!)

Yes, it's not exactly woodworking 101, but it's only holding tiny bottles of paint, for goodness sake. It doesn't need to pass engineering certifications.  Like with my terrain articles, I like to show how quickly, cheaply and easily even a non-skilled person (I can barely nail straight) can put stuff together. 

 My 43-minute shelf holds 200 pots for $20.  And it takes up no bench space. I plan on putting certain colours in certain shelves, and labeling them. No more rummaging for Boltgun Metal!

A shot of my complete workbench. The engraver/drill/hand tool by Ozito has been very handy for $30 (as opposed to $90 for the "official" Dremel).  The $20 Ozito bench grinder is also great for hobby purposes. I've only pinned my shelf in place with clamps as I am getting a brand new shed in a few weeks. Oooh yeah!

Space Mats
As I was tidying my man-cave, I thought I'd take a comparison shot of the Monday Knight Productions vs Hotz space mats.  Bear in mind the Hotz I have is custom-built with stars only - for the same price you can also get nebulae like the MKP mat.

The Hotz Mat on the right has much more subtle hexes markings, which I think is a better look. The material is also better quality and has a nicer "finish" which would resist stains better.

Both are practically identical in price (approx. $60 delivered for a 6x4 mat) but Hotz are famously erratic with communication (my mat arrived after 6 months) but have a better quality product; whereas MKP have brilliant customer service and are quick to post stuff out.

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