Saturday, January 22, 2022

A Bit Of Rearranging In The Electronics Shop

 Since I've been cranking away on projects, I decided to rearrange things on the bench a bit to make it easier to use my test equipment.

I went from this mess:

To this mess:

I've been using my oscilloscope a lot on these audio projects, and this new stack also lets me integrate a new acquisition into the mix.

The newest instrument is in the second level, on the right side. It's an HP 8904A Multifunction Synthesizer. This will be used as an external modulation source for my HP 8657B RF Signal Generator, specifically for generating the FM Stereo Multiplex Composite Waveform (whew! whatta mouthful!) so I can do a complete alignment on an FM Broadcast receiver.

The old Heathkit IG-37 that I have that basically got me back to the bench Big Time is meant to do this, but I'm not really happy with how well it works. It's a 1950's design, is really touchy to get properly aligned, and has a reputation for having a high distortion level. Thew new HP will generate a very clean, very stable waveform that will modulate the RF generator. This instrument can also produce Sine, Square, Ramp, and Triangle waveforms, and will allow you to mix them, sum them, or modulate each other. It's very close to being an "Arbitrary Waveform Generator", but not as complex.

The shop/lab/dungeon is still cluttered and messy, but I'm slowly making progress on getting it organized into a proper work area. That cardboard honeycomb core door has to go, as it doesn't give me enough workspace for equipment, tools, and Unit Under Repair. I'd like to get some countertops, and make U-Shaped workbench, but I still have to come up with a frame to hold the new work surface. 


Oh, well.....It Keeps Me Out Of Bars At Night!



14 comments:

  1. When making a new bench, perhaps 3 stringers? Looks like your current setup has a sag.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is just a cheap Home Depot "hollow core" door laying across two Horror Fright plastic saw horses, hence the sag.

      It ALL needs upgrading, something I started making sketches of tonight.

      Delete
  2. I look forward to seeing what you eventually come up with (dangling participle and all), to resolve the problem. Kind of a nice problem to have. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All I want is a "U-Shaped" bench/desk made from three sections of countertop.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. It was the cheapest door they had in stock at Home Depot.....

      Delete
  4. I can't quite read what the sig gen is, but it looks like my HP8656A. The Spec An is miles better than mine; 8594 vs. 8558B. You're way better equipped than I am.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sig gen is an 8567B. I'd been watching it, and the seller sent me "an offer I couldn't refuse". Turns out it's the same place I bought the HP 8904A from!

      I got the Spec A from a guy who bought it new for his home shop ( ! ), and was moving into a smaller place, so it had to go.

      Thanks for the thumbs-up on the gear.

      Delete
  5. A pair of 2x4s turned on edge and notched a bit to fit the sawhorses would make that hollow core door a very strong bench.
    And if something terrible happens to the hollow core door, no big deal.
    On the other hand, a pair of straight 2x4s will cost you a substantial percentage of what the door cost.

    The workbench downstairs is a solid core outside door slab that was left over when we replaced one of the outside doors at church because of a water damaged lower edge.
    It's on four pieces of 4x4 and the sides and angled braces are all 2x4s used without mortising.

    We chose to move it out from the wall, so that the lathe is across the short width, the drill press is across the other short width and shares that end with a 4" vise.
    We did play Tool Tetris with a scaled design and some paper cutouts before deciding on the arrangement.
    The mill is just off center in one long edge, and the disc/belt sander fits into the space on the other long edge.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought about bracing the bottom a while back, but now the door is sagged. As cheap a door as it was, it would probably sag back the other way if I just flipped it around....

      Know what you mean about lumber prices. It's come down some, but the three pieces of just the countertop are still around $400.

      Delete
  6. My current desk is, um, call it unfinished: I was lucky enough to grab a Steelcase desktop to go between my two-drawer file cabinets when my former employer moved into smaller facilities. I keep telling myself that I will get around to trimming out the ends with some nice wood, but you can't see much of it anyway, so... Catastrophic failure will probably occur before sagging becomes noticeable. I used to lust after the u-shaped test consoles made with sloped front equipment cabinets and attached desktop.
    Regarding plastic sawhorses, I have a "temporary" work table set up on some and the legs have developed a definite curve...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the test consoles we had at Boeing were wonderous things. They were made by a company called "80/20", and were modular construction with aluminum extrusions for the framework. Think Uni-Strut on steroids, all cleaned up and wearing a tux, and you'd be close.

      My Sweet Little Wife informed me that if I cleaned out the one basement room were using for storage, she'd buy the materials for me.

      Delete
    2. 80/20 is neat stuff, and they used to have a scratch and dent store on ebay. Middle Atlantic (now Legrand) used to have a technical furniture line made with that or something similar, and you could specify height, add custom risers, etc. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

      Delete
    3. Whatever it is will be Low Budget! I'm thinking some countertops on 2-drawer steel filing cabinets.

      Delete

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