Concerned that I was getting lazy, I went out and measured my ceiling
joists and other structure carefully and spent my evening with SketchUp!
I am concerned as to how many new 48" (10" wraparound) fixtures to add.
Please see my two jpeg's:
Putting another light above my virtual bench may make good sense.
However, If I regard my bench area as 10' by 8', then my new pics at my
web site already demonstrate 80 ft^2/6 bulbs = 13.3 ft^2 per bulb!
Don't want to blast my self out. I was thinking of using 32W, 5000K or
6000K fluorescent bulbs.
I would like to try to optimize my lighting? As drawn, the distances of
the lights from the walls are 36" and 24" respectively. Assume the
walls will be white (for decent reflectivity). The floor is concrete.
I'm going to keep the light in front of the subpanel 36" away from it to
satisfy relevant codes (regarding a "free workspace").
I never did this before and I hope to do it right the first time. What
would you change?
There should be a light positioned to illuminate the guts of the panel--
for some reason I was under the impression that there was a code
requirement for that but it might be my mind playing tricks on me.
The "free workspace" requirement doesn't mean there can't be anything in
the ceiling--the idea is that there has to be room for a guy working on
the panel to stand in front of it and work on it without being in an
Just a suggestion but check your local library and see if they have or
can get for you either the "IES Lighting Handbook" or "Time Saver
Standards for Architectural Design", or check the used book sites and
see if you can find older copies for cheap.
"Time Saver Standards for Architectural Design" has a good section on
lighting design, with illumination patterns for many common types of
fixture, the required illumination levels for a wide range of tasks, and
details of calculation methods. The IES Handbook has that and a
tremendous lot more--it's the "bible" of the lighting industry.
If you're dealing with straight tube fluorescents then any edition of
either published in the last 30 years or so should have what you need.
If I have time over the weekend and can find my copy of Time Saver
Standards I'll see if I can work out the numbers for you, but no
I had good luck putting up fixtures in my wife's stained glass room
using lighting design info found here:
It's been a couple years ago, I think the Photometric viewer is the
program you want, along with data files for the type of fixture you
want to use.
I placed fixtures in the center of her 14'x20' room. The room is
bright, but there are some "soft" shadows when working along the wall.
Try to keep your bench lighting between you and the wall to prevent
shadows when leaning over your work.
I'd use the 5000K bulbs for a white light. I used the 6000k in hopes
of better color rendition, but it makes the room look kind of blue.
Ceiling lights are not a clearance issue for the electrical panel
unless you plan to hang from the ceiling while working on the panel.
The workbench in front of the panel could be an issue. Keep it
First of all, I'd forget about 64ths of an inch when figuring where to put
lights. In fact, I'd forget about *any* fraction :)
Secondly, I'd draw lines dividing the entire shop area into quarters both
ways. That gives you four boxes. Divide each into quarters. That gives you
16 little boxes.
Thirdly, I'd put double 40" fluorescent fixtures more or less centered on
the line intersections along each long side of the shop. That gives you six
fixtures - 12 bulbs - illuminating the entire area pretty evenly. I'd use
either two or three switches thusly...
IMO, it can be useful to recess the fixtures; i.e., next to rather than on
The longer workbench is in the space that should be kept clear. The
light is not a problem (actually, a light at the panel is a requirement,
as is an outlet at the panel - both to make working on the panel
Put the bench lights on a different switch, and more over the bench (and
move the bench to a different wall if it's not on wheels.) You can have
just those on for bench work, and just the others on for non-bench-work,
and both on for jobs that go back and forth. Or get more specific and
provide a light for each machine, with a switch for it, and turn it on
when working on that machine (depends how much you care about saving
electricity .vs. some added cost and complexity (not much) in wiring).
Not as much use if the shop is cold and the florescent lights take a
long time to come to full brightness. The light for the tablesaw should
be high-frequency ballast and/or include at least one incandescent
(often a spot pointed at the blade) that does not "flicker", to avoid
the "strobe effect" where the blade seems to stand still as it slows
down (while still spinning.)
People go with all sorts of options, and work under all sorts of
conditions. As you get older, you'll want more light to maintain acuity
as your eyes go to crap, unless you got really lucky in the eye lottery.
"Blasting yourself out" is almost impossible, given the amount of light
in full sun .vs. what we achieve with any indoor lighting. Providing
appropriate light for the task at hand is more like it (ie, if you are
not doing any fiddly work away from bench or machines, less light is
appropriate there, particularly if it's something like lumber storage -
OTOH, if you are finishing large projects away from the bench, you'll
want lights you can turn on for that process, at least.)
If you have any "shop lights" around the house, they are easy to hang
and move and get an idea of where you are putting permanent fixtures.
Sometimes real life is better than any computer model you can reasonably
expect to find for free.
Paint the floor white. It won't stay pristine white, but it will reflect
more light than a gray or red floor, and paint keeps the concrete dust
This is what - 20 x 25 x 8 ft high? I'd guesstimate that you'd want at
least 6 fixtures for general work lighting, and more on the bench.
Thank you. The replies to my original post put new (and worthwhile)
ideas in my head:
2) Mock-up lighting for testing purposes
3) Maybe I don't need "wrap-arounds" as much as I thought I did (they
are pretty though).
4) Further switch possibilities. BTW, my existing two lights are powered
by a separate panel (my main panel) which I like. But I only installed
one extra light switch this summer! Ahhhhh! There's more than one way to
switch a light though...I'm not ready to tear my new drywall down yet.
5)Further lighting references, etc.!
At least this time around, I know 6000K is not necessarily "Brighter
Than" 5000K! I'm getting there. : )
With the lights running perpendicular to the benches, that'll be less
of a problem, too.
Not mockup, but temporary installations.
You'll waste less time replacing bulbs down the road if you don't have
them on there, too. And you can dust bulbs when they're open.
This is a good time to learn how to successfully install a patch into
a sheet of drywall.
Hell, Bill. In just six to ten more months, you'll likely have the
Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy
simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.
-- Storm Jameson
I year and a half ago, my wife and I moved into our house and so I
finally have the chance to "build my shop". She says all she wants me
to make for her is a birdhouse (but I've got her waiting on furniture).
And I have to tell her that I need a drill press, band saw, table saw,
router, fluorescent and task lighting, and new electrical sub-panel
panel to make this birdhouse.
Reminds me of the cute story that ends with the question: How much did
it cost you to make that little table (birdhouse)? $100k. : )
My numbers are smaller of course, but it still makes me smile.
Another antique metal-cutting lathe showed up at the local auction this
week. More petite than the monster that showed up a few months ago.
I'm either becoming more particular or becoming a conniseur. It's
cheaper and easier to be a conniseur than a collector! :)
Are you -sure- you want wraparound covers (which are VERY good
collectors of dust) in your shop? And 9 (or 12 if you put in the
extra switching for them.)
The 5000K have a better CRI, but either is good in the shop. Check
the lumen output of the bulbs, too. They vary widely between brands.
My take on the NEC code leads me to define the workspace as the area
which extends from the top of the panel (or 6'6" min) to the floor,
and allowing a (large) person to get right up to the panel from the
front. I wouldn't build anything within a foot of either side of the
panel, but I wouldn't hesitate to roll something movable (router
station, unplugged welder?) into the access space. I don't read the
code as mentioning overhead access, but. What (as I suggested
earlier) did your local code inspector say about it? He's "god" for
all things electrical in your area and what any of us thinks has no
meaning there if he says something different.
Do yourself a favor and do temporary hangings of the lights to see for
yourself what light level you're comfortable with. _Then_ hang and
wire them permanently.
I'd hang them the other direction, 3 per column in 3 columns, 4'
between bulbs either way, centered in the room. (Lew would probably
want them every 2' for a total of 40 fixtures or so. Get checked for
cataracts, Lew! Lew's scenario would blow you out of the shop,
requiring #5 welding goggles to see through the glare. ;)
Task lighting on each machine (where required) and over the benches
(if necessary) will fill in the gaps.
P.S: I forgot to ask if you put quad outlets everywhere. There's
always a third cord to go in whatever outlet you're near, y'know.
Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy
simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.
-- Storm Jameson
Hmmm, don't think that's likely :-)
I have a 16ft x 8ft garage as my workshop, main lighting is four 48", 58W
fluorescent fittings running lengthwise. Walls and ceiling are all painted
white. In addition there's a 100W incandescent spot in an adjustable
fitting aimed at my vice.
The other end of the bench there's a large circular, illuminated,
magnifying lamp on an "anglepoise" type arrangement. Apart from it's use
when critical marking out (metalwork mainly) when raised up it can provide
more general "Task lighting". This has a "G" clamp like fixing and can be
moved from its present position, clamped to the end of the bench towards
Fixed to the underside of the 12" wide shelf, which runs the full length
of the wall, over the bench, at this same end of the bench, is a 20W
halogen spotlight in an adjustable fitting. This can either be positioned
to throw light forward onto the end of the bench or swivelled through 90
deg to direct light onto my X1 milling machine.
If I turn round from facing my bench, I find myself facing my C3 minilathe
against the other wall, which has a 60W incandescent spotlight in an
anglepoise fitting clamped to the tailstock end of its bench. This lamp,
when rotated through 180 deg will throw additional light on my router
In addition to all this I have a 60W incandescent spot in a "lead lamp".
This has a strong spring clip and can be used anywhere in the shop, though
it is normally positioned to aim light at the table of my drill press -
which is next to my mill and also throws some light on that.
In your situation, I'd certainly be adding a lot more 4ft fluorescents
I enjoyed the "tour" of your shop! From your post, and others, it's
apparent that "systems" of lighting evolve. I don't want to be an energy
hog, so I'd prefer lighting systems that I can use in a discretionary
way (compared to ::INSTANT-ON::). I think I'll begin by illuminating
what I regard as the main part of my work area and take it from there.
I intend to power the lights using ordinary plugs into new 2 duplex
outlets (which will be subservient to 1 wall switch), so my
configuration will be reasonably adjustable. Some of my virtual
furnishings (i.e. cabinet and workbenches) are waiting to be built!
It wasn't until today did I really thought of lighting *systems* as
such. At some point though, one has to make a few trade-offs to get
some work done! :) No doubt, there are more systems ahead (DC, HVLP,
plumbing, ...). Using Hemmingway's words, I just want "a clean
well-lighted place...". :) I'm glad to see that my h.s. literature
class is finally paying a dividend!
Well, in my case, only the fluorescents are normally switched on, all the
other lights have individual, local, switches and are used as and when
needed. The two fixed spotlights I mentioned are ultimately controlled by
the main lighting switch but the anglepoise lamps are all plugged into
Ah yes, outlets, you'll need lots of those - always more than you think.
In addition to the ones round the wall I have several fixed to the ceiling
down the centre which are useful for portable power tools. If you can
reach them, these would be useful in your situation as you have a bigger
area to cover and parts would be further from the wall requiring long
leads which you could trip over.
Even better if you make them so they can travel by hanging them in loops -
each in a traveler - from a ceiling mounted curtain fixture...the "C" shaped
ones. Coil cord at the end provides strain relief and keeps them out of the
Nice drawing using skethup. Where did you get the bandsaw ,workbench and
tablesaw? Did you make them yourself or download a library?
As far as lights, I agree with quartering your layout.
I have boxes that have 3 bulbs. I put four in my hand tool area, None
directly over the bench.
I put them offset to both sides .. to eliminate shadows. I also use
swing lights on all my benches. I find it more helpful to have direct
light where I need it. I find these at garage sales and fix them up.
Sometimes you get a brand new one for $1... All my tools have mounts..
My sanding station, router table, workbench, sanders, scroll saw,
I try to avoid direct overhead lighting knowing my head will block out
the light when bending over. My tablesaw has 2 overhead boxes, one on
each side of the blade and toward the outfeed table to avoid my own shadow.
On 11/29/2010 2:34 AM, Bill wrote:
Thank you. I downloaded the drillpress, bandsaw and tablesaw models
from the SketchUP 3D Warehouse. I modeled the benches after looking at a
design published by FWW which was presented by Garrett Hack in "Tools &
Shops" (Winter 2009). His bench also has a tool-trough, and other
niceties. I downloaded the vises from 3D Warehouse.
Hmm...At this point I was thinking of putting ceiling lights in front of
me and behind me, to eliminate shadows. Same idea? Perhaps I would be
wasting light illuminating the wall.
I will think more about "quartering" my layout, but I have a garage door
over 1/3 of the space (up to the existing lights), an overhead access
door, and a "medium traffic route" used to help unload groceries, that
doesn't require further illumination. Your comments below about direct
lighting are well-taken.
I also use
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.