Author Topic: Seeking advice for new/temporary shop buildout in an older building reno.  (Read 476 times)

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Offline scbucc

  • Posts: 31
Hello,  I'm encountering an interesting scenario that involves setting up a wood shop on site of a building renovation project.  I have a decent sized woodworking job to complete while being on the hook to renovate an older commercial building. I came to the conclusion that the only way to do both is for it to be under the one roof.  There's enough space in the building that I can occupy 1500 square feet or so of work space without really being in the way of the renovation.  The building has 220 service and 3 phase.  Both main panels are kind of rough, and I'm still working on getting the power back on.  The power has been off for awhile and it requires an inspection prior.  Heres's my dilemma.  More than likely this will be a 6-12 month temporary woodshop.  Once the building is presentable it will be available for lease.  I do own the building.  I found a group of nice Powermatic equipment from a local outfit downsizing, and plan to pick it up this week with the intention of re-selling it all after the project is finished.  The equipment consists of the 20" bandsaw, 20" planer, 8" jointer, 25" drum sander, 3520B lathe, and few others.  The equipment is 3 phase.  I'm not entirely sure what I will encounter trying to get the 3 phase service running on site, or if it even makes sense to mess with it versus just using the 220 service with a converter.  I do see the value of having both services active, and I know there's a possibility the next user of the space will want the 3 phase service.  I guess I'm looking for some advice for options in the event that I can't get the 3 phase powered up without major cost.  Considering this is a temporary shop, and wasn't intended really to be a shop.  Does anyone have a recommendation for how they would navigate this situation?  Beyond, of course the obvious that this may be a horrible idea and possibly end in sabotage of one job for the other.  Thanks, Steve
« Last Edit: July 07, 2020, 08:41 AM by scbucc »
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Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 1036
Hey Steve

Having the option to set up a shop on site for long-term work sounds like a good dilemma.  [big grin]  I see old 3-ph equipment for sale all the time and wish I could bring it home. [smile]

You say the panels are  in rough condition, so I would start off by having my electrician make a service call to evaluate the panels and to report on their status. Regardless of your desire to set up shop with the 3-ph Powermatic  equipment, I would guess that you will need to have the power squared away for the future, especially for the HVAC equipment.  I worked with commercial HVAC and refrigeration for several years (office work/estimator--not as a tradesman) and I don't recall a single commercial building we worked on (or estimated work) that didn't have 3 ph HVACR equipment.

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 1752
In case I understood your description correctly:

Commercial building that is in need to electrical upgrades anyway = install 3-phase to have the option to supply it to your future lessee.


I would have the electrician install a new main breaker panel, but at first only to supply some heavy duty CEE outlets (or whatever it is you use where you live) with individual ground fault interruptors (so only parts go dark in case things to wrong) to which you connect  power distributors (if needed using extension cords, your electrician will inform you what kinds you need in case you need to span longer distances) to supply your temporary shop and the places you work at.

While at it have him disconnect the rest of the building, completely. Might be a bit inconvenient to use extension cords and power distributors in the meanwhile, but you will be able to work the place in peace, without having to worry about how big of a death-trap the old electrical system might be. And the electrical system of the building can be checked/repaired/upgraded/modified freely as you won't rely on it.

This is certainly expecting the worst, depending on the state of things a slightly less invasive solution might be enough.