Life

Building a Simple Garage Shelf

My days at Expedia recently came to end. There will be a forthcoming post (or ten!) about that experience, but I’m passing much of my new free time growing out my quarantine beard and getting my house in order.

First up: the garage.  My old house had an entire basement for storage, but my current house has only a garage. I’m trying to be smart about optimizing the space.

So when I noticed an abundance of vertical emptiness above my table saw paired with the lack of solid storage options for my shop vac, I thought, “Hey! I can solve this problem!” 

Keep in mind, I’m not an experienced maker of things that don’t involve code or graphics. I do, however, find that making tangible stuff results in a degree of satisfaction and accomplishment I’ve rarely felt while building software. Perhaps it’s because my expectations are lower, or because I’m not hoping to monetize my construction skills, or because these shelves serve a specific purpose with no lengthy backlog of high-pressure feature demands. Who knows?

The end result is a simple shelf in the corner of the garage that meets all my requirements. It fits around the table saw without hindering access and has a shelf for storing accessories.

It’s a simple design built with 2x4s and half inch plywood held together with some wood screws and nails. I wasn’t overly concerned about structural stability, because it only needs to support a shop vac, but it does rock back and forth a bit. I considered cross bracing, but I can add braces later if necessary. 

The good news: unlike my last shelf-making experiment, I made no cutting or measuring mistakes. That qualifies as improvement. If I learned anything during this exercise, I learned that wood screws are surprisingly stubborn. I also learned why construction sites are often littered with workbenches and grips: humans don't have enough hands!

Beyond the shelf, as you can see from the existence of the video above, I recorded the endeavor with my GoPro Max 360 camera. Total build time was roughly two and a half hours. I shot the first two hours in 360 timelapse mode. The last 15 minutes or so I shot as normal 360 video.  I sped up all the footage while editing, just to keep the video from getting too boring. I expect it to be a little boring. Just not TOO boring. 

What I like about the 360 camera is the ability to pan/tilt/zoom. I can walk anywhere in the garage and still be on camera, which eliminates the need to set up multiple cameras to cover the same space (unless you want more angles).  Unfortunately, when used this way, the 360 camera only provides a 1080p image, which degrades quickly when zooming.  Hopefully, the next 360 camera increases the resolution. Hint hint, GoPro.

In any case, these little projects give me something to build and something to shoot, which makes me double giddy.  I find both incredibly satisfying. And I have so much to learn on both fronts.

Now the only question is: what should I make next?


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