I'm fairly new to Arduino projects and electronics in general and don't really have a bench dedicated to working with electronics. While I was still in school I just used the same desk that I used to study. Well after graduation and relocating for my job, the desk I was using broke in the process. I've been searching for an optimum "workstation" that would be ideal for both electronic projects as well as a computer desk. I love L shaped desks, but most of which are either too nice for me to feel comfortable drilling into (to mount a vice for PCB work, etc) or made out of cheap material that will likely break when I move again.
Let me see your double duty workstations/desks and let me know where you obtained them. Maybe I will get some ideas that I haven't really thought of before.
If the the room is big enough, use a separate desk for electronics. Always having electronic parts and half-finished projects underneath your arms when you want to use the keyboard is a pain in the ass.
I'm using a table that is made from 30mm thick solid beech as a workbench, which cost me ~60€ for the tabletop (140cm x 70cm) and another 15€ for the legs from IKEA. Indestructible.
I agree with the above comment. I've got a desk that I use for programming and breadboarding and other basic stuff, but anything like soldering or drilling or cutting, I go into the garage. We have a work bench in there that is solid to work on. Only wish is that I had an appropriately sized chair to work on stuff and not have to stand (especially while recovering from knee surgery). I even bring my laptop in there when I need it for things.
Get yourself a multimeter, some tools, a tool kit, a good soldering station, a variable power supply, an oscilloscope, and some wire surplus, if you can afford it all. You can also use that space for any other stuff you might want to do, like forging katanas or performing autopsies.
An old solid church door. set on a pair of speakers with a small piece of plywood holding up the back. 1920's fruit crates(from my grandad) stacked up and over my pc's monitor with glass shelves from an old display case.
cost $0 well except for the speakers but I already had those.
I've got two desks, both of same design, home built.
They're made of plywood, and at every joint, one piece of plywood is securely screwed into a 2"x2" piece of wood, while the other bolts into that (with screws and nut on other side), so it can be disassembled.
There's a back, sides, and a top (bottom and front are open). Along the front edge, there's a steel beam (2 pieces of 1.5" hollow square steel on the long one, 3 pieces of narrower steel on the short one) to keep the desk from bending without needing a thick wooden support (which would interfere with my legs) or a vertical support in the middle.
Everything is made of 3/4th inch plywood. 3 feet deep, and the two tables are 5 and 7 feet long (one was originally 8, but had to be cut down for one of the places I live). Bench top is masonite (which gets replaced every year or two). Works great, incredibly rigid, and large (but not large enough, no desk is ever large enough).
I do not think an acceptable work bench is available as a commercial product at a vaguely acceptable price.
All the ones that I've seen sold at consumer prices are not rigid or durable enough for use as a real work bench. You need something that you can bolt a vice to, and have it not tear the edge of the desk off, or wobble all over the place when you're using the vice (for example, if you're holding something and trying to cut it with a hacksaw). You can see looking at these things that the designers have never used a workbench in their lives (okay, sometimes you need to push on them to demonstrate that). Your best hope IMO of a good workbench that you don't have to build yourself is to get an industrial or commercial one used...
Great ideas here.... (You can tell we love to do this stuff when we can get excited over workbenches!)
One of my kids has my Dad's Sears Roebuck workbench 1943 version, and the drawers and vise from my Grandfather's end bench, 1930 version.
When I was 3 or 4 years old I remember jumping in my parent's bed in their apartment in New Haven. There were two workbenches along the side of the room with lots of cool stuff like amplifiers and radios on them. When my Dad was 78 he moved into a retirement condo place and brought along the 1950 era kitchen cabinets from his house. They were in his bedroom, along the wall, with his tools and old vacuum tubes. When he was 98 and had to move to a assisted room, the kitchen cabinets became the workbench and storage in the barn I built in Vermont.
Now I have a desk with mostly computer/paper stuff, and another built-in desk/electronics workplace in the loft bedroom, where I do small stuff like Arduino, circuit board soldering, things I need my magnifiers for with 76 Year old eyes. Basement workbench with drill press etc. Barn workspace with welder, plasma cutter etc. and car/truck work.
I'm using a table that is made from 30mm thick solid beech as a workbench, which cost me ~60€ for the tabletop (140cm x 70cm) and another 15€ for the legs from IKEA.
When I lived overseas I did a similar IKEA setup.. solid wood top and frame/legs that were designed for some other desktop. IKEA guy finally gave up telling me they did not go together. Shipped it back from Italy and one of my kids has it. Nice solid workbench!
My wife builds Arduino stuff and kids toys on the kitchen table, often using placemats to protect the table.
And THIS: looks pretty good, but I haven't actually used one.
...probably can't beat used kitchen cabinets for the price...
I have a computer desk where I code and prototype. To my right, there are spare jumper wires, resistors, leds, buttons, on a shelf by the wall in this plastic drawer rack setup I have. To my left is a 3 layer shelf where I keep my books, Arduino/Raspberry boards, shields, displays, and half-completed projects. In front of me 75% of the time is my 2 screen computer display, an Uno, and a breadboard.
In my fathers room, whenever I need to solder, I use his old workbench and soldering iron.
Nice workbench in small upstairs room for assembling PCBs tho - couple soldering irons, boxes of parts, shelf full of boxes. Stereo for tunes. I apply solder paste to boards, MrsCrossRoads places parts, we reflow in toaster oven on kitchen countertop. It goes back in corner of dining room when not in use.
I really appreciate the replies guys (and gals maybe?). I guess I should explain the situation a little more.
A dedicated work bench is currently out if the question. Once I get a house with a garage, there will be a work bench for more than just soldering, I'm also a car guy haha. I'm in an apartment now and the plan is to put a desk in the corner of what's supposed to be our dining room. It needs to be computer and electronics friendly. I have work mats that were on my previous desk to keep from getting solder all over the surface of the desk, but I will be mounting a small PCB vise to it unless I can find a non-permanent solution for that.
I've seen people with a box (about 40cm x 50cm and about 10cm deep) with a hinged lid. Think of the shape of a hard suitcase. And adjust the size to suit your space.
You put it on the table with the hinged side on the table and lower the lid so it is flat on the table. The lid now becomes the work-area and the upright box has shelves etc for tools and parts. Obviously the storgae needs to be planned so things can't fall out or spill.
Avoid working over carpet - you don't want solder or clipped leads from components in the carpet (the clipped leads in particular are unfriendly for bare feet :o - the voice of experience ). Also a good idea to have an anti-static mat to work on (and carpets can be bad for creating static also).