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Old 02-20-2013, 03:13 AM   #1
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Home Office Build Advice Needed


Greetings All!

Here's my situation... I'm employed as a 3d graphic artist and my computer setup is massive... well moreso than an average user. On my desk I have a 7 monitor spread working over 4 computers, and that's just at my desk. I mention this because my requirements for an office space go beyond some of the 'stick a piece of wood against a wall and you have a home office' suggestions I have found around the internet.

I am losing the spare bedroom that I had as my office due to the fact that we are having a baby. The only room left to me is the garage. So I started perusing ideas for converting the garage to an office. The problems I'm running into are that that the garage is unfinished, no AC (I live in Florida), and when it rains the edges collect water, which seems to be coming in at the base of the walls.

The idea I came up with was to construct a room on wheels so I can use a small window unit AC and the wheels are so I can move it around if I need to. What I had in mind is essentially a wooden box 8'x8'x7' which will move around the garage and also fit through the door of the garage if I need to roll it outside for any reason. This seems to be my best option because I can insulate it and keep it cool while also keeping the computers safe from the elements. The other idea was to build it as a modular unit, basically 2 4x8 1/2 rooms that will fit together, be it with a few screws or with some kind of heavy duty locking clips.

I had planned on making it light-weight, so the floor would be of 2x4s and plywood, while the walls and ceiling would be 1x3s and paneling.

Of course I could be overlooking some other way to do this... which is why I have come to ask you good people your thoughts or your advice on the best way to do it, maybe some materials that would be inexpensive but sturdier than what I'm planning on using.

So... if you are so inclined, fire away!

Thanks in advance.

Charlie

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Old 02-20-2013, 09:04 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie_ar View Post
I'm employed as a 3d graphic artist and my computer setup is massive...
I am losing the spare bedroom that I had as my office due to the fact that we are having a baby. The only room left to me is the garage.

Of course I could be overlooking some other way to do this...
Rent some actual office space.
Or at least something that can be used as office space.

Keep the garage as a garage.

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Old 02-20-2013, 09:34 AM   #3
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Heh, thanks... Yeah right now its a junk bin. And renting an office space is not an option... I work out of the house for a reason... kinda defeats the purpose to have to go somewhere else to work from home....

Besides, I was renting an office for 6 months or so and my family didnt see me for that 6 months. I was pretty much going to the office and only coming home every other day to shower... or they were coming to the office and camping out... I work too much for an office outside the home to be viable... I pull 48 hour days a few times a month and a 24 hour work day is pretty much the norm....
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:39 AM   #4
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It would be great if you could post a picture of the space so someone could make some suggestions on how to take care of your moisture issues.
How about just buying a prebuild shed?
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:48 AM   #5
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Ill take some pics. The Garage itself is unfinished, painted cinder block walls... We're worried about keeping anything electronic out there because it pretty much just feels like outside. Florida is horrible on humidity and heat... so most of the year the garage feels like a sauna.


I thought about getting a prebuilt shed, but I'm on something of a budget and even the cheap metal ones are around $300 and I would still have to build interior walls and insulate it.... I cant build it outside because of city ordinances, so I would have to get a shed that would fit inside, which again would have to be somewhat portable...
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:56 AM   #6
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If you are running expensive computer equipment, you want a properly conditioned space. Computers and electronics have tolerance levels for moisture and humidity, that may be beyond the control of a cobbled-together garage solution. "Something of a budget" is not really helpful - what is your actual budget?

It may be beneficial to look beyond the garage. Look to technology - you could drastically minimize the footprint of your equipment, rack mount it in a wall/closet, put up a nice monitor-array on the wall and only need physical space to hold your input devices (keyboards, mice, tablets, track-balls, etc) and a chair.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:27 AM   #7
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Oh believe me I have been all over on the web looking up other solutions. Putting my system anywhere else in the house is not an option. Thought about putting it in closets, hell we even have a few extra feet in teh kitchen and that was an option for a little while...

Bottom line is I can't put the system in any main part of the house. Too distracting during the day to get any work done. The only option is to 'cave' the system somewhere.

I actually am pretty well aware of the needs of my equipment and the amount of insulation and protection that is going to be required... which is why I cant just put it all out in the garage the way it is. If I do 'cobble together' the office pod, its going to be well insulated both to keep humidity out and the cool air in, at least that's my theory... and I already have a pretty heavy-duty dehumidifier that I already use, even in the house.

My budget is around $500 which, what Im planning on is going to be well below that, but if I can maybe use different materials... I thought maybe aluminum rather than wood, or even fiber glass... Just pretty much need some ideas on alternate materials...
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post

Rent some actual office space.
Or at least something that can be used as office space.

Keep the garage as a garage.
Brilliant answer!!
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
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I pull 48 hour days a few times a month and a 24 hour work day is pretty much the norm....

Might be time to consider a change, especially with a baby on the way. This will not be sustainable.

If you need the garage to store yourself away in a quiet/undisturbed workspace, you still may want to keep the majority of the equipment housed inside the house. If I can run an entire city's worth of IT infrastructure equipment from a 10x10 closet, you should be able to put your equipment in the house, and leave the monitors/input-devices out in the garage workspace.

$500 is not going to get you a "pod," insulation, and sufficient cooling.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:33 AM   #10
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What exactly won't be sustainable?

As far as the pod... It's built. Took two weeks and after some advice from contractor friends on material considerations, as well as a few friends in the film and deco industries... was all done for under $400.

Taking into consideration I had the AC already, I just needed to buy the actual materials...

In case anyone finds this, I'll just put here what I did. So far it's pretty well self-contained. I won't know how well the AC will work in there until the summer. I do know that with the outside temp at around 55, the 8 track lights raise the temp in the pod to around 70 degrees in 15 minutes or so and it holds this temp for a good hour after the lights are off... Hopefully it will hold the cold in there the same way... considering I rarely use standard ligths, my own body temp and the LCD monitors will be the only heating factor in there in the summer time.

The way it's constructed is in two halves joined together down a center seam. The finished room is 8x8 with a 76 inch ceiling. The height of the ceiling was due to the constraints of the garage door opening. I can split the pod in half and drag it outside if I want to and it's not too heavy to move it around by myself.

The floor is constructed of 2x4s and MDF, the walls are 1x3s skinned with 1/8 inch thick paneling insulated with 1inch styrofoam insulation, and the roof is 2x2's skinned with the same paneling and insulation. The entry door is a 1x3, panel skinned pocket door that fits into the wall, though I did have to add a 1x1 (ripped from an extra 2x4 I bought) to the depth of the wall so the door would slide into the wall comfortably.

The entire project cost me under my $500 budget, that includes the materials, paint, the track lights, tiles for the floor, water seal for the foundation, and some misc hardware (nails, screws, outlets)

Was fun to build, and should serve it's purpose well.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie_ar View Post
Of course I could be overlooking some other way to do this... which is why I have come to ask you good people your thoughts or your advice on the best way to do it, maybe some materials that would be inexpensive but sturdier than what I'm planning on using.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie_ar View Post
As far as the pod... It's built. Took two weeks and after some advice from contractor friends on material considerations, as well as a few friends in the film and deco industries... was all done for under $400.
Maybe it's me but I'm confused ..... if it's built what are you looking for input on?
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:17 AM   #12
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I originally posted before it was built to get some advice on materials.

but seeing that it's built now... don't really need any more advice...
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:21 AM   #13
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sorry I didn't notice the previous date of the original OP

so did you put the wheels on it? share a photo if you can ....
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:26 AM   #14
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With the height of the ceiling in the garage I would have lost 3 inches to teh wheels, but there is support for wheels under the thing.

Basically what I'll have to do is drag the halves out of the garage and jack them up to put the wheels underneath. I can drag em around with little effort individually.

I'm in the process of moving the computers out there, and I got an X10 system to hook up the lighting, along with the HAL software so it's all run on voice commands. So I'm hooking all of that up today. I'll grab some pics and post em as soon as I get a few minutes.
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:05 PM   #15
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Posting pics from the mobile app is a breeze. And you can use your phone's camera right from the app.

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