The Birth of a Lab

Trying to get my electronics lab complete so I can spend this winter in hibernation, building stuff.

Ordered in some formica which should let me more easily see 0402 sized components if I drop them.

Working alone with 12’ lengths is kind of a pain in the rear. I managed to break one when trimming it, slid off the counter and hit that dang white bucket edge.

Had to hand trim it and try to get a good seam, barely had enough material to fix my boo boo.

Was hoping to only have this one small seam;

But ended up needing a 38" long one, tricky to get right, by hand.

Good nuff;

Finished version, a thin fill of white silicone and you’ll not see it anymore;

Need to get the backsplash built today.

Left it weighted down to cure. Couldn’t bear down on it with a roller under those cabinets, needs 70+ pounds of force to bond properly. So I grabbed every heavy thing I could find in the office and threw on top of it to set overnight.

Desk is on the way, need to get shelving, build lower cabinets (those are custom 18" depth instead of the standard 24" depth, so my knees have room when I’m sitting on the bench)


This is being done in an old bank building I bought. I have a vault in my lab. :slight_smile:

That vault is 10’ by 24’. It’s an old Mosler Magna II vault. It’s encased on all 6 sides by 14" of reinforced concrete with a 3+ ton vault door, that’s also 14" thick.

What it looked like before we started remodelling. This is the day I closed on the building in Dec 2015;

Clearly I’m a wizard.



You can see where my lab is situated; the stub wall for the safety deposit privacy area was trimmed back a little. I left it in place due to a convenient 120vac conduit drop, when remodelling, but knocked it back a couple feet so it was recessed behind the bench;

Yes that’s a floating baby in the vault.

My wife is camera shy :slight_smile:


new benchmark for build logs :slight_smile:

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LOL yeah it’s been a doozie. The whole renovation project has been ongoing since March.

There’s an album here where I’ve been dumping some progress photos. I only posted up ones relevant to the electronics lab in this thread. Last week I was doing tiling in the lobby… before that carpet… before that HVAC… before that I rewired the entire upstairs… a couple thousand feet of 12awg solid core pulled through conduit, 500 feet of new conduit added… a thousand or so feet of old wiring retired… a dozen branch circuits repurposed and reconfigured, 30+ new florescent lights…

The only thing I don’t touch is plumbing. I’m cursed with plumbing. It’s my kryptonite.

I love that vault especially…nice bunker setup lol.


.NET bunker

You should turn that vault into a faraday cage to protect all your important electronics from…solar flares and what not

Wow, what a project.

  1. How many square feed do you have?
  2. How many employees will you have to fill the space, or will it just be you roaming the halls?
  3. What was behind the brick wall that you pulled off and rebuilt?
  4. Are you going to keep the lobby as a banking teller lobby where I walk up and some nice teller sells me a combo kit with fries?
  5. Will I be able to do the same with the drive through?
  6. You must be in basement land. Down here in Texas, there is no burrowing under.
  7. I didn’t see any cat6 ports in the lab, I guess you don’t need them there?
  8. The white tile looks killer.
  9. It looks/sounds like you are doing most of this work (sans plumbing), do you ever sleep?
  10. Thanks for the upldates.

So I have been thinking this, now time to ask. Are you a really rich wizard, or is real estate prices where ever you live really that sucky? Buying the bank building seems like it was possibly a big undertaking, but since 2009 I guess the market has been somewhat depressed (#understatement) so was it cheap?

That looked to me to be an overnight deposit chute.

heck yes, Great thread

Ah, yes. that must have been what it was. Interesting they bricked it over instead of locking it.

Now to Trent, why did you go to the trouble of removing it?

:slight_smile: he needed more space inside? :smile: Or, he wanted the scrap metal. That would have been worth a bit, all that high grade stainless (looks like anyhow). Plus, gave him an opportunity to practice his brickie skills and avoid going back to plumbing :laughing:

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Yeah that vault is a beast. I’ve done some homework on it, it’s the same model the Federal Reserve of Bermuda uses, and the state treasury of California.

  1. 7200 on both floors
  2. I have 6 employees at the software company, and hire on labor as needed in my property holding company
  3. Night drop deposit chute
  4. No the lobby is going to get a nice leather couch and some old magazines to read while folks wait for me to notice that they’re out there.
  5. The outdoor walk up teller window gets pulled next Spring. I already have plans for the bullet proof glass. :slight_smile:
  6. Yes, we have basements. The foundation / basement walls are 14" thick reinforced concrete in this building. The building is all steel and concrete construction. It even has a concrete roof, 9" thick. It’s a STURDY building. Safest building in town to ride out a tornado, probably.
  7. I haven’t got around to drilling any through the slab in that area yet for CAT6 wiring. But need to, for a phone, and 10gbps networking.
  8. I love that white tile. That was actually the very first time I did any tile work. I’d always hired it out, but decided to do it on my own this time. Cost me about $2200 in materials and 5 days of labor. It’s ceramic tile, made in the USA.
  9. No. I had a motorcycle crash in 2010 that screwed my sleep cycle up. My days and nights flip randomly now and I spend pretty much every waking hour working.
  10. No prob!

I’m friends with the president of the bank who bought that bank (our building) out when that bank president retired. I have a lot of real estate holdings and he said “hey, you want to buy a building? We just bought the bank but only want the employees and customers.” (The two buildings are two blocks apart.)

I said “uhh, sure”

My lawyers called his lawyers and a few weeks later I had another building. :slight_smile:

And yes, we got a good deal on it. :slight_smile:

About 3 months after we moved in to the building one of my employees was coming out of the upstairs bathroom and heard a “thump” from the direction of the night deposit safe.

We weren’t using it and no one ever thought to check it.

There were over $14,000 in cash and checks (well, over 10k in cash, with the balance in checks).

The bank had been closed for 9 months at that point but people kept dumping money in our box.

So we took the deposits up to the bank up the road (who bought the bank who owned the building before us).

We duct taped the drop box.

Someone cut the damn duct tape off and deposited more money!

So I figured it was time to remove the damn thing.

I had my friend weld 1/4" plate steel over the hole, we waterproofed it and I bricked it back up.

Now I have two vaults in the building, and a (non) drop box safe. The drop box safe is entombed in approx 2 tons of concrete and rebar, and is built out of 1" plate steel with thermal relockers (if someone tries to cut it, it shoots extra pins in and seals itself). So it’s pretty damn secure. :slight_smile:

that is a huge LOL moment, right there. Some silly business owners out there - or those who work for smart owners were just following the instructions they were given !

freakin awesome story, thanks for sharing


2002 - TL1000 vs Car vs Conrete power pole == 3 days ICU, 2 months in hospital. Ti in left femur, both wrists etc etc

Probably explains alot :yum:

Yikes. That sounds ugly.

I was at the AMA festival of speed at Road America in Elkhart Lake wisconsin on a Vesrah Motorsports built GSXR-1000 AMA superbike. Practice day before the race weekend. Needed new tires but was going to change them over lunch, figured I had a few more laps in the rear.

Well I got mixed up with another guy, it got real, and before you know it we’re both heads down dicing it up. I passed him in the carousel on the inside (it’s a LONG, very fast right hander), flipped him the bird under the bridge, flipped it left in to the chicane. Flipped it right, and the rear tire decided it’s had enough. I’d overheated it so bad in the carousel passing him that it was just thin goo and had no grip left. So it stepped out on me.

Then hooked.

Launched me like a catapult. Suddenly I’m flying through the air, things get real quiet for a few seconds. I flew over 50 feet through the air. Plenty of time to think about how bad it’s gonna hurt when I hit pavement again.

Well, the pavement came. I landed on my left forearm first, bounced, rolled a few times, came to a stop. Looked up just in time to see the guy I’d passed in the chicane bearing down on me. He’d frigging target fixated on the mess on the pavement - my bike and I were both center track. He took the lesser of two evils and ran me over. Human instinct is a bitch.

Well right before the impact I tucked my head down. He impacted the rear of my helmet and top of the neck at ~85mph, all 500 pounds of bike and rider. Hardest I’ve ever been hit by anything in my life - it pinballed me off the track about 60 or 70 feet. Huge impact. Found out later it cracked my helmet in 3 places, destroyed the aerodynamic hump on the back of my leathers, and for weeks I had horizontal bruises on my back from the alpinestars back protector I was wearing under my suit.

The gear saved my life.

I tried standing up after I stopped, realized my leg wasn’t working and fell back down. (I found out later at the trauma center I had severed ligaments in my ankle, and a broken fibula).

Tried to prop myself up with my arms and one felt on fire; pulled my glove out and a wrist bone was jutting out.

“Well, that explains that.”

But the worst damage wasn’t visible. The guy who hit me broke every safety rule on the track and pulled off. He parked his bike against the armco and came running over to me. Somehow the corner worker had missed the crash. No flag came out.

He yelled at me and said “are you ok?”

I said something unintelligible to him, but sounded perfectly fine to me.

I don’t remember much after that. I don’t remember anything for about 9 months, in fact. Anterograde amnesia, couldn’t form new memories. I was functional. I could work. But I would end up doing the same job twice, or three times… Wasn’t hard, I mean, I couldn’t remember screwing things up from day to day. Summer turned to fall, fall turned to winter.

I had word salad bad, the whole time. I got words mixed up all the time, couldn’t get out what I wanted to say. It was… rough. After the amnesia finally started to fade, and the brain healed up, I struggled with that for a couple of years. Still do, time to time. Certain words elude me. I had to find new ways to link things together in my head.

The body healed (mostly, ankle tendons that were severed were inoperable). But the long term effects are still there. Hurts every morning, in various joints. Get bad headaches sometime. The impact changed my neck geometry enough that I started developing circulation problems in the vertebral arteries. Had to go through physical therapy to get that resolved; the headaches I got were so bad I actually, truthfully, quite literally wanted to die.

But I persevered. Got through it all. Got healthy again, and do what I can within my limits. Th more active I stay, the better everything works; joints stay flexible, osteoarthritis meds help some with all the cartilage damage, and the brain works well again.

It was a rough go, for a while. though. Gave me a new perspective on how important the little things are. How each moment is precious.


That’s me on the GSXR in front, primered fairings, the fall before (2009), at Blackhawk in S. Beloit.

I’d crashed my Ducati the day before and pieced the GSXR together (one or the other was always in a state of repair lol)

Here’s me hunting prey on the Ducati. This one is at Autobahn in Joliet, IL.

Road Atlanta.

The high temp at Road Atlanta was 38 degrees (farenheit) that day. COLD frigging day in December. No traction to be found whatsoever. Had ice on my bike when I rolled it through tech that morning. Three other dudes crashed in the pits on the way to tech. :slight_smile:

Wind chill at 170+mph is a real biznitch.

A nicer day at another track. I like this pic. The photographer was good. You can see the heat from the exhaust rippling behind the bike.


Seems we have the same tastes and adrenaline (mental?) issues - except i looked much cooler in my 90’s black, green and magenta Dainese :joy:


Somewhere in the dark recesses of my garage I have the bones of a 95 Katana… with purple wheels, and multi-colored neon fairings…

These days I get my adrenaline fix a different way. I’ve got a 2015 mustang with a TVS 2300 supercharger, mcleod twin disk clutch, custom carbon fiber driveshaft, tremec T56 magnum XL transmission, ford racing half shafts, steeda vertical links, and a whole mess of other crap. It makes north of 800hp :slight_smile:


I did say they were special :joy:

Taupo ~ 1994 888 SP2

2005 SP1

2006 i decided it was a good time to stop drinking :yum: