garage organization

The Dumpser Diver's Garage #1: The Air Freight Shed

by Dave Coleman

Yeah, yeah, yeah, where the hell is Project Miatabusa? I know, I know... After the death rattle, the Miatabusa got pushed onto the back burner for a few (dozen) months. Not (only) because of our self loathing for making the gear rattling error, but because all that life we'd been putting off to build the car started catching up with us. Within the Miatabusa team's downtime, one house was built, one house was bought, and one house nearly fell down a hill. These things can get in the way of progress. 

The Miatabusa is at least up to the side burner now. A new design is 87% done in CAD, and huge bricks of Aluminum have been purchased to make the next round of parts. Meanwhile, though, here is one of the strange and diverse projects that have been keeping us from finishing the Miatabusa: a garden shed. 

Yes, but let me explain... Just as the Miatabusa was making its first rattle, my woman and I finally stumbled into a house. Right place, right price, wrong garage. The house is 91 years old and has a garage almost big enough for a Model T. It has space for (and is zoned for) the Garage Mahal I really need to build, but for now I have to make due parking everything outside. So the Miatabusa goes on the back porch, the Silvia and 510 in the backyard, and only the tools park in the tiny garage. 

Garage OrganizationHow tiny? 111 x 222 inches. That's right, I measure my garage in inches. Feels bigger that way... In my first few months of trying to work out of a 171 square foot garage, it became clear that car tools, house tools, yard tools and bikes do not belong in the same place. Everything but the car tools needed to get the hell out. 

For how simple and crappy they are, factory built sheds are laughably expensive. One big enough to hold my relatively small collection of non-car stuff would be over $900. So I went dumpster diving and built a better one about $100. Yes, everything in my life IS a LeMons race...

Garage Organization

Garge organizationA certain company I am very familiar with regularly gets air shipments from overseas in these modular steel boxes. Since this company almost never ships anything back out, the boxes stack up until they get thrown in the dumpster. The dumpster is where I join the picture.

These boxes are quite clever. The corrugated steel panels are incredibly thin and light. A 67 x 27-inch panel weights only 13 pounds, and the boxes assemble from five panles (a botom and four sides) with no tools at all. Everything just interlocks and is held together with these clever corner brackets that pop in by hand. The design is so clever, so simple, and so strong, I had to put it to use.

garage organization

Combining panels from two different size boxes, I was able to make this clubhouse shape with a nice big door. 

Garage Organization

As clever and modular as they are, the boxes aren't designed to stack like this, but 14 seconds with a box of self-drilling sheet metal screws solved that problem. Corrugated panels are incredibly strong in compression, and the flat flanges top and bottom of each panel ensure loads are transferred directly from panel to panel, so all the screws have to do is keep the panels aligned. No load actually goes through the screws. It only takes 2-3 screws per panel to make the box incredibly strong.
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King Hax
King Haxlink
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 10:15 PM
I can't believe I just read all that... I guess I'm more surprised that I found it kinda interesting haha
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 12:14 AM
Good job! Now scale that up about 20x and you got yourself a nice caport for all your car sitting around on your lawn! ;-)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 4:30 AM
Love the article. It feels so good to repurpose stuff that's just been hanging around for a while.

BTW - you should toss on a cheap 1-1.5 W 12VDC solar panel on the motorcycle battery. I imagine you'd never need to charge it after that. eBay by way of China is a great source for them.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 4:36 AM
^^^ x2 on Def's solar panel idea.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 5:27 AM
Harbor Freight already sells plenty of cheap solar panels and they're already in the States. Pick up one of them and no need to lug the charger out.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 5:48 AM
Miatabusa/Exocet?! http://exomotive.com/exocet/

That stupid flat black S13 got me interested in the cars a zillion years ago and here I am today, with no time and a neglected SR20 S14 sitting in the carport, looking at pictures of your neglected dusty steed. Makes me feel better that a dead bee flew out of the dash vent at my face last time I started the car and turned on the climate control. We shall prevail!
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 6:19 AM
You sir, need one of these It is from a store that i shop at all the time. It is a $15 1.5watt solar charger that you keep in your car so keep the battery fresh.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 6:52 AM
Houses Shmouses. No one wants to hear about the Miatabusa anymore. Where is the Mazdaspeed 6 Skyactiv Deisel Wagon we all so desparately need.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 7:04 AM
What's with the Electric Garden tools? California doesn't allow 2 stroke Garden tool anymore?

Great work to re-purpose trash for an eco friendly DYI tool shed.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 8:25 AM
You need to reveal where you go the "free" aluminum paneling
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 9:10 AM
@ Alex: I assume it might be a place he frequents 40+ hours a week...

@ Dave: Your yard makes the Sanford and Son music start up in my head. Neighbors must love you! :)
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 11:15 AM
It appears Project Silvia moved around in the background between pictures but it's hard to tell if it was under it's own power (poor thing).

I don't know how much rain you get in California, but the slope of the roof is going to throw any water that hits it back at the building behind (I'm assuming the garage). The volume is probably pretty small considering small amount of rain and small roof but ideally, you want keep water away from your footing/foundation if at all possible. A small piece of gutter would catch anything direct it away.

Supercharger pullies as door slides. I love car people.
Randy G
Randy Glink
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 1:35 PM
Dave, not that it rains all that often here, but how about that roof slant toward the (garage)? Quick fix might be a gutter along the lower edge.
Randy G
Randy Glink
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 1:35 PM
And I just made the same comment as HybridAndy, whoops. Move along folks. :)
Dave Coleman
Dave Colemanlink
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 10:43 PM
I actually built that shed a year ago and it hasn't rained yet!
Friday, September 06, 2013 6:22 PM
Dave, I was wondering for Project Miatabusa if the engine/transmission would fit inside the engine bay without using the stock transmission with stock subframe? Could the engine be moved to the driver side some more with this configuration for more room for the exhaust?
Dave Coleman
Dave Colemanlink
Friday, September 06, 2013 9:30 PM
If you use the bike's transmission, the engine will have to be turned 180 degrees, since there's one more reversal of rotation caused by the bike's gearbox (and the output sprocket needs to face rearward too, so you can attach a driveshaft to it...) Ironically, though, the engine would have to be offset to the driver's side, so the exhaust routing would still be a mess.
Saturday, September 07, 2013 7:14 PM
I was wondering how the busa engine/tranny differs from the Yamaha XJ1250 engine/tranny used with Legend race cars? From what I have seen they use a north/south engine layout and use a adapter to mate with a driveshaft to the rear conventional diff.
Monday, October 14, 2013 4:33 AM
Awesome work,, now you plan how to arrange the cars nearby your garage and specially its BMW one of my favorite.
Read here
Thursday, November 14, 2013 12:23 PM
Looking at the CAD drawing, I can safely say the long thin orange part is the input shaft. That being said. The clutch basket doesn't have any splines on it and its riveted to the large gear (complete with springs) that you all welded to the last shaft.

I presume that the large red bit is splined on the outside in such a way that it fits into a modified clutch basket to clear those support members in the large aluminum plate. I also presume that its splined in the middle such that it fits onto the splines of the shaft, like taking the place of the back torque eliminator.

I wager the larger diameter orange bit goes directly to the large bearing in the transmission adapter and gets the flywheel bolted directly to it. The little nubs that go into the red cog I'd bet are what actually transfer the power. It looks like they have a little wiggle room to them to allow for assembly.

Any particular reason you guys didn't go with splines for that?
Thursday, November 14, 2013 12:30 PM
Also, other serious question. Why didn't you all leave one gear in place in the transmission? That way you could pull power off the front for an accessory belt.
Dave Coleman
Dave Colemanlink
Thursday, January 02, 2014 8:24 PM
You've got the CAD drawing figured out perfectly. The reason we used big, manually cut teeth instead of splines on the interface between the shaft and power takeoff plug is both to save the cost of the tool to cut such a big spline, and because its actually simpler to make this way. The power takeoff plug (the red bit) can just be cut on a 3-axis mill this way.

The wiggle room you're seeing is probably just an optical illusion caused by the stress relief cuts in the corners of each tooth

Now, on the power takeoff front, the main shaft does go all the way to the front of the case, so with only a small modification, we can put a pulley out there to drive accessories if such a thing is needed.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 8:43 PM
Very cool work area. For convenience on your garage doors, you can use merlin remotes. Quality and durable at reasonable cost.
plantar fasciitis
plantar fasciitislink
Thursday, November 05, 2015 2:08 AM
Very cool. I'd love to get the same garage featured on this article. Looks handy and easy to set up, just as I need.

Plantar Fasciitis Specialists
Monday, January 18, 2016 4:25 AM
Indeed it's very handy.

This garage type would be very helpful in our events.

Ant Hampel
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