How tall is tall enough for the shop door?
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  1. #1
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    Default How tall is tall enough for the shop door?

    Hey all, I'm working on laying out a new shop. The machining portion of it is going to be a sloping roof, the low edge of the trusses will be 10' tall on the short side (where the lathes will go) and 13' tall on the high side (where the mills and VMC will be). I know lots of threads have looked for workarounds to ceilings that were too low. I think I'm clear of that, as I don't anticipate anything really tall like big boring mills.

    I'm planning to make the doors from the fabrication area into the machining room be double doors, 8' or maybe 10' wide. I'm trying to figure out how tall those doors should be, for when we need to move equipment in and out. Does 10' tall seem like as much as you could reasonably need for normal machine shop equipment? I think even a VF3 would fit in that, which is a size bigger than I can ever imagine.

    I'm still in the design phase though, so if I'm being shortsighted, I'd rather know it now when I can still fix it.

    machining-sm-.jpg
    Full image to get around the forum's ridiculously stingy image size limitation.

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    Like everything else in machining, it all depends.
    Here we are moving a Deckel through an 11' door, we needed it all.

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    My first shop had a low ceiling and it was a pain. Current shop has 12’ tall ceilings- easy to lift stuff with forklifts, height to have a couple of I beams cross shop with chainfalls etc. Only regret, other than too small floor space, is doors are only 9’ tall. Should have been 10’ tall 10’ wide, minimum. Definitely suggest I beam across shop at mid truck bed or trailer point. Mine is 3 ton capacity, which has been enough for my uses. Not sure what your needs are?

    Was going to talk about heating, but I guess with your location, that’s not a problem.

    L7

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    I'd say 10ft is workable, but in general you can NEVER have too high doors

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    If you go on the Haas website, they have pretty detailed drawings of shipping and installed heights. Off the top of my head a VF ships at like 92" in with the spindle bolted to the table and operating height is more like 10'. But the more height the more flexibility in terms of getting a forklift in with the machine etc. I'd try to go 10' at least.

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    12 feet........Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by drcoelho View Post
    I'd say 10ft is workable, but in general you can NEVER have too high doors
    Yup, you can get along fine for years with a lower door but that one time you really need the extra height
    you'll regret not having it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by drcoelho View Post
    I'd say 10ft is workable, but in general you can NEVER have too high doors
    Or too wide. Try bringing in a bunch of 12 footers through a 10 foot door, sucks, unless your saw is right at the door.

    I shouldn't even say anything. I have 5 doors and they are all 16' wide, 1 is 16' tall, and the others are 14'.... And I've still managed to screw one up by backing a forklift mast into it.

    Edit: sounds awesome until you have to go up on scissor lift to hit warm air in the winter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bhigdog View Post
    12 feet........Bob
    Thank you all for your input. The wall at that doorway is 13' tall. I'm kind of thinking I might just make an insert that bolts in place but is removable. Like the doorway won't really have a top, and then the space will be filled by three rectangles. On the ground a normal person door. Next to it, the other double door, but that's lots wider and really only swings open when you need to move a machine or forklift in through the opening. Those could both be something reasonable like 9' tall. Then above that some kind of insert that fills the last 4' of height. Even if it was studs and plywood, so that it'd normally be in place but could be removed when needed. Maybe even hinged at the top so it could just swing up out of the way and clip to the rafters? I kind of like that idea.

    I'm sure you guys are right. Anything less than "as high as it possibly can be" will eventually get in the way, haha...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    Or too wide. Try bringing in a bunch of 12 footers through a 10 foot door, sucks, unless your saw is right at the door.

    I shouldn't even say anything. I have 5 doors and they are all 16' wide, 1 is 16' tall, and the others are 14'.... And I've still managed to screw one up by backing a forklift mast into it.

    Edit: sounds awesome until you have to go up on scissor lift to hit warm air in the winter.
    Well in my world, I'm never looking for the warm air, haha... The taller the ceiling, further away the African sun is from your head!

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    I'd say 8ft tall is too short. Always having problems. 10ft tall is good for 90% of things.

    I went with 14' tall x 20' wide main door and 8' tall x 10' wide second door with 2 post lift for car stuff. I went 14' tall as my crane's hook height is 15' and I figured if I back in a truck or trailer with a 10' tall machine on it I can unload it with the crane. In practice I haven't needed the height.

    In the summer 20' ceilings are great. Definitely no ac needed. In the cold months it takes extra BTU's to heat all that space.

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    Bring heat back down to the floor with ceiling fans, or with tubular 'heat chimneys' -- a suspended straight length of ducting/plastic pipe with a fan at floor level and the open end near the ceiling. Fan draws warm air down pipe to floor level where you're working.

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    In the USA 13 feet 6 inches in the east and 14 feet in the west is the legal limit for trucks.
    Bill D
    Last edited by Bill D; 01-03-2021 at 12:46 AM.

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    Ask any roll up door installer/repair guy. No door is ever tall enough....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    In the USA 13feet 6 inches in the east and 14feet in the west is the legal limit for trucks.
    Bil lD
    Which is why we have 16 foot tall doors that are 20 feet wide. Truck driver can be half asleep and still back right in without hitting anything.
    Last edited by motion guru; 01-03-2021 at 09:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    Like everything else in machining, it all depends.
    Here we are moving a Deckel through an 11' door ...
    Mud has a Cincinnati ! Yeah Mud ! Have you got the swingup tailstock on that hummer ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonPAtkins View Post
    Thank you all for your input. The wall at that doorway is 13' tall. I'm kind of thinking I might just make an insert that bolts in place but is removable. Like the doorway won't really have a top, and then the space will be filled by three rectangles. On the ground a normal person door. Next to it, the other double door, but that's lots wider and really only swings open when you need to move a machine or forklift in through the opening. Those could both be something reasonable like 9' tall. Then above that some kind of insert that fills the last 4' of height. Even if it was studs and plywood, so that it'd normally be in place but could be removed when needed. Maybe even hinged at the top so it could just swing up out of the way and clip to the rafters? I kind of like that idea.
    Swing up and pin in place is a great idea. How else could one guy open it up all the way? You know one day you will need it to be open and NOBODY else nearby just then.... Maybe even have a cable and pulley set up to pull it up to avoid doing that off a ladder, of have a mezzanine right next to it to stand on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by motion guru View Post
    Which is why we have 16 foot tall doors that are 20 feet wide. Truck driver can be half asleep and still back right in with hitting anything.

    Never had a Swift driver there, eh?

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    I have a 10x10' door on my main shop. My Mazak 40x20 VMC barely barely fit in. And in day to day operations we end up hitting the door or frame every year or two. We come close to hit it at least once a week. And this is just with casual bringing of pallets in and out maybe 10 times a week. With a small shop you have to pay pretty good attention to where the back of the forklift is when you are coming out the door.

    My home heated shop has a 10' wide x 9' tall door. It is too short. My forklift won't fit in by 2". I do have a bridge crane, so what I end up doing is sitting the whatever just inside the door and then using the bridge crane to move it the rest of the way. But 9' is really way too short. Have to rig stuff very tightly to have enough head room to even get it in the door.

    My building that contains my home shop has a 14' tall x 24' wide door. It is pretty perfect. Concrete truck or semi can come right in with no height concerns. Another work shop I have has 14' tall x 10' wide doors. Those are nice from a height perspective, but concerning from a width perspective.

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    However tall you make it another 6" would be nice.

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