On a recent IoT Podcast episode, David called in with a question that was challenging for us to answer. David has a workshop and asked us what products he should consider to make his woodworking workshop “smart”. Since neither of us has a workshop, we offered a few suggestions, but also asked our listeners to chime in. It turns out quite a few of you have workshops and added some additions to our list!
Here’s what we suggested along with the great ideas our supportive listeners added.
Again, without our own spaces to design and build, we came up with some of the basics. Since I do some tinkering in my garage, I do suggest having either a smart speaker or a smart display in there. Aside from music playback while I’m working, it’s actually handy to know if someone is ringing the front doorbell since I can’t hear the chime from the garage. With a smart display, I can even see who is at the door, have a two-way conversation with them if needed and even unlock the door if it’s a friend or neighbor.
The same devices can be useful to communicate any issues in the workshop. If you get hurt, for example, you can use the smart speaker or display to broadcast a call for help. Stacey took it even further by suggesting a smart button that can be used as a signal when there’s an issue: You can program the button to flash lights or turn them to a red “alert” color so your family knows to check in with you.
If your power tools don’t draw more amperage than a smart outlet or plug can handle, these could be useful as well. When leaving the shop, you could use a voice command to shut the power down to the power tools. This could mitigate any potential disasters if a small child or someone else wanders into your shop and decides to try your tools without knowing how to use them.
Smart lights and lightstrips could also be handy under tool cabinets to provide that extra lighting on your tools and materials.
Our readers who actually have workshops offered the following useful thoughts.
Smart air quality sensors can tell you when there are chemicals, smoke, or other airborne contaminants in the shop. Given that I’ve been known to burn a few wires during some of my projects, I can appreciate that suggestion.
Along the same lines, a connected smoke alarm could trigger a power shut off to your 3D-printer, wood saws, soldering irons, or other tools if they’re connected to smart plugs. And speaking of smart plugs, if you have a computer in your workshop and connect it to a smart plug, you can save time by enabling the power before you even go to the shop. This can save time as the computer will already be booting or fully booted by the time you arrive.
You could also install a smart air vent that opens or closes for heating or cooling only when you’re in the shop, which is an energy-efficient approach while keeping you comfortable while working.
To hear these suggestions, and our discussion in full on the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: