Color Constancy

I’m setting up a workstation for some new electro-optical projects. There’s no question in my mind that inspiring workspaces make better work. Most of my workspaces have been haphazard and unorganized, primarily because they were set up in a damned hurry and all my gear is second hand. Oh, and I’m a slob.


In a recent conversation, Dana inspired me to make a series of shelves in the form of regular NxN grids. They have a notable effect on their contents – no matter what you put in them, it looks organized and regular. Each compartment can be a box of mess, but they’re regularly organized boxes of mess.


Today, I thought I’d try organizing another principle component of visual unity – color.


As a test, first I painted this monitor stand my favorite baby blue (Rustoleum 2X coverage satin Aqua). I quite like how it came out, especially with the cap piece left the original computer beige. I moved on to repaint my Weller, its pencil stand, my flux can, my other monitor arm, etc. I also painted another matching monitor arm for my oscilloscope, and swapped out the warm fluorescents for some 6500K T8s and “daylight” LEDs.

The result was rather striking.


I’m pretty happy with the workstation overall. It embodies a few things that I’ve learned over the years, like:

Ample outlets – which can all be turned off by a single switch . Never worry if you turned off the solder station or glue gun again.

Very bright, cold lights, at least some of which are positionable. So many hacker workstations are too dark. Physiology of the eye says that bright lights mean small pupils – you can resolve more detail that way.

Solder station, oscilloscope and frequency counter all floating ABOVE the work surface, so they don’t waste precious bench or get stuck behind languishing projects.

And finally, tabletop at a height which can be used standing OR sitting at a stool. There’s nothing like hunching over a bench to eat inspiration alive.


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