When it comes to building things from shipping containers, talk is more common than action. The fellow who shot the video below is among the select group of people who turned their ideas into something real—in his case, a backyard shop made from shipping containers and a manufactured carport.

I learned the following from watching the video and reading the comments on the owner’s YouTube page:

  • Based on his tools, the owner is a hobbyist who is into metalworking (that he’s a hobbyist in way detracts from the cleverness of his design)
  • The carport spanning the trailers is rated for winds of 150 mph (which is good, because Florida is hurricane country)
  • The trailers are anchored to the ground in some manner at all four corners (so presumably, they’re not going anywhere).
  • One container is used for storage and the other for a shop.
  • To keep the shop from overheating it’s equipped with a solar powered fan that runs whenever the sun is out.
  • The area under the carport is currently unpaved but there will someday be a concrete slab.

The coolest thing about this shop is the home-made work table that pivots out from inside the shop and can be locked in place at any position. It’s a fantastic idea because it allows the table to be used inside or out and for unfinished projects to be put away in a matter of seconds. I like the way the welding and grinding equipment stores on the door. When the door is open the equipment (and power) is accessible from under the carport; when the door is closed it’s accessible from inside the shop. The fellow who built the shop was smart enough to install a service panel so there would be sufficient power to run his equipment. A plumbing inspector might not like the outdoor slop sink supplied by a rain barrel, but as one whose shop has no running water I sure do.

A shop such as this is best for warm climates where it’s possible to work with the doors open and there’s no need to insulate or heat the container. The width of a container might be insufficient for the woodworker who needs to run sheet goods through a table saw or assemble cabinets inside—though in good weather, a paved carport would be an excellent area to cut and assemble. For the mechanic or metalworker who lives in a warm climate a shop of this kind could be ideal: inexpensive, secure, and quickly built.