Set up picture #3. And here's the $5 tool that made it all possible: a feeler gauge from Harbor Freight. I think they are designed for something to do with spark plugs but they are a genius device for measuring the tiny increments of height between a fret and a string. Thanks to Rob Meldrum who wrote a wonderful ebook on mandolin set up that he distributes for free.
Mobile Power Pack - Tumi-The Tumi Mobile Power Pack is engineered to be compact, efficient and powerful—a reliable tool for hassle-free charging of cell phones and other USB devices. With ample power (5,000 mAh) and two power ports, the Tumi Mobile Power Pack can charge two devices at the same time and is designed to work anywhere in the world. This kit includes the power pack, USB/USB micro power cable and protective ballistic carrying case.
Set up picture #1. After tons of research and book learnin' I decided to take a baby step towards building a mando by trying to improve the set up of a cheesy old 1960's Kay e-mando. This is a picture of my basement workspace.