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Too_Many_Tools
10-31-2009, 12:31 AM
I am looking for ideas as to how to efficiently store small parts.

How have you done it?

Pictures of your storage would be great.

Thanks

TMT

(I am thinking about using the surplus film containers approach)

tattoomike68
10-31-2009, 01:00 AM
Baby food jars with the lids nailed to the bottom side of a shelf worked for my grandpa. Im going to do it too once I get organized.

darryl
10-31-2009, 01:19 AM
Can't post pictures of it yet, but one thing I came up with is using 2 inch square pvc downspout tubing. As you might imagine, the containers end up being 2 inches square. I ended up getting nearly 80 pieces out of two ten ft sections, after figuring out how to cut it without chipping on the table saw. I made bottoms for all of them, then because I have a 12 inch diameter drum sander, I was able to sand a nice curve into the tops of each one. I used a jig of course so they all came out the same. This leaves the front side lower than the back side, so when they are placed in the drawers, you can easily pick any one out by lifting from the back lip.

It was a lot of work overall, cutting to length, sanding the slope on the top, deburring, cutting all the bottoms, rounding all their corners so they would fit, gluing them in, etc, but they are so nice to use. I made the height of them such that you can easily get two fingers into the bottom to pick up parts. I have all my nuts, bolts, washers, etc stored in them- whatever will fit. It's nice to be able to slide a drawer open and be able to look into all the containers, then easily grab one you want and bring it out or just take from it what you want.

I went to this extent so I could remove a chosen container and use the contents where I needed to, but you could easily just cut pieces to length, then fit them together onto a bottom panel using a glue of choice. You might make several panels, each to hold maybe a dozen or so containers- saves you having to make separate bottoms for each container. Size the panels so they can neatly tuck into an existing drawer- this would also let you stack them two high in a drawer.

What I have done with two drawers is to fit all these containers into the bottoms, then I have two trays in each drawer that slide on rails over top of the containers. If I slide both trays towards the back, I can see about a third of the containers below- if I slide one tray forwards, I can see the middle third of the containers, and if I slide both trays forwards, I can see the rest of the containers. Every one is accessible to remove easily.

The end result is lots of small parts sorted into a fairly compact space, and all easily accessible.

One of the benefits is that because they are square and the material is quite thin, they don't waste space in the drawer. In the past, I've made containers from mdf, etc, but found that the material itself takes up so much space that it seemed impractical. The downspout tubing is thin, probably about .030 or so, so even when two touch side by side, you're only using up a sixteenth inch of space.

Another way to go about this if you can spare the top third or so of an existing drawer, is to make some rails that trays can slide on, as I've done above my containers. In your case they trays would be what all the sections of downspout are glued onto, and though they wouldn't be separately removable, they could still slide back and forth to expose stuff stored underneath them.

Too_Many_Tools
10-31-2009, 01:28 AM
Can't post pictures of it yet, but one thing I came up with is using 2 inch square pvc downspout tubing. As you might imagine, the containers end up being 2 inches square. I ended up getting nearly 80 pieces out of two ten ft sections, after figuring out how to cut it without chipping on the table saw. I made bottoms for all of them, then because I have a 12 inch diameter drum sander, I was able to sand a nice curve into the tops of each one. I used a jig of course so they all came out the same. This leaves the front side lower than the back side, so when they are placed in the drawers, you can easily pick any one out by lifting from the back lip.

It was a lot of work overall, cutting to length, sanding the slope on the top, deburring, cutting all the bottoms, rounding all their corners so they would fit, gluing them in, etc, but they are so nice to use. I made the height of them such that you can easily get two fingers into the bottom to pick up parts. I have all my nuts, bolts, washers, etc stored in them- whatever will fit. It's nice to be able to slide a drawer open and be able to look into all the containers, then easily grab one you want and bring it out or just take from it what you want.

I went to this extent so I could remove a chosen container and use the contents where I needed to, but you could easily just cut pieces to length, then fit them together onto a bottom panel using a glue of choice. You might make several panels, each to hold maybe a dozen or so containers- saves you having to make separate bottoms for each container. Size the panels so they can neatly tuck into an existing drawer- this would also let you stack them two high in a drawer.

What I have done with two drawers is to fit all these containers into the bottoms, then I have two trays in each drawer that slide on rails over top of the containers. If I slide both trays towards the back, I can see about a third of the containers below- if I slide one tray forwards, I can see the middle third of the containers, and if I slide both trays forwards, I can see the rest of the containers. Every one is accessible to remove easily.

The end result is lots of small parts sorted into a fairly compact space, and all easily accessible.

One of the benefits is that because they are square and the material is quite thin, they don't waste space in the drawer.


Interesting...looking forward to the pictures.

How and what were the bottoms made of?

Teenage_Machinist
10-31-2009, 01:51 AM
It depends a LOT on what kind of parts you have but the babyfood jars are good. My dad's garage where I have my machines has babyfood jars and larger pickle jars. He also has one of those chests of tiny drawers which is where I go when I want to mess with a bolt.

Paul Alciatore
10-31-2009, 02:25 AM
I never liked the small jar thing. First, glass jars can and will break when I drop them. Second, they are round, and round packed with round necessairly wastes space between them.

I generally store a lot of things in cardborard bins. They come in two depths and a variety of widths so you can choose the one best suited to the items at hand. And they don't cost too much. I often subdivide them with cardboard mini-bins. These are a little less than 2" wide and a little more than 2" deep and they are very handy.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v55/EPAIII/P1010030-1.jpg

Another thing I have done is make wood blocks with drilled holes to fit inside the cardboard bins. These can organize tools like boring bars.

And this one uses various tubes of various sizes made from soda straws and PVC pipe oh, and a mini-bin to store a collection of reamers:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v55/EPAIII/Pix1.jpg

You can get both bins and mini-bins from a variety of places including McMaster, Grainger, etc. I don't have any pictures at hand but will try to take one tomorrow.

Another item I found recently for very small parts, like #0 screws and nuts and other really small items is a bead storage box from the crafts area at Wal-Mart. Here's a picture:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v55/EPAIII/SmallScrewStore.jpg

It has 24 screw top plastic containers in the larger box. The box is only about 10 inches across but some of the containers in it have 100 screws or nuts in them and none of them are even half full. The containers close tight so even a #0 washer will not slip out. As you can see, I used the CAD program to make some labels that are a friction fit inside the caps. It fits on a shelf between two of my cardboard bins and takes only about 1" of shelf space. In this case, round containers do work, quite well. It only cost a few dollars.

Another thing I have used to store small parts is the plastic bins sold in the sporting goods stores for fishing tackle. They have a number of small compartments and can store a variety of items that are a bit larger than, say a #4 screw. I have a fair sized, fishing tackle box that I added several of the plastic bins to and also added covers on the fold out bins in the lid and I used it to carry electronic parts when I had a traveling job as an electronic teck. It would easily survive a trip in my checked luggage on an airplane and nothing ever got mixed up. But it might be fun in today's airport. Probably have to open it and show them every part in it.

I have about 8 or 10 of the small plastic drawer units, but am not completely satisfied with them. The dividers for the drawers are always coming loose and really small parts will slip under those dividers even when they do stay in place. At work, I have a number of these and I have resorted to adding cardborard inserts in the bins to help keep the parts in place. With a bit of creativity, these inserts can both divide the drawers and label them. I print them on card stock, on a dot-matrix printer so the lines will fold easily along the printed lines.

Arcane
10-31-2009, 04:44 AM
I use the little multiple drawer storage bins for almost all of my little stuff. Not exactly the best but they do work. Biggest problem with them is they take up bench space and something always seems to be in the way of the bottom drawers when you need to open them.

gda
10-31-2009, 08:31 AM
I never liked baby food jars - especially those old roladex style ones from the 50's - waste of space and the glass will eventualy get broken .

Here is what I do. If I knew I was going to end up with so much stuff I would have bought a case of the same dividers early on and not end up with all the different sizes. A label maker helps me grab the right bin for what I an looking for.

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd48/tool_collector/bh-1.jpg

Plastic bins are also good in draws.

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd48/tool_collector/bh-3.jpg

John Stevenson
10-31-2009, 09:15 AM
I'm collecting all those nice wooden boxes that the Chinese send calipers, DRO bars, hight gauges and tool bits in.

Some are spare because the contents have been fitted to machines but most are from DOA items.
I also get a lot from items sent over for evaluation that we don't deem good enough to sell, the part gets dumped or given away [ usually dumped ] but the boxes are good boxes.

Gert often buys sets of tools in boxes and splits the contents to sell individually on Ebay, she make a profit, I get a box :D

Years ago we used to get blow mounded plastic boxes that held 100 needles for lace machines. They were about 3" x 2" x 1.5"
As Nottingham was at one time the lace capital of the world, Google "Nottingham Lace " there were well over a 1,000 lace makers and these boxes could be scrounged by the 100's

Unfortunately time and UV? have made these very brittle and I need to replace these.

John Player is also in Nottingham and the Players tobacco tins finished up in all the local scrap yards, many new with printing errors and again these were available in the 100's for next to nothing. These last but the supply has finished as they probably sell in plastic bags now ?

.

BobWarfield
10-31-2009, 12:10 PM
Look for an old mail sorter. I made this one from scratch in an afternoon:

http://www.cnccookbook.com/img/Workshop/P4023903.JPG

Each box is a different sized hardware. They're labeled, and I put the taps and dies in the boxes too.

Cheers,

BW

Ken_Shea
10-31-2009, 12:17 PM
Im going to do it too once I get organized.

Where have I heard that before :D

motorworks
10-31-2009, 02:27 PM
Library card file 75.00 at an auction.Baby jars just fit

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v22/motorworks/cab1.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v22/motorworks/cab2.jpg

SteveF
10-31-2009, 03:08 PM
Six of these work for me.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200335439_200335439

Steve.

Evan
10-31-2009, 03:14 PM
http://metalshopborealis.ca/pics/storage1.jpg

http://metalshopborealis.ca/pics2/stor2.jpg

http://metalshopborealis.ca/pics2/stor3.jpg

snowman
10-31-2009, 03:23 PM
I use off brand gladware containers that I get at the dollar store or big lots.

Work fine for what I do.

I used to have a source for plastic bins, not the front loading, but just nice little plastic boxes....now I can't find them anywhere. The remaining boxes I have just sit on workbenches collecting odd hardware until I have a really bored day and sort it out.

I also really like tupperware knockoffs or gladware for doing projects with multiple parts of the same...I just label a container for say Widget A, then all of those parts are in that box....nice and easy.

Frank Ford
10-31-2009, 03:57 PM
For my home shop, it's drawers and more drawers. Lots of little plastic drawers for stock screws and other new items:

http://www.frets.com/ForumPix/shopspace03.jpg
Those all have labels announcing what's inside.

End mills go in flat drawers so they can be seen easily:

http://www.frets.com/ForumPix/tooldrawer02.jpg


Salvage hardware in jars? No way. I tried that for a little while, but soon discovered that the jars were a way to put the stuff away where it would never be found or even remembered. Too many different things to sort out. So, that stuff goes in very shallow wide drawers where it's easy to rummage through:

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/ShopTips/181.jpg

Now, in the guitar repair shop where we really have a lot of salvage, the drawers go on for basically ever:
http://www.frets.com/ForumPix/drawers01.jpg

Paul Alciatore
11-01-2009, 08:22 PM
Not exactly on topic, but I came up with a way store my sheet sandpaper last night. I purchased four new packs and then looked at the unorganized pile from the past 40 years. Yes, I do have some sandpaper I bought that long ago. Anyway, I had been using some of these accordian folders for various temporary filing needs and it hit me that sandpaper is basically the same size as standard paper. Sooooo...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v55/EPAIII/P1010028-1.jpg

About 100 sheets of sandpaper, neatly organized by grit size in one folder. It is not full: there's room for at least twice that much. The folder has 13 slots so I was able to store sizes from 50 through 2000. I guess when I get more or feel the need to sort by types of paper, I will just buy another folder or two.

Bonus feature: sand paper tends to curl up and become difficult to use if stored loose. Ask me how I know. But the folder should keep them all flat.

Second bounus feature: it will be a LOT easier to see just how much I have of each grit/type. So I won't run out or buy the same type when I don't really need it.

darryl
11-01-2009, 08:57 PM
TMT, I have a lot of pvc pipe that I salvaged, wall thickness between 1/16 and 1 1/4 inches. Lots in 1/8 wall thickness. What I have done is cut lengths that will fit side to side in the oven, then jisawed a line across the length. Heat in the oven then flatten between boards. That becomes my raw material.

So long story short, I used the 1/8 thick stuff and sawed it into squares that fit the downspout tubing, rounding the corners to suit on the sander. While sanding the corners, I also sanded a chamfer on the top four edges of what will become the bottoms.

Next is to wipe some pvc cement around the bottom inside of each tube, then press that tube down over the bottom. The cement is sort of wedged into place around the bottom, and what cement is left showing is left to dry. I could probably do ten containers in the time it has taken to describe this process.

I've just taken some pictures. Seems the batteries in the camera now are holding their charge long enough to let me use the camera intermittently without finding it always dead. The pics should be here soon.

TECHSHOP
11-01-2009, 09:41 PM
Everything in its place and everything all over the place.

Arcane
11-01-2009, 09:49 PM
Paul, I don't think I have ever heard of that sandpaper tip before. Makes a person shake their head (me anyways:D)and ask themselves "Why didn't I think of that!"
Very neat!

darryl
11-01-2009, 09:58 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/heinrich/10.jpg

Here's a look into one drawer, showing the bottom with containers in it, and two sliding trays above.

Here's one container


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/heinrich/4.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/heinrich/11.jpg

If I got lucky with Photobucket, this should be another view of this drawer with the trays moved a bit.

PTSideshow
11-01-2009, 09:58 PM
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/Tools/DSCF9003.jpg
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/Tools/DSCF9004.jpg
New style of snap in peg board drawers with a shelf style lid.

http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/smallpartsstore.jpg
Parrot toy parts storage
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/benchlathe.jpg
small parts behind the bench lathe and mill

darryl
11-01-2009, 09:59 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/heinrich/6.jpg

This should be another view of the container.

Here's the other drawer I set up the same way. I keep lots of the special purpose milling cutters in here.
I know they shouldn't be laying touching each other, but I do take care not to smash them together.

Note the blue handles- I'm getting a lot of mileage out of that 800 lb piece of pvc water main that the city
didn't think I could pick up out of a ditch. They said if I could get it out of there I could have it. Ha.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/heinrich/7.jpg

This picture shows the general idea of how I sanded the tops of the containers. Not shown
in this picture is the jig I used to line the containers up and keep them at the right angle for
the sanding operation.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/heinrich/13.jpg

Of possible interest, but not related to this project, is the blue plastic pulley and that small width belt
that drives the sanding drum. I built this thing many years ago and it gets used everyday. I haven't once
had to adjust the motor to take up any slack in the belt, and it doesn't slip. I had no idea how long the pvc
pulley would last, or if the belt and pulley combination would prove troublesome. It hasn't. Note that my
sanding belt is worn out- these are ordinary belt sander belts, but I'd like to replace it with a zirconia one
if I could ever find one in this size.

PTSideshow
11-01-2009, 10:05 PM
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/toypartstorage.jpg
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/toypartsstore2.jpg
More parrot toy parts storage
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/nutsandbolts.jpg
nuts ,bolts and screws
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/librarycardcatalog.jpg
Library card catalog. drawer units from old sewing machine desks,

tattoomike68
11-01-2009, 10:12 PM
Originally Posted by tattoomike68
Im going to do it too once I get organized.


Where have I heard that before




Where have I heard that before :D


I plan on getting oragnized someware in the years 2011 to 2017 , not sure yet. cant rush things you know. :D

darryl
11-01-2009, 10:32 PM
If you don't get it together by 2012, why bother? :)

snowman
11-01-2009, 11:07 PM
About 100 sheets of sandpaper, neatly organized by grit size in one folder. It is not full: there's room for at least twice that much. The folder has 13 slots so I was able to store sizes from 50 through 2000. I guess when I get more or feel the need to sort by types of paper, I will just buy another folder or two.


That's awesome...plus you can keep 1/4 sheets and small pieces easily organized so you aren't always cutting up a new sheet!