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Boucher
02-09-2010, 11:26 PM
Keeping up with Allen wrenches is becoming a problem. The larger ones with T handles store in their metal holders. The smaller ones have taken over a drawer. There are a couple of sets of both fractional and metric in their respective holders but most of the drawer has become filled with miscellaneous loose wrenches. In addition there are several coffee cans around with more loose ones. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find the size that I need. Has anyone thought of a solution to this sort of problem.

Lew Hartswick
02-09-2010, 11:42 PM
I keep one set of each in the holders. The all the extras I put in envelopes with size on the front and file in a little wooden box made to fit the envelops. when one gets destroid I can go right to the
supply and replace it. This works for up to 1/4 inch very well larger
is a problem.
...lew...

dp
02-10-2010, 12:05 AM
I put them all in a pile, ensuring the ones I most need are on the bottom of the pile. Turning the pile over does not affect this ordering.

Rookie machinist
02-10-2010, 12:43 AM
Drill holes in a block of wood and mark the wood with the sizes. Cheap and easy as long as you put them back when done.

oldtiffie
02-10-2010, 12:52 AM
Keeping up with Allen wrenches is becoming a problem. The larger ones with T handles store in their metal holders. The smaller ones have taken over a drawer. There are a couple of sets of both fractional and metric in their respective holders but most of the drawer has become filled with miscellaneous loose wrenches. In addition there are several coffee cans around with more loose ones. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find the size that I need. Has anyone thought of a solution to this sort of problem.

Make up, say, 2 sets and a small tin full of "spares" and dump the rest.

I dump the small tin on a sheet of white paper and as I have a good idea what I need I fish for that size +/- and then use a dial caliper to narrow it down.

I dump any that are worn or beyond fixing.

The only thing worse than not having the hex key you want is having one that stuffs the screw or the job up.

BadDog
02-10-2010, 02:37 AM
I've got multiple "loose" sets, some good old names, some buggered good old names, a couple of freebie craftsman sets, they all go in a box of "extra tools" and become donors as required. I keep one for each tooling screw with the tooling. Several on my lathe for tooling blocks, one to match each boring bar, one to match the insert holders, etc. Never have to look for one on any of my commonly used tools. Extra points for painting to ensure easy location/identification. I also freely cut them up for "tool steel" as needed, making socket adapters and stuff for convenient fits.

I then bought 2 sets metric/fractional of the QAllen brand on sale for ~$9 in Enco. That way I always grab a full set, so when the first one I think fits doesn't, there is another the next size over right at hand. Particularly useful when you're not sure it's imperial or metric. No more confusion or aggravation.

Frank Ford
02-10-2010, 02:42 AM
Easy -

Make yourself some magnetic racks, like-a this:

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/Magnets/MagAllenRack/magallenrack01.jpg

Metrics on left, SAE on right. Magnets set in the holder will allow them to stick to most tools and cabinets for easy reaching and portability.



How to tell them apart? Easy again:

Introduce the metric ones to Mr. Grinder, and mark the corners, thusly:

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/ShopTips/160.jpg

speedy
02-10-2010, 05:59 AM
Make up, say, 2 sets and a small tin full of "spares" and dump the rest.

I dump the small tin on a sheet of white paper and as I have a good idea what I need I fish for that size +/- and then use a dial caliper to narrow it down.

I dump any that are worn or beyond fixing.

The only thing worse than not having the hex key you want is having one that stuffs the screw or the job up.

Heres what I do. On a windy day I take my drawer full of allen keys outside to the driveway and toss them into the air; the lighter small ones are carried on and to the ground by the breeze and the heavier large ones fall back into the drawer. Simple really.
Then, I get my vernier and measure the ones that my eyes cannot read.
The loose ones on the ground are collected with a magnet.
Once they are all sorted by size the process of accumulating them in the drawer can start over again
Hunting for the correct allen key can sometimes be as much fun as locating the correct bolt from my supply of spares in the old wooden nail box under the bench.

Mosside
02-10-2010, 06:42 AM
I color code all my hex wrenches. All the 32ths have a yellow stripe on them, the 16ths have blue, the 8ths have red etc. That way you know at a glance from even a loose pile which is the one you need and which slot it ought to go back to. :)

Doug

oldtiffie
02-10-2010, 07:17 AM
The title of the thread is: How to organize Allen wrenches?

Dunno.

For the Brits.

There was a Barbaba Allen wench that took some organising:
http://www.etni.org.il/music/barbaraallen.htm

http://www.etni.org.il/music/barbaraallen.htm

Benta
02-10-2010, 09:02 AM
I buy mine already organised :-)

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i56/Benta/1217.jpg

Benta.

Mcgyver
02-10-2010, 09:29 AM
Frank, I like that rack a lot, on the to do list, thanks

RobbieKnobbie
02-10-2010, 01:37 PM
I have a solution similar to Frank's, but not half so classy...

I go through my extra wrenches pile every now and again and look for commonly used sizes, say the one used for loosening bits in the BXA holder. I then take one of that size and stick it on a magnet on the side of the lathe head stock. In Lean Manufacturing they might call that Point-Of-Use tool storage.

I have (formerly) spare box wrenches stuck to the side of my mill and band saw, allens stuck to the lathe, etc etc.

I even went so far as to stick common spot drills to a magnet on the side of my tailstock.

The magnets 're-purposed' from speakers are strong enough to resist just about any vibration, but give up the tool easy enough when needed.

Too_Many_Tools
02-10-2010, 02:31 PM
Easy -

Make yourself some magnetic racks, like-a this:

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/Magnets/MagAllenRack/magallenrack01.jpg

Metrics on left, SAE on right. Magnets set in the holder will allow them to stick to most tools and cabinets for easy reaching and portability.



How to tell them apart? Easy again:

Introduce the metric ones to Mr. Grinder, and mark the corners, thusly:

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/ShopTips/160.jpg

Very nice idea.

I like how it uses minimal wall space versus mounting them left to right.

TMT

Boucher
02-10-2010, 03:09 PM
Lots of good recommendations here. I really like the idea of grind marking the metrics. I recently robbed some good magnets from some old computer hard drives. So I will try one of those magnetic holders.

davidfe
02-10-2010, 07:26 PM
Nicest storage I saw, but can't find the picture was
to take an old empty CD-ROM or DVD container complete
with the top.

Then make a wood disc to fit inside. Drill holes for the
allen wrenches.

The cover keeps then in the case when knocked off the bench.

Good luck.

PixMan
02-10-2010, 08:08 PM
I have two sets of the long arm Bondhus in metric, those are in their original red plastic holders. One set of inch size, in the yellow plastic block. Metric T-handles, red. Loose ones are either painted with a red stripe of paint (metric) or bare (inch.)

Over 20 years now and I've only had to replace one 3mm long arm ball driver. New one went in the block, old one went in the trash. Simple.

madokie
02-10-2010, 10:27 PM
i agree with above, i just keep them in plastic holder they come in,the ones i use every day i paint a hi-vis color ,so i can find it easily.big ones have thier own drawer, metric right side, american left side.

Mcgyver
02-10-2010, 10:38 PM
I have two sets of the long arm Bondhus in metric, those are in their original red plastic holders. One set of inch size, in the yellow plastic block. Metric T-handles, red. Loose ones are either painted with a red stripe of paint (metric) or bare (inch.)

Over 20 years now and I've only had to replace one 3mm long arm ball driver. New one went in the block, old one went in the trash. Simple.


I have those sets as well, but there's a certain amount of futzing around getting them in and out of the plastic holder...having there ready to grab is an improvement. cripes, i've so many sets i'll make a magnet stand for each machine and the bondhus sets will still hang out in the tool box drawer :)

Paul Alciatore
02-11-2010, 10:14 AM
Easy -

.....



How to tell them apart? Easy again:

Introduce the metric ones to Mr. Grinder, and mark the corners, thusly:

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/ShopTips/160.jpg

Now that is a good suggestion. Thanks, Frank

BobWarfield
02-11-2010, 12:14 PM
Frank got me started with the little magnets. There is no end of ways to use them, just not enough time to make all the little gimcracks that would benefit.

Another great one with that holder. I want to tour your shop and see all these whizbangs!

Cheers,

BW

John Garner
02-11-2010, 03:55 PM
Benta --

From little to big, the order should be black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, grey, white . . . lest we confuse our Sparky friends.

I do find the P B Baumann tools to be very satisfying.

John

daveo
02-11-2010, 05:40 PM
Now that is a good suggestion. Thanks, Frank


Franks website is full of good ideas...... Oh looky 100 posts! No longer a newbie..........

Thruthefence
02-12-2010, 01:31 PM
Frank,
Will you ever publish a book?

put me on the list.

Boucher
02-12-2010, 11:53 PM
Franks magnetic Allen key holder looked so good that I had to try one. I learned something in the process. There are sure lots of things that a person can do wrong before they get it right. This is what I wound up with.
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n50/boucherbyron/IMG_0078Small.jpg
The third time it finally came together. You probably would have enjoyed seeing the first two, but I am not going to show them. Short story the first one the holes were loose enough that the wrenches rotated a little and slid right on through to the floor. Second one I got distracted and picked up the wrong drill from the loading block. From there on the holes were too large again.

Sure takes me a long time to get things done.

rustamd
02-12-2010, 11:58 PM
Franks magnetic Allen key holder looked so good that I had to try one. I learned something in the process. There are sure lots of things that a person can do wrong before they get it right. This is what I wound up with.
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n50/boucherbyron/IMG_0078Small.jpg
The third time it finally came together. You probably would have enjoyed seeing the first two, but I am not going to show them. Short story the first one the holes were loose enough that the wrenches rotated a little and slid right on through to the floor. Second one I got distracted and picked up the wrong drill from the loading block. From there on the holes were too large again.

Sure takes me a long time to get things done.


Only missing side pieces(like Frank has) to hold wrenches straight :)

dave5605
02-13-2010, 03:18 PM
I spray painted all the metric wrenches a bright orange so they don't get confused with the SAE ones. That way you can have them all mixed up on the workbench and they still really stand out.

Just throw them on a sheet of plastic or scrap lumber and spray away. You don't have to be neat about it.

ligito
02-13-2010, 03:36 PM
Good work Frank and Boucher.

I buy the HF T-handle sets when they are on sale, in both SAE and Metric.
I have several sets.
I enjoy watching them fall from my cabinets.:(

They are pretty handy, though.

The Artful Bodger
02-13-2010, 05:00 PM
I dont have to organise mine as they have their own union representative.:D

MrDan
02-13-2010, 06:11 PM
Now that's a good idea. Now I just need a day to make it, and another day to try the idea of throwing the bucket in the wind so the different sizes settle at different rates.

outback
02-13-2010, 08:37 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v30/jglass/Allenwrenchstorage.jpg

The allen wrench stands are fine for working at a workbench. The allen wrenches held in the plastic holders are fine for working away from the bench when working on a machine.

The plastic compartment box is full of spare allen wrenches.

Notice my "Inlaid" surface plate into the workbench.

Outback

vpt
02-13-2010, 08:50 PM
I have these exact ones. Gray is metric, red in standard.
I hate using them though, the allen wrenches are somewhat tight in the holders and hard to get in or out. But I do like that I can throw them in the tool box or up on the bench and they don't all spill out all over. I wish they were in one of those index drill boxs so they would stay where they belong when in the tool box but are easy to get out and put back when you need them and have the box open.

http://z.about.com/d/autorepair/1/G/J/7/-/-/allens-craftsman.jpg