View Full Version : Metal rack

John Stevenson
02-27-2015, 07:27 PM
OK Peeps, need input and ideas.

My metal rack is a mess, basic problem is I have is it's 7 arms plus the floor and this isn't enought to split sizes and material up.


Quite an old photo taken when the slotter was being installed. This has now long gone and 3 CNC's now stand in front of the rack.

The rack is alos far heavier populated to the point that I have had 15 bars of steel delivered this week and there is no room left and they are still on the floor. My initial though was, most material is in 3.1 metre lengths 10' or so and I never have to work on long lengths, in fact the largest lathe can take 50" max. So I was thinking about sawing the bars into two as they come in and store vertically in a frame made from say 1 1/2" x 5/16" or 40 x 8 in UK parlance consisting of say 6" squares.

Back rows at say 3' high and another 4" off the floor to stop bars sliding and the front rows at say 18" high to take bar ends. Frames to be made in sections and bolted together and then when a move comes and it will in a couple of years they could even be re bolted to form a corner.

Idea's bricks, flames 5 notes all gladly accepted.

02-27-2015, 07:47 PM
I suspect you will always have a need for long materials, but as soon as you mix them in the same rack chaos ensues. We have the same problem, caused a by a shop that is simply too small. Our shorts though are stored standing on end in a crate full of vertical cardboard shipping tubes cut to various lengths so you can see how long they are. But our material is small diameter. I can't see this working with large heavy materials. So I suspect that you would be better off with a second rack that is 50" or so deep with rectangular pockets across the hole face so you are looking at the ends of the material. You can then mark it on the end for length and type with a paint marker. When you pull a piece and cut it off the marks get cut off and the new length gets put back on the piece left. This is what the cut to length companies appear to do. It also makes taking inventory easy.

Everyone tries to keep X number of bins for each size material and soon have lots of bins of partially filled for a very low volume efficiency. Try another tack. Make a material list on your computer when you first put everything in the rack. Sort it by whatever method you choose, and indicate the bin number where you put it. If more comes in and there isn't space in the current bin for it go ahead and put it someplace else. Then write that second location on your printed list. You can fill the bin solid and still know where every piece is. This method optimizes the storage density by a huge amount. This isn't my idea either, it is how McMaster Carr manages over 600,000 different items! Surprisingly it actually reduces the picking error rate too. If what you want is 1/4" x 1" bolt and the next bin is screw drivers instead of 1/4" x 1-1/4" bolts you probably will recognize that something is wrong! I actually got a greenhouse customer to reorganize his bins of flower tags using this method and he got the size of the storage are needed right in half, and the errors went down too.

02-27-2015, 09:50 PM
Bigger shop?;)

J Tiers
02-27-2015, 10:54 PM
The solution to too few "shelves" is to subdivide.

IF you can access the rack at the end, instead of directly in from the front, a good idea is as follows:

Get pieces of large plastic drain pipe (whatever is cheapest but not flimsy), which comes in good long lengths. Put several on a rack "shelf", and keep similar stuff together in it. Your choice what the groupings are, but material and size are two goodies, of course....

Works best for round stock, but that is usually the most trouble. Also works for thin square stock, small bar stock, and similar. Once the stock gets to maybe 20mm diameter, it is more trouble to put in the pipes, and easier to just have it on the rack.

If you have to access from the front, that just plain sucks, because what you want is always underneath and at the back. cutting a lot of it (not all) shorter and standing it up may be best then. Do enough to thin out the rack sufficiently to use.

02-28-2015, 08:32 AM
For the 'shorts' that we all just hate to throw away, you can try a series of shelves filled with pieces of PVC pipe sliced length wise. They nestle on the shelves and the shelf height is spaced to accommodate the pipes so that there is about 1/2" of clearance from the top of the half tube to the bottom of the next shelf. These will slide in and out allowing you to see what is in them and the shallow depth keeps you from overloading them.


02-28-2015, 10:10 AM
I get most of material in 6 foot lengths now . supplier will cut at NEC
I use these tube rolls ...and colour codes and sizes on tube
Red for steel , blue is stainless green is bronze and white is AL
Scrap goes in small boxes with the correct colour.
short pcs under the bench.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v22/motorworks/Picture%20006.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/motorworks/media/Picture%20006.jpg.html)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v22/motorworks/Picture%20005.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/motorworks/media/Picture%20005.jpg.html)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v22/motorworks/Picture%20004.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/motorworks/media/Picture%20004.jpg.html)

02-28-2015, 10:14 AM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v22/motorworks/Picture%20009.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/motorworks/media/Picture%20009.jpg.html)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v22/motorworks/Picture%20010.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/motorworks/media/Picture%20010.jpg.html)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v22/motorworks/Picture%20001.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/motorworks/media/Picture%20001.jpg.html)

02-28-2015, 10:15 AM
With a crane over the bandsaw on wheels I can lift and cut the heaver pcs
all the best

PS A BIC white correction pen is excellent for marking size and type on steel !!
notes on jobs as well
pps 1000 sq foot shop. 5 lathes 2 mills 50t press 2 welders etc all in how you lay it out ! :D

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v22/motorworks/Picture%20008.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/motorworks/media/Picture%20008.jpg.html)

02-28-2015, 10:16 AM
John, can you use 50 or 60x8 and have your supplier notch it on a six in grid so that it assembles like an egg crate?

02-28-2015, 02:12 PM
Looking at the pictures of round tube storage makes you realize just how little material fits in there compared to the volume it all takes up. After seeing this I am going to throw out all the round tubes in our vertical storage box and remake it with thin plywood in a rectangular pattern. We'll gain a ton of storage from that!

02-28-2015, 03:40 PM
I did what you are suggesting. Metal here comes in 20' lengths @ 6 meters. I cut these in half and stand them on end, leaning them into the rack, the ends sit on a piece of plywood on the floor. I group tubing, angle, shaft, flat bar, etc. My rack system is adjustable and the ends are removable if I want to add more dividers. I have not found any faults yet in using it over the last 3 years.

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa477/mfnsy/metal%20rack%201_zps0bznn62e.jpg (http://s1199.photobucket.com/user/mfnsy/media/metal%20rack%201_zps0bznn62e.jpg.html)

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa477/mfnsy/metal%20rack%202_zpscicut2rt.jpg (http://s1199.photobucket.com/user/mfnsy/media/metal%20rack%202_zpscicut2rt.jpg.html)

J Tiers
02-28-2015, 03:51 PM
Looking at the pictures of round tube storage makes you realize just how little material fits in there compared to the volume it all takes up. After seeing this I am going to throw out all the round tubes in our vertical storage box and remake it with thin plywood in a rectangular pattern. We'll gain a ton of storage from that!

Perhaps you have forgotten that there is perfectly usable space BETWEEN the tubes..... If you pack in the tubes on a regular grid, you can use that other space for the "nuisance amounts" of material that would waste a full size tube.

if you nest the tubes together staggered, you get much of the wasted space between them back. That naturally happens with horizontal tubes, but vertical ones people tend to put on a regular grid.

doctor demo
02-28-2015, 04:57 PM
OK Peeps, need input and ideas.

My metal rack is a mess.

Clumsy Bastard:)


Mark Rand
02-28-2015, 05:58 PM
My only useful comment is to cut the incoming stock to as long a length as will fit under the roof (plus an offcut), rather than chopping into shorter lengths. Even if the lathes can't handle more than 40" between centres, longer bits can always be cut down, but welding short bits back together is a pain.

My stock is all kept vertical in one corner of the shed next to the shaper, but there are no neat dividers, yet:o

Mike Burdick
02-28-2015, 07:46 PM
Have your supplier store it for you by increasing his delivery trips to you with less quantity. It appears you're a good customer so he is likely to work with you on this.

02-28-2015, 09:37 PM

Dam!....this stuff cuts like an old crowbar.:D

02-28-2015, 09:38 PM

Ghop Shop
02-28-2015, 09:51 PM
The 4/4 square PVC down spout material, available at the big box stores, cut in short lengths makes nice horizontal storage for short lengths.