[Maker’s Note] Screw Organizer

by Yun-Han Lin

A sneak peek of the procedure before we get started!

Preface


Screw and hardware storage often drives people crazy. A working space shared by many people is usually packed with hundreds or thousands of kinds of parts. Sorting the parts in zipper bags and labeling them may work when there are only 50 to 100 bags, but as the number of hardware increases, there needs to be a new way.

Origin


Here are some storage methods recommended by other studios!

The first is Adam Savage’s hardware storage. Though it does not turn out as handy as we think, you may still want to check it out.

The following two models gave us the ideas for our design. The whole assortment cabinet is movable, and each drawer is 3D-printed based on modules for different sizes. Inside the draws are boxes labeled with the name of the parts.

This design is the closest to what we have in mind- a simple cabinet with several tiny drawers. Based on the modular separation of spaces used in our last project, we used this method to create separate storage. Instead of using 3D-printing, we went for laser-cutting.

Planning

Since we opted for laser-cutting, 3D-modeling is required. Based on the past experience in 3D-modeling with woodwork, we learned that it is crucial to leave spaces a bit larger than the intended design, so we left spaces from 1 to 3mm among different parts. There was a total of 4 layers, with 16 small drawers and 16 large ones. The size of the small drawer is 42mm, which is about the right height to store small electronic components.

Production

1. Box Sizes: 5 different sizes for different storage needs:

  • Small box (5 in one drawer)
  • Small box w/ partition (5 in one drawer)
  • Large box (5 in one drawer)
  • Large box w/ partition (5 in one drawer)
  • Extra large box (4 in one drawer)

2. Labeling: The boxes were laser-cut, so we might as well engrave the marks at the same time. We tried scanning the characters to be engraved (left), but it took too much time. Therefore, we turned to engraving only the trace (right). It took a shorter time, yet it might have been better, if we had used handwriting or label stickers!

3. Handles: The drawers were quite small, so they might not go well with knobs. Yet, I came up with an amazing idea, where I carved pieces of wood into small blocks and engraved them with the marks on the front side. Then I fixed a piece of the block onto each drawer at its front with a staple gun. The blocks were about 8mm thick and that made it easy to pull out the boxes, and the whole design came in a consistent style.

Conclusion

Although the project seemed simple, there were actually quite a few parts, 32 drawers and over 130 small boxes, to work on, and it took us over a month to finish. We have used the cabinet for around 2 weeks, and it has been fine so far. There are 15% of the drawer space that are not used yet, and it is hoped that there is enough room to store all kinds of parts as time goes by, or we will have to work on the expansion in just a few months!

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