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Parts storage/organization
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Parts storage/organization

by chumbud on Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:56 pm

Any suggestions for general purpose storage bins and where to acquire them? Just starting and want to have storage bins for resistors, capacitors, etc.
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Re: Parts storage/organization

by Ran Talbott on Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:07 pm

Many people like those cabinets full of small plastic drawers, but I don't: I'm always finding that there are new kinds of things to organize that come along after I come up with a system for the drawers.

My long-time favorites are those plastic "shoeboxes" (the ones Hume Depot are selling for a buck apiece are the best value at the moment) and those white mailing boxes about the size of a ream of typing paper. When I lived in the city, I got them from one of those "pack-and-ship" places. I haven't found a good source since I moved to the country, though :(

I recently found a close-out deal on those "Tupperware-lite" boxes from Rubbermaid. The ones sized for a sandwich are working out very well for parts like resistors and caps: I have one for each decade of resistors, and separate the values within each box in 2x3-inch zip-lock bags (the ones Wal-Mart sells in their arts-and-crafts section are not as heavy-duty as the ones I got in my city days, but they're cheap and available locally). The snack-sized zip-lock bags are also good and readily-available.

I also like those flat fishing-tackle organizers with adjustable dividers for parts like screws that others prefer the small drawers for.

Ran Talbott
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Re: Parts storage/organization

by chumbud on Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:24 am

Is it necessary to get "anti-static" drawers/boxes? Electronix Express for instance has 30 drawer anti-static cabinet for $83. Or I can get from some tool supply place a "regular" 60 drawer cabinet with plastic see through fronts for $27. Are there only certain components I actually need to worry about with static electricity so the 60 drawer would be fine?
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Re: Parts storage/organization

by jarv on Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:54 am

I use one of those cheap plastic drawer boxes but for most of my passive components I like to use zip-lock bags. (also good for leads and cables) Keeping my resistors, caps and whatnot organized for me is futile.
For anti-static protection I guess it depends on how many components you have or need to protect from static? For me personally I don't really have a need to put them in bins since most of them are single chip so I just throw them all together.
projects (avr/electronics/programming) -
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Re: Parts storage/organization

by tarek on Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:32 pm

I'm a fan of the clear, single-tray fishing-tackle type organizers, which have the added advantage of being a bit more portable than the plastic drawers.

Amazon has a bunch of different ones, the Plano 3600 Size Prolatch with Adjustable Dividers should get you started.
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Re: Parts storage/organization

by sirket on Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:55 pm

Parts drawers suck because:

1) You can't mount them up high- otherwise you can't see into the drawers when you open them. Then you end up taking each drawer down to find what you were looking for.

2) You _have_ to label the drawers because you can't see inside. Unless you enjoy opening a lot of drawers until you find what you want.

3) They are never the right size- always too big or too small.

4) You can never find an identical box when you need more space- The parts drawers you bought at the home center one week will be different 6 months later when they find a better price- now nothing will line up.

Get parts boxes and order them from Flambeau because:

1) They're made in America.

2) They're inexpensive. (7" x 10" box with 6 fixed dividers + 12 adjustable dividers (up to 18 spaces) is less than $3).

3) They're high quality. Especially the T4007 et al. which have separate plastic locking tabs that won't crack and break off.

4) They've been offering the same models for years so you never end up with mismatched cases.

5) Because the boxes can be easily pulled down off a shelf you can mount it up high and not worry about it.

6) You can group similar parts together making organization easier. That's a lot harder with large parts drawers- they are always too big or too small with lots of wasted drawers- unless you are willing to sacrifice organization.

7) The boxes are clear so you don't need to label each compartment- just look inside!

8) Flambeau offers anti-static boxes, anti-corrosion dividers, various colors, different materials, and a bunch of other options I've never needed but you might want.

I built a wooden shelf grid system consiting of 11" x 2" (x 7.25" deep) openings that I slide the boxes into (they have a molded in handle to make pulling them out super easy). Each shelf is 4 feet wide, 16 inches high and holds 20 boxes. I have two shelf sets I built using just simple 1x8 pine.

You have to buy them in packs of 6- but they are so cheap who cares? You also have to call them to place an order but they're really nice people. Plus: made in the USA- you support the economy and the environment (by reducing wasteful shipping).

Flambeau makes a ton of different cases in different materials and sizes but I find the T4007 to be the perfect compromise for me:

PS: You don't need anti-static drawers for 99.9% of parts. On the rare occasion when I want anti-static storage I cut some 1/4" anti-static foam to fit into the parts boxes I have.
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