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Crackers 2nd January 2013 04:26 PM

Parts Storage
I just ordered components for my first full build and I need some ideas for parts storage/organization for small components. Considering some of the other projects im planning on in the future I need somewhere in the neighborhood of 100-150 compartments.

Enzo 2nd January 2013 10:25 PM

For a beginner, 100 different parts is a lot.

I use the 60-drawer plastic bins you can buy anywhere. But really, just buy a big box of small manilla envelopes, the ones about the size of a baseball card or maybe a little larger. Larger ones for larger parts. Now one envelope per part type. Write the part info on the flap, and stack them in a box. You can get them at Staples or the office goods section of a department store. At some later point you might want to go to more premanent stuff, but that method works fine, and I still use it for a bunch of old various surplus components I have thousands of.

Stack the resistors in one box, in numerical order, then maybe another box for caps. Or small caps and large caps. Then diodes. transistors, whatever. This will be very compact, and easily stored.

I love the plastic part bins, but those need 18" between shelves, and I have a wall full of them, and still need more. A couple of shoe boxes will hold just a ton of resistors and small parts. And the writing on the flaps keeps them organized like a file drawer.

Crackers 2nd January 2013 11:10 PM

I'm kind of obsessive and I'm not exactly starting with small projects. So about 1/3 of that is already accounted for and I'm ordering more stuff to experiment with.

I just bought two old (and broken) mixers going to try and mix and match into a new unit, just to see if I can make it work.

Crackers 2nd January 2013 11:17 PM

It may sound like a lot, but I've got some stuff already and have 30+ new components on the way. (And that's not including the pots switches etc.

Crackers 2nd January 2013 11:26 PM

Tapatalk seems to be eating posts.

I know it sounds like a lot but I'm going to have more than half of that full by the end of the month. I definitely don't want to use bags/envelopes/boxes exclusively.

I need/want something that's easy to access, open/close, inventory, or I simply won't use it.

I have used those plastic box/drawers in the past for automotive/bicycle parts and will default to that unless I get a better idea first.

I do have a brake press and can fab pretty much anything in sheet metal if that give anyone ideas.

prairieboy 3rd January 2013 12:39 AM

I have one of those ubiquitous parts cabinets with small drawers... labelled A to F across the top, 1 to 10 down the side (that would give you 60). I put resistors, standoffs, small caps, diodes, transistors, LEDs etc. in the drawers. I record the parts in Excel, on the work bench computer (which is also there for playing music, powering my digital scope, displaying data sheets etc.), giving data, quantity, and the specific drawer (ie: D5). If you have more parts, put a second cabinet next to the first and label G, H etc. The 'find' function in Excel works great (set it search columns) to find all instances of the part you might want (ie 1.0 k resistors in 1/4, 1/2, 1 watt sizes).
Tubes, large caps, transformers all find places on shelves.
Works for me ...

Enzo 3rd January 2013 10:14 AM

The point of envelopes was that you could, with very small expense, organize all your parts very quickly and easily. I find them quite accessible. And when you decide to move up to drawers for some type part, then the parts are already sorted into individual types for you.

Alternatives to drawers? You could use larger drawers and store the parts in small containers in them. We used to use 35mm film containers, which we could get for free from any film processing place. But no one uses film anymore, so... But places like American Science and Surplus have small containers cheap all the time. When I was in field service, I used film cans a lot. Identify items on their lids with a marker, and they lived in my tool box reliably for years.

Plano and others make fishing tackle boxes, and one could sort parts into those little bin boxes. I also see similar section boxes marketed for embroidery threads.

I can't think of anything more open and convenient that drawer units. You have a lot of different value small parts. Drawer units do come with dividers, so you can section each small drawer into two or three subsections. I tend to use one drawer per value for smaller resistors. 5/10w resistors, I have drawers for some values alone, plus for intermediate values, I might have a drawer like 1k-5k, 10k-20k, etc.

The 60 drawer bins are great for small parts like resistors, small caps, semiconductors. Pots can fill one up, but they make larger drawers too.

WW GRainger and other industrial suppliers make cardboard parts bins. They come flat, you fold them into shape. I wouldn;t like them for resistors, but for larger parts like filter caps, transformers, pots, tube sockets, fuse holders, etc, they work fine. Organize them on basic metal storage shelving.

Crackers 4th January 2013 02:13 AM

I apologize, I don't mean an alternative to drawers per we but the plastic drawer storage devices I'm familiar with are relatively fragile. (Relative to my plodding self anyway.) I was just wondering about other suggestions I may not have thought of, like the tackle box idea. I've seen several versions like that in use but had all but forgotten about it.

Crackers 4th January 2013 02:41 AM

I like these and they're available in multiple compartment sizes. Quite a bit more money though.

Small Parts Clear Tip Out Bin Storage Strip Cabinets - Mfg# QTB 309 GRAY

Enzo 4th January 2013 05:21 AM

I've cracked maybe two or three little plastic drawers over the last 50 years, I don't consider it a problem. Your mileage may vary. Tippy drawers to me might be better for larger things than resistors and transistors. You may find the storage density on your walls/shelves will be reduced with larger bins. It will always be a compromise, whatever you do.

I run a commercial shop, so I store a lot of parts. One of my favorite things in this shop is a storage drawer unit. It is a metal drawer unit made like office furniture, which it is. Three columns of 10-12 drawers each. SIts on the floor and is about bench high at its top. Each drawer is roughly the size of a ream of paper, well, maybe two reams stacked. A couple drawers are for switches. SOme larger toggles and such are loose or in bags, but the other switch drawer is for smaller ones, and I have a couple section boxes sitting in the drawer. (Small tackle boxes) Other drawers hold jacks, some misc. amp parts, some misc speaker parts (L-pads, terminals, dust domes, tinsel wires, etc), batteries, laser pickups, and other things that don;t fit in smaller drawers. One drawer is full of sliders, and another holds rubber belts.

Google apothecary chest. You might like something like that. They come in all shapes and sizes. A sort of big brother to my little plastic drawer bins, and a smaller brother to my office furniture thingie. Nor for resistors, unless you fill drawers with my envelopes, but good for larger stuff like can caps or tube sockets.

I do use a bunch of larger tackle boxes (section boxes). They sort various jacks, an assortment of jack nuts, sorted metric screws, a selection of smaller pots (12mm and 16mm mostly), odd size fuses that don't go in my fuse box rack, idler tires, and others. They stack on a shelf. I find it handy.

Nothing says you have to use only one storage method.

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