Entries in Category Workshop

More 3D-Printed Bins, for Milwaukee Organizer Boxes

Many tool companies offer “jobsite organizer” boxes for small parts. Our local home stores carry DeWalt, Stanley, and Milwaukee products that are all on the same pattern: plastic briefcase-style box with a handle, a clear lid, and removable bins inside. Some of them can also be stacked and linked together for more storage. But since I'm not a contractor (the usual customers for these), I tend to acquire smaller quantities, but in a greater variety, of most classes of part: screws, plumbing fittings, crimp terminals, etc. So I usually want more resolution, i.e. more and smaller bins or dividers, than the organizer offers. For that, I have a 3D printer.

I selected the Milwaukee 48-22-8030, despite it being red, because it was the only one that had metal latch hardware, because the handle placement gives it the best ratio of internal to external volume, and because the Milwaukee organizers can be opened while linked to each other (the linking latches are only on the lids). In Onshape I designed a bin that would subdivide the smaller square bins diagonally.

3D-Printed Organizer Bins for Crimp Terminals

3D-printed bins, in black PLA, keep a larger variety of parts organized.

I recently needed to crimp some right-angle “flag”-style quick-disconnect terminals, which meant buying yet another crimp tool (turns out you can't use the same one you use for straight terminals) and yet more small parts, which of course have to be kept organized. To replace the various disconnected organizers I was using for this type of part I purchased a 15-inch Flambeau Merchant Box with lift-out tray, $19.99 at Orchard Supply.

I used the lift-out tray to acommodate a sheet of 1 1/8 inch Kaizen foam, a product I've used before to make drawer organizers for my office. Kaizen foam is made of layers that can be peeled from each other (but not as cleanly as you might want), so that you can draw an outline of a tool on the foam, cut straight down to the appropriate depth using a razor blade or other knife, and then hollow out the foam to that depth by digging with your fingers. This gave me a place for my crimp tools plus some room for future expansion.

Lasercut Storage Bins

I have a small workshop space in a spare bedroom at home. Like many people that work in small shops I try to find ingenious ways to use every part of the buffalo. My latest improvements are some laser-cut plywood storage bins for small tools and parts, designed to mount to the sides of the hutch over my electronics workbench.

A Laser-cut Plywood Rack for Torx Drivers

In my product designs at my day job I sometimes specify torx-headed screws. This could be because the heads resist tool damage better. It could be because torx-heads are more available at the time for some particular combination of thread and length and material I need. Or it could just be because they look cool! Whatever the reason I need a number of torx drivers; in the larger sizes 1/4 inch hex-ended bits are just fine but for smaller sizes I prefer to have small screwdrivers for each one. Since I don't like them rolling around loose in a drawer I made a rack out of 1/4 inch birch plywood on the laser cutter.

Batman's Grinder Use is Unsafe

Consider the following scene from Batman Begins, where Bruce Wayne, preparing for his new life as the Dark Knight, sharpens his bat-shaped throwing blades on an ordinary bench grinder as might be found in workshops and indeed, suburban garages around the world. Unlike much of what makes Bruce Wayne Batman—his bat-vehicles, his supercomputers, his Tibetan ninja training—this is low-tech blue-collar stuff, accessible to the home DIYer and therefore dangerous to the home DIYer, if the movie's depiction of grinder use should be unsafe. And it is.

Bruce Wayne attempts a DIY project