Organization secrets & ideas

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wareagle

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I had a small welding job pop up this evening for a friend, so I took care of it in short order and decided to embark on a little organizational project while I had the welding gear set up. I do not have pictures of it at this point, but it is a rack that will store my QCTP holders up and out of the way. There will be room for 18 holders with the design that I have come up with. As I get time and finish it up, I will definitely share some pictures of it.

This project has been on the back of my mind for a while, as are some others. After doing the preliminary cutting and welding on the rack, I started wondering how others organize their shops. There have been several topics here on various pieces of the subject before, but maybe this can be a catch all thread for some innovative and effective organizational techniques.

So how do you store your materials, tools, measuring instruments and other goodies in your shop? What is the best organizational method you have (i.e. stock storage, tool storage, hardware storage, fixture storage, etc.)?? Maybe we can get some good ideas here that will help us make the most out of our shop space!
 

Brass_Machine

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First and foremost:



My shop and garage are a disaster so I am looking forward to seeing what people have for storage ideas.

Also, there is a great thread over at Madmodder about shop organization. I hope PTsideshow will post up in this one.

Eric
 

jack404

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well my only bit of organisation in my home shop so far is the use of vegetable crates for keeping the base metals sorted steels on one non ferrous in the other but as soon as the supermarket busts up some more and chucks em out i'll get some more and seperate them even further

with a sheet of ply in the bottom they hold a heap of weight and stack well

stacked



whats in em



cheers

jack
 

ksouers

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I can see this is a much needed thread WarEagle. Thanks for starting it.

My garage is an overflowing mess. I have lots of shelves that are packed to the hilt and the floor is covered with bulky items. All I have is a narrow path from the door to my shop area in the back corner. The only thing that has helped is putting as much as I can on wheeled carts. At least it makes it somewhat easier to get stuff out of the way, but it seems like I have to pull everything out into the driveway, get what I need from the far corner then put it all back. What a pain.

I'm going to be in a bad way in a few weeks when I start moving equipment around :eek:

Oh, and some good news! SWMBO gave permission last night to annex a few extra square feet for the shop ;D
Now I just have to find it...
 

shred

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My shop may be the definition of 'disorganized', but one thing I did do that I really like is build a shelf right up under the top of a bench that fits a set of extra-deep narrow Akro bins-- 6"x6"x24" or so (#30164 I think); they're great for those short lengths and ends of stock that I have a bunch of.

As soon as a piece of stock won't stick out of the tubes below (they are 24" deep), it goes into a bin.

Here's the bench:



And a bin pulled out:

 

gunboatbay

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I notice in a lot of photos of shops/equipment that pegboad is commonly used as and organizing tool. I've compiled a tip on the use of pegboard and uploaded it to the "Downloads" section.
 

Tin Falcon

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Lots of drawers
two craftsman work benches 5 drawers each two roll away tool boxes.
Kennedy Machinist chest. Union Machinist chest Travers tool box another wooden tool box three filing cabinets assorted milk crates cookie ,candy tins coffee cans kitty litter tubs a shop built stock rack etc. Plus stuff piled on a table and work bench tops as well as multiple shelves.

tin
Actually my organizational methods are Top Secret so much of a secret even I do not know where everything in the shop is at any given time.
 

Divided He ad

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Hi, I just thought I'd link to my shop renovation post as it shows all of my storage ideas and is easier than writing it all out again!!

Yep.... Lazy I know!
Still it helps this post I think?

http://www.homemodelenginemachinist.com/index.php?topic=1888.msg17918#msg17918

(Eric, Seen something similar to this recently? :big: )


Good post Mr Eagle. I will keep an eye on it... You never know what gems it could produce?



Ralph.
 

DICKEYBIRD

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This pic shows 2 of my favorite storage items. The cabinet was made from a portable electronics "rack" a buddy gave me. It was over 6 ft. tall originally so I sectioned it 39" to get it down to the correct working height. I bolted all my grinders to the top and the whole thing moves around easily on the double wheel casters it came with. These things show up occasionally on Craig's list and go well in a shop. It now has a couple of kitty litter buckets underneath for dry, dust free storage of infrequently used iron accessories for the lathe & mill. I also plan to make a grit containment enclosure for it from an old shower curtain for this winter when I can't roll it out on the driveway when using the grinders heavily.

The 2nd item is the metal drawer. I picked up 4 of them from the parts dept where I work. They are made from sturdy metal and are shallow so they don't take up a lot of space but have a ton of divided spaces. I store metal cut-offs & scraps in it. This pic was taken a year ago and now the drawer is 90% full. The divided spaces make it easy to segregate similar stuff. You won't believe how handy an organized space for scraps is! Many sorely needed widgets are right there at your fingertips. I find many items I now need are amazingly close to a bit of scrap I generated ages ago. Another manifestation of N.T.A.A. disease. (Never Throw Anything Away) ;D

 

mklotz

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Clever organizational ideas are fine but, as Tin points out, the real problem may be remembering where the stuff is when you need it.

My Garaj Mahal shop is tiny - the space left over in a two car garage that is still used to shelter our two cars. I'd love to have all sorts of organized storage such as shown in other posts in this thread but it just isn't going to happen.

One consequence of this is that things get stored where there is available space. This is almost inevitably NOT the ideal, logical location. As an example, there's a lot of unused space in the box that houses the 24" height gage so that space is used to store tools that are used very infrequently. The box itself is secreted away underneath a rolling cabinet.

As you might expect, this practice, coupled with a mind afflicted by CRS disease (Can't Remember Sh^H^H, er, Stuff), can easily lead to forgetting where stuff is when it's needed.

So, my most important organizational tool is a computer-based SIS (Shop Information System), a ponderous title for two ASCII files on my computer that contain an organized listing of the location of SILTF (Stuff I'm Likely To Forget) items.

It takes some effort to build and maintain such a system but, once constructed, it can save immense amounts of time. It's one helluva lot easier to have an editor search a computer file for something like "miniature belt tightening jig" than to paw through a pile of boxes (each of which must be moved to access the next) or the myriad drawers in the rolling cabinets.

Actually, this approach sounds more laborious than it is. Only items that are used infrequently and/or stored in weird or unusual locations are catalogued. None of the frequently used tools (most stored in entirely logical locations) are catalogued.
 

BobWarfield

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Good thread. It's never enough!

I look for excuses to shove more rolling tool cabinets into my shop of various kinds. I buy them only when they're on sale, so I do keep my eyes peeled for those sales.

For example, I made welding table of one:



I got a little rolling cart with drawers and use it for my bandsaw:



As you can see, that lets me keep stock underneath. Aluminum on the top shelf, and steel below that. There are two drawers. One has brass stock (valuable and must be under cover! LOL), and one holds my hacksaws and similar tools).

For small parts, hardware, and more stock, my brother and I whipped out this parts shelving one afternoon:



I keep all my hardware segregated in plastic boxes by size as you can see:



And for my CNC conversion of the mill I purchased another rolling tool cabinet at Sears at their Labor Day sale that will hold mill accessories such as rotary table, angle blocks, and vises, as well as being the platform for the PC and CNC electronics.
 

BobWarfield

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Here is a wall storage system I installed behind the lathe:



It is roughly divided into two sections. The left 3rd is measuring tools. The right 2/3's are lathe tooling with a small amount of mill tooling thrown in for good measure.

Directly behind that lathe picture is a table with storage on top:



The grey boxes on the left are Huot drawers for drill bits, end mills, and taps. I got them used and cheap from eBay. The other tool boxes were optional boxes that came on top of rolling chests I put to other uses. The one on the left houses a lot of mill tooling. You can see tool holders on top in little racks on both. R8 shanks on left and ER collets on right together with boring head cutters.

In the drawers are lot of specialized cutters--slitting saws, chanfering, and such. There is also insert storage, as I use a lot of indexable tooling. The table top in front tends to accumulate stuff from whatever the current project is.

And here is my air tool rack, which is about all I have left to show for organization:



Most of the drawers and boxes have labels, which is how I find things. Less used items are in cardboard boxes on high shelves, but with labels on the outside.

Lots more organization is possible. You'll find many ideas in my "Home Shop Hall of Fame" section of my web site here:

http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCHallOfFame.html

What little organization persists in my shop comes from two rules I have (I need a lot more, but these help!):

1. When I get something new, I find a spot for it that will be its permanent home. I do all the labeling and other work at that time.

2. When I can't find something. I make myself stop what I'm doing and start putting things away. I don't put everything away, but any surface I approach to search what I'm looking for gets cleaned up.
 

CrewCab

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Brass_Machine said:
My shop and garage are a disaster
ksouers said:
My garage is an overflowing mess.
I see a theme developing ...... ;D ......... and it's also clear that I'm in good company ;)

Keep the tips flowing guys hopefully some will rub off on me, just a pity you can't buy extra floor space at the hardware store :(

CC
 

kustomkb

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I borrowed your Air tool Rack idea, Thanks for sharing that, I really like it.



And I built rolling drawers under my bench for heavy material storage;



And wheeled tools for a small shop;



When I was setting up my new shop I looked all over for organizational ideas, Thanks to everyone for sharing theirs.

-Kevin.
 

GailInNM

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I bought 4 movers dollies from Harbour Freight when they were on sale at the local store for under $10 each. They are rated at 1000 pounds. They have a lighter duty one rated at 200 pounds, but it is the same price. It's easy to put way over 200 pounds of steel and cast iron in a 12 x 18 inch box only 8 or 10 inches tall. I use them to make boxes of heavy material easy to store and retrieve from under the lathe (shown) and other out of the way floor spaces. Much easier on the back than sliding a box around.



Link to the dollies I am using:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93888
Gail in NM,USA
 

kustomkb

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Kevin... is that a crossbow in the 2nd picture?
I made that crossbow as my grade 10 metal work project. My Dad made the pattern and I cast and machined the parts.
I think I got an A for that one. ;D I don't think that would go over to well these days though.
 

Stan

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Here is a tool holder rack that I made many years ago. It requires almost no machining and a minimum amount of welding. It is a lazy susan thing that just spins around to get the holder you need. It is mounted almost directly over the tailstock of my lathe so always there when you need a tool. The actual tool holder bracket is just a bit or angle angle squeezed in a vise until it fits the tool holder. Since this one was made out of scrap, it was made to hold ten tools but the diameter can be any size.



 

wareagle

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Stan, that is a very interesting way of storing your QCTP holders. The rack I am building is similar, but I will have them stored vertically in three rows on the front and back. Each side will easily hold nine holders. I will mount it in such a fashion that it will rotate between the sides, and I am thinking of having a "home" location using a detent ball. Or maybe something like a ramp on a saloon door hinge. Haven't decided, yet.

Marv, interesting point about remebering where things are! That is a big deal, and can be a huge time waste in hunting for that elusive widgit. I am considering a total revamp of my shop's organization, which likely will never happen. But it is an exercise to see if I can change things up some to enable easier and more efficient fetching of items.


To all, there are some great ideas here. Obviously not every idea will work for our differnt shop sizes and layouts, but variations on some might be the ticket! Let's keep 'em coming!!
 

deverett

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Here's how I store some of my material:


A couple of lengths of 4" soil pipe are cut in 3 ft, 2ft and 1 ft lengths and the whole lot is bound together with plastic solvent glue. The result is stood on a piece of plywood. The weight of stock prevents it from moving. Metals of different colour (e.g. steel and bronze) are stored in the same tube.


These Linnbins were picked up on eBay and were originally used to help me move the workshop from England to Ireland. I use them now for storing shorter lengths of metal and offcuts that I have managed to scrounge. The sections of gutter seen on the right of the picture are also used to temporarily store short lengths of material.

One storage question: How do folks store their toolmalkers clamps. At the moment I keep them in a small box, but this is not very satisfactory and am looking for something which makes them easier to select.

Dave
The Emerald Isle
 
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