Keeping the build room organized is nigh-impossible!! Drill bits and allen wrench sizes get mixed up on the daily… The various standard sizes (metric / imperial / fractions / letters / numbers) aren’t helping either!
I was thinking of using sharpies with different colors and patterns to label the bottom of drill bits and the sides of allen wrenches. Thoughts?
Our team color codes for the sizes we use the most that fit together. For example, if we use a size bolt often, the hex alan for that bolt, and the wrench that fits it’s corresponding nut, will have the same color on them. This allows us to quickly find what we need in a build season, and can help out rookies, by just telling them what color they need for something they can find it even if the build room is a little chaotic at times.
One way you can simply things is to go with the same sizes. I understand this isn’t possible for purchased products, but it’s hard to miss place everything when you only use 1/4-20 and 10-32s. Then getting a bunch of the same size makes it easy to quickly distinguish between the sizes
There was a really handy chart from VEX that was given away in the kickoff kit for a couple years. I’ll attach a pdf but it lists all of the drill, tap, Allen and box wrench sizes needed for most FRC hardware. We then added color codes based on what 5 common bolt sizes it corresponds to.
Yellow : 1/2 inch
Red: 1/4 inch
Those 5 diameters for bolts are the most common we use and basing around those sizes is really helpful.
We’re about to implement a system where we use modeling paint to dab the ends of the drill bits, and then have color-coded pockets they slip into. You don’t need a unique color for each size – you only need a unique color for drill bits of a similar size. So, a #20 drill bit might get yellow, a 5/32 might get red, a 3/16 might get green, but then a 3/8 might get yellow again because it’s really hard to confuse a 3/8 with a #20.
Also, we’ve started buying individual drill bits instead of multi-size packs. There are some size in the multi-size packs that we just never use, but we go through a half-dozen #20 bits every season. (Also, it’s difficult to get stub-length bits in multi-packs, and that’s what we try to mostly use in the drill press to help reduce runout.)
Allen-wrenches: We don’t really use allen wrenches much. We have a set of T-handle hex wrenches from Harbor Freight and hex drivers from Bondhaus. Both have sizes on the handles. We’ve only ever needed allen wrenches to get into tight spaces. We have a 2mm and a 2.5mm bondhaus driver where the end is red, while the end on the imperial drivers is yellow.
We spray paint the drill bits and Allen wrenches. Everything is corresponding so drill bits and taps get painted the same size as the wrench that drives that color. Don’t worry about masking things off, do a quick light coat.
A few teams I’ve spoken to have “Lab tools” and “Comp tools” in two seperate tool boxes. Your lab tools can be vast and should contain at least one of every size of FRC parts you have in inventory. The comp tools should contain only the tools that match your current bot and maybe a couple loaner tools for your neighbors to borrow if they need to. The comp box doesn’t get used during the regular season but as you build your bot your build team will list out everything needed to do it. Then when it’s time to pack you throw everything from the build team’s list in the comp box or if you have the funds you buy doubles and keep the comp box always stocked and “locked”