My FTC teams have moved buildings and we’re no longer living out of storage bins that have to get stashed away every time they meet. We have shelves and tables and such that’s ours and doesn’t have to be put away daily!
Which leads to my question: Does anyone have a great system for storing parts (larger metal parts, smaller screws, gears, wires, etc.)? Like do you have shelving units, plastic bins that you use, or some sort of system to keep all your stuff organized and easy to find? I’m looking for inspiration on how we can clean and tidy and sort our stuff before the next season starts. Bonus points for purchase links and pictures.
For anything like screws and small hardware, I swear by Plano Stowaway tackle boxes. Couple bucks each in the fishing aisle at Walmart. Dividers get organized as you see fit, the latches are great, and they’re just plain stout. We keep our UltraPlanetary items organized that way, and increasing numbers of other items.
Bonus protip: You can fit 5-6 (can’t remember which) of the larger 3700 boxes in one of these Keter toolboxes with extra room up top. Label ends of organizers, and label which toolbox it goes in if you have multiples. (Then, of course, label your toolboxes!)
Things I also like:
- Harbor Freight StoreHouse organizers are plenty for even FRC applications. If it can’t take it, you probably overloaded it too much for a student to be carrying around anyway.
- I think it was @Allison_K who put in my ear cafeteria trays for in-progress builds, maybe with a loop of tape for small fastener retention. Trays are dirt cheap on Amazon. Storage racks to keep them stored between meetings are a little stiff for the money, but it should be trivial for an FTC team (or maybe a couple mentor helpers) to fabricate something suitable out of lumber and angle aluminum.
This is an older picture but you get the idea.
Home Depot double sided tub w/dividers-> fasteners by size (front side is imperial, back side is closest metric equivalent)
Short Plano storage boxes-> shafts, elastics, elevator hardware (bearings, spectra cable)
Tall Plano storage boxes-> control system components, sensor wire, and power wires (by length)
Clear shoeboxes-> wheels by type
Dewalt tubs with dividers->motors, gears, pulleys, sprockets
Offbrand Dewalt tubs-> hubs, servos, brackets, mounts
Clever crate->evergreen drivetrain components (We use the taller ones on a mobile cart for sub assemblies.
Keeping most of the tubs the same same size make them easy to pack together for travel.
+1 on the comment to label everything. We label each box and each shelf location so everyone knows exactly where things should get put back.
One thing we do for our FRC stuff that makes things easy to find is we mounted a peg board on one of the walls. Pretty easy to put all the pulleys, sprockets, gears, belts, etc of a given size on their own peg.