As you know VEX/FTC and FLL robots are made up of hundreds of tiny parts. One of the biggest challenges is keeping them organized and off the floor (and out of the vacuum cleaner).
My personal challenge is having multiple teams (14 in 2010). For the last 5 years I’ve been using these Plano tackle boxes: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419GYTHGPBL.SL500_AA160.gif
The box is 16"H x 11-3/4"W x 16-1/2"L. For a while they came in yellow and then Lowe’s started selling them in a brown / copper color. In 2010 we found that the boxes are no longer in the big three tier version (where the VEX transmitter will fit in the top). Plano makes a smaller three tier version, but it’s about 2/3 the size of the big box. The new size is 13.75’’ L. x 10’’ W. x 14’’ H and costs about $30.
Before investing in these boxes I though I’d ask the community on suggestions. I’m looking for something that will hold parts for a robot team and a pair of VEX transmitters (XBox sized controllers). It needs to have a pretty decent latch, since all the screws/nuts and small metal parts become pretty heavy.
Cabela’s sells the Plano 1374 for $29.88. Slightly wider than the 1373-30: 20.75"L x 11.5"W x 15.25"H, but still short enough for shelf clearance. You’d probably want to switch the 2 trays for boxes. Free shipping for a couple days if you order 4+, otherwise it’s $41/ea.
The PDT is cool, but I do wonder about the “no lid” thing. Not that I’ve seen VEXers pull out a drawer and then knock it completely over (and of course, I’ve never done that), but lids do have their bonuses. Also note, it’s $47 with shipping.
Also, I know it’s got a different shelf profile (how much more are you going to put in the closet anyway?), but you might consider small toolboxes with Plano/AC Moore compartment boxes in them. You’d probably come out a lot cheaper if that’d still fit the need. Plano also does toolboxes. (not so cheap)
If it doesn’t bust your minimum drawer height, they make slightly shorter but wider 4-highs too. (Well, it says 17.5ft L, but I’m pretty sure they mean inches.) Not positive the trays can switch for boxes, but this one would work.
We’ve been using these 25 compartment boxes from Home Depot for years for FRC, FTC, Vex, and FLL. They’re very durable, can be stacked, and fit in standard FRC totes. They have adjustable/removable partitions to fit longer parts. We like to glue in partitions for smaller part storage or the partitions will sometime lift up allowing parts to migrate between compartments. We haven’t broken one yet, or had it pop open (if its properly closed), even with quite a bit of rough handling especially when they’re loaded with heavy pneumatic fittings. We usually put them in FRC totes for moving, but stacking them on a travel luggage cart would also work pretty well. I like them because they are only $10 and readily available.
I used the yellow tackle boxes in high school to much success. They were pretty much perfect back then.
However I donated those boxes to 1714 and when I rebuilt my collection they were apparently discontinued, so I got a much beefier box from Home Depot. It’s 24 inches long by ~12 inches wide, but it has a huge toolbox up top and tons of room for big stuff underneath. I brought it to IRI (so Foster has probably seen it).
Here, just found it on Home Depot: 22 in. Cantilever Toolbox. It has a four bar linkage on it for extra cool points too. $30 is a lot but it’s enough for a team’s worth of stuff, I bet.
Be sure to get the DEEP one. It will hold a few (3?) 84-tooth gears in its smaller compartments. The very similar, but more shallow, model is frustrating.
When I go shopping I carry a transmitter, an 84-tooth gear, a microcontroller, a battery or two, and a couple of long hunks of Vex metal. I check to see if they fit before buying anything.
I have a combination of deep Stanleys, cheap ordinary toolboxes (one big open compartment), and some small parts organizers from Sears (I forget who made them). However, I am only organizing 2-3 robots worth of shared stuff. I suspect that you don’t want to copy my approach.