How to Organize Your Shop According to the Pros
There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to locate a tool or a part, especially when you know you have it and you really need it. There is pretty much only one way to combat this issue, and that is to organize your shop. That process isn’t easy and does take a decent amount of effort. However, the effort made up front will save you time and frustration later, so it’ll be worth it!
The idea of accomplishing a completely organized shop may seem like an overwhelming undertaking. We did some digging to provide resources that will help make the process a bit more approachable. What better way to get started than to take tips from top machinists with fantastic organization?
Not everyone’s storage and organization systems will look the exact same, but you can incorporate aspects of other organization practices to create your own unique machine shop organization system.
Below are video tutorials from three of the best machinists (and YouTubers). They share their shop storage and organization tips as well as the tools they recommend keeping on hand.
Keith Rucker from Vintage Machinery has quite the collection, so keeping it in order is essential. He walks through all kinds of ways to store and organize things in the machine shop.
Tools Recommended by Keith Rucker
Clean up those drawers! This modular storage system will fit perfectly in your drawers. They are light but sturdy and perfect for any small pieces needed to accomplish your operations.
Constructed from durable polypropylene, this cabinet measures 14-1/2″ x 15-1/2″ x 15-3/4″ and comes complete with pull-out trays and removable boxes. This system is highly versatile as it comes with 4 permanent dividers (lengthwise) and 16 movable dividers that can be placed where you need them.
This solid plastic wrench organizer tray is designed for a standard set of 16 wrenches. Whether you would like to store your wrenches in a drawer or on a wall, this piece is perfect for either.
Be sure to check out Keith’s YouTube channel as he has a wealth of machining and vintage machinery videos.
In this video, John Saunders of NYC CNC offers some serious tips to help you work faster and smarter to ultimately produce the best parts. This video highlights how to use Kaizen foam and Schaller bins among other organizational tools to achieve it.
Tools Recommended by John Saunders
This rolling cabinet is 3 ft tall and has 5 drawers – 3 small, 1 medium and 1 large. It is designed to handle heavy usage due to its all-welded steel construction. The outside of the tool chest is coated with a textured powder paint finish that has rust-resistant properties.
This collet storage rack has enough pockets to support up to 21 different collets. The holder even features angled size labelling so that the sizes remain visible when the collets are loaded. It also has a flat design that even when loaded fits a 3-1/2″ tall drawer.
Stop guessing where things are located and use this simple tool to label drawers and more! Featuring an easy-type keyboard, this lightweight and portable label maker is perfect for any machine shop.
Check out the NYC CNC YouTube channel here.
Kaizen foam is a staple for most when it comes to organizing a machine shop. Aaron Durda reviews the product and walks us through the best ways to use Kaizen foam which is great for organizing any tool drawer for micrometers, scales, scribes and more. Check out more of Aaron Durda’s AlwaysSunnyintheShop videos here.
Kaizen foam is quick and easy to cut without requiring an expensive tooling. The super tough foam performs very well and the easy-to-peel layered sections let you achieve the desired depth. Kaizen foam even works on vertical surfaces.
We mentioned some essential organizational tools in 5 Fundamental Tools to Keep Your Machine Shop Organized. Make sure to check it out! You may even find some helpful tips from the Practical Machinist forum members. Explore a couple threads about the topic here and here.
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