Shadowbox / Kaizen Tool boxes worthwhile?
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  1. #1
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    Default Shadowbox / Kaizen Tool boxes worthwhile?

    I keep seeing pictures of nice tool boxes all shadowboxed/kaizened out with all the tools in a specific spot and wishing my toolboxes were that well organized. Do folks think this is worthwhile? I'm worried that its a fair bit of effort and then you lose the flexibility when you need to switch out tools.

    Secondly, whats the best way of doing it? I see lots of places that sell the foam that you can cut out, but that seems like a pain and its pretty expensive. Alternatively I could cut it out on the CNC router out of a piece of plywood (with finger holes to grab the tools) or maybe rigid foam? That would also mean I've gotta draw it all up which also sounds like a pain, but at least then it would be easy to make a new one if I want to change the layout.

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    jaguar36 --

    My experience supports your theses of effort and lack of flexibility, making it worthwhile in some situations.

    The primary worthwhile situation is that of 1) a clearly-defined job that 2) is performed routinely, 3) by any of a number of well-trained individuals or teams of people, 4) working out of a task-specific toolbox tailored specifically to the job being performed, 5) at a remote site. In such circumstances, I don't even use the term toolbox (except for the box itself), but a specific-job-or-task toolkit . . . and supplement with other specific-job-or-task kits for a) needed parts, b) needed supplies such as gaskets, sealants, etc, and c) cleaning materials and supplies.

    John

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    I like having a set of commonly used tools in foam next to machines and work stations. Usually turns out to be calipers and/or micrometers, the couple wrenches you need, maybe a file or scribe. But it's ONLY the what you constantly need. Ideally they're mounted at an angle so the can't collect other stuff... But we don't bother with every single drawer.

    As far as how, we just lay out the tools, trace, and cut with an exact knife. The foam is cheap if you count labor time. We do laser cut foam for product packaging, but for one off tool organization it's not worth the effort to draw in CAD.

    Edit-John posted while I was (slowly) typing, but it sounds like we're on the same page.

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    John and Lott have nailed the best uses, in my opinion, with one additional example from my experiences. That one being in the case of wanting to make sure a tool is not left somewhere not desired, for example aircraft maintenance. There are a couple different schools of thought on that, and differences of opinion will come out. But I am a believer that the 'shadowing' of the tool box in those cases is a very good practice. Having a forgotten tool end up causing problems by getting tangled up with moving parts is not desired - especially when you can't just pull over on the shoulder of 'the road' at 10K feet.

    Dale

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaguar36 View Post
    I keep seeing pictures of nice tool boxes all shadowboxed/kaizened out with all the tools in a specific spot and wishing my toolboxes were that well organized. Do folks think this is worthwhile? I'm worried that its a fair bit of effort and then you lose the flexibility when you need to switch out tools.

    Secondly, whats the best way of doing it? I see lots of places that sell the foam that you can cut out, but that seems like a pain and its pretty expensive. Alternatively I could cut it out on the CNC router out of a piece of plywood (with finger holes to grab the tools) or maybe rigid foam? That would also mean I've gotta draw it all up which also sounds like a pain, but at least then it would be easy to make a new one if I want to change the layout.
    At my job there is a place for everything and everything has its place. So i try to keep my garage tool box organized with kizen foam, but generally it is overkill for a DIYer in your garage, because your "item inventory" may grow faster than space to properly store it. For frequently used tools kizen is helpful, because you can find the tool faster, but for most DYIer the space is limited, so doing kizen on everything is not practical.

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    I spent nearly 30 years working in a "tool control" environment around airplanes, using shadowed and foam set tool boxes.

    We had to account for ALL tools, before we went home, every day.

    Am pretty sure Snap-On sells foam kits and software for layout for such. For their tools. I suppose you could scan and import outlines of what you had, but that seems like it would be pretty tedious.

    We used the foam, and simply laid it all out, then outlined the tools in marker, and had at the foam with a small router. Messy as hell. But cheap, and effective. Most of our tool boards had the tools on hooks with red or orange shadows under them to make the missing tools obvious.

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