Parts/Tooling Organization or How I Made Sortly Work for Me
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  1. #1
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    Default Parts/Tooling Organization or How I Made Sortly Work for Me

    First of all, I’m a home shop guy, not a professional. I buy lots of small parts for various projects and end up with them in whatever drawer is convenient at the time. If I had cabinets with drawers dedicated to taps, drill bits, end mills, etc. I’d be wasting a lot of space.

    Here’s an example drawer...



    I’ve been looking for a way to figure out where to put stuff, what I have on hand, and where it is. I saw an interesting article about using QR codes to pull up manuals. This got me wondering if there was some way to use these codes to identify and track my parts. Currently when I get something like a box of screws I pull the identifying part of the box off and put it in with the screws in the bin.

    I came across an app called Sortly. It’s really designed for home storage. The ideal scenario for it is labeling boxes when moving or storing boxes in an attic or basement. After looking at it I found it had some shortcomings for what I wanted to use it for. With a little digging into how it worked I was able to bend it for my needs.

    Granted, this takes some time to set up and time to add items to my collection as I buy things. I’ve gotten it proved out however and it seems to work.

    I bought the map cabinet below off of Facebook Marketplace. 30 drawers capable of storing items up to 1” tall. Very shallow but very efficient use of space for items less that 1”.



    The way it works is that the cabinet itself has a label with a code, each drawer has a label with a code, and each bin in the drawer has a label with a code. I can scan the cabinet code and see a list of everything in the cabinet, scan the drawer code and see a list of everything in the drawer, or scan a bin and see what that item is.





    If I scan an item I get...



    You’ll notice that on the item scan page it also has a link to click that will take me to the item page from the supplier for that particular item.

    I have no association with Sortly and it has some shortcomings for sure. The biggest issue was how to get around being forced to use the labels they want you to use. The labels I’m using are from a label printer and are laminated to protect them.

    I can also search for an item or browse items in the app and it will tell me what cabinet and drawer that item is in.





    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Interesting. What label printer do you use? Are those Schaller boxes? Thanks.

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    As an unreformed hoarder I am trying to learn to sort things in to different bags or buckets whichever is easiest. Then I use the tractor cart to take it all to the refuse bin and throw everything.

    It's worse than trying to loose weight.

    But I think I am doing better.

  4. Likes wheelieking71, Aejgx6 liked this post
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    Quote Originally Posted by vahpr View Post
    Interesting. What label printer do you use? Are those Schaller boxes? Thanks.
    A Brother PT-P750W. But pretty much any labeler that will take 3/4” tape would work. Brother is nice because of the editor software that will let you merge a database/spreadsheet as well as generate the QR codes.

    Using Sortly isn’t necessary if you just want to use the QR code to link to the manufacturers product page.


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    Quote Originally Posted by vahpr View Post
    Interesting. What label printer do you use? Are those Schaller boxes? Thanks.
    Yes, Schaller boxes. They were the only ones I could find in 1” height to fit the map cabinet drawers.

    Map cabinet was a rare find. Listed as “free, must pick up.”


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    Nice find! I need to find a rolling drawer unit for my machining tooling. That Brother label printer looks good, thanks for the tip.


    Quote Originally Posted by TravisR100 View Post
    Yes, Schaller boxes. They were the only ones I could find in 1” height to fit the map cabinet drawers.

    Map cabinet was a rare find. Listed as “free, must pick up.”


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Those carbide endmills nested together isn't my cup O' tea. With how brittle the material is, even moderate contact of edge on edge can start microfractures, degrading the tool and cutting life. If you need to conserve space that much at least use some paper or cardboard between the tools to keep them from contacting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    Those carbide endmills nested together isn't my cup O' tea. With how brittle the material is, even moderate contact of edge on edge can start microfractures, degrading the tool and cutting life. If you need to conserve space that much at least use some paper or cardboard between the tools to keep them from contacting.
    Thanks, I will. Just getting started categorizing them.


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    I find map cabinets are too flimsy to utilize much of the space inside. If you fill them with shop stuff and pull the drawer out full extension they can't support themselves.

    Vidmars are worth the money IME.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    I find map cabinets are too flimsy to utilize much of the space inside. If you fill them with shop stuff and pull the drawer out full extension they can't support themselves.

    Vidmars are worth the money IME.
    Considering it was free, I think it was worth the money.


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    I buy tackle boxes from WalMart. 3 boxes with the hinges bandsawed off will fit in a kennedy rollaway drawer. That's maybe $10 in tackle boxes per drawer. The advantage being you can adjust the dividers to make differnt length compartements. The 3-4' at the back of the drawer not occupied by the tackle boxes will take larger items like tap handles etc etc.

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    For end mills/reamers etc I use a crock pot from Big Lots and this stuff from McMaster

    McMaster-Carr (Reusable Peel-Away Coating for Metal) That will keep your endmills from rubbing the flutes against each other

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    Those carbide endmills nested together isn't my cup O' tea. With how brittle the material is, even moderate contact of edge on edge can start microfractures, degrading the tool and cutting life. If you need to conserve space that much at least use some paper or cardboard between the tools to keep them from contacting.
    I 3d printed end mill holders, collet holders, Bilz tap holders, ect.

    holder.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by converterking View Post
    I 3d printed end mill holders, collet holders, Bilz tap holders, ect.

    holder.jpg
    I've done something similar, but went vertical with 1/2" to 3/4" acrylic plates drilled with slightly oversize holes to take the shanks. I can get good storage density with enough space between cutters so with decent care I can avoid contact when removing or returning them.

    If I have a bunch of different series I'll leave the outer plastic shipping sleeve on them to give additional protection as well as identification.

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    Quote Originally Posted by converterking View Post
    I 3d printed end mill holders, collet holders, Bilz tap holders, ect.

    holder.jpg
    How long did that print take?


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    Quote Originally Posted by TravisR100 View Post
    How long did that print take?


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    I printed pretty heavy so it it was about 12 hours. I have 2 printers that can run 24/7 unattended so the time doesn't matter to me.

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    Didn't the end mills come in tubes? Just toss those in the drawer bin.
    Seal peal is nice but added steps and time and who wants to warm the crock pot for 5 new cutters.
    I keep separate bins for used and new end mills but put them back in the tubes.
    I also color code them with a marker, blue for light used and red for beat up but still usable for roughers.

    That is a very nice setup.
    Many "pro" shops don't touch this level of organizing cutting tools for quick access even though you would think quick and fast would count.
    Can you ask the app for 1/4 ballnose endmill and it tells you the correct drawer and position? Maybe two places, one for carbide and one for HSS?
    Maybe four places of new and used, is it smart on that side?
    Bob

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    You might follow McMaster Carr's lead. They don't organize by item or type. They organize by space required and let the computer keep track of where it is. They also purposely don't put things in order by size. You reach into a bin for a 1-1/4" bolt and grab a 1-1/2" by accident and they are close enough for you to possibly not recognize your mistake. But if the next bin was a 3" bolt you'd realize your mistake. I saw something like this at the FIRST robotics competition. One team didn't have enough bins for the assortment of fasteners, so they doubled up. A bin had a label with two sizes very different, 1/4" long with 1" long, easy to tell apart.

    A greenhouse customer would get labels in every year and try to organize alphabetically and leave room for 2 boxes of this variety and 10 boxes of that one. I suggested just labeling every bin and put them in where they fit even if they are different varieties. Add the locations to a sorted list of all varieties. The purple pansies are in bin A7,and G4. First load went in A7, when more came in they went in G4. Result, stored everything in half the space and never had a problem finding everything.

    You make a list of all your tooling as you put it away, along with the location. Print the list and post so you can look quick and get the location, even if there is more than one location. More come in and don't fit. put them someplace else and note the location on hte list. Too many hand written updates, add them to the master list and print it again. You could get fancy and have a computer in the shop for this, but that isn't really necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    Didn't the end mills come in tubes? Just toss those in the drawer bin.
    Seal peal is nice but added steps and time and who wants to warm the crock pot for 5 new cutters.
    I keep separate bins for used and new end mills but put them back in the tubes.
    I also color code them with a marker, blue for light used and red for beat up but still usable for roughers.

    That is a very nice setup.
    Many "pro" shops don't touch this level of organizing cutting tools for quick access even though you would think quick and fast would count.
    Can you ask the app for 1/4 ballnose endmill and it tells you the correct drawer and position? Maybe two places, one for carbide and one for HSS?
    Maybe four places of new and used, is it smart on that side?
    Bob
    You can indeed search for a 1/4 ball nose and it will show you a list of them. Pick one and it will tell you where it is.

    You could add tags for new/used, material, etc.


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    Quote Originally Posted by garyhlucas View Post
    You might follow McMaster Carr's lead. They don't organize by item or type. They organize by space required and let the computer keep track of where it is. They also purposely don't put things in order by size. You reach into a bin for a 1-1/4" bolt and grab a 1-1/2" by accident and they are close enough for you to possibly not recognize your mistake. But if the next bin was a 3" bolt you'd realize your mistake. I saw something like this at the FIRST robotics competition. One team didn't have enough bins for the assortment of fasteners, so they doubled up. A bin had a label with two sizes very different, 1/4" long with 1" long, easy to tell apart.

    A greenhouse customer would get labels in every year and try to organize alphabetically and leave room for 2 boxes of this variety and 10 boxes of that one. I suggested just labeling every bin and put them in where they fit even if they are different varieties. Add the locations to a sorted list of all varieties. The purple pansies are in bin A7,and G4. First load went in A7, when more came in they went in G4. Result, stored everything in half the space and never had a problem finding everything.

    You make a list of all your tooling as you put it away, along with the location. Print the list and post so you can look quick and get the location, even if there is more than one location. More come in and don't fit. put them someplace else and note the location on hte list. Too many hand written updates, add them to the master list and print it again. You could get fancy and have a computer in the shop for this, but that isn't really necessary.
    I think what I set up is exactly how you describe. Doesn’t matter where you put something. That was the whole idea.


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