Parts Boxes

Keep hacking. Organized.

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It doesn't take long before the plethora of electronics and mechanical parts start overflowing the "random" drawer: Little zip bags. Anti-static pouches. IC sleeves. Resistors in paper chains.

After researching many different storage options, I settled on the Raaco HandyBox for my organization needs about 5 years ago. So some of the project logs are ex post facto as a retrospective on the various options I've come across. Others are my ongoing usage of the boxes.

  • ICs

    PyDrew11/30/2020 at 01:35 1 comment

    Finding ways of storing integrated circuits with either the Dual Inline Package (DIP) or the TO-220 style has been a challenge. If placed in an insert, DIPs often have their pins bent or some how tangle themselves together. These are derivatives based on the packaging that ICs often come in and sized to fit neatly into a Raaco tray.

    The DIP sleeve fits ten 8-pin or five 16-pin chips.

    Or the TO-220 sleeve fits ten.

    Mix-and-match of inserts along with IC sleeves. The DIP sleeves stack three deep.

    Like to 3D print? Checkout Thingiverse.

  • 1/8xA7-2x2

    PyDrew11/29/2020 at 21:51 0 comments

    The key, I've found, to being organized is standard sized containers. Whether that be for shoes, arts & crafts supplies or kitchen cabinets. For example, most of us, at one point or another, started with the typical spice cabinet: round jars, square metal containers and various bags. To organize, either one needs to buy all spices from the same manufacture or transfer the contents from its original packaging to other containers.

    Here's another example: stacked trays for transistors. 

    Cross-section of the two trays

    Like to 3D print? Check out Thingiverse or Fusion 360.

  • Raaco Product Names

    PyDrew11/29/2020 at 21:23 0 comments

    A small correction...

    The individual "trays" or boxes is part of their Assorter series. They are made with either fixed compartments or the 55 model which allows for the interchangeable inserts.

    The HandyBox is the name just for the rack that fits 4 Assorter 55s.

    It also looks like they've changed the naming of some of their inserts for the Assorter 55 and inserts are now available with trays that group them together.

    Raaco also makes interchangeable inserts for the Assorter 27 which is shallower or the Assorter 80 model which is deeper but are not compatible with the HandyBox carrier.

  • 1/2xA8-1x2

    PyDrew11/23/2020 at 20:40 0 comments

    Not everything needs a full height box; stacking is a great way to increase the part density in a Raaco HandyBox.

    Like to 3D print? Check out Thingiverse or Fusion 360.

  • Then there were nine

    PyDrew11/16/2020 at 04:36 0 comments

    When three Raaco Handyboxes weren't enough, I bought two more. And then another two. And then another two.

    Even nine doesn't hold everything. But that's about all the space in my closet I can dedicate to DIY parts.

  • #00 Coin Envelopes

    PyDrew11/07/2020 at 17:48 0 comments

    Some times organization doesn't need to be fancy 3D printing. It turns out that the #00 Coin Envelope ( approximately 1 11/16" x 2 3/4" or 42mm x 70mm) is the perfect size to fit inside the Raaco Handybox inserts. Perfect for parts with lots of different values (ie resistors and capacitors) that, if kept in separate inserts, could take up whole trays themselves. 

    Not everyone carries these small sized envelopes but a quick search of "#00" coin envelopes does yield a few places: staples, envelopesuperstore and suppliesshopes. Expect to pay $12 for 50. Or $22 for 250. I've only found them in white and brown but other colors could certainly contribute to additional help in organization. I did found one place selling 1 3/4" x 2 3/4" envelopes

    And you can certainly mix and match with other inserts.

  • Raaco Insert 1/2xA9-1 with label

    PyDrew11/07/2020 at 17:20 0 comments

    I stumbled across Alexandre Chappel's youtube video a few months ago; impressive construction! But NYC apartment DIY'ing doesn't include track or table saws, or a space for a cabinet of that size. But I did notice a great idea for including a place for a label. Definitely a why-didn't-think-of-that moment.

    Additionally, the ledge for the label makes for a nice handle so that the box can be easily removed from the case.

    Like to 3D print? Check out Thingiverse or OnShape.

  • Raaco HandyBox Insert 1/2xA9-1 (Custom)

    PyDrew11/01/2020 at 19:53 1 comment

    The compartment that I found myself printing the most often was a variation that Raaco does not offer. For small components -- like 3MM hardware or individual transistors -- even a quantity of 50 didn't fill up the smallest of inserts, the A9-1.

    The 1/2xA9-1 was an attempt to follow Raaco's semi-weird naming convention and subdivided the smallest insert.

    As my confidence in 3D printing improved, the insert walls went from 3mm walls to 1.6mm to the final 0.8mm.

    Like to 3D print? Check out Thingiverse or OnShape.

  • 3D Print Raaco Handybox Inserts (A9-1)

    PyDrew11/01/2020 at 19:17 0 comments

    At first, I bough extra compartment inserts. But realized shortly after getting my first 3D printer, that designing and printing my own was going to be cheaper and quicker. 

    The dimensions of the smallest box are specified as 39mm wide x 55mm deep x 47mm height; for 3D printing, the better dimensions seemed to be 38mm x 53mm x 46mm. The feet were inset from the outer edge so that they nestled inside the raised notches on the bottom of the box. First design was to avoid printing the overhang with support so the box and foot were separate (far-left and second from left) and use CA glue to bond them together (middle). 

    This worked out but ended up being inaccurate and a bit missy so the subsequent designs were one piece. Solid bottom ended up being equally as good as printing just the four feet as the print required support material underneath anyways.

    Like to 3D print? Check out Thingiverse or OnShape.

    Reference: Raaco's A9-1 which you can buy from element14 and others.

  • HandyBox Compartments

    PyDrew11/01/2020 at 18:57 0 comments

    Each Raaco box comes with a full complement of inserts. And offer a variety of other sizes as well.

    The HandyBox uses a set of raised notches to keep the compartments from sliding around.

    And each compartment insert has feet at each corner.

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Paul McClay wrote 11/30/2020 at 07:26 point

Most plausible approach to partitioning rigid small part containers I've seen. Bravo.

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David gimino wrote 10/31/2020 at 23:42 point

This looks like a small bit of my old shop in Chicago yrs ago.

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