Parts Storage – Small Parts

One of the first things I learned when I started building stuff in my garage, is that I really hate having to stop what I am doing and run to the store for a fastener.  In addition, many of the fasteners sold by chain stores are low grade steel, and are often expensive.  I have found that the best way to buy fasteners is in bulk from an industrial supplier.  You can often get a box of 100 grade 5 bolts for what you’d pay for 20-30 grade 3 from a hardware store.  The problem is, keeping them organized so you can find them when you need them.  If you can’t find something, it is the same as not having it.

Over the years, I have tried many storage solutions, and while there were several that worked great for larger sized fasteners, I really didn’t have a good option for storing the smaller ones.  I wanted something that was modular, portable, and reconfigurable.  The best I had seen was Adam Savages’s (from Myth Busters) Sortimo stack.  They were really nice, but at over $80 each, it was more than I could reasonable justify.

I heard about another German company Allit AG, that sold a similar storage system.  The EuroPlus Flex 37 is available here in the US and Canada from one of my favorite suppliers – Lee Valley Tools as the Allit Economy storage box and is only about $21 each.  There are four different sizes of bins available, 2″x2″, 2″x4″, 4″x4″ and 4″x6″.

I purchased a few of these, and really liked the various bin sizes and the ability to buy any of the bins separately.  I was able to organize and label my fasteners so I could not only find what I need, but know what was missing.  Here are some stainless steel blind (pop) rivets.

I ended up with several of these, and it always seemed that the one I needed was at the bottom of the stack.  I built these three racks, each holding seven of the boxes.  It is a pretty basic, built from 1/2″ and 1/4″ baltic birch plywood.  Each shelf is dado’ed into the side and the racks are all painted with the same dark machine grey paint I have been using on my other cabinets and fixtures.

Like most of the cabinets in my shop, these were built sized to fit into a specific place with as few wasted cubic inches as possible.  There is  2 1/4″ between each 14 3/4″ wide shelf.  Each shelf is 11 1/4″ deep and the boxes all fit in nicely.


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