Introduction: $1.00 TOOL BOX

Picture of $1.00 TOOL BOX

These plastic cases are readily available at garage sales and swap meets. This one contained a cordless drill kit when new. They usually sell for about $1 or $2 each. I have about 10 of them. I keep different tools and supplies in each. That way, when I need to add freon to my car's A/C, I just grab the one labeled "CAR A/C, and it has everything inside it that I need. Another has air staplers and staples, and so forth.

The only problem is that they usually have an inter liner molded to fit a specific tool. This must be cut out & discarded to meet your needs.



You will need something to cut out the plastic inner liner.

I use an air saw and a "Oscillating Multi-Tool" from Harbor Freight. It's an excellent tool & is the one I use.

It can be found here:

They also have in in the electric powered model here:

The air or the electric do the same jobs. They oscillate side to side, cutting, sanding, or scraping with different blades to cut light weight steel, wood, plastic. With a different attached blade, they can sand or scrape up something like like floor tile. HF's air model sell for about $17.00 . It's one of the best tools appearing in recent years.

HF's air saw # P-36843 is made in Taiwan & is an excellent saw. The # 91753 is made in China & is not good.

The last photo is another brand showing some of the different blades available.



The outside of the case and the inner liner are molded as one piece with a hollow area between them. By using an air saw or electric saw, it only takes about 15 minutes to carve out the inner liner and remove it.

On most of it, you can just cut straight down where the outer case meets the inner liner.with the cutting tool You could use a high speed cut off tool or even a Dremel tool & disc.There are usually spots in the bottom of the case where the outer & inner parts are heat welded together. By cutting the inner liner into small pieces, you can get your tool down to cut this part out without damaging the outer case.



This case is 8.5" deep x 16" x 20". According to my calculator, that's 2720 square inches inside of it. A comparable new case would cost about $30.00. I finished this one to store a variety of tools in my grandson's car trunk.. Portable tool boxes made of steel are obsolete and expensive.


FrankC34 (author)2015-10-12

Excellent idea - but how did you make your inserts to actually hold the tools ? What materials did you use ? Thanks in advance !

graydog111 (author)FrankC342015-10-12

Thanks FrankC34

For now, this is just a big empty box & is not set up to hold any specific tools. I only placed the wrenches inside to show the size of the case. Maybe after grandson uses it for a while, he will want to add some foam cut to fit the tools.

Excitebike (author)graydog1112016-03-10

Most wrench sets come in a plastic holder... glue/screw or whatever the holder inside the box. done. Won't work for all tools, but a good way to reuse the packaging if you are making a dedicated box. Bonus! less trash in your rubbish bin.

FrankC34 (author)graydog1112015-10-12

Sounds like an idea for another Instructable ! Any takers ???

graydog111 made it! (author)FrankC342015-10-17

Hi FrankC34. I may have misunderstood your question: "how did you make your inserts to actually hold the tools?" The 3 sets of combination wrenches in the lead photo are each in a rack that I made from 2 different materials. The one on the left was made from a sheet of aluminum and the 2 on the right were made from pieces of 1/8" plastic. I cut slots for the wrenches with a disc grinder. All 3 sets stay in a big roll around cabinet I re-puropsed from an old military map drawer cabinet that has 6 shallow drawers.

FrankC34 (author)graydog1112015-10-17

Ahhh...that makes sense - how did you attach the tool holders you made to the case ? Glue ?

graydog111 made it! (author)FrankC342015-10-18

It's not necessary for my re-purposed boxes. The contents change over time and making special places would not be best. I have 12 boxes similar to this one this one, one for electrical connections, one for small rolls of wire, 3 for air staplers and staples, one for high speed air grinder & grinding discs, one for soldering gun & solder etc.

If I didn't have so much in each box, I would lay a piece of foam in the top and another in the bottom and cut out pockets for each tool. The box in this instructable is so deep that I would lose a lot of capacity by doing that.

The 2 photos attached to this comment show 3 staplers in 3 different boxes. There is so much in each one that the contents are not going anywhere. They may not be pretty, but they are very handy.

FrankC34 (author)graydog1112015-10-18

I see - So to fully utilize the space you don't permanently attach anything - I guess you could go either way according to your needs . I like the idea of having many "ready-to-go" kits - something I'll have to work on - nice to be able to grab a kit and go to work without scrambling through several toolboxes for what you need - Thanks for the inspiration , graydog !

graydog111 (author)FrankC342015-10-12

It depends on how secure you want the contents (tools) to be This could have foam rubber cut for top and bottom, then cut out places to put each tool in the top and the bottom foam pieces. When lid is closed, everything would be secure. Look at this 'ible I published last year:.......

The Macbook is held inside in all directions by 1 inch foam rubber padding. I made it knowing it would eventually fall out of my truck to the concrete, but so far it has not.

FrankC34 (author)graydog1112015-10-13

Great idea , graydog ! Thanks for the link and also thank you for your service as a firefighter all those years - take care !

graydog111 (author)FrankC342015-10-13

Thanks again FrankC34. I'll edit this if we fit the contents to the inside of the case, but G'son is too busy to consider that now. Several months ago, I re-purposed an old small metal case to hold all the manicure tools; such as nail files, nail clippers, etc. and it is great without any inserts to hold them.

kaslo made it! (author)2016-02-22

Fantastic idea it work well for me.

graydog111 (author)kaslo2016-02-24

Nice job kaslo

kaslo (author)2016-02-19

Very good idea. You have motivated me I am working on 3 of these right now. Good thing I saved the old cases.

graydog111 (author)kaslo2016-02-20

Take lots of photos and publish when you finish. You might give me some ideas. Thanks for reply, kaslo

Michelle Irish (author)2015-10-12

I second FrankC34's question - how do you retrofit it?

audihenry (author)2015-10-11

cubic inches, not square inches

graydog111 (author)audihenry2015-10-12

You're right audihenry. Thanks

About This Instructable




Bio: Retired Firefighter 1966 to 1986; Retired Wheat Farmer 1987 to 2003. Drapery Sales 1969 to 1987. 17 year Quintuple Heart Bypass Surgery Survivor; 14 year ... More »
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