One day while I was going through my whole parts searching routine for the umpteenth time and lamenting the sad state of my storage situation I had an epiphany of invention. I had lots of the perfect storage containers on hand, they just needed a bit of modification in order for them to work perfectly for storing electronics components. In this article I will show how I did it.
Step 1: The Back Story
First a little about my dilemma so you can see if any of this applies to you or not. Some electronic components I just don't have enough of to dedicate a separate storage container for each value. They still need to be kept in some kind of order in relation to each other though. Like lets say for instance I needed small NPN signal transistors for a project, sure I have a drawer of NPN transistors but they're all just tossed in there in piles basically. So I'd dump them out, sort through them with a pair of tweezers to see what I had, lining the different ones up with each other so I could read them etc. This got to be a real bore and a chore after a few times. This activity seemed to go on every time I wanted a transistor too. Sifting through the lot to pick one.
I don't know maybe I'm nuts but all I know is I like all of my transistors lined up like little soldiers before I feel really comfortable picking one out of a basically mixed group. Call me crazy! It is sort of crazy I know, but it seems like the thing to do whenever I have to choose a transistor. Anyhow that is what this article addresses, making storage containers where I can leave my parts all lined up and organized, so I don't have to line them up and organize them whenever I want to pick one to use. Because doing that over and over really is crazy!
Step 2: Materials
What is needed for this project.
- A CD Jewel Case
- Foam Case Liner (see text)
- Hot Glue Gun
- A Way to cut case liner material (see text)
- Measuring instrument (see text)
- Saw to cut jewel case insert plastic with
- A bunch of junk to store
The first batch of these I used air conditioner filter foam and I feel it is the ideal material to use for this project. For this write up I made another but couldn't find my foam so I tried some drawer liner foam. I don't think it is quite as good but it works.
To cut my liner material I used a utility knife and a steel square. I'm sure scissors or something else can be made to work though.
Initially I grabbed a ruler to measure with but the inside dimensions of the CD jewel case didn't come up to anything evenly so I used digital calipers as just calipers. Again use what you have and are comfortable with.
For a saw I used my radial arm saw, it was fast and accurate. I've used like an X-Acto saw for doing this in the past or maybe it was a hacksaw I can't remember now. The plastic is pretty cheesy I'm sure you can find something to cut it with.
Step 3: Remove Jewel Case Insert
These just pop right out in case you didn't know.
Step 4: Cut Down Insert
We won't be needing the part of the insert that holds discs anymore so we're going to remove it. Cut the insert away where it was under the plastic cover. All we want left is the part that is flush level with the top of the closed case. Well, save the edge that drops to the bottom of the jewel case too. Study the picture to see what I mean. The cross section of your remaining piece should be a bit L shaped.
Step 5: Multitask
Plug in your hot glue gun now. By the time it is heated up you will use it to glue in your remaining insert edge.
While your glue gun is heating up you may work on the optional spine label if you wish. Just cut a strip of paper that will fit on the spine edge of the jewel case and with your optional pen write whatever you're planning on storing in your case.
I've labeled what I am calling the case spine in this page's image to clarify what I mean saying that. In the second image I labeled where I use a piece of tape to hold the spine label in.
Step 6: Glue Insert Back
With most of the plastic insert cut away it will no longer hold into the jeweled case. We're going to have to glue it back in. Put a spot of hot glue on the underside of the left edge of the insert piece (see image note) and quickly before the hot glue hardens place the piece where it belongs then close the jeweled case to make sure it is in the exact right place. Don't ask me why I'm telling you to do it this way. OK if you have to know I got mine a little wrong and ended up cracking it taking it out to reposition it. Whoops!
If you do it the way I just said to do it it should just work out for you. Once your glue tack is setup open the jeweled case back up and add some more hot glue to hold the insert piece in securely. You don't have to go nuts just a spot will do the trick. The hot glue I'm using really holds to the jewel case plastic let me tell you!
Step 7: Measure and Cut Liner Material
I took a picture of how I measured my liner material in order to cut it. I'm sure you've your own favored methods for the task. I should say again that air conditioner filter foam is the ideal material I just didn't happen to have any on hand when I did this demonstration to post. This foam works so so.
Once you've your liner foam all sized up install it into the jeweled case.
Step 8: Load Your Storage Case
I like my parts lined up just so. Oh yeah, that does it for me!
In the first comment smessud brought up the issue of static and my containers, rightfully so I may add. I do not think any of the foam I am using is anti static. If the devices you need to store are static sensitive then you are just going to have to take extra precautions in order to protect them. But you should have been doing that already.