Introduction: Storage Idea: a System of Buckets -or- How to Retrievably Pack More Stuff in a Semi-trailer Etc.
I'm always on the lookout for better ways to organize my stuff.
If you are like me, my apologies, as I tend to live in "systems of piles".
So many ideas and projects and with a serious day job in the way, I have to time-slice and store the current state of the project I'm working on.
This instructable covers an idea for a "System of Cans" to be stored in a "System of Buckets". Later I hope to do another instructable on a "System of Trays" I have used for the past few years
Ok, first concept: Hexagon's are cool.
As one the simplest organization schemes in nature, they pop up everywhere. Anytime a circular, or spherical, item is stacked and compressed into an area or volume, they will tend to form simple patterns of arrangements. First triangular shapes appear, then hexagons.
Bees make stacks of tubes for their pupae to nurture. This forms the resultant hexagonal honey comb. Likewise, bubbles will form these configurations if compressed together. The type of hexagon arrangement we are interested in is formed by tessellations of circles. This type of construct has 7 chambered areas.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeycomb (see 2nd section Honeycomb Geometry) note: honeycomb pic above is CC BY-SA 3.0
Ok back on target.
The 2nd concept: Plastic bins don't last well. The ones that do are expensive.
While wandering in my nearby HomeDepot, or most DIY Home Stores, I found nice 5 gallon buckets for about $2.50. If you bargain at the pro desk, or buy online in bulk, you can get the price down even lower.
These buckets are made of a better grade of plastic that lasts a long time. They don't seem to get brittle and crack like the clear plastic bins you get at stores like Target or Walmart.
The 3rd concept: I have cats. Lots of cats.
I treat them with tuna by divvying up a can between them with their other food. So I also have lots of tuna cans which are made of nice metal and the hoarder in me is always thinking of uses for them.
So adding the 3 concepts together gives you raw materials for an interesting storage notion.
By connecting 7 tuna cans into a hexagon (remember one is in the center.)
These grouped cans will fit nicely in a HomeDepot Bucket. If you make more layers of grouped cans, they tend to stack well. Added dowel pins can help keep them in line.
So here's what you will need (please view the full article first to see what options are best for you):
- Some average home store buckets at least one for proof of concept.
(Note: lids are optional if you opt to get 12" wooden squares cut. See below description)
- Lots of Cats... Just kidding, lots of TUNA CANS or similar sized cans. Soup cans work for taller layers
- Dremel, drill, or rotary tool
- A SpotWelder if you are lucky, or can use from a local trade school or community college shop.
Alternately - Heavy-Duty-Eyelet-Grommet-Pliers and Eyelets Similar to mine: Heavy-Duty 3/16" Eyelet Grommet Pliers Set with 400 Eyelets
- A 1:1 printout of the supplied pdf pattern or the dxf version, is helpful for dividing the can's circumference.
- 1/4 Fiber board for 12" squares (or some sheet material thing similar)
- Or- Bucket Lids that fit your buckets.
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Step 1: We Need to Divide the Can’s Circumference by 6
We need to divide the can’s circumference by 6. You can accomplish this easily using the supplied pdf, or dxf printed out.
Note that the center can will need all 6 markings, but the outer ring cans only need 3 adjacent marks. Start off by centering you can on the circular pattern and where marking the 3 (or 6) lines project up the side of the can.
Try to keep things reasonably perpendicular to the work surface.
Use a block of wood, deck of cards or similar item that will
consistently raise the marker to about ½ up the side so you can make cross-marks as shown in the picture.
Step 2: Fastening: Next You Will Either Use a Spot Welder or Eyelet-Grommet-Pliers
If using a spot welder, you will need to use your rotary tool with a small band sanding bit to buff the enamel or paint of a small ¼” sized area on both sides at the center of the cross- marks. This will allow the spot welder current to flow through to successfully weld the contacted points. By practicing joining the cans you will get better at lining things up. The lever action of the spot welder’s tips will help to compress and hold the cans together for welding. Sometimes if the continuity is not there, you can rock the cans back and forth while holding the welders trigger and the friction will short the contact points into conduction. The welder will typically buzz nicely when things are good and the weld will glow a little orange for a second. That’s all you need.
Start from the center 6-marked can and add outer cans in succession until a 7-canned circle group is done.
Step 3: Alternatively Using the Eyelet-Grommet-Pliers and Eyelets
If using the Eyelet-Grommet-Pliers and Eyelets, you will use the hole-punching portion of the pliers (or carefully, a drill at an angle) to make holes at the center of the cross-marks.
Starting with center 6-marked can, use the Pliers and eyelets to connect the cans and add outer cans in succession until a 7-canned circle group is done.
Don’t worry about messing up a few cans. Practice makes perfect. Make as many layers of can groups as you need. You can always make more if you get more cats…
Step 4: Fill Them With Junk and Stack Them in Buckets Then Stack the Buckets
When you are done you can stack the layers of can groups into the buckets. To keep them from rotating, you could use dowels to keep the layers aligned or maybe make add a wooden base with vertical dowels spaced to fit in 2 or 3 of the gaps between cans.
You can use the wooden panel squares to act as tops for the buckets to stack them vertically. I had the home shop rip cut a 4x8 sheet into 32 individual 12inch squares for this purpose.
So now we have a "System of Cans" to be stored in a "System of Buckets".....
To be stored in a "System of Semi-Trailers.........." yes. no. yes.
Then the stacking compulsion just gets worse. The end for now.
Next, I will show the semi-trailer full down a side with bucket madness.
Disclaimer: This instructable involves the use of power hand-tools, electricity, and soldering, etc.
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