Introduction: How to Make a Small Parts Cleaner

About: I'm not an expert in anything. I just enjoy making things sometimes for the process sometimes for the end product.

I am making a small batch of handscrew clamps (How to Make Handscrew Clamps) and decided to make all the hardware myself out of brass. There are about 40 barrel nuts that I made, they all had either black marker on them or blue marking fluid on them. I used some Acetone in a small metal cup to clean off the marker and marking fluid which worked but the next day the Acetone was completely evaporated. I knew that I needed to have a dedicated container for cleaning up small hardware but didn't have a good way to fish out the small barrel nuts from the bottom of a jar. So I made a small brass basket that can fit inside and be stored inside a glass jar.


Glass jar

4x4 inch brass plate

1/8 inch brass rod

Marking fluid

Marking Calipers


1/8 inch drill bit

3/16 inch drill bit

Portable band saw table

Belt Sander

Blow Torch


Soldering Flux

Bench Vice


Step 1:

I used some marking fluid to cover the entire brass plate then using my ruler I found the center and used my spring center punch to make a mark. If you don't have a center punch you can use a nail and hammer to make the center mark.

Step 2:

Next I measured the mouth of the jar using some calipers and divided that by half, I switched from fractions to millimeters because the math is a lot easier to do. I set my spring divider to the correct distance and marked a circle on the brass plate. This circle represents the opening of the jar minus a millimeter. This allows for the finished basket to have some room on either side of the mouth of the jar.

Step 3:

Again using my ruler I marked out a grid pattern, in this case the grid is 10mm x 10mm it doesn't have to be perfect you just want something that resembles even spacing.

I also used my drill and a 3/16 inch drill bit to drill the center hole. This hole will be for the handle in a later step.

Step 4:

Next I took the brass plate over to the drill press and using a 1/8 inch drill bit drilled all the drain holes.

Step 5:

The basket was going to need walls to hold the small hardware so again using my spring dividers I drew a larger circumference circle on the brass plate. I made the circle as large as I could given the material I was working with.

I also used my ruler as a straight edge and marked several angled lines coming out from the edge of the smaller circle to the edge of the outside circle. These will be cut lines and will make more sense in a later step.

Step 6:

I took my brass plate over to my portable bandsaw table and removed most of the excess. I got as close to the larger diameter circle cut line as I could then I used my belt sander to sand up to the line of the outer circle.

Step 7:

Then I went back to the portable bandsaw table and cut each of the angle lines up to the line of the smaller circle. I actually made the cuts just to the inside of the smaller diameter circle. Next I bent up all the segments one by one and used the horn of my vice to curve each segment.

When I finished hammering and shaping the basket was too large and wouldn't fit in to the mouth of the jar so I unfolded all the segments.

Step 8:

I took it back to the portable band saw table and removed small pie shaped sections out of all the segments and then folded it back up in to a basket. Again I used my hammer and vice to shape the segmented wall, this time it fit. I also sanded smooth the cut edges on all the segments.

Step 9:

I cut a 3-3/4 inch piece a 3/16 inch brass rod to use as the handle. I hammered one end of the brass rod to expand, sort of like a rivet, it so that when it is inserted in to the basket it will not slide out.

Step 10:

In order to solder the handle I added some flux to the brass rod then I placed the basket upside down on my bench vice with the brass rod handle hanging down. I then heated the parts with my torch and when the flux began to bubble I touched the soldering wire to the brass which melted and joined the two pieces.

I made sure to let it cool before touching it.

Step 11:

I have a small collection of decorative brass odds and ends. I wanted to use a piece as the topper for the handle just to make it a little nicer and easier to grab hold of. So I looked through my pile and found a piece that was just about right it was a little too long so I cut off the lower section. Fortunately the part already had a hole drilled in the bottom so it would be easy to solder on to the 3/16 inch brass rod.

Step 12:

I repeated the soldering process as before I first chucked up the brass topper in my bench vice. Then I added some flux to the brass rod and placed it in to the topper upside down, this way I didn't have to hold it. Then I heated up the pieces and waited for the flux to bubble and then applied the soldering wire. Again I let it cool before handling the piece.

I cleaned up and polished all the residue from the soldering before testing it out.

Step 13:

This was the small metal cup I was using before which worked except for the Acetone evaporating.

I tested out the basket and it works! This will make cleaning up small parts and pieces a whole lot easier. One of the biggest benefits is not having to touch the Acetone now I can just dump out the parts on a napkin and let them air dry. I can also reuse the Acetone for cleaning without it evaporating.

I hope you all find this helpful. Thanks for reading.

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