Parts Rainbow: the Ultimate Harbor Freight Organizer

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Introduction: Parts Rainbow: the Ultimate Harbor Freight Organizer

About: I'm a prototype developer, and I make VERY SERIOUS videos about making stuff! Every Monday, I show you a new project, teach you some fun facts, or pull back the curtain of product development.

Reorganize your trash-tier Harbor Freight parts organizers into glorious 3D-printed, laser-cut pantheons of paraphernalia! All you need is a 3D printer! If you have access to a laser cutter, you can make the premium labels, but if not, a label maker or permanent marker will do the job.

All files are hosted on

Be sure to watch the video to see the project come together. I made and installed three of them, and I made the mistake of recording everything and filling up an entire hard drive. Luckily, you just need a printer and a few megabytes.

This is also a great opportunity to reorganize your stuff. A cleaner workshop means cleaner projects!

Files are attached to the appropriate steps, but you can download everything at the Thingiverse project page.

Supplies

For each organizer, you'll need:

  • Harbor Freight 40-bin organizer
  • 500g of filament, preferably rainbow!
  • 3mm acrylic OR a label maker OR a Sharpie
  • E-6000 or other gap-filling glue
  • Screwdriver or other thin, pokey object

Step 1: Step 1: Start Printin'

The first step is to start printing the facades. You'll need to print at least 40, so get cracking!

If you have access to a laser cutter, print Facade w Label Slot. This model needs support material.

If you plan to use a label maker or label the bins by hand, print Facade w Flat Face. This model doesn't need support material.

Print at whatever layer height and nozzle you'd like. They're not very picky.

How to make it rainbow colored:

You'll need a spool of rainbow filament - silk, regular, and clear all work. You'll also need a lot more time to babysit the printer, because to get rainbows, you'll need to...

Print Sequentially.

By printing the facades one at a time, you'll get maximum rainbows, with maximum-resolution rainbow gradient action.

Your slicer should have a setting to print sequentially instead of all at once. If not, you'll need to print each facade one at a time, which will take a few minutes. When printing sequentially, you'll need to space the faceplate instances as far apart as possible, so the extruder doesn't collide with a finished print while making another.

The model has been specially designed to be printable in sequence on the Prusa i3 series, and similar printers like some Creality and Ender models. I could fit five on the Prusa, but a larger bed - or smaller extruder - could possibly handle more.

For the absolute best rainbow:

Print lots and lots of extra facades. Printing more facades will give you more colors, so you can arrange them into a smoother gradient. I printed about 150 facades to cover 120 bins.

Step 2: Step 2: Get Your Life Together

While your printer is printing, now is an excellent time to clean out and reorganize your parts bins!

Whether you bring balance to your workspace, or remain a festering slob, you should make a list of every label you'll need to create. It'll make the next step easier.

Step 3: Step 3: Make Some Labels

If you have access to a laser cutter, download Label Sample or Label Outline and generate labels for each of your parts. The typeface I used is Evogria, which is available to download free-as-in-lunch from Dafont. Black areas should be engraved and the red line should be cut.

Alternately, you can simply print the labels onto sticker paper and cut them apart by hand. You do you, brah.

Of course, you can use a label maker, or just skip this step entirely and label it by hand.

I suppose you could also just not label the bins at all, if you're a psychopath.

Finally, arrange your labels in the positions you'll install them.

Step 4: Step 4: Double the Rainbows

If you're not making a fancy-pants rainbow organizer, skip this step.

Sort all the facades into one long, continuous rainbow. Then, split that rainbow into two by putting every other facade in a line. Repeat twice, and you'll have eight rainbows.

Swap facades until all eight rows look roughly identical. Remember that only five facades per organizer from each line will make it into the project, so feel free to mess around!

You're now ready to assemble.

Step 5: Step 5: Install the Facades

Working bin by bin, install a label on the appropriate facade, then snap the facade onto the bin.

The laser-cut nameplates should friction-fit into the recess on the facades, but if they're loose, use a little snake of Blue-Tak to help hold it. Don't apply permanent adhesive to the facades, unless you have balls of steel.

If you make a boo-boo, just insert something pokey, like a screwdriver, into a side access hole and poke it out. If you disregarded my advice and glued the label down, sucks to be you, nerd.

Most of the facades should friction-fit strongly onto the bins, but Harbor Freight's quality control is highly suspicious, so you may need a dab of glue to hold the facade. Be sure to press the facade all the way onto the bin - it should perfectly fit the bin's contours.

Step 6: Step 6: Ain't She a Beaut?

Pour yourself an age-appropriate victory beverage and survey your majestic creation. Or, if you're not actually following along, survey my majestic creation.

You've elevated your trash-tier bargain-basement Chinesium parts organizer into a breathtaking masterwork that would make Adam Savage weep. No longer shall you flail about trying to find your part, or awkwardly try to grip those tiny bin handles. Your fit and finish have been optimized, your workbench elevated.

You have transcended the faceless masses who have clear parts organizers. You are now one of the elite, the few and proud. Take a deep breath; even the air tastes different now.

Finally, top your piece de resistance with your favorite Water/Ground-type Pokemon.

If you enjoyed the project, you'll love the video! Check my profile and channel for tons more awesome projects and extremely serious write-ups.

Feel free to hack, modify, and extend this project. I attached the design file. Just remember, it's licensed Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike, so I better not catch you trying to make money, bubs.

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    11 Comments

    1
    GottaLoveProjects
    GottaLoveProjects

    5 months ago

    Big fan of this project and your video's. Comedy is hard on it's own and being able to produce clever geek comedy is a rare gift. Kudos and respect!

    1
    lime3D
    lime3D

    9 months ago on Step 6

    Why do some people try to make things so hard? Just because a mountain is there, doesn't mean you need to climb it.



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    1
    CrazyClever
    CrazyClever

    Reply 9 months ago

    I personally wouldn't want to have to buy that many cans of paint to achieve a color fade....

    0
    lime3D
    lime3D

    Reply 9 months ago

    Only need 6 or 7 cans of paint and about a half hour to paint.

    0
    GottaLoveProjects
    GottaLoveProjects

    Reply 5 months ago

    It's a great option if you already have the paint or will need it in the future, but realize Krylon is $6 a can. $15 per organizer, $42 in paint. A roll of rainbow is $24. Since the whole premise is to 3D print the fronts, adding color using a rainbow filament is clever and cost effective. If I had all the paint I would probably just mask the fronts and skip the faceplate.

    0
    zackfreedman
    zackfreedman

    Reply 8 months ago

    I don't think painting them would be any easier. They'd need priming, I'd need to adjust the design to compensate for the thickness of the spray paint, the paint would be expensive and rainbow filament costs the same as regular, and then I'd be stuck with dozens of paint cans I wouldn't use.

    1
    Entropismo
    Entropismo

    9 months ago

    So smart mod, and awesome instructable. Thanks for sharing!

    0
    Nikita Maree
    Nikita Maree

    9 months ago

    Awesome project. Loved the video.
    Really great idea.

    0
    CrazyClever
    CrazyClever

    9 months ago

    Incredibly impressive and well done. Its pure organizational eye candy!

    I admire how you were able to lay out the prints to give a good color fade throughout using rainbow filament. Very clever planning and it creates such a stunning look. This project of yours definitely took love and dedication!

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    9 months ago

    These came out great and I love how you used the rainbow filament to get this effect with all the drawers :)

    0
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    9 months ago

    Wowwwwww I love it! :D