Introduction: Ramen FIFO Organizer / Dispenser

Hello. In this instructable. I will demonstrate how to make an organizing dispenser for ramen noodles. This project can help save space and makes the FIFO system easy to follow. FIFO, or First In, First Out is important in many disciplines, include manufacturing, medical, college living, disaster preparedness, and more, to ensure that a product is used before it expires.

This project can help prepare you for disasters, college living, or help clean out and organize your cabinets.

I made this out of cardboard. If you make one from wood or 3D print, or make any improvements, please post a photo in comments, I would love to see other's renditions!

The basic idea is that the dispenser is loaded from the top with newly bought noodles and dispenses the noodles expiring the soonest from the bottom.

If after reading, you feel it is worthy, please vote for it in the contest.

Step 1: The Problem

An often prompt for an instructable is a problem. This post follows that pattern.

Ultimately, the causation for this instructable stems from disorder. I was tired of fishing in my cabinets for ramen noodles. So I put them in a bag to keep them together, but (not that I was too concerned given the rate that I eat ramen noodles, but nonetheless) I didn't know which noodles I needed to eat before they expired.

The Solution:

Inspired by can FIFO systems (despite the myriad of excellent expamples, I can't find the instructable that inspired this idea), I figured a simple system could be put in place to ensure similar ramen dietary efficiency.

Step 2: Measurments and Tools

First, I needed to know the maximum height of my storage area. About 12", or 30cm, gave room for my container, but a tight squeeze to replenish the stock. Staying flexible, I aimed for less than 12".

Next, I measured a package of noodles. I came up with 5"/13cm width and 4.5"/12cm depth. Accordingly, an opening with a height of 1.125"/3cm was needed to pull out the bottom pack of noodles. Luckily, I found a box that was close to the dimensions I needed.

I would estimate an hour to design and make your first box. The second box I made, with a few alterations to the original design and stopping to take pictures, took less than 20 minutes.

The tools/materials I used were:

- a ruler

- scissors and/or an X-acto knife

- pencil

- tape (packing)

- glue

- Cardboard

Step 3: Design (Warning, Math May Be Required in This Step)

Knowing my clearances and the size of my material, I drafted a plan for a box that could be easily constructed. (Some dimensions in these photos were changed on the final design)

Some previous failures made me aware of some finer details of this project. So, without further ado, let's briefly discuss the math of this project.

Anytime you bend a material, to achieve your planned dimensions (whether interior or exterior) you will have to factor in the stressors of bending on the material. The most basic terminology includes Neutral axis - where the material goes through no physical change. The complementorary angle is outside the neutral axis and material here is expanded. The included angle is inside neutral axis - material on this side is compressed. I think "bend allowance" is the proper term. However, google searching "angle allowance" led me to the fabricator, which is one of many good sources of information.

In this project, however, I opted for a shortcut. The big box company that built the box I used for my project had already figured out the bend allowance for this material - so I followed their lead. In this case, it was a conservative 5/16" or 1cm.

I drafted a small model to scale and put it together to test my box planning/making skills.

Step 4: Cutting

Following my model, I started from the right side and measured my sides. In between, I added the 5/16" or 1cm for bend allowance. At the end I added 1.5" to glue to the conjoining side.

Ignore the preemptive cuts for the bend allowance in the photos. Next move is to measure and mark what is to be removed, then clear the bend allowance. Either way you end up with what will make your finished product.

Hopefully, the final dimensions are legible in the photo, but feel free to comment if you need clarification.

Step 5: Bending and Gluing

Once cut, I placed a ruler in the middle of the bend allowance, pressed on it firmly, and lifted on the free side of the cardboard. I did this on every bend point. The bend points perpendicular to the bends I made were made by the box manufacturer.

I held it together to see how well it looked. I was happy. Before gluing, I prepared some pieces of packing tape to secure the box.

I put glue on the bottom panel and folded the sides in to be affixed on top of the bottom panel. I placed the tape and held pressure on the panels for 60 seconds before releasing. I did the same to the side to seal the box. After 30 minutes to1 hour of curing, I removed the tape.

Step 6: Stock, Install, Decorate

The height of my boxes ended up being around 9" which allows me to stock the box without pulling it out of the cabinet. The packages kind of flip as you fill from empty, but remain properly oriented if stocked regularly.

You can use one to keep FIFO order of your stock or use multiple boxes to FIFO different flavors.

You could print a label for each flavor, a his/her label, or affix a faux label (maybe to the back and rotating the box so the false label is visible) to the box to deter potential looters.

Thanks for viewing and happy building! Feel free to leave comments or questions. If you think it is worthy, please vote for it in the contest.

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