If you have too many tools, you will eventually end up with a messy drawer or toolbox. The more tools you buy, the harder it is to find the right one. And if you borrow or lose one, you will hardly notice until you need it.
I started this project because I was in this situation. And because I had just bought a 3D printer and was anxious to design something to print. : D
In the next steps, I'll show you how I designed a modular structure to hold and organize the tools in my office. I hope you enjoy it and can use it as an inspiration for your own projects.
Step 1: The Idea
I have many different tools, purchased separately, and organizing them is quite difficult.
When I started this project, I already had some wood panels attached to the wall, but I didn't want to drill many holes in the wall or in the panels.
So I had the idea of creating custom rectangular shaped support modules. Each would be inserted in this gap between the panels, without screws or fasteners (later I decided to add some holes, just in case).
I've added a custom icon in front of each piece, so I can know which tool goes where (and also find which tool is missing).
Step 2: Tools and Materials
For this project I used the following tools and materials:
- 3D printer. I used a Voolt3D 3D printer, which is derived from Graber i3 project. It uses a 1.75mm filament and can print 0.2mm height layers.
- 1.75mm orange PLA. Other colors, materials or sizes might also be used.
- Caliper. I used ordinary analog calipers for measuring the sizes for each part. You may also use a digital caliper.
- Other tools: the ones I wanted to organize. :D
Step 3: Designing With Fusion 360
Each module was designed using Fusion 360 CAD software, according to the following steps:
1. Draw a 2D profile sketch of the part with the appropriate dimensions. In my case, I wanted to install the holders on a 25mm tall and 26mm deep gap between two wood panels. The profile has a center hole (to reduce material consumption) with 2mm walls (which were strong enough to support my tools).
2. Extrude the profile sketch (the distance will depend on the size of the tool).
3. Design a top view 2D sketch with holes for the tools. The size and shape of the holes will depend on the size of the tool.
4. Extrude the tool holes.
5. Draw a front view sketch with tool icon. It will be useful to identify which tool should be stored in a given tool support module.
6. Extrude the icon profile.
7. Chanfers the back side of the module. It would later help to insert each part into the gap.
8. Create a back side 2D sketch for screws (optional). It might be used if you want to install the modules to the wall using fasteners. Actually I didn't try it...
9. Extrude the screw hole.
After that, make a stl file of the part for slicing and printing the part.
Step 4: STL Files
Several support modules were designed for my tools (screwdriver, hex screwdriver, phillips screwdriver, calipers, wrench, hacksaw, hammer, pliers, razor blade, etc.).
You might download the parts from one of the following links:
Step 5: Slicing With Slic3r
I used Slic3r for slicing the STL files.
Add the part to the platter, rotate it 90 degrees around y-axis and it will be ready to slice.
In my case, I used a 0.2 mm layer height, and set the infill density to 2%. It resulted in modules hard enough to hold my tools.
Step 6: 3D Printing
The printing of each part toke around 1 hour with my printer. It will depend on your the speed of your printer, infill density and layer height selected during the slicing.
On average, each part consumes around 10 g of PLA, so an 1 kg PLA filament spool will suffice for several supports.
Step 7: Installation
Once each module was printed, it was ready to be installed on the wall, just by pressing it into the gap between the wood pannels.
Each support can be later removed and rearranged. You might also expand it if you buy additional tools.