$4 DIY Electronic Parts Storage




Introduction: $4 DIY Electronic Parts Storage

Having a place for everything is key to a productive workbench.
We want to make stuff, not look for stuff! :-)

While we could make the cabinet out of wood, as long as your the parts are not too heavy, foam core is strong enough, inexpensive, and quicker to make than a wooden cabinet. Plus, no one has ever gotten splinters from foam core! :-)

I was able to make a 30 drawer parts bin for $4 by shopping at my local Dollar store.

Parts List:

Tools List:

  • Box cutter
  • Ruler (metal recommended)
  • Hot glue gun (not pictured)

Step 1: Plan and Cut

I worry that the boxes would easily fall out, so I slanted the shelves slightly (each shelf front is slanted 1cm higher than the back).

I also made the shelves not as deep as the actual container so I could grab the bin either by the sides or by the top and bottom.

Remember to take account the thickness of the shelf when measuring the height between shelves.

I arranged my containers 5 across and 6 high, but of course you can arrange them anyway you wish.

Step 2: Hot Glue

Hot glue dries quickly, so I hot glued one side first, and then hot glued three of the shelves on the other side. The remainder of the shelves ,I hot glued the remaining shelves afterwards and used a screwdriver to cleanup the excess glue.

Step 3: Done!

For the backing, I recycled cardboard packaging. Alternatively, you can use foam core for extra strength.

If you have tips, on how to hot glue a lot of surfaces at once, please leave a comment. That's one part that I'm not pleased with. Keep making!

Thanks to the numerous people who has left helpful suggestions to improve this instructable!
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60 Discussions


8 months ago

this is great, and I am pretty sure I have all of these items already haha! :D

Nice project buddy! the only thing I would suggest is that you go out and get yourself a super cheap woodworking router, then you can cut slots for the shelves to fit in which will make them really strong when you add glue. although i've never used foam board for anything other than insulation type stuff (would it respond well to having a slot cut out about a 1/3 of the depth of the sheet?) I have something similar to what you have, made out of plywood and i have found over the years it actually gets really heavy but I have a lot of nuts, bolts and leftover parts from flat packs that you just can't seem to throw away.

Thanks for the cool idea.

5 replies

An alternative to routing a groove would be to use two layers of foam board, with the inner layer having spacing to create grooves. It's quite a bit more work, and will take more material, but will add strength the way fractal7 is suggesting. See sketch below.


That's an excellent idea!

Woodworking has been on my list for years. However woodworking takes more room than I currently have, so for now I have to live vicariously through others :-)

I love finding new channels to subscribe to. Thanks!

I am in a similar boat but I do have a one car garage. I have been spending this past year building up a little shop with what tools I can afford and need as I get started with small projects.

Sometimes you have to be creative finding a work space. Dedicated workshops are a luxury not everyone has.

I love it when a storage solution comes together like this! Perfect fits are music to my obsessive compulsive ears! Haha! Thanks for sharing!

1 reply

Thanks Christopher! All I need now is more space in my basement to put more shelves. lol

I love how you planned to have the shelves be 1) not as deep as the containers, 2) slanted downward toward the back so that the bins don't fall out accidentally, and 3) reusing materials. What a great idea! Keep it up!

1 reply

Jeanniel1, Thank you for taking the time to leave me encouraging feedback. I really appreciate it.

I'm very impressed with your cost effective alternative to store bought cabinets, but please be cautious about ESD sensitive semiconductors. I recommend you place your ESD sensitive components into conductive bags or insert them into a conductive foam mat (bug rug) prior to placing them into your containers.

2 replies

An excellent point. As an alternative, you can make a plastic bin like the ones above ESD safe (safe enough) by covering the inside with aluminum foil tape (found at hardware stores or online from companies like ULine). Make sure the tape goes over the lip so there is a conductive strip on the outside when it is closed (ideally it would cover the inside surface and also wrap around to the bottom). When picking it up, so long as you touch the conductive tape surface, you equalize charge imbalance between you and the components, making for safe(r) handling of parts.

ESD can damage any electrical component (even resistors), but parts that tend to be most susceptible are FETs, high-speed ICs, anything that says "high-speed", BJTs, ICs (including 3-terminal regulators), LEDs, and assembled boards (e.g. shields), in roughly that order.

Sealed static bags (silver ones, pink/blue ones are rubbish for protection) are going to provide better protection, but the above is good enough for most cases.

An ESD wrist strap clipped to a cookie tray or similar conductive surface is also a good cheap way to create an equal charge surface to protect sensitive stuff during handling and assembly.

Another excellent point! Instructable community is awesome! I'm going to have to update the instructable to include your warning and other useful tips from other members as well. Thank you!

Dollar Tree has an online store, and he's provided the link directly to the product. :)

Try the EuroShop. They have many of the same discount retail staples.

Wow I'm impressed!