5S Toolbox Drawer

About: Teaching and making electronics since - well I don't even know

Seiri (整理), seiton (整頓), seisō (清掃), seiketsu (清潔), and shitsuke (躾). The art of finding THAT tool in mere seconds when you work. The name 5S comes from these japanese words. But what they mean? Tl;dr edition:

Seiri: just the tools you need often and fast

Seiton: organizing those tools near your workbench

Seiso: keep things clean

Seiketsu: making a standard (if you are a company, not a one-man squad)

Shitsuke: not breaking your laws

I have an eduspace called Vault 1337 (something like a hackerspace or makerspace, but focused on education) so I have a workbench. Whenever I sit down and tinker, I don't really want to stand up, except when I want to use my pillar drill. I saw Kaizen and 5S in action and I fell in love. I grew up in a workshop, where the drawers were deep and full of tools. Okay, my dad had a drawer for each specific type of tools, but that's not optimal. This short instructable will tell my little story about implementing the BEST way to work. So, let's begin - what do you need to buy?

Step 1: Stuff Needed

Obviously, workplace, a workbench to improve.

A drawer. I buy almost every furniture at the 4 letter swedish store because of the price tag. Yes, you can drill a hole in your desk with a sharper pencil because nowdays it's just fancy cardboard. Except this one. The rattling box of sheet metal. I love roll containers, this is no exception, but most of them are expensive. Not this! Cheap, easy to assemble, a LOT of drawers. I have 2, one left, one right. Seriously, if you can't pack all your everyday-use tools in there, you are doing it wrong and go back to Seiri.

Also: foam. I used floor insulation, you can even step on that. Cosplayers know a lot of foams like EVA. Just avoid the compressed white balls aka polystyrol. They are much cheaper, BUT! I tried it. Believe me, you will find polystyrol balls everywhere, wears pretty fast. DO NOT USE IT!

Step 2: Raw Boards

Measure twice, cut once, twice, and a lot of times because you will need a lot of boards. Bare minimum is one per drawer, but you will see the trick soon. The raw board should fit. No jiggle allowed!

Step 3: Tools, Shapes

In a perfect world, you would only need 4 straight lines to cut a shape. (okay, 3 because it's one less cut)

But some (I lied, most) of the tools have those weird shapes. Good to grip, not so good to store.

So let's play with your tools. Try to organize them per drawer. Example: One drawer for the sharp things like box cutter and side-cutting pliers, one for the various pliers, one for the screwdriver sets. Try various arrangements until you are satisfied and won't hurt yourself accessing the tools. Bad example: my box cutter. If you put it away with the blade hanging out, you will cut your hand. (at least I learned to always retract the blade)

Draw the outlines! Don't try "just cutting a similar shape". It will not work.

Step 4: Cutting

Now it's time to cut! Rectangular shapes are easier with a box cutter, but if you have a soldering iron, dedicated to plastics, go ahead! Try 2-300°C (depends on your foam) and it won't burn the foam instantly but melt the plastic.

My experience: if the iron is too hot, the foam will "shrink" away. Don't set too high temperature! Also try to add some holes where you can grab your tool.

Step 5: Populating Your Drawer

Here comes the trick: put one solid foam board under the cut one. Easier to handler, more silent, less rattling.

The experts can glue the boards together. Only if you are absolutely sure about the arrangement and no extra space left!

Step 6: Shitsuke

Okay, the container is fine, you arranged everything, the drawers are full.

Now learn your drawers. Also, labeling can help a lot. My first drawer is full of sharp things, the second one measures, third one for the plier- OKAY, WHICH ONE OF YOU LEFT THE LINEMAN'S PLIERS LAYING AROUND?

See? It not only helps finding the tools, but it's easier to find the missing ones! If you collaborate with others, this upgrade will definietly help your workshop!

Happy tinkering and share your results!

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    2 Discussions

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    seamster

    17 days ago

    Nice! I like the idea to use foam to make the custom cut-outs. Very tidy system, thank you for sharing this : )

    1 reply
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    thedeveloperguyseamster

    Reply 17 days ago

    I have seen wood cutouts too, it's much harder to make, but really durable. Also just marking the tools is an option on a wall. In my case, drawers are easier to use.