Intro: Custom Socket Set Holder
Over the years I've collected and damaged a fair number of sockets, handles, adapters, and extenders. I finally decided to build a holder to contain one full set of SAE and metric sockets along with a couple of handles, extenders, etc. from an old pine shelf I had laying around.
Step 1: Making the Base
The first step was to choose the parts that were going to go in this set, lay them out in a reasonable manner, measure them with a digital caliper, and setup a toolpath file to cut this base using a ShopBot CNC router at the TechShop. In order to make the toolpath I wrote a program in C to cut cylinders and rectangles, and then made a simple input file to describe where I wanted those rectangles and circles (and how deep).
The source for the C program is attached here in "source.txt". The input file is "input.txt" and the header/footer file into which the cut commands are inserted is "header_footer.txt". The resulting base comes out looking like the picture above.
Step 2: Making the Lid
The next step was to build a lid from a pine frame and a piece of 1/8" lauan plywood. This was all done on the table saw at the TechShop - and was pretty quick. Once the pieces were cut I simply glued them together with wood glue. You'll want to put the pieces on something flat and weight or clamp them while the glue dries.
Step 3: Making the Socket Labels
Next I used the laser cutter/etcher at the TechShop to make socket labels (from a bit of the scrap lauan plywood) for both the SAE and Metric socket set.
After etching the labels on the lauan, I cut the two stips of labels out with the table saw and rounded the corners a bit on the disc sander. I then sprayed a clear coat on the labels to minimize the impact of the inevitable grease they would experience.
I gave both the base and the lid a bit of hand sanding and then a coat of black spray paint.
I then glued the socket labels in place.
Step 4: Hinging the Lid to the Base
Next I attached the lid to the base with a set of three small brass hinges. I made small pilot holes to insure alignment and keep from splitting the wood.
Because of poor planning on my part I had to make a recess in the back portion of the lid frame to accommodate one of the socket label strips. That was easily accomplished with the table router.
Step 5: Making a Latch
Finally I had to buy or make a latch to hold the lid closed. I found it surprisingly difficult to find a latch small enough for the application, so I made my own from a binder clip.
First I removed the pivoting handles by folding them back and squeezing inward - one side at a time.
Then I opened the binder clip with a couple of pairs of pliers and a bench vice. I bent the two creases as flat as possible with the vice and then hammered the creases on the flat surface on the back of the vice to really get them flat.
Then I cut out the shape of the latch using a Dremel tool with a carbide wheel. I then shaped it a bit with the bench grinder and removed the sharp edges.
Next I put a piece of masking tape over the latch and marked it for the mounting screws and the latching screw (the bigger hole). Holding the latch with a pair of vice-grips, I drilled the holes on a drill-press (please do NOT attempt to hold the latch by hand while drilling - that rarely ends well).
Finally I used the latch as a template to mark the base and lid for the pilot holes for the mounting and latch screws, drilled the pilot holes, and mounted the latch.
I doubt anyone is going to need to build a socket holder for the same parts, and with the same dimensions, as mine - but maybe you'll find use for the source code or get an idea or two from this. Thanks for checking it out.
I made it at TechShop