How to Make a Suggestion Board for Tooling

Introduction: How to Make a Suggestion Board for Tooling

At TechShop Menlo Park we have recently redistributed our inventory of hand tools, from a central tool room, to a set of distributed workshop locations, as appropriate to the workshop location.  

This process could have been done better :-) 

We want to optimize the tooling at each location, and to facilitate this, we want a quick and easy way for our Members to indicate what they would like to see in that part of the shop... The answer:  a suggestion board!

Here are the quick steps I used to throw together a few notepads and pens, to satisfy this basic yet effective requirement, and of course, I made it at TechShop! :-)

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Step 1: Gather Materials

I used the following (your supplies may vary):

     Small Notepads
     Scrap Plywood, enough to make a few frames
     Deck Screws; these serve to hold the notepad to the board; the board to the wall
     Pens; Ball point pens with a substantial amount of material above the ink cartridge (room to drill a hole)
     Chain; *VERY small*; about a foot or so, per board
     Washers; to hold the chain to the board

Tooling used:

     Handheld Drill
     Power Nutdriver
     Leatherman (of COURSE!)
     Drill Bit; appropriately sized to allow the chain to fit through the hole made with it
     Sharpie Pen; for signage and instructions ;-)

Time:   5 minutes per board

Step 2: Cut the Scrap Plywood to Size

Using a table saw, cut the plywood to approximately 8" x 16"

At TechShop, we use the SawStop tablesaw...pretty nice for protecting fingers :-)

Step 3: Prep the Pens

Using the drill motor and the appropriate sized drill, make a hole in the opposite end of pen, from the tip.  Take care, this can be tricky due to the outer diameter of the pen being relatively small.

Using your Leatherman, pry open one of the chain's end links and slip the pried end through the hole you made in the pen.

Then, again with your Leatherman, collapse the pried open chain link back to its original (closed) state.

Set the pen aside.

Step 4: Attach the Notepad to the Board!...

Using the power nut-driver, with a phillips #2 bit, take two of the deck screws and screw them into the header/binding of the notepad.  At this stage you will not want to drive the screw all the way through the board!  Just drive the screws in, until the tips *JUST* start to protrude from the back side!

NOTE:  the actual length of the deck screws will depend upon the thickness of the notepad and the board, combined with the depth you want it to go into the wall/mounting surface.  In my case, about 1 and a half inches was perfect.

Step 5: Attach the Pen and Chain to the Board

Attach the pen to the board by affixing the end of chain opposite to the pen.

Take one of those handy deck screws and a small washer; using the power nut-driver, screw the chain down on the lower left corner of the board; unless you are a Lefty; in that case, screw it down on the lower right side of the board.

REMEMBER: do NOT screw it down all the way, yet!

Step 6: Mount the Suggestion Board to the Wall (or Other Appropriate Surface)

Now take your half screwed down Suggestion Board to the wall or surface you intend to mount it to.  

Align the board for level and desired hight

GENTLY tighten down the two notepad screws in the binding, until they are flush but NOT over-tight!  You will know they are too tight by observing the notepad; it should lay flat against the board.

GENTLY tighten down the one pen holding screw until is is snug; but NOT over-tight!

You are pretty much done, except for using the Sharpy-Pen (the ad placement) to provide a basic description of what you'd like to see. ;-)

Step 7: Add Instructions...and *p00f*, Your Are Done!

marking the board with appropriate signage!

Enjoy :-)

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    2 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, TechShop Detroit moved all their hand tools from a central location to separate areas, just like you did.

    Here's a suggestion.... DON'T!

    It is much better to have everything in one place, so it is easy to find, and easy to identify missing tools. Whenever a member needs a tool, they have to go to each of the locations in search of.

    Not the best idea.


    Reply 3 years ago

    My preference is to have the right tools as close at hand as possible. Trust your crew to put things away and hunting for tools becomes less of a regular gig. :-)