LEGO SMD Resistor Storage




First of all, I’m not associated with LEGO or any other entity mentioned in this instructable.

Have you heard of the Toy Brick Tensile Tester? It is built from LEGOs and way cheaper than any competing product in the market. My idea is very similar, but a lot less complex.

I like to harvest and reuse electronics parts. It makes for a good learning experience to explore old PCBs. Many of them contain SMD (Surface Mounted Devices). Some of those are so small that they can be mistaken for dirt! New parts are cheaply available on tape rolls by the thousands, but I always only need a few, so harvesting makes sense for me.

My growing heap of of tiny resistors soon called for sorted storage. Commercially available solutions are bulky, expensive or do not fit my needs. I kept my resistors sorted in small plastic vials for a while. They were protected from dust and dirt, but it was not perfect.

Step 1: LEGO As the Cheapest Solution?

In comes LEGO! I ordered 100 pieces of the "clear 2 by 1 brick without stud" from LEGO Pick A Brick. They cost me about 30 euros including shipping. When the small sack arrived it did not look like much. LEGOs are a bit on the expensive side, but nothing else came closer to serve my goals. And I did not use them up, I still have 28 left to play with. ;-) So, yes, for me LEGO provided the best and cheapest solution by far!

Step 2: One Brick Seals the Other

I built stacks of 12. When stacking bricks, the lower one seals the cavity of the one above. That is the whole principle of this simple and compact storage solution. On the bottom of each stack i used some other brick to seal the bottom (twelfth) tiny "storage container".

An electronics hobbyist will already know why i used 12 bricks per stack, but il’ll explain soon.

Step 3: Color Code

To make the columns recognizable, i used colored tiles for the tops. The colors represent numbers. They are commonly used in electronics (Wikipedia, or google for "resistor color codes"). I used the codes to indicate the number of digits of the values of the resistors. Brown stands for 1 digit, red for 2, orange for 3 and so on. Resistors in the red column therefore have values in the two digit Ohms range (10, 12, 15 Ohms etc.).

The highest values I have in store now are in the 6-digit (100 kilo-ohm) range, labeled by the color blue. Note that my single digit range is currently empty. It will fill up with time.

The extra smoky brick contains zero value resistors that are often used as jumpers.

I did not care to sort for different sizes. And yes, those sandy colored bottom bricks are from my Yoda set.

Step 4: EIA E12 Series Explained

This is the system I use: The top brick of every stack contains all resistor values beginning with the digits "82". Then comes "68", then "56", and so on, following the EIA E12 series. See the color codes and their corresponding digit count on top and the EIA E12 value series on the right.

This sorting system is really easy to understand for an electronics hobbyist. I can see at a glance how many of any value I have in store.

Step 5: And It Looks Pretty!

That’s it for today. There are new tipps in the pipeline, but i will take my time.



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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago

    This is brilliant. I've been using 1.5ml centrifuge tubes for mine, but they are not organised. Your way is better! (well, until you drop a stick and it pops open I suppose...)


    2 years ago

    This is a really cool solution! I currently have mine in little drawers, but if I ever get away from thru-hole, I'll consider implementing this to save a TON of space!


    3 years ago

    Nice solution to a real problem. For myself, many thanks.


    3 years ago

    Thank you for a great fix.
    Now I have to sort through a small coffee tin.


    3 years ago

    Your info layout in step 4 is valuable. Thanks.