In this Instructable I will show you how I used 3-ring binders to organize my collection of small integrated circuits and passive components.
I will teach you to make DIY sleeves with custom-sized pockets using plain sheet protectors and a soldering iron,. Or you could re-purpose store-bought photo protector sleeves and small manila envelopes for a less customized, but easier solution.
Step 1: Materials Needed
For IC storage, you will need:
- Heavy-weight sheet protectors
- A heat resistant straight-edge
- A soldering iron
- ESD safe foam
- A large binder
For small component storage, I used:
- Small manila envelopes (i.e. #1 coin envelopes)
- Pre-made photo protection sleeves or
- A custom made 3x3 pocket top-loading sleeve
Step 2: Making Custom Sleeves for ICs
For integrated circuits, I will use a single heavy-duty sheet protector to make a custom sleeve with two large pockets. The trick here is to use the heat of a soldering iron to fuse the plastic together wherever I want a seam.
I work on a piece of plywood to protect my work space and use a heat-resistant ruler. Using the iron, I score the transparency half-way up the page as well as at the very top to seal the opening. Run it slowly but steadily, giving enough time for the plastic to fuse. Sometimes it takes a few passes to get a seam that holds.
I then used a hobby knife to remove the outer and inner edges. For the left side, I slide some paper board inside the pockets to avoid cutting all the way through. These pockets are the right size for squares of ESD safe foam.
Step 3: Re-Purposing Photograph Sleeves for Passives
For my passive components, I found a collection of plastic protectors for photographs on clearance. These had openings on the side nearest the binding and were about as tall as #1 manila coin envelopes.
I used clear tape to join three of these envelopes together so I could slide them into the photo protectors.
Step 4: Better Yet, Make Your Own Top Loading Pockets!
With the photo sleeves, the envelopes tend to slide out rather easily. Although it takes a little more effort, I was able to make a much better top-loading sleeve.
I used the iron to make the vertical seams; then a hobby knife to cut openings for the bottom two rows, using a paper insert to avoid cutting all the way through. To finish up, I sealed off the bottoms of all the pockets with the iron.