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Ontario
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How do you Pros keep everything organized?

As I'm collecting various components - different resistors, pots, diodes, LEDs, etc., I'm finding it harder to keep everything organized.  I keep items in the little baggies they ship in, which lists their values, or colours, or type. Should I move them into those plastic storage containers with the dividers inside?  How to best label them inside?  Should I also be keeping a softcopy of the datasheets for these products for handy future reference? 

Any tips are welcome!

Peter
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Peter

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Actually, I'm kind of interested to. My little plastic divider kits arn't really organized, but I know where everything is. There sort of organized, as I have led's in one area, resistors in another, and a bunch of miscellaneous things in the other.
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Andrew K.

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I'm not a pro, but I find that fishing weight boxes and the like a good cheap thing to store my bits in.
I did splash out on a fancy drawer unit with lots of small drawers for my reisitors and capacitors..
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Colorado
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Guess I forgot to hit 'Post' on my computer a the office before I left.  Anyway, I use storage containers with dividers.  Specifically, these guys.  Each "bin" has a label that has the part name, manufacturer's part number, and a bar code on it.  When I start running low on an item, I simply pull up a vendor's order page and scan the bar code in and build an order.

The storage containers themselves are also categorized.  I have containers specifically for throughhole parts, and containers for SMD parts.  Then it breaks down into containers with resistors, containers with capacitors, containers with LEDs, etc., etc.  Note: this does not necessarily mean I have a bunch of that stuff, I have containers that only have 3 or 4 items in them.  However, I leave them like that for future additions.

The only issue I have with that specific container is that the plastic locking mechanism doesn't always stay locked.  But I've gotten into the habit of putting my hand over it to keep it locked when I'm picking up the box to move it.  The other drawback is that everything stays in the container.  I can't pull out individual bins for a project.  There is another type of container that I love to buy more of because it has pull-out bins, but so far I haven't been able to find it.  Still looking.  After realizing I was using the wrong company name, I found the ones I do like to use.  They're made my Raaco, and sold in Europe.  The ones I previously bought were through a jewelry store online here in the US, but they don't carry them anymore.  Shucks.

Some people have good success with storage containers designed for beads, or craft work.  Your mileage may vary.

As for the datasheets, I keep a shared folder on my computers that has all the datasheets for all the parts I have.  When I buy something new, I also grab its datasheet and save it.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 07:23:01 pm by KirAsh4 » Logged

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The removable divider boxes bother me because the dividers tend to move up and let parts mix together.

I like these because they are individual boxes.  There are different sizes available.  Plus they are esd safe.  I wish I could find where she buys them.

https://www.adafruit.com/products/427
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Colorado
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You can find them pretty cheap on eBay.  50 of the small ones for $12 ... (yes, they're all from China, which is more than likely the same place Adafruit gets them from.)
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Colorado
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By the way James, I melt my dividers in place.  When I first get a container and put the dividers in, I use my soldering iron with a junk tip I no longer use, and I will melt the corners at the top, so they stay put.  I have boxes that are several years old and never had an issue with the dividers coming loose or sliding up, mixing parts.
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Wow.  I never tried the phrase "SMT component box" on eBay.  I tried variants on box, case, snap, etc.  It wasn't until I used "SMT" that I found them in bulk.  Thanks.

Quote
I melt my dividers in place. 
Good idea...
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Wow.  I never tried the phrase "SMT component box" on eBay.  I tried variants on box, case, snap, etc.  It wasn't until I used "SMT" that I found them in bulk.  Thanks.

Quote
I melt my dividers in place. 
Good idea...

Alternatively, some cellophane tape will also work.

I several of the 60 small-drawer Stack-On brand multi-drawer kits. Something to keep in mind, though, if you buy them - they don't come with enough dividers, so you need to buy extra dividers. I purchased them (all in one shot - it wasn't cheap) thru Amazon, along with the extra dividers. I've found the Stack-On brand to be superior to other brands I have tried, and they don't change their style from year to year, either (like you would find with other brands sold at big-box stores and elsewhere); even so, I followed my "mantra" of buying multiples of the same style in one shot, so that I know that should they change, I have extras, and it all matches (the whole "mismatched" junk of boxes thing I had going on is what prompted me to change my entire storage system for my shop - all in all, I probably spent over $500.00 on the whole endeavor, but it was well worth it).

The downside with the drawers is the fact that if you need to shift or make room for a new part, you have to shift a lot of other drawers around (kinda like organizing books, though not as heavy). Also, they take up a lot of room - so you need to keep this in mind. Finally, if you ever have to move them, they are a -big- pain to keep the drawers and/or parts from falling out (basically, you have to tape cardboard to the front and back, and carry them vertically).

I label the front of the drawers with a label maker; I found that a 60 drawer unit, with each drawer split 2 or 3 ways (I forget which), allows for an R24 resistor series; I ended up buying all those values, 100 parts of each - I'll never run out of resistors!

I also keep datasheets on a shared fileserver - when I find a new datasheet (even if I -don't- have the part) I download and keep it. What I wish I had, though, was some complete CD/DVD data catalogs from the major manufacturers (ie, Intel, Motorola/On Semi, ST, etc) - does anyone know how or if you can get them (and/or how much they cost?)...

smiley
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Ontario
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Those are all good ideas guys, and along the lines of what I thinking to do.  Those SMT boxes are a neat concept.  Thanks for the ideas.
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Peter

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www.hardwareworld.com/10-Compartment-Organizer-pGJXJUT.aspx
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There are quite a few here:
http://www.randmh.com/small-parts-storage/
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Colorado
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A related question: what do you do when you order a cut-reel of something?  For example, when I order 100 SMD resistors, they are cut-reel, meaning I get a paper strip (sometimes plastic strip for things like capacitors or some Atmels).  So what do you do?  Do you take them out and put them in the respective bin?  Do you leave them in the strip and just roll the thing up tight to fit in the bin, or cut to fit the bin.

I get a lot of SMD stuff like that come to think of it.  I think Jameco was the only one that once, and only once, had send me a little baggie with 100 capacitors in it.  Everything else is in cut-reel form.

I'm a bit reluctant to take some things out of the strip, like especially stuff which come with a big anti-static sticker and warning on them.  I'm more comfortable leaving them as is and just roll the thing up into the bin - or I will cut them to the longest size of the bin and put them in that way so I don't have to roll them.

What do you do?
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A related question: what do you do when you order a cut-reel of something?  For example, when I order 100 SMD resistors, they are cut-reel, meaning I get a paper strip (sometimes plastic strip for things like capacitors or some Atmels).  So what do you do?  Do you take them out and put them in the respective bin?  Do you leave them in the strip and just roll the thing up tight to fit in the bin, or cut to fit the bin.

I get a lot of SMD stuff like that come to think of it.  I think Jameco was the only one that once, and only once, had send me a little baggie with 100 capacitors in it.  Everything else is in cut-reel form.

I'm a bit reluctant to take some things out of the strip, like especially stuff which come with a big anti-static sticker and warning on them.  I'm more comfortable leaving them as is and just roll the thing up into the bin - or I will cut them to the longest size of the bin and put them in that way so I don't have to roll them.

What do you do?

I keep them on the strip, and store them in a small parts bin.   Makes it easier to keep track off, don't have to worry about potential ESD, and for some things, it helps cut down on moisture/humidity (LEDs, etc).  That way I don't have to pre-bake them as long when I use the parts.
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Interresting tread.

Well, that depends of what you have ( parts ) and others things. And your budget. The cheapest is use coffee bins, magarine tub, ect ( any tubs ) you have or from the recycling bin. My system is ...all the above. From cheap tubs to storage bins. I use fishing container tackle box to put parts and small ones.

I post a picture of my bench...  it is ...messy....  smiley-red

In my pictures, I use storage bins ( I got them at Canadian Tire <-- Automotive, hardware store ) , the  gray ( seperated compartment ) is from the garbage. I install the wood platform ( a few parts from the garbage ), I have parts inside the boxes, more small tackle box ( top right ) and you notice the pink foam inside the storage bins. ( bottom left ) and the wood table was there when I move in. Perfect bench table.  You notice I install an ESD wrist strap ( bottom right - the chair is hidding it ).

Anyway, my bench setup.  I am trying to be organized.  The picture is ONLY that side of the room.  I have more stuffs. Oh and check the tread http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,66255.30.html, I have a picture of a metal bin, that I found near a public school garbage bin. ( an another corner of the room ) My arduino boards and sheilds are in this metal bins.

And I know, i know, I know... I got to clean up... smiley-red   


* Myparts.jpg (158.48 KB, 1024x768 - viewed 27 times.)
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