Author Topic: Component Storage  (Read 3610 times)

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Offline Dawn

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Component Storage
« on: July 23, 2012, 12:18:29 pm »
I notice that a lot of shop and lab photos show many of the little drawer storage units or divided plastic boxes that you find in homeware and hardware vendors. I've never had much luck with those or industrial sizes with leaded components and especially larger parts. One could never get enough dividers or proportionately space them to be useful. Several of the places that I've worked for either used banks of industrial metal drawers that are about 5"x4"x10" or bins on shelves with the parts in envelopes or poly bags.

What I've found that works best is the foldable cardboard bins that are 3"W x 4.5" high x 10" deep for home shop use. Thicker, 4 mil 3"x5" poly bags with a writeable area work great in these and component leads don't break through. For larger components, most of the companies that make these heavy cardboard bins have small, insertable mini bins that also fold out of light cardboard will subdivide these into three subsections. Next larger size bin that I've found works great for larger storage is a 8.5"w x 4.5 x 10" that will subdivide with 9 of the little bins. There's all kinds of other sizes that are more suitable for industrial shelving, but for common home size, the above have proven themselves indespensible. I've tried a variation on this using the colorful stackable pick bins that are usually a uniform 4.5", but unless you can find custom bags or envelopes, the next common size bag is 4" x 6" and too high for the bins.

What storage solutions have you found that works best?

Online madires

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Re: Component Storage
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2012, 01:25:20 pm »
Some simply use shoe boxes and poly bags. Most stuff is packed in poly bags anyway when ordered. But it's cumbersome to look for a 2k2 Ohm resistor in a shoe box with one or two hundred poly bags. I like the drawer storage units from Raaco. My oldest one is over 20 years old. The storage units are offered in different heights and with different drawer sizes. You can buy additional dividers for all the drawers. For ICs and other ESD sensitive components I use conductive foam. Works great for through-hole components.

Offline firehacker

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Re: Component Storage
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2012, 02:33:19 pm »
What storage solutions have you found that works best?
For a through-hole resistors I have made my own storage system using PP-containers from cotton sticks. I decided to use E24 series. So I took 24 of containers and devided each to 10 partitions. I have used container covers to make dividers.

I decided to use following system: let's represent every resistors resistance in scientific notation (x*10y). So {x} is number from E24, and {y} is number from 0 to 9 (it covers range from Ohms to hundreds of megaohms).

Every container represents {x} number. So I have 24 of containers.
Every container partition represents {y} number. So I have 10 of them in every container.

If I need 33k resistors all what I need is to find container marked as "33" and to take desired part from fifth partition (not fourth, because first partition contains 3.3 Ohm, second is for 33 Ohm, third is fo 330 Ohms, fourth is for 3k3 and fifth is for 33k).

(The left grid-style container is temporary. Those two on the right are normal. This foto was made during filling this two)

Similar organisation system is good for capacitors as well.

As for small SMD parts (including SMD resistors), in my opinion best way to storage it is to keep all parts on tape untill you really need it. Of course, if you got it on tape.

For a TO-220 (and TO-126) parts I've decided to make special bars for holding parts. One bar per one type at least.

For smaller through-hole parts in my opinion, if its not sitting on tape, it better to place it on tape! On a self-made tape! I use simple one-layer adhesive tape. Put some adhesive tape on a table (glue-side must be on top). Then lay your parts on it. Them put another strip of tape upon it (glue-side must be on bottom now).

I have found many of advantages of this tactic.
  • When your parts is on tape you can put dozen of different tapes in one box. Then if you need a part of particular type you should just pull it. You will draw all your parts of same type. When different parts mounter on self-made tape are in one box, they can not mix with each other.
  • You can put a lot of different parts in your pocket as well. It will not mix, it will not fall out and so on.
  • If you need 20 of transistors of same type, you do not need to extract them all from your tape. You just need to cut your tape in right place. But if you then suddenly decide that you no more need this 20 of transistors, you can easily connect two tape strips into a one (by same adhesive tape, of course).
  • If you have a really big amount of parts of same type, you can roll your tape onto a reel.

My self-made tapes of various transistors:

And some diodes:


Offline saturation

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Re: Component Storage
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2012, 03:32:43 pm »
My parts are all for prototype designing.  For components that are generally flat, I use just poly bags/ ziplock bags and ring binders, and stack like a library book.  They are sorted by type and have their ratings written with bigger digits with sharpie pen in their original plastic bags from supplier; that way if I know there is a bad batch too one batch doesn't contaminate the rest.

For bulkier parts like switches, transformers, connectors etc., they are in a spare toolbox I had about, in the original bags from the distributor which often labels them correctly.

Many of my experimental parts are salvaged and they are also sorted into zip lock bags.
Best Wishes,


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