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Thread: What is Good Storage?

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    rgsparber's Avatar
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    What is Good Storage?

    Regardless of the size of your shop, storing tools and materials is a challenge. Done poorly, you will be plagued each time you access something. Done right, you will not even notice. That is the pinnacle of good design. Dave Kellogg and I use common software concepts to judge various storage schemes. Examples from us and John Herrmann are provided.

    If you are interested, please see

    http://rick.sparber.org/WIGSK.pdf

    Your comments are welcome. All of us are smarter than any one of us.

    Thanks,

    Rick
    Rick

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    Jon
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    Posts like this are an indication of where we are headed as a community. Beyond just construction of tools, and toward a more meta mindset of making. Similarly, we may see the rise of knowledge management and information retrieval techniques for handling the chunks of info that we now intake daily (How many unorganized bookmarks do you keep in your browser?). I believe we will also advance crowd brainstorming strategies (When should you post your build? Idea? Napkin drawing? Prototype? Finished tool?).

    Empty storage space is a theme we hear repeatedly. But maintaining empty space is like keeping a white shirt perfectly clean while doing a dirty job.

    I can also add: implement and follow a maintenance schedule, just like for a vehicle. Behaviors like stacking, piling, junk-drawering, chucking stuff wherever - they all become acceptable and low-stress if you know that they are backed by a seasonal cleanup and review.

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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    I've bought and made several turntables, one even has various lengths of PVC tubing mounted vertically to accept small slender things and lengths of wire, wood, and one of my favorite materials, the SS splines that stiffen windshield wipers. But, until your post, it never occurred to me to put a pair (or even a triad) of back-to-back small drawer cabinets on a turntable. I'm going to use that idea.

    Every shop is different so there can never be a canonical storage setup. So, offering small space-saver suggestions as you do in your post, ideas that can be adapted to the local situation, is probably the closest we'll get to "solving" the storage problem.
    ---
    Regards, Marv


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    Marv and Jon,

    Sometimes it is good to step back and think about what isn't working in a shop. I can tolerate a lot of bad storage techniques when I'm focused on getting a job done. The more examples from others I see, the more likely I will find one to solve my particular problem.

    My shop takes up 150 square feet so my challenges are very different from John Herrmann's shop which is HUGE. Yet the solutions may be the same.

    I really liked the insights Dave Kellogg brought to this article that were based on standard software concepts. This kind of "cross pollination" is very powerful.

    I do hope that others will come forward with their tool and material storage solutions. All of us are smarter than any one of us.

    Rick
    Rick

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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    One of the many fascinating features of the Mythbusters show was the two story wall in their cavernous shop covered with shelves filled with large wash basket sized plastic containers filled with all the odds and sods that special effects people might need. I used to really enjoy catching glimpses of some of the labels on the containers. Labels like "heads", "weapons", "fuses", etc. brought a whole new dimension into the idea of storage requirements. Many times Adam could be seen balancing on the forks of the monster fork lift to access a container a story or more above his head.

    Then there are those storage units oft seen in museum archives. Ranks of double sided bookcases similar to those in a library, but mounted on rails so they can slide tightly together. Large handwheels on the end of the shelving unit can be turned to move it along the rail thus opening a man passage between two of the units. The packing density approaches 100%.
    ---
    Regards, Marv


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    I wonder what the Mythbuster's shop would look like after a major earthquake ;-)

    I've used those rolling storage cabinets. The ones I used had a very nice action so it was easy to open up an aisle as needed. As you said, very efficient.

    My daughter works in professional theater and it is fascinating to see the kinds of stuff they must store. Lots of wigs, hats, masks, and clothing. It must be easy to access yet well protected. They have figured that all out.

    Rick
    Rick

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    Continuing the Mythbuster's references , here's Adam Savage's treatise on hand tool storage and organization Adam Savage's Custom Tool Storage Stands - Tested

    Even if you don't like this style of tool rack, it's a good discussion of the principles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mklotz View Post
    One of the many fascinating features of the Mythbusters show was the two story wall in their cavernous shop covered with shelves filled with large wash basket sized plastic containers filled with all the odds and sods that special effects people might need. I used to really enjoy catching glimpses of some of the labels on the containers. Labels like "heads", "weapons", "fuses", etc. brought a whole new dimension into the idea of storage requirements. Many times Adam could be seen balancing on the forks of the monster fork lift to access a container a story or more above his head.

    Then there are those storage units oft seen in museum archives. Ranks of double sided bookcases similar to those in a library, but mounted on rails so they can slide tightly together. Large handwheels on the end of the shelving unit can be turned to move it along the rail thus opening a man passage between two of the units. The packing density approaches 100%.

    In Australia we call those units "compactus" and you often find them cheap in secondhand sales sites (Gumtree). I have a 8x1 bay unit in my shed for storing tools, and the remaining bays from the purchase were converted to free standing bookcases for the office. My outlay price was less than the purchase of a single wheeled toolbox, and considerably more spacious. In my case, the individual shelves are 300mm (12") deep, so perfect for single layer storage.

    Des

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    Quote Originally Posted by rgsparber View Post
    I wonder what the Mythbuster's shop would look like after a major earthquake ;-)

    I've used those rolling storage cabinets. The ones I used had a very nice action so it was easy to open up an aisle as needed. As you said, very efficient.

    My daughter works in professional theater and it is fascinating to see the kinds of stuff they must store. Lots of wigs, hats, masks, and clothing. It must be easy to access yet well protected. They have figured that all out.

    Rick
    I have done some work for a company does events. My job was to help with the construction of sets. I can image what your daughter deals with. The "stuff" those people have is out of this world. I had a great time working with some artistic folks. I suggested to the young lady I worked with that they bar code things and generate pull sheets for people like me that had no idea what they were saying, but easily understood "frame up a wall to fill in this space." I am thinking about color coding cabinets and bar coding things in the garage

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    OUCH @ Mythbusters Shop after an Earth quake!!!!!! LOL

    I myself am ALWAYS looking for "Shop Storage Ideas" for my own little shop............ So POST up some pics guys!!!!!! (I need some ideas for small stuff even tools!)

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