How do you sort your tools?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by #12, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. #12

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    Nov 30, 2010
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    John in Tx gave me an idea. It was about, "Some people make a list of why it can't be done while I make a list of the tools I will need". Then my mind wandered on this lazy Sunday afternoon...What would I be saying?

    You, get the Every Day bucket. You, get the oxy-acetylene torch and the copper kit. I'll get the Allen kit and the Residential Plumbing box. That's how it works at my place. You don't go get an Allen wrench, you go get the Allen kit. You don't go get a drill, you go get the drill bucket.

    This isn't about electronics, and nobody goes to get the resistor box. Electronic stuff stays in one room. It's the portables that I'm talking about, like a quarter inch socket wrench kit that has all the metric sockets, deep sockets, security bits, adapters, handles, ratchets, Torx tips, etc.
    How do you do it?
     
  2. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
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    I must be your " Brother from different mothers "

    "Some people make a list of why it can't be done" ... I'm [ one of the guys ] that asks " why not " ??

    I keep tools, in job boxes... Everything electrical, Plumbing, Car or Carpentry related - in dedicated group boxes... Sometimes, there are a lot of duplicates, with the best tools in the car box...
     
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  3. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    My organizational skills suck. I keep an open top "gatemouth" tool bag with all my most frequently used tools (DMM, clampmeter, screwdrivers, folding allen sets [i hate folding sets, but I'll lose the keys out of a regular set, starting with the most important ones first], pliers, strippers, crimpers, cutters, etc) in it. I bring this into every place I go, along with my backpack containing laptop and most frequently used PLC cables. In the Prius, I leave a full 300+ pc. craftsman socket set in the factory craftsman plastic organizer box, benchtop power supply, o-scope, fishtape, duffel bag full of FR/nomex clothes and safety gear, Dewalt 20V cordless tool set, several 500ft spools of wire in common gauges and colors, small totes full of pushbuttons, limit switches, signal conditioners, etc,, a big cardboard box full of lesser-used cables, overflowing & broken cardboard boxes full of discrete components now scattered throughout the car, some larger parts like PLCs, power supplies, and more random crap that I'm not aware of and can't account for.

    Back at the house, my garage contains more crap in worse disarray. I have a whole spare industrial machine parts depot and half a fabrication/machine shop in there, and it would take anybody but me hours to get anything done because the only designated "place a tool goes" is "wherever I left it," and I'm the only one who knows where that is (and sometimes I don't).

    and that's how do it, "from the hip."
     
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  4. killivolt

    Active Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    Alway's when I was on the Job, I would run into an un-expected problem.

    That's when you have to go to the truck to get the unexpected tool needed or combination of tools and spare parts to correct it.

    Most people would just list everything. For me it was already on the truck.

    When the worksite is more than 10miles away from the shop, it's lost money to fetch, worse to come back the next day.

    When I worked for Sears as a Rogue Tech, it was everything, Furnace, Appliances, lawnmower, boat motors, Swamp-coolers, Air-conditioners.

    I would read the ticket and start adding to normal truck stock parts. I had one day I logged 300miles with 13 tickets at the start of the day. Their was no going back to the shop.

    As is everything, it can only be fixed as well as it is Engineered. If not don't bother.

    Edit: Oh and clean and Organize every 2 weeks, saves room for the good parts or tools needed. Usually it takes 2 weeks for some stuff to accumulate.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
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  5. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    @ strantor,

    You mean "from the heap"...

    Usually I work my project at home, where things are on shelves and boxes in the lab.

    Twice I needed to get tools outside. Once in the past, when I would organize an electronics club and now, when I go to tinker with my UAV at the airport.

    Both of those times I mostly know what I'm going to face, so I know what to get from before.

    For the airplane, for example, I fill a sole Bosch plastic case with a handle, sorta like this one:
    [​IMG]
    with:

    an RC transmitter
    a DMM
    a pair of pliers
    rubber bands
    epoxy glue
    acrylic glue
    zipties
    specific size allen keys
    boxing tape
    masking tape
    a Philips screwdriver
    telemetry modules and antennae
    lead counter-weight
    5m USB extension cord

    I'm pretty self contained.
     
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  6. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I don't even bother to ask why not. "Never argue with a fool. Spectators can't tell which of you it is." (Mark Twain)

    The unexpected...I have a plastic 60 drawer cabinet with everything from cotter pins to zerk fittings. It has saved hundreds of jobs from a trip to the hardware store. It's called, "Sixty Drawers".
     
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  7. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    I entrust all of my tool keeping to gravity. If I put a tool down anywhere I expect gravity to keep it there until I need it again.

    If it's not there I assume my wife moved it so I go and ask her where its at.
     
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  8. killivolt

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    Jan 10, 2010
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    I like it:)

    So, that means our wife's are anti-gravity:D
     
  9. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    My wife constantly asks me,"Why is this laying here?" and I always reply "Because I am entrusting gravity to keep it there until I need it again!":D
     
  10. KL7AJ

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 4, 2008
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    They're all in a bag labeled "stuff." :)
     
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  11. KL7AJ

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 4, 2008
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    Here's my 40 year collection of "twiddle sticks". I've discovered there's a whole new generation of so called electronics techs who have no clue what these are!

    Eric the Old.
     
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  12. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
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    Some jobs it's take the tools to the job, others it's take the job to the tools, so like #12 I have a everyday bag, a plumbing box, a mechanicals box, etc. but I also have a place for woodworking, a place for gardening tools, a place for soldering.

    I used to be less organized but over the years the time wasted trying to find the right tool (and the money wasted on buying another only to find the one I already had) just became too much. A few days to get organized and then a few minutes to keep it that way was a revelation!
     
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  13. #12

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    I am absolutely famous for knowing where my stuff is, but I still accumulate, "duplicates".:mad: I have a tool box just for them. That is where I check first before I go to buy a replacement tool.

    My Aerostar isn't big enough to hold all of my tools, especially when you consider that I do everything from sewer pipes to TV antennas. I load the truck for each job. (Rarely do I do two different jobs in one day.) I sort the tools at least every week. Having a box or bucket for each category makes sorting much easier!

    Residential Plumbing has things like faucet kits, hose bibs, shut-off valves, iron nipples, teflon tape and pipe dope, and tools that only get used on plumbing jobs, like a basin wrench or a seat remover. Automotive contains things like a valve stem depressor, pulley pullers, and release tools for car air conditioner pipes. Heavy Electrical contains house wire, spiral armor, and breaker boxes, while Light Electrical has receptacles, wall switches, and ceiling fan kits. There is a box for Personal Protective gear like knee pads, respirators, and ear plugs. I use an old concrete mixing pan for pipe and tubing: heater hose, air conditioning copper tubing, ice maker tubing, 3/4" water heater copper, fuel line, and vacuum hoses. Then there are window air parts, clothes dryer parts, clothes washer parts, dishwasher parts. Then there are things that won't fit in a box, like a table saw, shovels and rakes, engine hoist, tree trimmer pole, ladders, etc.

    Just a sampling, and a good reason why I MUST sort things. If you only do one job, throw it in a van and shake well. If you do nearly everything, you MUST sort your tools!
     
  14. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    I don't do work for hire, but sometimes I do volunteer work, and I have lots of tools. Unfortunately, I have part of them in Tennessee and part of them 90 miles away in Mississippi. A lot of them are poorly organized. As a result, I have lots of duplicates, but invariably, the tools I only have one of, are in the other state. :(

    Recently, I had to put up some trim in Tennessee. Guess where the brad nailer was. So, it was drill holes in the trim and try to drive 3 penny nails with a hammer without hitting the quartz counter top. :eek: Can you say, "tedious?"
     
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  15. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    I'll bite; what are these things?

    Are they for ye olde PCB stencil design?
     
  16. killivolt

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    Jan 10, 2010
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    We used them adjusting things on Old CRT's in the TV Shop. Any adjustable you don't want a metal tool around, guarding against short circuits.
     
  17. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    Then there are the inductors and capacitors in the IF stages. I used them a lot when I started Collins Radio.
     
  18. tubeguy

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    Nov 3, 2012
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    I'm with #12. I have tools organized in boxes, buckets etc. Specialized tools like pop riveters and pocket hole jigs have a kit. I was completely unorganized when I was younger but I now have gotten to where everything has a place, and I really can't leave the shop without putting things away. It really isn't much extra work once you get in that habit. It takes a LOT longer to find (or replace) a misplaced tool than any time spent tidying up.
     
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  19. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Keeping my woodworking tools separate from my mechanics tools was always obvious. Becoming proficient in other areas kind of sneaks up on me. Things like plumbing, household wiring, sprinkler systems, painting, drywall, concrete all require some special tools. About 10 years ago, a realized that all of these tools from one-time projects were getting in my way. I made a series of fruit boxes for each set of rarely used tools. (Fruit Boxes are stackable wax-coated cardboard boxes from Costco Produce department).

    That year I asked my wife for a nice mechanics tool cart with drawers. I built a set of shelves in the garage for a double of the 60-drawer boxes that #12 mentioned.

    For the electronics, I bought a nice McMaster&Carr maple workbench listed in Craigslist. It has the overhead shelf with outlets. I also found a set of steel drawers from a long-closed TV repair shop. 30 drawers about 10" wide and 3" tall - perfect for storing all the bigger stuff and hand tools.
     
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  20. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

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    I still have 2 or 3 twiddle sticks. They are necessary to adjust IF coils and FM discriminator coils because a metal tool will alter the inductance.

    tubeguy...one plastic hospital tray-bucket labeled "Rivets and Staples" or go fancy and buy a Rubber Maid brand dish washing pan. One for sprinkler heads, one for telephone jacks/wire, one for TV antenna parts, one for door knobs and deadbolts...

    I can't use a tool chest with drawers. It's too heavy to lift into the van. I have 5 standard (metal) tool boxes, (4) 5 gallon buckets, and half a dozen plastic boxes designed to carry (4) one gallon jugs of milk. Drill bit sets come in holders, but punches don't, so I split a 1x4, drill holes in it, put the punches, one in each hole, then put the top back on. Same with wood chisels.

    I hope you all get some useful ideas out of this conversation.:)
     
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