I have been in need of a storage solution for my larger hardware for quite a while. The reason why it has taken so long is that I have been trying to figure out how best to store my hardware. Without spending too much money and time that is. At the same time, I wanted a solution that could easily be changed to fit the size and number of items I want to store. I already use the Stanley organizers. They have lots of removable bins for all my small hardware like screws, nuts, bolts, springs, etc. I really like those but, they are not cheap and the larger version is quite expensive. A lot of new bins would probably also need to be printed to better optimize the space for my hardware. Increasing the price further.
Awesome 3D Printed Bins For Hardware Storage
One of the YouTubers that I follow Alexandre Chappel has designed a whole DIY hardware storage system with printable bins and organizer cases that he sells plans and .stl files. I love the printable bins. But, the organizer case is a lot of work to build and is also somewhat expensive. They are also not quite what I wanted for the size and amount of hardware I want to store. While thinking about what I wanted. I kept coming back to the idea of having a cabinet with lots of drawers with bins of all sizes.
Ikea Drawer Units
I have had one of the Ikea Helmer drawer units for a couple of years. It lives under my workbench for storing miscellaneous workbench-related things. I always liked the idea of this drawer unit. But the drawers are just riding on the bottom and when you pull them out they drop down quite a bit. For this reason, I never really liked the unit. However, on a recent trip to Ikea, I could not help myself and I took a look at the units that they had in the store. To my delight, Ikea had updated the design of the Helmer drawer slides. The drawers no longer drop down like before.
I took some measurements of the drawers. It is almost a perfect fit for the printable bins Alexandre Chappel designed. They fit perfectly in the drawer length and are 10 mm shorter in width. That was all I needed. I purchased the .stl files and got to printing even before I had purchased the drawer units.
What makes this so awesome is that one drawer unit is cheaper than one Stanley organizer. Plus the drawer units have so much more storage capacity. Yes, I need to add the price and time of printing all the bins. That of cause makes it quite a bit more expensive. As of this writing, I am not done printing all the bins. But, it looks like I will be spending more on filament than I did on the cabinets. However, that is still way cheaper than buying the same amount of storage space in Stanley organizers. Especially, since I would most likely still need to 3D print some custom bins to fit the hardware that doesn’t fit in the bins the organizer comes with.
Putting it together.
In total, I bought 6 drawer units and set them up so I had 3 columns and two rows. I made a base of some scraps and screwed the bottom row to the base. That got the drawer units a bit off the ground and made it easier to level out. I then cut some 12mm OSB to lay in between the two rows of drawer units. Both the bottom and the top drawer units are screwed to the OSB. That should make it more stable and able to better handle the weight.
The draw runners are just metal on metal. So, I added some general-purpose grease to the draw runners and that made them run and sound a lot better. The drawers come with a small label holder but, I found them to be way too small. So I used some black Gaffa tape and a white marker for my labels. That makes it very easy to make and change labels and because the text can be relatively big it is easy to read. I really like this because it is so quick and easy to make a label and hopefully, because of that, I will actually make a new label when things change.
As the bins get printed I get more and more of the drawers organized. These drawer units are working even better than I had hoped. I love that the 3D printer allows me to easily customize every drawer to the content it is to contain. Time will tell how these cheap drawer units will hold up to the relatively heavy load. I will of cause report back if this turns out to be a terrible idea or not. Until then. Go make something! I will go and enjoy my organized hardware storage.