This is a project that took 2 years to come to fruition. I always get into an organization kick at the start of each year, and it looks like I started thinking about this in January 2019. Apparently organizing my socket drawers didn’t take top priority, so this idea has just been sitting on the sidelines ever since. Here’s a peak at the finished product:
I wanted a socket organizer that didn’t waste a lot of space, nested well in my drawers, was portable, and most importantly was marked with high visibility numbers. I think I’ve hit most of my targets. My last step is to come up with my preferred color combination to identify metric and SAE tools. Red/Blue, Red/Gray, Red/Black…. I’m not sure on that one yet.
It took me a long time to finally come up with the curved shape I settled on. I usually think in straight lines, not curves, so this was harder for me than it should have been. A lot of the time spent on this project was time learning Fusion 360 and Inkscape. I use both programs, and am learning the benefits of each. For the laser, Inkscape is the program I use and it took a bit of time to try to make a scaled ‘CAD’ style 2D layout.
I picked up a CNC “K40” laser cutter at the start of the Coronavirus lockdowns and have had some fun learning to use it. I decided this would be a perfect way to use up some scrap wood and make a useful project at the same time, so I decided to try this on the laser instead of the CNC router. You can see my cardboard ‘fixture’ that I use to locate the wood and my preferred work holding solution: masking tape. I don’t want parts blowing around from the air assist.
Here’s some of the first parts out of the laser. I’m doing a test fit. As you can see, I’m having some issues with getting a clean cut all the way through this plywood. I did 2 passes at 5mm/s, 70% power. Additional. passes didn’t seem to help.
Here’s the metric and SAE tray cutouts I made, along with the old socket tray I was using to hold these sockets.
I ended up making 3 pieces: A top piece with numbers engraved, a middle piece with the same holes but no numbers, and a bottom piece with no holes.
The 3 layers were then glued together with wood glue. This was a bit messy. Super Glue / Cyanoacrylate glue might be a better choice here. I may try that in the future.
Here’s the parts after glue-up and with a bit of sanding to remove most of the char from the laser. This is the one thing I don’t like about the laser, but I think it’s a necessary evil.
And finally, some action shots in the the toolbox!