How to Organize Your Electronics Workshop
A well-organized electronic workshop begins with the well-component parts bin. A well built component parts bin is essential for the hobbyist as well as the professional. It can protect your component parts from loss or damage and save you valuable time when searching for a specific part. Your component parts bin should be sturdy, functional and user friendly allowing the user to concentrate on projects. Your component parts bin should accommodate the majority of components you expect to stock, from resistors and capacitors to integrated circuits and diodes.
Frame and Shelves
Buy a commercially available, sturdy, heavy-gauge steel frame capable of supporting at least 1000 pounds. The frame is the backbone of your entire components parts bin system. The frame and cross members should be angle iron for structural strength and include cross straps on the back for stability. All metal with the exception of nuts and bolts should be enameled or galvanized. Lock-down casters are required if you anticipate moving the steel frame. Assembly should require nothing more than common hand tools.
Select Industrial Grade 5/8-inch particle board shelves to minimize rust or corrosion. Since you will want to store the lighter and smaller components on the higher shelves for visibility, install the first four shelves from the top down spaced 8 inches apart. This will accommodate standard 4.5-inch high bin boxes. Shelves below this point should be spaced 12 inches apart for 8-inch bin boxes. A larger open area above the bottom shelf can be left for unusual size items. This is a generic shelf spacing and your unique inventory of components might well dictate different spacing.
Choose the number of each size of bin boxes based on your inventory of component parts. Bin boxes are traditionally available in plastic and corrugated cardboard. Regardless of the material, select units that allow you indicate the contents on bin labels on the front of the box. Most bin boxes include removable dividers that allow you to subdivide the bin box into multiple compartments. Bin boxes are also available in different colors which can be helpful when you begin planning the organization of your storage.
Now comes the hard part. All those boxes of parts and pieces that you have been stashing away for years now have a home. It is just up to you to get them to their proper bin. And while you are at it, consider starting a perpetual inventory system while you are at it. It will never be easier.