3D Printed Tool and Hardware Organizer

We desperately needed to get a handle on our hardware storage and organization at the Makerspace, so we bought a bunch of inexpensive stackable containers in 2 different sizes at Harbor Freight…. But while the different sized compartments inside are great, they’re never quite perfect for what you need.  There were 3 compartment sizes, so we wanted to duplicate them on the 3D printer so we could have as many configurations as we liked.

Before I started 3D modeling, I measured each compartment size and took specific dimensions, and noted any distinct characteristics to include in the model. For example, the compartments had a very slight taper to them. Because I want the finished pieces to fit right in with the store-bought pieces, I took note of this to make sure mine matched. I made 3D models of all 3 sizes but for the sake of simplicity I am going to talk through just the smallest compartment.

I opened Shapr 3D and started by creating the top and bottom each cup. I then lofted them together to create that subtle taper. From here, I rounded the edges to match the originals, and then converted the shape to a shell. Lastly, I made the feet, being sure to position them just right so that they’ll sit in the grooves on the base of the organizer.

Then it was time for a test print. This almost never happens, but the first draft fit perfectly, and it didn’t need any changes. This meant I could start producing them in big batches in lots of different colors. One of the things I love about this 3D printer is its ability to print multiples on one plate. It made quick work of this particular project.

After they were all done, I rearranged the compartments in the organizers so they were all exclusively small sized. I used 1 color for each organizer for easy identification. I also labeled each cup with exactly what was in them, so when it runs empty, I’ll know what to buy.

I am going to keep the other compartment sizes on hand because in the future if I need to make a change to how I have these organized it will be a really simple change.

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