Tips and tricks on how to tidy up your bench


If you’re like us then your desk is always a total mess of microcontroller programmers, prototype PCBs, wires, tools, etc… This article covers a few tips and tricks on how to tidy up your workspace. While the article is written for heavier tools and equipment than what we use, there are some cool universal tips in there like the boxes hanging above and the retractable muffin tray (both pictured above).

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  1. For me, any storage container must have a tight fitting lid. there is nothing worse than dumping a bunch of 0603 components on the floor and having to dig through the carpet to find them.

    1. correct, not only for smd, but for other components also, the usual boxes with lid that covers more than one hole does not work for me

  2. I use wire rack and gorilla rack type shelving, and various sizes of plastic tote bins with lids for larger parts and half-finished projects. Bigger totes go on gorilla rack in the garage, smaller bins go on wire rack in the office/lab.

    I currently use flat fishing tackle boxes to store parts, and store a group of them in a plastic file box.

    The storage boxes from Really Useful Products look nice, and I may try them at some point. They have things like divided trays that stack neatly within a box.

    I have a bunch of small candy trays that I use for sorting parts for projects, and a bunch of the small plastic cups from individual serving applesauce that I keep handy. You can make a tray to hold them by drilling a bunch of holes with a hole saw in a piece of plywood to fit the bottom of the cups. cardboard, plastic, or aluminum sheet would work also, as would muffin tins.

  3. Don’t forget about the power of Velcro (or rather generic Hook-and-Loop). People don’t realise how insanely strong that stuff is. I have component drawer units simply velcro’d onto the wall, full of stuff, and more stuff stacked on top of them. The velcro is just stuck onto the cabinet/wall with contact adhesive.

    The sew-on tape is pretty cheap in 10 or 25 meter spools, just spread contact adhesive on the back, you can get self adhesive of course but that adhesive won’t be very strong. Very useful to keep a spool each of hook and loop tapes in your useful-things drawer.

  4. Also should add, consider earthquake precautions, picking everything up off the floor after earthquakes is no fun (speaking from a lot of experience!), having those ceiling mounted red bins bonk you on the head as they go flying across the room would be even less fun.

    Even in areas which are geologically stable as a very stable thing, you should have component drawers that have at least a slight resistance to opening.

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