Modular Bin Parts Cart



Parts Cart v1.0


Parts Cart v2.0


Parts Cart v2.1


Parts List - Cart 2.1

Excludes scrap wood, scrap metal rod stock and 1 inch random wood screws

# Name Cost Quantity Link
001 Stanley 25 Removable Bin Compartment Professional Organizer $12 8 Link
002 Stanley 10 Removable Bin Compartment Deep Professional Organizer $20 (Price jumped) 6 Link
003 Casters $4 4 eBay
004 ODROID-C1+ $35 1 Link
005 North Bayou Desk Swivel Arm $33 1 Link
006 Monitor $100 1 Craigslist
006 Kreg R3 Jr. Pocket Hole Jig System - Optional $39.20 1 Link
007 Logitech Wireless Keyboard - Optional $25 1 Link


Build - Cart 1.0


I built a thing. More than one iteration, because that's how it works. You build a prototype. It's alright, but you find out in practice the good and bad parts.

Specifically, I noticed I have fifty bazillion screws, connectors, fasteners, bits, adapters and whatnot. Searching for them in drawers very much sucked. So I decided to do some organizing. I selected all the wood from the finest selection of onhand scrap wood. I solely purchased some screws and the wheels for this project. Everything else was scrap wood.


Some buddies asked if I got the idea from Adam Savage. Video is here:


Answer is, kinda sorta, not really. Sortimo is very nice, but nosebleedingly expensive. My plumber uses Bosch LBOXX stacking locking boxes. I loved it, but again, a single large box was more expensive than this entire project. Much nicer, but five times the price or higher. I paid $10 for the small bins, $15 for the large bins, and $24 for the wheels because I was in a rush. Maybe $6 for the screws. Call it $150 tops for the whole project. Which again, would get you two or three boxes from Sortimo or Bosch, with no rolling shelf unit.

I ordered a bunch of "Stanley Removable Bin Compartment Deep Professional Organizer" off Amazon. Not being paid for the promo, it was the cheapest good removeable bin thingie on Amazon. I looked at the Harbor Freight version, but they sucked and weren't much cheaper. It also had a deeply unpleasant smell, which probably wasn't healthy. Measured everything and noticed I had room left over from a countertop, so I added shelves rather than do additional cutting. The wheels from from Home Depot, I've since bought a bulk supply from China. 12 from China off eBay were cheaper than one from off the shelf at Home Depot.

The cases are very nice in that the bins can be removed, and mix'n'matched to make one "project" case with all the small stuff I'll need. Takes prep work down from 30 minutes to maybe two or three minutes. Keeps everything very securely, as the case lid have intends to keep everything in place. The bins slide in on 3/8th inch square dowel rods that I glued in place, and then attached with four screws per. There's about 3/8th inch vertical gap between the cases. The smaller cases, I left 2.5 inches between dowel rods. The big cases, 4 inches between the dowel rods. Width is about 17 inches.

The far side doesn't have anything on it, but I was thinking of mounting all of my measuring tools (and levels, and straight edges, etc) for ease of access. Maybe do something about the clamps.


Start off by cutting four boards to equal length. Add up all the height of your boxes, with a touch of space between them. 1/8th of an inch is enough. I added some extra space for a mini toolkit at the base, as much for weight as anything else. If you bought a pocket hole jig, add two to four screw holes per board on each end. Up to you if you want to paint it before or after. I did a fair amount of the painting before assembly, still not sure if that was a good idea.


If I had used much thicker wood or double slabbed construction, I could have just used a table saw to make some cuts in the wood instead making rails. Rails work much better, but take a lot more work. Square dowel rods are pretty cheap. I bought a handful of them, taped them neatly and cut them using a stop. Cutting took a couple seconds. Measure twice, cut once.


Three screws and wood glue was possibly overkill, but we're talking about cumulatively holding a lot of metal in some of these cases. Better safe than sorry. If the rail splits, toss it and replace. Cutoff ends make great spacers.


Base and top were easy enough as well. Measure your cases dimensions, measure the wood dimensions. Add everything up. I left an 1/8th of an inch on the sides for the cases to easily come out. Front and back I left an inch and a half, which was too much. Assembly is putting glue on the ends of all the boards before putting a screw through all of the pocket holes you drilled earlier. 90 Degrees Right Angle clamps make everything line up neatly. I went with the cheap ones and haven't regretted it so far. Screw on the wheels and you're good.


Total build time was about two hours


 Good
  • Cheap
  • Mobile, easy to wheel near project
  • Rapid access to everything
 Bad
  • Badly whobbles
  • Too tall
  • Lack of place for easily swapping out bins

I partially resolved the lack of easy way of swapping out bins by adding a folding side tray using more scraps and three door hinges from the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. It wasn't perfect but worked well enough.







Build - Cart 2.0


Peep in the background is a fiberglass replica of the marshmellow candy. About six feet long, four ish feet high. I'm working on building him overhead cover. Still debating on the design. Maybe a Japanese or Shinto inspired mini temple. Everyone always asks so I figure I might as well address it.

The old parts cart served me well for a year or so. It wobbled badly and threatened to tip when I'd wheel it into the garage. The side platform served ok but not great. I learned my lessons from the previous build and decided to start over from scratch rather than try to re-engineer the existing cart to do what I wanted. It would have been a nightmare to cut down, re-inforce and brace to remove the wobble. It would have still been too top heavy unless I added a 40 pound sand bag to the base, which the cheap wheels would not have liked.

 Requirements

The requirements pretty much defined the build. The replacement cart would be lower and wider, but roughly same depth. Since the cases didn't change size, this left extra space on the left hand side. This nicely left some room for building some shelves. I used very very thick wood on the top and bottom for stability. Two pieces of wood at right angles added a ton of stability as well.


Because I'm always looking for excuses to fire up the forge, even if I'm not the world's best blacksmith, I did the staple thing instead of bungle cables or wood edges. I used cutoffs (end pieces from earlier projects) that were pretty beat up but nearly perfect length. Yes, they look pretty ugly but work perfectly. Installing them was very easy. Drill slightly undersized holes and use a mallet to hammer the staples. Eventually I'm going to add some iron rod stock in the back to keep everything from falling out. Probably twist it about decoratively. More for an excuse to beat metal with a hammer than practical reasons. It takes a lot of work for the cases to fall out, so it's not a high priority for future improvements.

I decided to fabricate two more shelves based on spray paint cans height. Worked out nicely. I drilled a couple more holes and used small wood dowels rather than screws. Worked out nicely and will hold more weight than I indeed to put on those shelves.

Bigger wheels were also an excellent idea for improving mobiility. I might buy even larger ones in some future iteration. Pneumatic maybe?

End results worked supremely better than the previous versions. All of the shortcomings were resolved. Still cheap. I used the same screws left over from the original project appropriately stored in the cases of the original cart. Total cost was a couple bucks for bigger casters. Scrap wood and metal for everything else.






Build - Cart 2.1


Cart 2.0 is absolutely fine, but it was annoying to drag out a laptop and speakers. I wanted to be able to look up reference material, YouTube tutorials and whatnot when I was out in the garage. Not, say, firing up Kodi or Netflix. While I do all the time. Back to the drawing board!


 Requirements


So I engineered it. I put the screen on a swing bar to get it off the top of the cart, and able to swing it out of the way. The surface footprint is 2.5" x 1.5". The screen I got off Craigslist, an Asus 27" monitor. The PC took the longest to ponder over. Everyone would say "Raspberry Pi", but honestly the hardware isn't the greatest and I didn't want to use Linux. Raspberry Pi doesn't support Android. After doing more research, I found something with a similar size and cost with better specifications. The ODROID-C1+ was $35 and had MUCH better ports. The case was an extra $5. Admittedly, I had a USB dongles for WiFi and BlueTooth sitting around, those would be an extra $5 per. I had a spare power strip laying around as well. I mounted all of the vertically on the back of the cart. Center of gravity is now a bit higher than I'd like.

Works perfectly. Does absolutely everything I need in a compact package. Total cost for all carts was probably $300. $150 for the bins, $150 for the screen/PC.

Future Cart 2.2 improvements: Steel plate on the bottom. Bigger tires. Prettier cabling. Pull handle.