Thrift Store CD Rack Turns Into Small Parts Storage Playground

What in the world could an accessory for an obsolete audio medium possibly have to do with keeping all your unruly bits and pieces in order? First of all, we’re not sure the CD is quite dead yet; we’ve got about a thousand of them packed away somewhere, and we’re pretty sure they’ll be back in style again one of these days. Until then, though, the lowly CD rack might be just what you need to get your shop under control.

As [Chris Borge] relates the story, he stumbled over this CD rack at a thrift sale and quickly realized its potential. All it took was some quick design work and a bit of 3D printing. Okay, a lot of 3D printing, including some large, flat expanses for the drawer bottoms, which can be a problem to print reliably. His solution was simple but clever: pause the print and insert a piece of stiff card stock to act as the drawer bottom before continuing to print the sides. This worked well but presented an adhesion problem later when he tried to print some drawer dividers, so those were printed as a separate job and inserted later.

Sadly, [Chris] notes that the CD format is not quite Gridfinity compatible, but that’s not a deal breaker. He also doesn’t provide any build files, but none are really necessary. Once you’ve got the basic footprint, what you do with your drawers is largely dependent on what you’ve got to store. The video below has a lot of ideas for what’s possible, but honestly, we’re looking at all those little parts assortment kits from Bojack and Hilitchi piled up in a drawer and just dreaming about the possibilities here. Add a voice-activated, LED inventory locator, and you’d really have something. Off to the thrift store!

16 thoughts on “Thrift Store CD Rack Turns Into Small Parts Storage Playground

  1. dude?! really?! obsolete…dead…eclipsed….
    let me tell you CDs is as far as I got and as far as I will go techwise – screw streaming – it’s a Biggus Corous corp daa suck machine.
    I’m staying on CDs (and DVDs) from ‘thrift’ stores and ebay and I *love* it
    Biggus Techus has missed that many people are fine with old tech. it is —sufficient — and also cheap dollarwise and no data-suck-out-nonsense either

  2. This exemplifies the conundrum of many people with 3D printers: they dive into a rabbit hole of printing zillions of parts to adapt something that would be so much more efficient to design from scratch.

      1. Is it really worse than justifying the ink squirters though? There are a great many things that I can make with simple modifications to used items that would be a much bigger waste with new parts, and even more things I can make quickly, cheaply, and nicer with bio-derived plastic than I could buy in the petroleum based forever version that ships with 75% empty space and 20% packaging. By contrast, anything produced by an ink squirter can be displayed on a tablet from 2005 for a tiny fraction of the cost (and possibly provide some use for those old tablets? Whatever).

        I think plenty of people shouldn’t own a 3d printer, but I also think there are people who shouldn’t paint or drywall their own house and even a few that maybe should leave laundry up to someone else. If you like making things, then a 3d printer is a lot cheaper and more reasonable than a whole woodcrafting kit, which isn’t THAT rare of an item to possess.

        1. Don’t know and don’t care about ink squirters. I own a LaserJet from 2004, last time it had its toner changed was 2012 and just yesterday I used it to print a couple of pages. Amazing machine.

    1. I would make this out of 10mm (~1/3″) plywood rectangles, which are about thickness of a jewel case. You can cut about 100 within the time your printer will have laid down the first layer, drillijg holes for anything which will fit in a round hole is very easy, making square pockets can be done with a chisel. Much cheaper, much faster, much more adaptable.

  3. Nothing stops you from printing directly on a CD case, giving you a nice flat base to start with and less material needed, as you only need to print the dividers. Can’t print all the way up to the edges, but I don’t think that would be a huge issue.

    1. Given how much trouble it would be to actually set the printing parameters to that, I would probably just CAD the part to fit in the case and use a bit of glue. Of course, then you have to find more than just the rack, which sounds like a possibility PITA these days, especially since most people still using CD’s either long since ditched the cases or are not likely looking to get rid of them. I do regularly still see the racks at thrift stores or in other giveaway/super cheap offerings though so it’s not such a stretch to repurpose that part.

  4. My philosophy regarding all the “stuff” I have is that it is a “solution looking for a problem to solve”. Obsolescence or repurposed. I’ll be the judge of that. BTW, I still use CDs. Lots of them.

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