Light Your Way to the Correct Resistor

click-and-see

Who doesn’t have issues with component storage (seriously, tell us your secret in the comments)? IF you can get your spare parts organized, it’s still quite difficult to figure out where you actually squirreled them away. Labeling drawers is one thing, but what if you have hundreds or thousands of drawers (we’re looking at you, every Hackerspace that’s been around for more than a few months). This project adds a digital cue to well-organized parts storage by lighting up the component drawer for stock selected from your computerized inventory (translated).

The idea is that all of your parts are assigned a drawer space on the computer. When you go into the index and select a part, the assigned drawer is illuminated by an LED. The setup here is a breakout board for an I2C LED driver which interfaces with a Raspberry Pi, but the concept should be easy to implement with just about any system.

Need help getting to the point where you’re organized enough to implement this? So do we. Maybe revisiting this storage roundup will help.

Direct, Wall-Mounted Storage with Lasers and Polymorph

parts-storage-brackets

We’re sure everyone could use some more storage and organization in their workshop. [Nixie] is no exception, though he also hates sacrificing tabletop space for boxes. His solution was to attach them to the wall directly by hacking together some brackets. This hack allowed him to hang everything without using internal screws which were a pain to get at if he need to removed the boxes from the wall to take with him.

[Nixie] started by laser-cutting a negative pattern for a mounting bracket that would fit the dovetail rails already on the sides of the boxes. He then pressed a piece of polymorph into this mold, slid the bracket along the side of the box…and realized it wouldn’t work. The piece wiggled around too much because it did not sit firmly in the rail. Back at the drawing board, [Nixie] split the project into two steps. He cast the screw-hole portion of the bracket in its own separate mold, then cast the railing part of the bracket directly in the dovetail section of the box, providing him a much higher degree of accuracy. After joining the two pieces, [Nixie] had a sturdy support bracket that he duplicated and attached around the rest of the bins.

Temperature controlled wine cellar substitute

temperature-controlled-wine-cellar-substitute

Serious wine enthusiasts keep their bottles in a room built for the task. If you don’t have that kind of space you can still fabricate a similar storage environment. This foam box keeps stored wine at a controlled temperature. It also keeps light off of the precious goods. [Michael] built it himself to use in his apartment and published a description of the build process.

He picked up some foil-coated foam board from the home store. Six sections come together into a box about the size of a mini-fridge; 24″ by 24″. A square hole was cut in the center of the top section. This receives the smaller of two heat sinks mounted to a Peltier cooler. The temperature inside is monitored by a thermistor which [Michael] tore out of an old iPod battery. To give him some visual feedback on the internal temperature he added that yellow and black striped meat thermometer.

Since this is for long-term storage, we’d bet the system is rather efficient. As long as the door isn’t frequently opened the temperature change should be quite slow thanks to the insulation and the cool liquid in wine bottles.

Door hidden by bookcase is a marvel of DIY engineering

Taking on a giant build just to hide your shotgun collection may seem a bit over the top. But we couldn’t be more impressed with the project. [Korostelevm] did an amazing job of hiding a small closet with a bookcase-door. It’s something straight out of a Hardy Boys novel.

Possibly the most important part of the build is figuring out how to hinge all the weight a bookcase will carry. His solution was to use a set of four heavy-duty casters. He cut off the wheels from one pair and the mounting brackets from another. By welding the brackets on in place of the wheels he has a sturdy way to mount both the frame and the bookcase. When closed the unit latches using a strike plate and lock set from a door. This is connected to a book using some cabling and pulleys. As you’d expect, just find the right hard-cover and tilt it toward you to open the hidden storage behind. [Korostelevm] shows off the final product after the jump.

Continue reading “Door hidden by bookcase is a marvel of DIY engineering”

Parts storage for all your components

When [Steve] saw that we requested reader’s solutions to storing hundreds of different components, he had to send in his solution to storing bunches of ICs, resistors, transistors, and other components.

Like most of the suggestions we’ve seen, [Steve]’s solution relies on #10 envelopes stored in boxes specifically designed for holding envelopes. While there’s nothing new about storing handfuls of ICs in envelopes, we really like [Steve]’s method of organization.

On the top of each envelope, [Steve] printed a bunch of very useful information including the type and kind of part, the tolerance, speed, voltage, and package information. Also included are the manufacturer and vendor part numbers, making reordering a breeze.

Of course printing out hundreds or thousands of envelopes with this information would be a pain. [Steve] got around that by automating the process with iWork, typing in the values for each field in a spreadsheet app and using Mail Merge to print them all on envelopes.

It’s a very neat system that forced [Steve] to have all his parts on a spreadsheet, inching ever closer to a complete inventory management system. He’s thinking about adding QR codes to the envelopes to make reordering parts trivial, but after figuring out how to send hundreds of envelopes through a printer, we can understand if [Steve] wants to be a little lazy from here on out.

Dead HDD smartphone stand still holds secret data

We’ve actually got a few dead hard drives collecting dust so when we hear about a project that finds a use for one we perk up a bit. But we were somewhat disappointed when we discovered this was a smartphone stand, pen holder, and LED lamp in one. We just don’t have a use for this kind of triple-tasker. But wait… the dead drive has a secret. It still serves as data storage, if you know how to enabling the drive within.

As you can seen, [Samimiy] removed all the guts of the HDD, repurposing the platters and mounting brackets as the phone holder, and mounting plate for a couple handfuls of LEDs. The lamp portion can be adjusted thanks to the articulated based from a small desk lamp he had in his parts bin. The device receives power from the USB connector you can see in the upper right. That’s where the first part of the secret comes in. This isn’t just supplying power, it provides a USB connection to the thumb drive hidden inside the HDD case. But just connecting it to your computer won’t mount it. [Samimy] took the light sensor from an automatic nightlight and set it up below the pen holder. If you shine a flashlight down the hole in that piece of wood it will routed power to the secret USB drive causing it to enumerate on your system. Pretty clever! Take a look at his build video after the break.

We wonder if there’s a way to incorporate this light-based lock system into that mouse-mounted thumb drive.

Continue reading “Dead HDD smartphone stand still holds secret data”

StorageBot finds all your components, makes your storage drawers feel inadequate

Your experience with making things, building projects, and hacking hardware is directly proportional to the amount of components you have on hand; as our experience grows, so do our space and storage requirements, it seems. [Danh Trinh] must have decades of experience, because his StorageBot robotic parts drawer is as awesomely absurd as it is clever and useful.

At first glance, StorageBot just looks like a bunch of small parts drawers mounted to the wall with LED strips along the top and side. The magic happens when [Danh] walks up to the wall-mounted laptop and commands StorageBot to find a component with his voice. A video is worth a thousand words, so you might as well head to the video for the best description available

To get the StorageBot to listen to his voice, [Danh] downloaded Microsoft’s speech recognition SDK and built a VB app to turn his voice into a location of what drawer contains the part he requested. Once StorageBot finds the row and column of the requested part, a pair of stepper motors behind the wall of parts drawers swing into action. Soon enough, the drawer containing the requested part pops out, and [Danh] can go about his business building more awesome stuff.

Because a few paragraphs can’t convey exactly how cool [Danh]’s StorageBot is, take a look at the videos after the break.

Continue reading “StorageBot finds all your components, makes your storage drawers feel inadequate”