I was wondering how everyone stored their Vex parts because I am getting tired of my setup. I use 2 of the large Vex cardboard boxes to store most of my “big” parts (wheels and stuff) and I have what I assume is a tackle box for the rest of the stuff.
But this doesn’t hold all of it very well, I have radio controllers loose and I’d love something that was more… manageable and maybe even portable. Has anyone found a great way of storing lots of Vex parts, both large and small? Anything that is relatively easy to lug around? I imagine somewhere there is an organizer that breaks down into small containers, but stacks up onto something with wheels or a handle, but I’m not sure where to start looking.
Each of our team has a Plano Stow and Go box. It holds all their small parts, gears, sensors, etc. Large metal parts are stored in a common 20" plastic toolbox. There is a second smaller box for all the unused wheels.
It works out well, I can put 4 teams of boxs and robots, a field and a floor in the back of my PT Cruiser.
Sear Craftsman plastic tool box - I ignore the little compartments that some tool boxes have in their lids - I picked Craftsman because it gets exchanged for free if it breaks.
Black and Decker’s sells some small parts storage tray/boxes that have compartments big enough and deep enough to hold the 84-tooth gears and the microcontrollers.
Stack-On’s 20-compartment small parts box is great for all the small nuts, screws, axles, crystals, receivers, etc.
Take a Transmitter, a 17.5" piece of metal (like a 1x5x35 C-Channel), a large Wheel, and a large Gear with you and visit the local Hw store or Sears. Take the stuff with you so that you can confirm it fits in the tool box or organizer you like, before you buy it and bring it home.
I have two of These that i keep all of my big parts in metal rails , wheels , track , etc. ] and two of These for some of my smaller parts, including 1 drawer per each size - bolt, nut, collars, spacers, washers, etc.
Robotics it the only thing in life that i keep organized =)
That Plano Stow and Go looks pretty nice. And thanks for the PDF link, it has some very common sense suggestions.
My real hope was that someone had found something that all stored together in one “system” (or stack, or something) for convenience. But I guess that isn’t very likely, especially considering the huge variety of parts.
I thought about using one of those plastic carts with drawers, but I wasn’t sure how well it would work. I thought that all of the metal and bigger parts might be too heavy, especially with the drawers pulled all the way out.
So far, I haven’t really found a perfect solution for storing all of my VEX parts. I have found many storage containers that work well for some of the parts, but not for all of them.
Right now, I am using 3 different sizes of storage containers and the lids of 3 paper boxes (to hold the metal and larger parts). I still don’t have anything to put my microcontroller and transmitters in yet though. I like to keep all of my parts organized and grouped together as much as possible so I have:
small one for screws, washers, and nuts
small one for spacers (metal and plastic)
small one one for axles, shaft collars, bearings, etc.
medium one for motors, VEXplorer motors, servos, replacement gears,
cables, and wire ties with space for the heavy duty motors coming out
medium one for tank tread parts including the tank tread upgrade kit and
the VEXplorer tank tread upgrade kit
medium one for small metal parts
large one for sensors and switches
large one for VEXplorer controller, signal splitter, receiver, tether,
programming cable, jumper clips, etc.
large one for batteries, battery boxes, VEXplorer camera and cable,
flashlight kit, etc.
large one for gears, gear brackets, small wheels, and intake rollers
including the advanced gear kit and the heavy duty gear kit
large one for chain and sprockets, VEXplorer wheels and 2 swerve kits
with space for the heavy duty chain and sprocket kit coming out.
large one for VEXplorer metal parts and claw
I was going to buy one of those rubbermaid carts to store everything on, but we really don’t have enough room in our house for it right now. I thought that I could put all of the storage boxes on the bottom and whatever robot I was working on on the top. When I wasn’t working on my robot, I could just roll the cart out of the way. I don’t know if that would be the best idea or not, but it seemed like a good way to store everything including my robot (instead of keeping it on my desk).
So far I am eying the Plano Stow n Go. I like that it seems to be the same box, but with different sized containers in the bottom part. I could have one with 4 of the small ones for little parts and one with 2 of the big ones for larger ones.
It also seems that Lowes has them. I am having a heck of a time trying to find a web page for the company, to see what various versions they might have. The “Plano” part is of course turning up lots of Plano, TX results. Stow n Go is so generic I get tons of self storage places and “plano stow n go” gets me lots of results for the item itself at various online retailers.
For the three drawer unit we use, the top of the box will hold a transmitter and a charger. The top drawer holds all the nuts and bolts. Second drawer has three long dividers. They are long enough for the long axles, 20*1, etc. Sensors, cables, spare robot battery packs will also fit in the slots. The bottom drawer is deep, it will hold the big wheels stacked on each other.
I have one of the four drawer small parts ones. It’s not as practical as the three drawer one, that deep drawer is very nice.
Plano Molding Company Website has the entire product line. Lowe’s has them on their website, but I’ve not seen them in a store in the last two months. Lowe’s had two colors, a bright yellow and then the grey/brown ones.
I’ve been on the lookout for something a little bigger, like the Stow and Go we have but with a snap / clip on box on the bottom.
When you get the box, buy one of those little carabiner clips and use it as a safety latch on the top latch.
Thanks a lot Foster, their web site was helpful, but incomplete. They are missing pictures for a couple of their products and they don’t have a “where to buy” type section showing with retail stores carry their products. A little silly
Their specs did lead me to select the 1373-30 and I’ve ordered 2 of them from Amazon. Thanks for the lid locking suggestion, I assume that means you’ve picked it up once or twice and either come close to or spilled a bunch of stuff out
Cool storage bin. Our robots sit on two wire racks. The shelves are set up to allow the Plano storage boxes on the bottom, tool boxes with metal is next, with the third shelf holding the robots. Both racks are in the main robot workspace that is locked.
Yes fryfrog, I’ve dumped the box, once when a roboteer had opened it in the car and had not re-latched it and the second time when I caught it on a pants pocket and flipped it open.
Plano only sells to larger companies, so it’s a pain to find someone that carries the part you want. The best source for retail is True Value Hardware and the larger outdoor places (like Bass Pro and Outdoor World). I was just in the local Lowes and asked about the box. They are switching over to another brand and are not going to sell the Plano box any longer. Your Amazon source was not a bad price.
Now all you need is a cool van to carry it all around, of course in Vex gear green!
Most companies that don’t sell to individuals themselves (and I’d wager that is most companies) usually have a page listing retailers that sell their products. It may not be exhaustive and they certainly will only carry a limited selection of their products, but it is a good place to start. I think I found “Plasti-Dip” that way
I just wanted to say that I got those Plano boxes in and their are great. It also turns out my old box was a Plano. Now I have all my gear in 3 of these storage boxes. The tops of these new boxes have a lot more room than the old box I have, it is great.
I even have a little room for more, but will probably have to get a 3nd (and 4th) one when I get a lot more parts. The only thing I couldn’t fit in was my instruction manual(s), but who needs those, right?
Glad they are working out well. We have found them to work well with two common 22" toolboxes for the team, one to hold the bigger metal parts and the other has wheels / tank tread (and do we have a ton of tank tread).
This is my latest find. It is big enough to hold the Stow-n-go, and full size robot or some smaller ones. Mine has a pocket that hangs off the back that holds transmitters.
I’ve been using it on my recent 8 school robot tour. I load 7 12" tennis ball bots in the wagon with the Stow-n-go and the transmitters in the back pocket. It’s made it a lot less awkward getting the bots to the room. I do pull a light bungy across the top to keep the robots from flying out.
The picture looks like there is only three wheels, but there are 4, the front two are a little closer together than the back and are on super swivels. There are also four little arms that slide up and a cover that then goes on them to offer some rain protection. When not in use it folds into a pretty flat space and has a cover that goes over the entire device.
I got mine at Get organized, but I’ve heard that Costco has one for about 1/2 the cost. But I’ve not been able to find them, let me know if you do.