It’s Happening October 22, 2019


For the first time in a long time, we are starting a new batch of grinders immediately after finishing a batch. We can do this because we actually have almost all of the parts we need in stock. At the beginning of this year we bit the bullet and would not make partial batches of parts just to get the next order out. Instead, we built full batches or even double batches and only started assembling once we had the parts available. This created extremely long lead times which our customers and dealers have graciously been very patient. This is also the first batch in a long time we have started that was not already sold out. But don’t worry for me too much. It looks like it will be sold out before it is finished.

Mikey Likes It October 14, 2019


Last week, I told you about how I was organizing our assembly area tool boxes. I showed you the Lexan tray I made for wrenches. It works really well and I was very proud of it. The problem is that it took a lot of time to fabricate and I had fourteen more drawers to organize. Then Mike Kriz responded to my blog and told me that his US Air Force aircraft technicians used polyethylene foam that they would lay the tools out on, trace and cut with a razor knife. The light bulb went off “I have a bunch of that foam for the old Reel Height of Cut gauge case." I had always used a band saw to cut it which would not be practical for this application. I grabbed a piece of foam, a razor knife and a pair of pliers. I traced around the pliers in the foam with the knife and it worked perfectly. I bought a 4’x8’ piece of ½ inch foam from our packaging supplier for $20. Using a long straight edge and a couple of adjustable squares, I cut out pieces to fit snuggly in each drawer. For the wrenches, I cut a wide strip about 2 inches long and hot glued it to the base foam. I then placed a wrench next to it and glued another strip down, repeat and rinse. For the sockets, I stayed with the Lexan in which I drilled a hole, started a tap and then inserted either a set screw for drive sockets or a ¼ set screw for ¼ drive sockets. I then printed the sizes of the sockets on the same spacing as the set screws, applied a clear adhesive to the printed side and applied it to the bottom of the Lexan. All of the other tools were placed on the foam and traced with the razor knife including the socket trays I made from Lexan. If most of the foam was in tact, I would lay the drawer liner in the drawer then place the foam on top. If the foam became flimsy because of too many cut outs, I would turn it upside down and apply hot glue to several inches of it and then place the drawer liner on the glue. I could then roll back the liner and apply hot glue to a few inches at a time until the whole liner is glued to the foam. This works really well as long as you don’t apply glue to the whole foam pad at one time (like I did the first time) as the first glue applied is hard by the time I was done and it did not stick. I used a spread sheet to print the labels on OL1505WJ. These labels are made from polyester and are waterproof. They seem to adhere pretty well to the foam. I added clear packing tape over the labels on the drawer handles as they get a lot of abuse. If the tool labels don’t stick, I will either use the packing tape or hot glue overhead transparency film on them. This method is much faster and easier. I was able to do all of the standard tool drawers in about one day. I still have to do the specialty tool drawers but it is already helping to keep the assembly area neat and organized. Thanks Mike.

Try Again October 4, 2019


You may remember that I have been working on reorganizing the assembly area including new tool boxes for each station. The drawer layout has not worked the way I had hoped. I put a tool pad down then used foam adhesive tape as dividers with a plastic label either on the pad or the divider. The adhesive did not adhere and the pad still slid around so I had to try something different.

It is important that there is an obvious location that is clearly marked for each tool. The tool has to be easily removed and replaced with one hand and it has to be durable for use in an industrial environment. I have not found any off the shelf tool organizers that fit that bill. I started with the same pad on the bottom of the drawer. We have a lot of scrap Lexan so I made a base out of inch stock that fit the drawer. I then cut strips of ¼ Lexan x 2-½ for dividers. I would glue one divider down with hot glue. Then I would place the wrench down, then the label and finally hot glue a divider over the label. Obviously, the divider has to be bigger than the label. Then I repeated that until all of the wrenches are located. I also put colored electrical tape on each wrench to identify which tool box it goes in. You should do this before you locate the dividers, I didn’t. Other than that, It looks like it should work. We will try it for a few weeks before we make any more. Let me know what you think or if you have any better ideas.


Previous Quarter Next Quarter