Tag Archives: storage

Storage for Boot (Trunk) of Toyota Caldina

7 Jan


The boot of our family car is usually full of ‘stuff’. Jackets and blankets in case of a breakdown, tow rope, leather gloves, etc. These tend to get shoved to and fro to make room but flop around and spread out. This annoyed me more than usual the other day, when I had to clear everything out to get access to the floor.


I didn’t take a photo of the mess in the boot, but this is the sort of junk that was in there, hurled over into the back seat.


Looking at the boot, there’s an area just behind the back seat where things could be stored vertically if there was a suitable container.

I took some measurements and used Fusion 360 to work out the angles. I could have drawn up a cad diagram of the unit but it was just as easy to lay it out on paper.

boot storage

This is what I came up with. It’s a simple box with two partitions. One side is angled to match the slope of the back of the back seat. The other is dropped down a bit to make access easier. Cardboard was the material of choice for this. (The rendering above was done after the fact, while experimenting with Fusion 360’s new sheet metal workspace, which can also be used for cardboard boxes).


I found a suitable chunk of cardboard from our huge collection in the shed and we marked out the main shape and cut it out. Folded up and held with clamps, it looked pretty reasonable, and fitted firmly into the space I’d planned.


When I put it down on the floor, it was immediately inspected.


The weak point will probably be the back (front as you look at it) wall. It’s already got two layers of cardboard over much of it, so I filled in the gap, then covered it with another complete layer. Probably overkill, but cardboard is cheap and light. We slathered it with pva glue and weighted the sandwich of layers down with exercise weights and wood.

I flipped it the next morning, and glued the angled face. The partitions were added with more pva and some tricky clamping. I added a rim of clear tape just for looks


This is what it looks like in place for a test fit. I mucked up the measurements slightly and had to cut a notch for the handle which releases the sunshade fitting. A lot easier to change in cardboard than something harder.


And this is what it looks like full of stuff. It absorbs a heap of bits and pieces and still leaves most of the boot clear.



Quick laser-cut carpentry clamp storage

30 Oct


There’s a saying in carpentry “You can never have too many clamps.” This is true until you need to store them. I’ve got a bunch of these cheap “F” clamps which make a messy pile. I knocked this holder together out of 3mm mdf. The slots are 5mm wide and go back 70mm.



As usual, I used the very handy “BoxMaker” extension for Inkscape, though I drew the slots in DesignSpark Mechanical. Note that the top layer (with slots) is doubled up with an extra layer to make it stronger. It might have been OK like that but I later added some simple braces. After that it was plenty strong enough.



Here it is attached to the wall. (It’s actually attached with a French Cleat so I can move it around if I want to).


And here it is fully populated. I screwed another piece of wood to the bottom of the back, a bit thicker than the cleat at the top, so the top now slopes towards the back by a few degrees.

Very quick. Very cheap.



Laser-cut dogbone wire storage

29 Oct


Some convenient storage for small amounts of wire.



The problem. I’m a bit of a hoarder, I admit. This is a tangle of twisted pairs of wire, each about 2.5m long. It’s messy, which means it’s in the shed, rather than the craftroom where I’m likely to use it.


I tried cutting a spool out on the laser cutter. This is a 120mm diameter spool, with 3x tabbed plates in the centre. It fitted together very well. Once I squeezed it in the vice, it held together with no problem, even when not glued. However, it’s far bigger than I need.


I made some smaller spools. These are just 80mm across. Again, they fitted together well, and they are a more convenient size, but still too much work.

About then, I realised I really didn’t need anything so complicated (though I’ll use the spools for some things, I’m sure). Instead, I went with a very simple, and therefore quick to cut, ‘dogbone’ shape. These are 80mm long, 40mm wide, necking down to 20mm. All cut from 3mm mdf. I can cut 6 of these in the time it takes to cut one of the small spools.


I designed a 3d printed holder that the end will just fit into, located by the shape and the 4mm hole/pin. There’s a hex shaped handle to fit in a cordless drill. A clip fits over the side to keep it in place, though the fit was actually so firm that I wound some without bothering with the clip. One of the nice things about this was that I could use the .dxf file from cutting the dogbones to define the shape. The actual size of the mdf part was smaller all around by 0.1mm (half the 0.2mm kerf of the laser) than the design specified. That proved just enough margin to get a good fit.


Here’s the 3d printed holder with the laser-cut dogbone in place.


Mounted in a drill chuck, with wire being wound on. I wound with very little tension which makes for a messy coil, but I hadn’t bothered rounding the edges of the mdf so I didn’t want too much force kinking the wire. I did design the centre of the dogbone to be just big enough for a wrapping of 50mm/2″ masking tape, but didn’t bother. If I want to use this for valuable wire, I’ll just 3d print some barrel pieces to make it round.


This is the “after” shot. I’m *much* more likely to use up this wire on projects than when it was a tangled mess. I cut 42 dogbones out of a $1 piece of mdf, though I could have got 60 out with a more careful packing.

A (cheap) wood rack

9 Mar

I had a horrible mess in my wood storage area, so I made up this simple rack to tidy it up.

wood rack 023

This pattern of wood rack (with storage bins on one side and sloping sheet goods storage on the other) is well exampled on the net. In particular Steve Ramsey’s nicely documented build make a rolling lumber cart ,  various designs on LumberJocks, and this nice English/French site rangement-pour-panneaux-et-retailles. However, most of the examples I found used sheets of 3/4″ (20mm) plywood which is very expensive in New Zealand. Besides, a lot of my wood was scavenged and free, and I didn’t want to spend good money on storage for it, so this rack is made from some thin 9mm ply and a lot of scraps. Another difference is that this isn’t a mobile cart – castors won’t work well on a dirt floor.

The area was very messy. (The pink and blue cupboards used to belong to my twins when they were much younger).

wood rack 012 wood rack 013

The first step was to make some temporary covered storage using some pallets, a tarp, some eye-screws, and a few bungee cords.

wood rack 015

I decided to make the storage bins 400mm x 400mm, which is wider than the capacity of my (small) tablesaw.  That meant clamping a temporary worksurface to the saw top to make the cuts.

wood rack 002 wood rack 003

The only flat surface for assembly, anywhere near the shed, was the bed of my trailer. It worked quite well. The lines on the plywood mark some treated fence palings to raise it off the ground.

wood rack 006

Some free offcuts of mdf supplied spacers. I clamped four together to ensure each set of spacers were the same length.

wood rack 007

It turned out that four sheets was a trifle too much depth for this 200mm (8″) mitre saw, and I had to tidy up one corner on each batch.

wood rack 008

Once I had my spacers and the 400×400 squares of plywood, I assembled a set of bins. Rather a messy operation and a crude looking result.

wood rack 011

Now I could start assembling the structure in-situ.

wood rack 017

The shelves for the centre were, again, thin 9mm ply. That meant I couldn’t screw into the side of them so I cut small rails for them to sit on. One of my recent pickups was some 2.4m long strips of 20mm plywood, but only 20mm wide. These worked very well for rails. In the photo below, I am setting up to cut a 10 degree bevel on the edge of one of these 20×20 strips. It’s the sort of cut which isn’t really feasible without a tablesaw.

wood rack 016

I fastened the rails to the shelf before I attached them to the sides. This worked well.

wood rack 019

For the first (lowest) shelf, I was able to put some plastic buckets and some 4x2s down to support the shelf while I fixed it in place.

wood rack 020

Working my way up, I soon had the other shelves in place. (One of my daughters helped with this bit which made it easier as the two ends are 2.4m apart and the area was so messy that moving around wasn’t easy).

wood rack 021

Once I started filling the rack, I discovered quite a lot of nice bits of wood that I’d forgotten I had. The final result didn’t really pack quite as much in as I’d hoped, but it did make it far easier to see what I had. It also got rid of a major problem of wood lower down the pile developing a curve.

Large sheets are stored on one side, while thin but long strips, metal rods, etc go in the shelves.

wood rack 023

With planks, dowels, and narrower offcuts of mdf, going in the bins on the other side.

wood rack 024

Cardboard Sword Coffin

22 May

00 sword coffin

My daughter asked me to pack some of her belongings, including some swords. Before I packed the fancy Japanese ones, I thought I would practice by making a protective box for a (cheap) wooden one.

01 sword

The sword – a bit over a metre (40″) long , 250mm (10″) wide.

02 base outline

I drew lines onto a cardboard box, forming a six sided shape. Out from the ‘coffin’ shaped hexagon, I drew parallel lines 50mm, then 10mm (for a fold), and another 50mm.

03 base cut out

Cutting around the outside makes the shape more obvious.

04 base cut and bent

Then scoring all the fold lines and cutting out tabs.

06 pizza wheel

This is my favourite tool for putting folds into corrugated cardboard. It’s a pizza wheel from a $2 shop, but I ran the edge against a grinder for a moment to take the cutting edge off it. Pressing down on that 1mm edge will crush most cardboard quite easily – even the triple thickness stuff. I found it tends to run off the line rather easily unless I prescore the line with a knife.

05 side glued and clamped

Here I’ve folded over a side, glued it (cheap white PVA glue) and clamped it to a piece of wood to keep it straight. Keeping it vertical (i.e. perpendicular to the base) was a problem. I used a bungee cord to put tension on it but I should really have grabbed a right angle brace of some kind.

07 clamping other side

And then gluing and clamping the other sides. You can see the first long side glued up here, looking quite solid.

08 base folded and glued

Gluing sides with PVA glue is a slow process, with time to watch about 1/2 an episode of NCIS before the glue has set enough to remove the clamps.

09 test of sword in base

A quick test to make sure the sword actually fits inside. Did I mention that this was the second box I made?

10 marking lid shape

I found another chunk of cardboard box and drew around the coffin to mark out a lid.

11 pattern of lid

The pattern of the lid is much simpler, as the sides are only one thickness of cardboard, not two folded over. Equally, it’s nowhere near as strong.

12 lid cut and bent

The lid cut out and folded. Unfortunately, since I used a chunk of cardboard from a shipping carton, there was a large slot going most of the way through it. Hence the offcut waiting to be glued in to strengthen it.

13 gluing support for lid

Gluing the support piece onto the lid. I was working in the living room so some flour and a bag of potatoes got drafted as gluing weights. They worked well.

14 lid partially glued

Again, working around the sides to glue the lid. As with the base, I was able to leave sizable tabs to glue to, for four of the joints. However the joints in the sides are at a very shallow angle which means the tabs left over are quite small. I had to add small strips of cardboard to make the joints solid enough.

15c sword with supports

I folded and glued a couple of support brackets out of cardboard, cutting notches to hold the handle and blade. The handle notch had to be cut reasonably accurately. The one for the blade was easier. I just cut it oversize then slid it up the (tapered) blade until it fit nicely, then glued it in place.

15b support bracket closeup

A closeup of one of the support brackets.

16 closed coffin

Result, one closed coffin which should protect the sword quite nicely. Rather a lot of work when I could have just wrapped it in bubble wrap, but a good chance to try out some different techniques.