Storage unit for IC tubes

So this is a spin-off project from Cataloguing the bone yard… thoughts?

The plan is, to make a wooden frame that will hold a 6×4 array of PVC tubes, into which, the IC tubes can be placed. There’s space to probably do half a dozen IC tubes in a single PVC tube, so scope there to logically group ICs into 24 categories.

I’ll be making two units, one will be for my home workspace and the other a donation to HSBNE.

The budget didn’t stretch to PVC endcaps… I did buy a 44mm hole saw though, and that’ll probably generate some suitable end-cap substitutes.

That’s the raw material used… and yes, the trailer has a few issues with end stops popping out. The plywood is old stock I had laying around, since this is more-or-less a prototype, and the PVC was picked up from Bunnings Stafford en route to the hackerspace.

Building this taught me a few things, and by the end of it I was much more efficient at drilling the holes than when I started.

  1. 40mm PVC pipe has an outer diameter of 44mm (I thought 40mm was the OD)
  2. The “1m” pipes are various lengths vaguely about 1m, they will vary by up to 30mm.
  3. When picking up a hole saw go slightly smaller, it will make a hole slightly bigger than what it says on the package. I used a 44mm hole saw (bought new with the pipes) to match the OD of the pipes, and it was a very loose fit.
  4. When clearing the hole saw, it helped to use a small piece of wire to try and push the “plug” clockwise so it unthreads itself from the central drill bit.
  5. You can correct for an oversize hole by hammering strips of wood along the side of the hole then filing that back for a tight fit … but then you get skewing issues.

Anyway… it’s no masterpiece, but I give you, the finished product:

If this works out, re-doing it with a smaller hole saw (or perhaps a CNC router/laser cutter) and better quality plywood would be worthwhile, but we’ll see how it goes.

So… I started constructing my own at home… and first I started down the path of filing out the strips I had nailed to the back of the panels so they would make a friction fit with the pipe. This was a slow process doing it at the space with a file, and so I thought maybe my rotary tool would do it faster.

Sort of. Too easy to go too far, resulting in a sloppy fit. Ohh, and still time consuming. I put it aside for a bit and cleared out the trailer so I could go do some shopping.

Then it hit me: hot glue could be sufficient to ensure the friction needed. I got the glue gun out at home and warmed it up… a test with one of the pipes and dribbling some hot glue between the PVC and plywood produced some pretty satisfactory results.

I’ve had to put it aside for now as I’ve run out of glue sticks, but this seems to be a pretty reliable method. I might do the same with the one I built for the space. To start, you glue in the four corner tubes, then stand the whole assembly up on one end (tubes vertical). Then, you drop each tube into place then glue it top and bottom, trying to inject as much glue into the gaps as you can. Start with the inner tubes, you should be able to get 3 done all the way around with the glue gun, then gradually add the others. Some you’ll only be able to do ¾ around, some only half… but the more the better.