I fuss a lot about how to organize tools and parts so that people can easily find and use them. This is a constant challenge in my day-to-day business as much as it is at my local hackspace. What I’ve figured out so far is that everything has to have a dedicated home address that’s very visible and easy to access. Picking bins hit a sweet spot that meet a lot of needs.


They’re stackable; they’re open in the front; they’ve got room for a label on the front; there’s no lid to lose; it’s hard to put them on a shelf the wrong way; they can be made without glue, tape, or fancy tools; they can be made from recycled materials; and you can see what’s inside without opening anything.


Inspired by ULINE picking bins and Rahulbotic’s online box generator I created Build-a-Bin, a web page that generates the plans for you to make similar bins in your favorite sizes.

If you don’t have access to a laser cutter you can actually print these on paper and fold them together origami style. Just cut along the black lines, crease and fold on the blue lines. Slot the back of the box together first, then the top, then the lip on the front. Voila!

Caleb Kraft

Caleb Kraft

Community Editor for Make:
I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity of the masses! My favorite thing in the world is sharing the hard work of a maker.

I’d always love to hear about what you’re making, so send me an email any time at [email protected]

  • rossbagley

    Nice. As soon as I saw this I was reminded of a cardboard cabinet I once made with lots of small openings. Bins like these would have increased the utility of that cabinet immensely.

    One thing: I wouldn’t use the laser to create fold lines by cutting partway through the cardboard. Those folds represent significant weaknesses that will tear out more quickly instead of adding strength to the resulting box. Use or make a cardboard creaser (there’s an instructable for making a pizza-cutter style creaser from mdf/melamine) and those bins will last much longer.

  • tsquared

    Interesting article. FYI the dxf file is in R12 format and the latest version of Inkscape wont open them. Just produces a blank sheet. Any idea how to get that to work?