I'm having a blast of a time organizing all my stuff! At least my embedded electronic stuff. The garage will come later. It all started with me looking for a little ziplock plastic bag of photo sensors when I realized that I have so many little things, it was time to organize my inventory. Something quick yet advanced, with database support, scan-friendly UPC labels, and consistency. First the database...
I have written so much code to offer database support, queries, data entry interfaces, etc. But this time I decided I didn't want to get bogged down with all that, and went with Office 2016 Access. WOW this was easy!!! Forms, everything! Now I have a database with categories and sub categories, UPC's for containers, and a LOT more. Like links to datasheets and manuals saved on my home server. Next, the labels...
This proved to be a lot easier than I expected. Avery has a wonder of a tool online for printing on whatever stock of theirs I choose. And there is UPC support. A LOT of support! And the online tool also supports EXCEL data which is easily exported from Access. SWEET! Next, the storage bins...
I found 5 packs of the Sterilite 6qt 1642 semi-clear storage containers with snap lids. They stack nice and are fairly sturdy. A five-pack is only $5 at my local grocery store. Yeah, a buck a-piece!!! They appear to be much more at Amazon and other places. I have no idea why they are so cheap at the store. Usually it is the other way around! Now I have 20 storage containers with lids, all consistent in size and shape, and stack-able. I also ordered 2 more 4 packs of the Plano 2-3700 Prolatch Stowaway I already have a number of. These are perfect for the little stuff, but there never seems to be enough dividers. No problem! A quick email to Plano and they sent me a bunch more dividers for free!!! BONUS!
Now all I need to do is build a custom unit or two to hold all these containers and I'm in business! Perhaps putting a few high-output LED's behind the bins to light them up for quick inspection. I even set aside a few bins for ongoing projects, and incoming stuff needing to be sorted. Even salvaged stuff. The addition of a couple of forms in Access allows me to select inventory to temporarily move components and gear to those bins, remembering where they are suppose to go back to when done, and saving the list to use as a parts list. WOOHOO! I haven't done it yet, but I should be able to generate a report of stuff to buy, where to get it, etc. when inventory on an item falls below a set parameter. This is so cool!!!
I feel strongly that most of my time developing prototypes is wasted looking for stuff, and a surplus of stuff I have is the result of ordering it not knowing if I had enough or not. I am also planning to create support for a local wish list, like the missing values in my resistors and caps collection to organize my purchases smartly!
This is like Christmas of an idea that is so very long coming and overdue!!
I will post more eventually in this thread, like code, my access database structure, hardware involved maintaining this system, like my laser scanner and tablet (for the QR codes), links to the storage gear.
Maybe this post will help others that find themselves in the same situation and are looking for a solution. Have a great day!!!