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Valve Boxes for Component Storage

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Valve Boxes for Component Storage

Post by Terrykc » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:46 pm

Valve boxes can make cheap component storage drawers too.

If you've got a wide range of resistors, you could easily have 72 different values (E12 series, 10Ω - 8.2MΩ) albeit with a few omissions. Even so, having six neat rows of 12 boxes makes it possible to find any value in virtually no time at all, so it's worth having the empty boxes to keep the rest in order. You'll be surprised how many 0.5W or 0.25W resistors you can get in a small valve box!

Take a box and work out where the glued join is. Then with this at the top of the box, find which end flap opens downwards (Figure A). The reason for keeping the join at the top is that, if your storage is in less than perfect conditions, the box wont fall apart if the glue gets damp!

Now cut along both corner edges of the top, leaving a short piece uncut at the other end. Cut across the box and remove this piece (Figure B).

Now fold the side flaps together (figure C), lift the end flap and fold it right over the side flaps and align them to keep the box square. then, taking a small desk stapler, staple the three thicknesses of card together (Figure D). This is the rear of the drawer.

Valve_Drawer.jpg
Component drawer from valve box


After neatly writing the value and power on the other, front, flap, run clear tape over it from top to bottom. This protects the writing and makes the box much stronger.

Make racking out of suitable card - it will be surprisingly strong when fully populated. Much of my 'racking' was comprised of thin cardboard sleeves that originally held five valves and was only ever intended to keep things tidy for delivery! Once they were all glued together and filled they turned into surprisingly rigid blocks.

Make sure that the depth of your rack is slightly less than the length of a drawer - it makes them easier to get out.

I first got the idea for this when we ordered some Mullard 'mustard, capacitors many years ago and they turned up in a valve box, with a perforated tear off strip. By the time I left, my wall* of cardboard storage - all valve boxes - must have been five years old. It was a busy workshop and we sold a lot of components to enthusiasts but every box was still intact (although the exposed edges of the front flap of the most popular values was getting a bit 'furry' but the 'sticky backed plastic' still did its reinforcement job!).

* It was indeed a wall, above a narrow shelf for support. Full ranges of 0.25W, 0.5W and 1W resistors, Silver mica caps, polystyrene, tubular, electrolytic (low voltage types) fuses, etc., yet it took up a fraction of the space of any other form of storage I've seen.
Last edited by CTV on Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: A very useful idea, split from the for sale thread as it would have become lost over time.

 
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Re: Valve Boxes

Post by Pamphonica » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:52 pm

Terry,
that is just so ingenious! And actually a lot cheaper than buying sets of drawers (at £50 for a 48-drawer set!)
Since I have the odd spare valve box myself (!) I might well try housing odd components in this way.
Nice write-up - thanks.
- Jeremy

 
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Re: Valve Boxes for Component Storage

Post by Terrykc » Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:08 pm

Thank you, Jeremy.

I think the important part is not the use of a box but the drawer conversion.

If you mark a valve box '1k2 0w5' and keep your resistors in it, by the time you've opened and closed the box a few times, the box will have virtually deteriorated - lost its flap or something like that.

As a drawer, with the front flap protected by tape, you can take it out and put it back hundreds of times without damage.

Another advantage, of course, is that you can check your stock levels very quickly ...

 
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Re: Valve Boxes for Component Storage

Post by Miguel López » Fri May 30, 2014 5:32 pm

Althought this is an old thread, I thought to share my experience on this. I do not use valve boxes but match boxes, in the drawer style.
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Re: Valve Boxes

Post by Terrykc » Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:46 am

Pamphonica wrote:... Since I have the odd spare valve box myself (!) ...

Yes, Jeremy, I suppose you must have the odd one (or two!) lying about ... viewtopic.php?f=9&t=8015

A couple of additional points worth noting:

- When applying tape to the front of the box/tray, Tape from top to bottom with a generous overlap at each end not from side to side! (This ensures that it is easy to grip it to pull it out.) If you use 25mm boxes you may be abble to apply the tape in one pass but for larger sizes (or narrower tape) two overlapping layers will be necessary but please do ensure that the tape extends to the edge of the flap for a longer life.

- 25mm boxes are ideal for sub-miniature resistors - usually 0.125W or 0.25W, about 1.5 - 2mm dia and 7.5mm long. Use 35mm boxes for larger sized resistor - usually 0.5W and 3 to 4mm diameter by 10mm long. Capacitors may be more of a problem due to the sizes increasing over the course of a decade as well as with increasing voltage rating, so you may need to experiment to find the optimum size for each range. Jeremy should be able supply something suitable for which ever size(s) you choose ...

- If fabricating something your own racking from light card - such as cereal boxes or similar, perhaps - I'd make them 4 valves wide to suit the 12 values per decade of standard resistor ranges.

 
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Re: Valve Boxes for Component Storage

Post by Terrykc » Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:54 am

Miguel López wrote:Althought this is an old thread, I thought to share my experience on this. I do not use valve boxes but match boxes, in the drawer style.

By using valve boxes there is plenty of room for the leadout wires without bending or trimming them although your match boxes would be ideal for components preformed for PCB mounting.

Another problem here would be finding the matchboxes! Virtually everybody who still smokes tends to use cheap butane gas lighters these days, so matches are rarely seen!

However, with match boxes consisting not only of a tray but an individual strong box to hold it, they should make quite solid assembly even in small quantities.


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