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Thread: Tool Chest Foam Cutouts

  1. #1
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    Tool Chest Foam Cutouts

    After reading all the threads/post on shop layouts, re-dos, etc I wondered if anyone who has the tool chests (e.g. Husky,Craftsman, Kobalt etc) uses the foam (2 color) cutout method to keep tools organized.
    For FOD reasons we had to do it at the Aerospace company I worked at.
    But for dept budget reasons we had to do the cutouts ourselves (X-acto, box cutter) and while it did organize stuff, the results were not pretty.

    I was wondering if anyone has done this using the hot wire gizmo to cut the foam cleanly.
    And if so, do you make your own "gizmo" or did you buy one off the shelf.
    There are lots of plans out for DIY there from elegantly simple to rather sophisticated.

    Before I retired The Snap-on Rep gave me 2 boxes of the really nice two color [closed cell] foam for doing that; black top with red bottom piece, 12 paired sheets 24x36.
    (A customer decided he didn't want them and the rep was stuck with them and tired of carting them around)
    Hate to see it just sitting there, and I'd really like to get my two tool chests in order.

  2. #2
    Patty, drink some chamomile tea ,and get some sleep ! Iíve never been good at organizing tools , but I worked in shops and had always
    had a good bench with a good vise , the pattern makers kind , they are the best.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    Patty, drink some chamomile tea ,and get some sleep ! I’ve never been good at organizing tools , but I worked in shops and had always
    had a good bench with a good vise , the pattern makers kind , they are the best.
    HAHA...I'm a night owl (look at the time stamp on this post)... right about 4 AM I head for the barn.

  4. #4
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    These can get expensive and I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but worth a look:

    https://www.uline.com/Product/Detail...ts-24-x-24-x-1

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/182698821753

  5. #5
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    I've cut out a number of shapes using a piece of copper/metal pipe clamped in a Loooooooong handled pair of locking tongs. Heat the metal pipe with a torch(or flame of some sort) and immediately use the curved edge(different size pipes give you different shapes) to cut through the foam. It's almost like scooping ice cream!!
    Practice on a cut off piece first and be careful with the flame.

    Jim

  6. #6
    I have worked in a few factories that did the 5s with foam cutouts, lot of work. My tool chests have the drawers labeled but inside they have a bottom rubber liner from the kitchen dept. At Wal-Mart. All wrenches and other tools are layed in rows by size or whatever makes sense and they stay put and organized. Never saw the need for the foam cutouts, my stuff is organized just as well without.

  7. #7
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    I figured there would be all sorts of youtube videos, and specialized tools sold. I looked, and there are. Looks like it takes more time than I have though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axq-p3gkCVs

    https://5ssupplies.com/custom-size-t...RoC6uwQAvD_BwE

  8. #8
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    And even custom services:

    https://tracemyspace.com/

  9. #9
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    All my tool chest drawers have stuff packed into them too tightly to be spread out that much. Still organized so I can get what I need though.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
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    I've used a hot wire cutter for foam ICF form block to inset electrical and plumbing. I'm sure you could get good with it, but my results always looked rather jagged and ugly. Any wiggle on the three dimensions translates to the work. I've wondered about a jig saw or scroll saw for tool box foam.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Inami View Post
    These can get expensive and I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but worth a look:

    https://www.uline.com/Product/Detail...ts-24-x-24-x-1

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/182698821753
    I've done the pinch foam for big stuff....little stuff it doesn't work so well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Tobias View Post
    I've cut out a number of shapes using a piece of copper/metal pipe clamped in a Loooooooong handled pair of locking tongs. Heat the metal pipe with a torch(or flame of some sort) and immediately use the curved edge(different size pipes give you different shapes) to cut through the foam. It's almost like scooping ice cream!!
    Practice on a cut off piece first and be careful with the flame.Jim
    Thanks Jim...Will try that. I'm a big fan of Ice Cream (coffee flavored)


    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Bade View Post
    I have worked in a few factories that did the 5s with foam cutouts, lot of work. My tool chests have the drawers labeled but inside they have a bottom rubber liner from the kitchen dept. At Wal-Mart. All wrenches and other tools are layed in rows by size or whatever makes sense and they stay put and organized. Never saw the need for the foam cutouts, my stuff is organized just as well without.
    omg...5S... that takes me back....Yes, that's partly what was driving this where I worked, but because we were around aircraft it was also FOD driven.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    I figured there would be all sorts of youtube videos, and specialized tools sold. I looked, and there are. Looks like it takes more time than I have though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axq-p3gkCVs

    https://5ssupplies.com/custom-size-t...RoC6uwQAvD_BwE
    Yep...lots of video on it, lots of pretty neat jigs... and yes, time consuming to build the jig AND do the cutting out.
    But I still kind of, sort of, want to do it (says the person "who does not have multiple decades of life remaining" )

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    And even custom services:

    https://tracemyspace.com/
    Expensive custom services... which was why we were told to do it with an X-acto and box cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    All my tool chest drawers have stuff packed into them too tightly to be spread out that much. Still organized so I can get what I need though.
    I still have a number of wrenches in those hard cases (Craftsman made in US from the 1980s) but they take up real estate in the chest, especially in height.
    Yours, crammed together as they are, still look much better than most of mine, especially all the different screwdrivers.
    Last edited by Patty Hann; 02-03-2023 at 8:08 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Rozmiarek View Post
    I've used a hot wire cutter for foam ICF form block to inset electrical and plumbing. I'm sure you could get good with it, but my results always looked rather jagged and ugly. Any wiggle on the three dimensions translates to the work. I've wondered about a jig saw or scroll saw for tool box foam.
    I'm sure I could make one, and I think I could do pretty well with th actual cutting out.
    When I was five, I could color "inside the lines" perfectly, so well that I won a local "coloring contest" that was for first graders (I wasn't even in kindergarten).
    Prizes were something or other for a doll, or a Rawlings fielder's glove (consider the era). I took the Glove and put it to good use until I was 14 (CYC softball)
    Last edited by Patty Hann; 02-03-2023 at 8:07 PM.

  13. #13
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    HF has a foam cutting hot knife that might work.

  14. #14
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    DIY Hot-Wire Foam Cutter

    See Luke Towan's DIY hot-wire foam cutter at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3GWzHb4Hd8Y. Works great. Luke is a model railroad and diorama scenery enthusiast.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Cannon View Post
    See Luke Towan's DIY hot-wire foam cutter at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3GWzHb4Hd8Y. Works great. Luke is a model railroad and diorama scenery enthusiast.
    Thank you. I have watched a lot of videos on making hot wire foam cutters and this is by far the best one for step-by-step clarity.
    Also everyday materials.... simple electronics...perfect instruction. Might just run with this one.

    The bonus is that he is a model train enthusiast.
    I think that if I weren't interested in WW, I would have been building model train layouts.
    I've learned a lot about miniature building (any kind) from visiting the model train forums. (The ones across the pond seem the most enthusiastic about it.)

    Those folks are insanely talented at making small stuff.... whether from metal, wood, plastics, resin.
    And then how they paint it..... just incredible what they do.
    Last edited by Patty Hann; 02-05-2023 at 8:40 PM.

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