Component Storage

Article : Andy Collinson
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The storage of small parts with tiny inscriptions that are difficult to read maybe a problem, but fishing tackle boxes or component trays come to the rescue. Also ideally suitable are the storage boxes that contain small drawers. These can often be found in hardware stores and in shops such as Wilkinsons, B & Q, and Woolworths from time to time (in the UK). My label template creates trapezoid labels that are 4.0cm wide at the top, 3.7cm wide at the bottom and a diagonal slant of 1.0cm.

It is difficult to make a neat job of labelling such drawers, so I have made a label template to make the job easier. The images below show a 16 compartment storage box; the left image is labelled by hand, the right image has been printed on my printer. I have used the Open Source productivity Suite Libre Office to create a label template.

Click each image to zoom.

There are certain advantages to using a printer. First, it will produce much more accurate and consistent results than labelling by hand. Secondly, printer ink is light fast and will not fade like ordinary ink.

Introducing Libre Office
LibreOffice is the free power-packed Open Source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base. Support and documentation is free from our large, dedicated community of users, contributors and developers. Libre Office Home Page.

The label template is made using Libre Office Draw. It will work on any system, windows, Linux, Mac running Libre Office. It can be downloaded here here at the Libre Office home page. The download is quite large so best suited to anyone with a faster connection.

Libre Office Drawing Template
Once Libre Office is installed, click here to download my label template. This will download a file called labels.odg This file is also compatible with Oracles's Open Office. Sorry but this template cannot be used with any version of Microsoft Office. However the good news is that Libre Office is also available for windows.

Once downloaded, start Libre Office and select the Draw program, you will see the template looks similar to the image below.

Click Image to Zoom

Using the template
The bottom of the label template has a selection of symbols including a fuse, passive and active components, an IC pinout and switches. These symbols are a grouped part, so selecting an item moves all individual lines and segments of the symbol. As shown left, click a symbol, go to edit, copy and paste it and move it to any of the draw segments. Add some coloured text, save your new layout and print it. I used Verdana size 14 font in the image any font may be used.

Original Template
Below is my original template drawn with an early version of Open Office. Unfortunately the original template lost its components, the new version is better and the image shows you what can be achieved with just a few mouse clicks. The labels were printed on 190gm paper A4 paper.
labels Important!
When printing the template do not select the option "Scale to Fit", otherwise the dimensions of the drawers will be lost. In the photo is a Rohldale sheet cutter. This has a long edge and proved useful in cutting the individual labels, but scissors, or a steel ruler and knife could also be used.

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