Being laser cut on demand out of sheets of acrylic, Wild Gears do not come with a storage system. So, how to keep them in some kind of tidy but usable state?
Here are some great ideas with photos from reader Jay Heyl.
This is the double-sided micro utility box I use for the smallest gears and the donuts. It has a hinged lid on either side. The lid closes right up against the dividers so the parts don’t jump from compartment to compartment when it’s closed.
Here it is opened to the side with the donuts. I have a separate small container for my “overflow” donuts. I figured it was best not to keep all my donuts in one basket.
The flip side of the micro utility box.
The smallest gears are in the upper left compartment. It will hold any with less than 20 teeth. The compartment at the bottom tops out at 30 teeth. My spare putty goes in the upper right compartment. The blobs of putty I regularly use get stuck to the underside of the lid. Most of it’s in use right now so there’s just that one piece.
This box is an almost perfect solution for the small pieces. I sometimes need to dig a little to find the gear I want but being able to see through them makes it a lot easier.
Now we move to the medium sized gears, from 31 teeth to just over 100 teeth. There’s nothing special about this case aside from having a semi-rigid exterior that I figured would provide a bit extra protection.
The smaller of the medium sized gears can fit two to a sleeve. For these smaller ones this is not a great solution. There’s almost no surface tension holding them in place. Tilting the case toward the top or flipping the pages can make the gears fall out of the sleeves. Oddly, they are sometimes a bit stubborn about coming out of the sleeve when I actually want them. I would prefer a solution where they don’t flop around and are easily accessible without having to dig.
The CD case works well for the larger gears. They stay in place. I haven’t gotten around to labeling these sleeves yet.
For the gears too big to fit in the CD case and for all the rings I use a plastic project box. I didn’t take any pictures of that because it’s nothing special. They’re available all over the place and it’s just a plastic box into which I toss the rings and larger gears. The project box works better for holding old drawings than for holding the gears and rings. I do also have a heavy poly bag with a slide closure top, kind of like a plastic money bag, that I use for the small and medium rings. That also goes in the project box.
I originally thought it would be important to keep my storage solution potentially mobile, but in over a year they haven’t moved more than ten feet so I’m now thinking more along the lines of something a bit more permanent where the gears each have a place within easy reach. No matter what I do with the larger gears I will continue to use the micro utility box. I almost always close it as soon as I remove what I need so gears won’t go flying if I happen to bump it off the drawing table.
~ Jay Heyl
[Much thanks to Jay for the ideas and photos. ~ Ed.]