Allen Wrench Caddy

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Mike Bryan

Project by

Mike Bryan
Sterling, USA

General Information

This is a multi-layer caddy for my Craftsman T-handle Ball-end allen wrenches in Metric and SAE sizes. It starts with the biggest in the center and goes out from there.

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1

Determine your Allen Wrench Sizes

15 minutes

If you’re using the same Allen Wrench sizes I have that came with my sets, you can skip this step.
I designed this to match the Craftsman T-Handle Ball-end allen wrench SAE and Metric sets.

The sizes are:
Metric:
2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm.

SAE:
3/32", 7/64", 1/8", 5/32", 3/16", 7/32", 1/4"

If your wrenches are different or you want to do a different quantity, it might take some tinkering with the sizes to get it just right. I’ve included the .svg file I created if you want to take that into your CAD program of choice to make precise edits to the sizes.

2

Cut the first 2 layers

130 minutes

Here’s where you cut the first two of the three layers for the caddy. Note that there are several holes that are set up as pockets or fills, and several that are set up as outlines. I did this to save time, but it means you’ll have to cut and clean up some tabs that Easel puts in awkward places. You can set all the holes as pockets and cut it that way, but it adds about an hour to each piece’s cut time.

If you choose to go the tabs route, you’ll need something to cut and file and sand the tabs off. I used a very sharp utility knife and it worked just fine.

Some people like to cut a teeny bit less than the full thickness of the wood and then sand it off rather than use tabs. For this project I wouldn’t recommend doing that because you have to align the layers pretty precisely and having an irregular wood thickness would make things more difficult.

3

Cut the third layer

65 minutes

Before you cut the third layer, delete the hexagons in the center of the project. This will be the bottom layer of the project.

4

Cleanup

Use a very sharp tool like a utility knife to cut the tabs out. You can also use a dremel, or a keyhole saw. I wouldn’t use a chisel because there isn’t a lot of material left after the holes are cut out and it’s kind of delicate.

Then use sandpaper to clean up the remainder of the tabs and prepare the pieces for stain.

5

Stain

180 minutes

I used a mahogany stain on poplar wood and it came out quite nice. Your mileage may vary. Getting the stain into the corners and tight holes in the pieces is tough. I used a drill bit dipped in stain and stuck into the really small holes, and Q-Tips for the rest. You can use a model paint brush if you have one and it might work better.

6

Assembly

45 minutes

For this step you’ll need:

(everything is 1/4-20 thread)
8 × 6″ threaded rod
16 Acorn nuts
32 regular nuts

First put an acorn nut onto the end of a threaded rod and run it in and out of each of the holes in the piece. Do this while putting pressure on the rod and eventually you’ll feel it slip. I recommend using a drill with a 7/16" socket on it to make it go faster. You don’t want to drill the holes out with a bit because it will cause the wood to crack, especially in the middle holes.

Second, take each allen wrench and press it through its hole, wiggling it in a circular pattern and twisting slightly to open the holes a bit.

Next, put acorn nuts on one end of the rest of the rods and slip them through the bottom layer.

Then spin 2 nuts down each rod.
One goes to tighten the rod against the bottom layer, and the other one will be a stop for the middle layer.
I used 40mm as a space from the top of the nut to the wood layer below. To achieve this, I set my caliper to 40mm, locked it, and used it as a gauge to get each nut as precisely placed as I could before adding the next layer.

Next, put the middle layer on. If you’ve clearanced the holes properly it should slide on but be pretty tight.

Now add 2 more nuts per rod. Again, one set goes to tighten the wood layer below, and the other will be for the layer above. Put each upper nut about 3/4" down the rod.

Add the top layer of wood, then the acorn nuts for the top of each rod.

Now tighten the upper nuts to the top layer of wood, and tighten the rest of the nuts down. You don’t need a lot of force, just barely past hand-tight. You can check to make sure the layers are evenly spaced here as well, and make any adjustments you need.

7

Add Allen Wrenches

1 minute

Congratulations! You’re done!