You are here

Protecting tools on the cheap

Illustration of patterns of tools to use as an insert in tool box.

I have a small aluminum case for my on-the-go tool kit, but when I priced custom foam inserts to protect the tools inside, my jaw hit the floor. That’s when I came up with a more affordable alternative.

I outfitted the case with custom trays made from two stacked layers of interlocking foam flooring tile designed for use in exercise rooms. The tiles come in thicknesses ranging from 3/8" to 1". I used 3/8"-thick tiles for my case.

First, I cut two tiles to fit inside the case. Then, I laid out my tools and traced their shapes on one of the pieces. With a crafts knife, I cut through the foam, keeping just inside the lines. (Practice cutting on scrap foam first until you get the hang of it.) Once I was satisfied with the tool fit—it should fit snugly into the cutout—I cut a pair of half-circle finger notches to make removing the tool easier. Finally, I glued the second, uncut piece of foam underneath the top piece as a backing. The box I used accommodates three layers of tools. This works great in drawers, too.
—Steve Martin, Northbrook, Ill.

Read more about

Tip of the Day

Cornstarch prevents sticky sanding drums

Drum sanders save a lot of time in the shop. You lose a lot of that saved time, though, when... read more