Years ago, I saw Adam Savage talk about his love for Sortimo storage, but when I did some investigating, I found it was prohibitively expensive for my uses. It 100% makes sense for it's target professional audience, and for someone like Adam that works in his shop constantly, but for me, it was simply too expensive. Then, I discovered that Bosch made a compatible system. In fact, the system is produced by Sortimo for Bosch. It isn't quite the same, but it's darned close, and it's a good bit cheaper, if a lot more limited. It is, however, 100% compatible, so you can mix and match.
There are a bunch of other systems out there, for example, Milwaukee's "Pack Out" system, but there's a few things that I think set the Sortimo/Bosch system apart as slightly better:
- They latch together very quickly, and in a very secure and study fashion. I was able to cary the entire set you see in the photograph, minus the rolling base, up a set of stairs by the handle without any issue.
- In my quick cross-referencing, they seem to be slightly lighter for the same storage space. They certainly are not flimsy, but they seem to have very optimized use of plastics to ensure strength without adding weight. A few ounces adds up.
- The design of the latching allows you to open boxes in the middle without removing boxes on top of it. This is super helpful.
- It has a great roll-around platform with large ball-bearing wheels that it latches and unlatches to quickly.
This is before I discuss the horrifying color choices for some of the systems.
Differences with Sortimo
I've never touched a Sortimo system hands-on, but from watching videos and looking at data sheets, there's a few things, besides the obvious color differences, that set the two apart:
- The i-Boxx systems have no system to lock storage in place, so you really need to make sure it's "full" to hold everything in places so it doesn't get mixed up. This may also just be something unique to the T-Boxx line from Sortimo.
- There's slightly more wasted space in the i-Boxx, with both ribs and just more material along the outside. I think you lose a centimeter or two in this in all dimensions.
Alternatives to Sortimo
The other big system out there, at least at the high-end, is Tanos/Systainer. Festools is the big retailer of these in the US. They are priced similarly to Sortimo, and as best as I can determine, are every bit as good.
These are a combination of Bosch's measurements (for the outside), and my measurements for the inside. For situations, like with the L-Boxx, where there are "ribs" that intrude into the box, I have measured excluding the ribs. These will typically gain you another 1/4" on each dimension.
|Outside Dimensions (WxDxH)
|Inside Dimensions (WxDxH)
Yes, I know these are customary/imperial measurements. So shoot me. I flip back and forth constantly. Weirdly, I modeled in metric, but measured in customary, largely because I only have a tape measure that reads in inches.
A big open space isn't the most useful thing for organizing parts. While Bosch does offer some compartments, and while being injection molded means they're stronger and lighter, I wanted something with more flexible sizing, especially since I actually needed smaller containers to achieve higher density.
I built a 12x8 grid parametric design, and then created every combination under 4x4 on the grid. The basic X/Y grid is 28x32.375mm.
Random Strings of Numbers
I realize the 32.375mm is a very
weird measurement. In the future, I might use
floor() in the
parameters to get to something more "even". The problem with doing this,
though, is that 32mm creates an extra gap of almost 5mm at the end. SO
All of the models (STL and Fusion 360
f3d file) are available on
at least for the i-Boxx72 size. The difference between 2x3 and 3x2 is
the orientation and how the label is placed on it. I've also included
the Fusion 360 original that has the following useful parameters, with
the first two probably being the two most useful ones to people.
|# of units wide to make the container
|# of units high/long to make the container
|The interior width that is available
|The interior length that is available
|The interior height that is available
|Width/columns for the grid
|Rows for the grid
|How thick the container walls should be (typ 0.3x3)
|Extra spacing to allow between containers so they're easy to remove and insert
|How "tall" a label we want
There's also a bunch of calculated parameters that are used to size things. Feel free to look at them, change them once you understand what they do.
Unfortunately, I've not figured out a good way to have all of the boxes
be parametric in ever aspect. You have to change the
ContainerWidthUnits if you want to have a different container width.
This sucks. I may redo it with duplicate linked components that are
just sized with all the different multiples. I really wish Fusion 360
had a way to attach properties to a component and then use those
properties in the parameters.
What is organization with labeling? I have put together some templates, but first, some dimensions that will help, I hope, for Brother P-Touch TZe cartridge sizes:
|Label for 1xN
|Label for 2xN and anove
|Label for i-Boxx
You can find a collection of templates for the P-Touch Editor in this Github repository.
Comments or Questions?
If you have any comments, questions, or topics you'd like to see covered, please feel free to either reach out to me on Mastodon (link below) or open an issue on Github.