When sockets aren’t organized, it can become a never-ending game of hide-and-seek.
Imagine this: There you are working, and you really need one specific socket. But you can’t find it to save your life! Until, of course, it “magically” pops up moments later when you no longer need it.
Every mechanic knows this scenario all too well. And it can be a massive pain in the neck.
Not only are you wasting precious time looking for a tiny piece of metal, but you also lose out on your productivity and – subsequently – your earning capacity.
In an attempt to solve this, you take a trip to the nearest hardware store to find some much-needed socket organizers. However, most good-quality organizers sell at around $10 a piece, which doesn’t sound too bad.
But when you need around ten or more of those to fit all your sockets, it can start feeling heavy on the wallet.
This is where the good old DIY gears start grinding in your mind. But the question is, where do you even start?
First of all, there are a few things to consider:
- If you create flat organizers, you can see the socket markings, but you lose valuable drawer space.
- Two, if you choose to store them vertically, you save space but at the expense of not being able to see the markings without further intervention from you.
- Plus, you may need a drawer deep enough to accommodate the length of your longest socket.
- Three, separate labels can take up more space than you’re willing to part with. And it also doesn’t account for those odd x/32nds sockets that you might have lying around for special projects.
- Four, you need to be able to easily transfer sockets from one toolbox or drawer to another.
For us, it’s a modular DIY socket organizer that can be arranged at 45-degree angles. This way, you can easily see the markings, save on drawer/tool chest real estate, and organize your sockets just the way you like them.
So, put on your DIY hats, and let’s begin the tutorial!
For ease and efficiency, make sure you have the following tools and materials ready before you even begin:
- Socket rail sets (as many as you need)
- Screws (as many as you need)
- 1/2″ ring rare-earth magnets (as many as you need)
- 2″ wide by 1/2″ thick plywood strip (as many as you need)
- Table saw
- Hand-held drill
- 150-grit sandpaper
- 1/2″ Forstner bit
Step #1: Prep the socket carriers
With your table saw, cut 45-degree angles off the two bottom-side edges of your 2″ wide by 1/2″ thick plywood strip.
Next, carve a 1″ wide groove into the middle of the top-side to create a recess in the plywood where the socket rails will be fixed.
Note that the thickness of the socket rails will matter a lot. So, work with what you have and use your own discretion on how deep or shallow you need these grooves to be.
Step #2: Smooth out the edges
Sawing wood can create jagged edges on the socket carriers and might compromise their stability.
Using the 150-grit sandpaper, remove the jagged edges until they are smooth to ensure that your socket carriers have a stable base to rest on.
Step #3: Start drilling
Countersink holes on the bottom side of your carriers to secure your socket rails in place as well as hide the screws. Doing so ensures that your socket carriers are level and stable.
Step #4: Reinforce with magnets
If you have soft-closing drawers, then you can do away with this step altogether.
But if you don’t, one thing to stop your socket carriers from tipping over or moving around in your drawer is by counter-boring holes for your 1/2″ ring rare-earth magnets using a 1/2″ Forstner bit.
Make sure you bore the holes slightly deeper than the thickness of your magnets so you can avoid unsightly scratches on your drawers.
Step #5: Repeat
Repeat steps 1 to 4, depending on how many socket organizers you need.
Things to Note
If you find that your organizers keep tipping over each time you open or close your drawers, consider using a thicker 3/4″ plywood, which would give you a wider base for the socket carriers to rest on.
If this doesn’t do the trick, try using more or stronger magnets. Or, if you have a mat lining in your drawer, removing it will provide a more stable, level base.
And there you have it — the best (and easiest) DIY socket organizer you can make on your own!
The best part about it is that you can customize each socket carrier to any length or thickness you may need, depending on your toolbox or drawer space.