Anyone who starts buying cordless tools soon runs into a problem; where to put all those tools? It seems like they typically end up stuck in a variety of places; most of which aren’t convenient and don’t make it convenient to charge the batteries. For that matter, the chargers are either someplace else entirely or put away in a cabinet somewhere, where they can’t keep the batteries charged. Ideally, what you need is someplace to keep all these tools together, along with their chargers, where you have easy access to them and the chargers can stay plugged in. Cordless tool storage is an ideal option for this. Maybe that sounds like a bit much, but I think it’s possible. Not just possible, but not all that hard to do.
For the sake of keeping cost down, let’s assume that we’re going to make this out of scrap ¾” plywood, with a piece of ¼” scrap for the backboard. This is important, as the backboard keeps everything square, while also providing additional support to the hanger board at the bottom of the storage unit.
I don’t know about you, but I always seem to have leftover pieces of plywood sitting around my shop. Building this sort of thing is an ideal way of using those scraps up, as well as get myself another project done, without any real out of pocket cost. I like using these scraps for my own projects, as I don’t have to explain the expense to my wife. Besides, once the plywood is puttied, sanded and painted, it will look just fine.
Of course, you can make your organizer look just about any way you want; you don’t have to follow my plans. Rather, use them as a basis and modify them to fit your needs. Just one thing though, always make your cordless tool storage bigger than you need, so that there is room for more tools.
DIY Drill Holder Plans
While this is basically a shelf unit, the key to this design is that we’re going to hang the drills and drivers, rather than trying to store them laying down or standing on shelves. While most cordless drills and drivers will stand on their battery, it’s really not all that stable. So by hanging them, we give them a stable way of being stored, while also being ready to grab at a moment’s notice.
The Hanger Board
I’ve decided to cut this hanger board out of a single piece of ¾” thick plywood. The dimensions in the drawing below will allow this piece to hold just about any cordless drill or impact driver, except for the largest units. By making it out of ¾” plywood, with the backing board firmly attached to provide extra support, this should hold the weight easily, even with the batteries.
Please note that this part has been dimensioned off of my power tools. Before cutting it, I would recommend checking the width of the handles on your cordless drills and drivers. Those that I’ve seen are all a touch less than 1.5” wide, but you might have something that’s a touch wider. The part can be made longer or shorter, to provide for more or less tool storage. But whatever you do, make sure that you leave some extra space, just in case you buy additional tools in the future.
While it is possible to cut this out with a jigsaw, I’d recommend cutting the radius at the end of each slot with a hole saw. Once that is done, you can cut from the edge to the hole with the jigsaw. Then, all you’ll need is a little filing, where the cuts meet, to smooth it out.
I’d also recommend cutting a slight radius or chamfer in these slots with a router, to help prevent splintering and chipping. It doesn’t take much, just about 1/8” of relief on the edge.
With the hanger board out of the way, building the cabinet is extremely simple. I’ve made the cabinet 12” deep, which is deep enough to handle any cordless power tools I have. However, it might not be deep enough to handle some of the larger tools out there. Personally, I’d keep those in their cases, but if you want to store them in this unit, you might need to make the unit a touch deeper.
The other advantage of going with a 12” dimension is that you can get four strips out of a standard sheet of plywood (actually, you’ve got to make them 11 7/8” deep, but that’s close enough for government work.
I’ve designed this with two shelves for non-hanging tools, like sanders and small saws. But one of the nice things about this sort of design is that you can easily modify it to meet your needs. That means you can add or remove shelves as you want, to fit your own tool collection. You can also change the spacing of the shelves to fit your particular needs. You can also make it wider or narrower, as your space allows and to meet your requirements.
Although I tend to keep my tool storage simple, bare wood, I would recommend filling the edges of the plywood, especially where you made the cutouts in the hanger board, and then painting the whole unit. This will help prevent splintering and keep your unit in good shape, so that it lasts longer.
Ideas to Make the Storage Center Better
This basic design allows for lots of modifications, if you so desire. A lot depends on your personal needs. I’ve already talked about changing the size, based on how many cordless tools you have and what types they are. But you can go far beyond this, adding additional storage for the accessories that your tools need, such as:
- Adding drawers for holding small items like drill bits and jigsaw blades
- Adding holders on the side for adhesive-backed sandpaper. If it comes in rolls, all you would need is dowel rods sticking out of the sides for the rolls to slip onto
- Installing a bar, with a lock, to keep children and others from getting into your tools
- Mounting the storage unit to the side of a roll-around tool chest, so that you can take it with you to wherever you are going to be working
- Add additional shelves for commonly used hardware
- Put a cabinet door on the front to make it more attractive and secure
You are only limited by how much time and energy you want to put into the unit. But you can always add more, later on, if you decide you need to.