Managing the elements
Calling all teachers and FLL coaches: How do you manage all the elements that come in an NXT set? Do you try to keep sets separate, or do you let all the pieces get mixed up? What kinds of bins or organizers do you like to use?
The folks at LEGO Engineering would like to know, and they've created a survey that you can take.
I'd like to see if we can get a conversation going here in the comments section.
Shown is my my current bin system, the Stanley Professional Deep Organizer, model 14410. These bins are twice as deep as the bins in the 14325 organizer that Jim wrote about earlier. The problem with the deep model is that the small elements are dumped into large bins. I'm inclined to use a 14325 organizer for all the small elements.
Looking around, I see that Motocube has posted photos of an NXT organizing system.
You can see photos and read my review of the Plano 5231 Stow-N-Go Organizer here. I think it might work well for an individual, but in a class or club setting, it has drawbacks.
For my home kits, I also use the Plano boxes. I keep all of them in a fishing tackle organizer that has side pockets. I have other sets that have large wheels and the pockets are a great place to store them so all of my pieces are together. Since the NXT bricks are also too large to fit in the Plano boxes, I use the side pockets to store them as well.
If you want labels for whatever storage method you use, you can find them at the ortop site. http://ortop.org/res.htm#links
I organize all my extra LEGO in ziplock bags that I put in my Rubbermaid Underbed Storage Boxes, which I store on shelves. (They are 30"x17"x6" and made of a hazy-clear material). The Rubbermaid boxes and lids also function as trays for sort and building.
I called Stanley and they currently carry ZAG's "deep" organizer (14408) and ZAG's shallow organizer (14325). But they no longer carry ZAG's 14410 deep organizer.
But I have also seen knock-off versions replace the higher quality ZAG originals. Hopefully other companies will not follow suit.
Until now, I have been using the NXT box, but now that I have had it for about 7 months, it is getting beat up. I will still store the bigger items in it, but the smaller things will go in what I bought.
I like the idea of tackle boxes that have lids for each section. But do the trays lift out?
As with any hack, try this at your own risk. Do not attempt this without adult supervision. Wear safety goggles. No warranty implied. Your mileage may vary. Yadda yadda yadda.
Looking through my collection, I see that this applies to the older style 3700, 3600 plano boxes. The Pro-Latch boxes use a slightly different mechanism, and this hack does not apply to them.
The lid part of the hinge assembly has a small piece of plastic that sticks up between the two hinge fingers. This piece keeps the lid from coming off the hinge.
Using nippers or a amall penknife, remove that piece that sticks up. Leave the fingers intact. The fingers will still hold the lid on when the lid is closed, but when open, the lid can be separated from the box.
Creative kids: The individual compartments in the Plano boxes do not come out. The compartments in the Stanley/Zag boxes do come out. More questions? Send me an email. It's on my profile page.
Not particularly fancy, and it doesn't fit the brick...but it works.
I posted about using the same Stanley organizer last week:
How-to: Organize Your Lego Mindstorms NXT Set
I like it because the container will not open up if a 2 year old throws it down a flight of stairs.
Is there any place where one could
just buy the storage bin and trays
from the Lego Education sets?
Like the ones shown here:
Thanks for any info
Could you please publish the exact link for the labels? I have been searching for them in the ORTOP link you gave like crazy and no success yet.