Change of Packaging

In order to save time packaging the eShapeOko kit, I’m thinking of eliminating some work that can be viewed as essentially pointless.  Specifically, I’m talking about the way we pack the fasteners, spacers, and the other small components.  Right now, with a few exceptions, every one of the about three dozen small part types goes in its own, individually labelled little zip bag.  I would keep doing that for a few parts (the washers, for instance), but everything else can safely go in a few larger baggies.

A few people commented that the packaging was “like LEGO”, but that’s not quite true.  LEGO pack all the parts in a couple of bags, not each part type in its own bag.  I would pack all the spacers in one bag; the screws in two bags (small ones and large ones); washers still each type in its own bag, because they’re hard to tell apart and fiddly to separate; and all other small parts in another bag.  I would include a 1:1 cheat sheet of all the parts, to help if someone had a hard time telling them apart.

Do you think this is a good idea?  I’m talking especially to current eShapeOko owners: would you have liked it less if the parts were in seven or eight bags instead of almost 40?

Please note that this is for Batch Five onward; Batch Four is already packed (for the most part) in the old style.

9 thoughts on “Change of Packaging

  1. Hi Catalin,

    I recognize that bags maybe are a waste of time/work in the packaging and not very ecological ( if you reuse them, problem solved ). But when I received my eshapeoko, too many bags were very useful to check all the parts, and them to maintain control of parts during the assembly process.

    This is my experience. If you can have the same control with less bags, it´s a wise choice.

  2. I would have preferred it with less bags.. During the end of the build process i ended up having more empty bags than full ones and got seriously confused 🙂
    Maybe pack them per assembly so you don’t get confused about the spacers, but the bolts, nuts and such don’t need their own packing

    • I thought of packing them by assembly (LEGO do that for some sets), but, unfortunately, that creates more work for me. Instead of counting, say, 38 of the M5 nuts, I’d have to count 12 for the two Y motor plates, 10 for the X carriage, 12 for the belt clamps, and 4 for the hold-down brackets. And so on: a lot of parts are used in more than one place.

      It would be great if each assembly came with its own bag of parts, but I would not be able to do it without automated picking.

    • Having ruminated over this for a while, it seems that it’s actually a great idea. It’s not as easy as throwing everything in five or six bags, but it’s more useful, and it makes some upgrades (where parts get swapped) much easier. For instance, the X and Y motor mounting hardware would get one bag, so one upgrade would simply swap the bag of NEMA17 hardware for a bag of NEMA23 hardware. I need to think this through, but it may be the best way to go.

  3. At one time, you would buy a pound of nails. I assume you count bolts/screws, washers, nuts, etc. by weight.

    If the thing is modular, then as you recognize, you have two options:
    pack per module;
    pack per fastener type.

    The problem with pack per module, is when you need to cannibalize unsold modules to fulfil current orders.

    I think I would consider: module packs for fast moving modules; identifying chart and mixed bag for easily separated parts; and individual bags for hard to separate items like thin and thick washers. Items which may damage each other, obviously need separation.

    How much do zip bags cost over an egg box like tray? But board games often have a vacuum formed tray, but the counters, etc. come in heat sealed bags.

    • A vaccum-formed tray is expensive, would take lots of room in the box, and, as opposed to the ones in board game boxes, would outlive its usefulness once the machine is assembled. Virtually all components would be gone (not all, because the dual-X kit also includes single-X parts, so a few screws and spacers are left over).

      Zip bags are extremely cheap. I want to reduce them not because they cost money, but because of the sheer amount of labour sticking labels on them and opening and closing them.

      I’m not concerned about left over bags of parts: comparatively few people opt for the upgrades I’m talking about. Any standard bags of parts left over because of upgrades would be used in the next batch — I would not cannibalize them, I would simply pack fewer of them next time.

      My decision is made. Batch Five will be packed largely by assembly step, except for the M5 form A washers used at almost every step, which will have their own bag. I’ll provide a cheat sheet in case parts get mixed up.

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