Sunday, April 19, 2020

Tube Organizer for the Refrigerator

What are you supposed to do with all those tubes?

We eat a lot of Japanese food in my house. Many of the seasonings that are used in Japanese cooking come in squeeze tubes. They aren't very heavy and they tend to fall down in the refrigerator door shelves and get lost under the taller bottles and cans. 

At my wife's request, I designed and printed an organizer that will keep the tubes upright and can also hold some of the pouches of soy sauce and wasabi (or Taco Bell hot sauce, mustard packets, etc.) that typically come with grocery-store sushi. The shape is narrow so it will fit in the door shelves, but can also be put on a regular shelf in the refrigerator. Initially I designed it without a bottom, but later realized that it will be easier to deal with on a regular shelf if it has a bottom. Then you can just pick the whole thing up and take it to the table when you're eating, and put it back in the refrigerator when you're done.

Normally, when I design anything, I model the stuff that has to fit in the printed part first, but this was so simple I just made a couple measurements of tubes we had in the refrigerator, and the width of the refrigerator door shelves and started drawing.

This is it. About 10 minutes to draw and 5 hours to print at 80 mm/sec.

Overall size is 195x83x52mm. I designed it with 1.2 mm thick walls- just 3 quick passes of a 0.4 mm nozzle, and tough enough to withstand any sort of abuse it might have to endure without being excessively overbuilt. It'll probably hold up fine if you drop it on the floor. It's tall enough to keep things upright but still allow you to see the labels on the tubes.

Here it is on the printer, waiting for the bed to cool off before attempting to remove it. If you try to take it off while the bed is hot you're liable to damage the print.

It used about 37g of ABS filament. 
PETG would probably be good for this print, too. 

And here's the finished print.

The Final Test

This thing is going to hold food and there will eventually be leaks because someone didn't screw a cap on tightly, etc.  Wouldn't it be nice if you could just put the thing in the dishwasher with the dishes? I was curious about whether this thing (or any ABS print) would hold up under the chemical and thermal assaults of a dishwasher so I put it in with a load of dishes and ran a "sanitize" cycle that gets pretty hot.  No problem!  It came out looking perfect- no distortions or cracks anywhere.  Of course, that's just one cycle - the result may be different after 20 cycles.  I'll update in a year or two after many cycles through the dishwasher.

The Fusion360 file is here.

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