If you haven’t yet heard about Kaizen Inserts, they make custom Kaizen foam inserts that fit just about every brand tool box and organizer out there: Bosch, Decked, Dewalt, Festool, GunVault, Husky, Kreg, Makita, Milwaukee, Nanuk, Pelican Case, Plano, Ridgid, and Stanley.
Basically, Kaizen Inserts allows you to add customizable foam to a wide selection of tool boxes and cases.
From Tuesday until Cyber Monday (11/25/19 to 12/2/19), Kaizen Inserts is having a site-wide sale. Use the coupon code turkeytime to get 10% off.
If you aren’t sure what Kaizen foam is, I did a review on it back in 2016 where I took a full sheet of Kaizen foam from FastCap and created a few drawer organizers.
What Kaizen Inserts does is sell a piece of foam specially cut to fit perfectly into a specific brand toolbox, saving the hassle of trying to match all the curves and notches, giving you a more professional looking result.
It’s not easy to get perfect cuts for toolbox inserts; I’ve tried cutting my own foam inserts for Milwaukee Packout tool boxes and the results have been less than professional.
Kaizen Inserts also sells more than just foam inserts for toolboxes. They sell partial sheets of Kaizen foam, foam cutting tools (including CNC router bits), and a ton of custom-made Milwaukee Packout attachments and accessories.
Shown above is their custom solution for easily removing and replacing the handle for Milwaukee’s Packout rolling toolbox. They also sell adapters that you can attach to the top of your Packout toolboxes, as well as hangers for the boxes.
Promo Duration: 11/25/19 to 12/2/19
Coupon Code: turkeytime
Just to give you some more ideas of what you can do with Kaizen foam and Kaizen inserts, here are some more photos. Shown here is one of Ben Vincent’s drawers filled with woodpeckers tools.
The Systainer drawer shown here holds a custom foam insert they sell for the Bosch Flexiclick drill.
Here is another custom foam insert for Fein’s cordless oscillating multi-tool.
To see more inspirational examples of Kaizen Inserts in the wild, check them out on Instagram: @kaizen_inserts.
If a crew has a lot of tools, storing them this way would take a TON of room.
Putting a somewhat expensive specialty tool in a foam-lined case makes sense.
But impacts, drills and the like are not only cheap, but fairly indestructible.
Throw 4 drills, 4 impacts, and bits and drivers in ONE $30 bag, in a crew-cab pickup and you’re all set for a day’s work. And there’s room in the pickup for what else you need. ONE guy carries the tool bag, and the other 3 grab the materials and you’re getting stuff done! And if a $99 tool would ever happen to have a shorter life than if carried in a foam case, I’d bet your increased productivity on all those jobs before it broke would buy a dozen of them.
You’re missing a huge part of why Kaizen, shadowboxing, and all these other techniques exist: not to store what’s there, but to emphasize what isn’t.
Look inside a proper engineer’s toolbox some time. You’ll find everything in its place, and a place for everything—often even a designated spot for “misc.”. When it’s a matter of grounding a billion-dollar aircraft because you don’t have a 11/32 hex bit when you need one, you’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you have that bit, and probably a backup for it, in a known, verifiable location. Plus, when you start paying your folks expert wages, time starts mattering a hell of a lot. If I can save a $240/hour technician ten minutes of tool-searching per day, that’s over $2,000/year in restored productivity, and twice or more that amount in revenue if I’m doing my job right.
If you’re working under a shade tree, fine, throw it in a bag. But if you’re doing hard work on something that matters, and you’re being paid to match that level of impact and responsibility, if your tools aren’t organized, chances are good that your business isn’t, either.
Have you really cut little foam notches for an aircraft mechanic’s ratchet set? How much did you get paid to do that? I’m pretty sure these “techniques” have mostly to do with the compulsive needs of grown-up over-indulged children. Gotta keep it instagramable at all times. If I had a giant workshop I could see storing—nope—always a waste of time to have to unlatch a case.
Utilizing tool foam and related organizational practices have existed far longer than anyone has been showing off a well-organized drawer or tool case on social media.
It’s possible that some have been inspired by examples shared via Instagram.
But to decry it as having “mostly to do with the compulsive needs of grown-up over-indulged children” is incredibly short-sighted and close-minded.
Just because you don’t see the benefit of organizing any tools or equipment in this manner, that doesn’t mean it’s only done to “keep it instagrammable.
The reason Kaizen foam is popular is because it’s easier to work with than traditional tool foam, and even pick and pluck foam.
Kaizen Inserts creates custom foam inserts for different tool cases because brands have neglected to do this, and it’s a hassle and unsightly to shape Kaizen foam to various case wall contours and ridges.
Of course organizing and protecting tools in foam is less space-efficient than just throwing them in. But sometimes the organization is beneficial, or the protection, or both.
Always good to have options – and whatever floats your boat or makes you happy is OK.
We had Dejana upfit most of out trucks for improved storage and accessibility. Some would think that was a monumental waste of money – but we convinced ourselves otherwise.
I’ve seen some “contractors” for whom recycled drywall compound pails are their toolboxes. If they are happy and it works for them, I guess they’d have no use for Kaizen foam or any more elegant tool storage solution.
I know some woodworker hobbyists who seem to work on more projects for their shops than on anything else. But if wonderful benches and storage cabinets are what they like to build instead of furniture – who’s to say they are wrong.
Just picking from the photos above—I just can’t see how its beneficial to have to remove the blade from your multitool in order to put it away. Or to unchuck your screw tip and put it in a separate case. Nor can I imagine any real benefit from owning and storing every square and ruler from Woodpeckers. I’m pretty sure fetishism was principal motivator in all of those organizational projects. I don’t begrudge people their kinks—but, let’s be real.
You could cut the foam so that you can store your tool with a blade or bit… that’s kind of the whole idea. The two seconds it takes to remove a blade or bit makes no difference to me, but to each their own (a philosophy you might consider adopting).
I feel like some rando on the internet who advocates throwing all their tools into a bag hasn’t ever done a time study and doesn’t actually have any idea what can be proven to be more efficient.
He’s much more likely to throw insults around and then say things like “no offense” and think that makes everything all better. The pure fact that he opens a post and spends the time writing several long posts crapping on other peoples practices should tell you all you need to know.
For situations where a lost tool could be a very bad thing, knowing all the spaces are filled lets you know that there’s not a socket or a wrench in a turbine housing or in the control surfaces of an airplane.
Sorry, screwed up the math there at the end. That’s $8,000/year, assuming a 200-day workyear, not $2,000/year.
“Not to store what’s there, but to emphasize what isn’t.” Key concept, well said, thanks!
Yep. Truly. See my “missing part” story below while using custom inserts.
The insurance claim was made before I returned home days later.
The money you’d save by NOT having the pack outs and foam would buy a whole NEW set of tools….
But if you already owned a set of tools, surely spending money organizing them would make more sense than spending money buying new tools.
I believe the main difference here is that some readers are hobbyists who enjoy a well-organized workshop where the tools seldom leave (and a specific tool may be seldom-used), while other readers run crews and are mobile each and every day.
All of my specialty tools are on shelves in a trailer in their original blow-molded cases. Works fantastically well, but takes up precious space in the trucks and trailers.
All of my common stuff– drills, impacts, saws, etc– are in a few bags, also on a shelves in the trailer. There’s only so much room….ONE GUY can grab all of the tools that 4 guys need to do common stuff IN ONE TRIP from the truck/trailer.
When you use tools 5-6 days a week–LONG days– they either wear out or are replaced due to the increased efficiency of something newer. So yes, we buy new tools regardless of if they’re in a bag or in a foam or blow-molded case.
The $$ saved on packouts for each tool would by NEW tools as needed…
Room…. Space…. Area…. for each tool to be in a packout?
I just don’t see it as practical for a crew of several guys. You’d need ANOTHER guy just to bring ANOTHER vehicle of tools along.
And I for one, am not wasting my free time cutting foam in the shape of a drill….
If it floats your boat, so be it.
Finding tools takes time. Organize tools take time too.
I’ve been reading the above comments about “is it worth it to do this for your tools?” — and I won’t jump into that hornet’s nest. Use the right tool for the job? Use the right tool case for the job.
But what makes Kaizen foam pretty nice is making custom cases, for components/specialized tools/toys that don’t have a commercial option — and you don’t want to shell out the $100-175 for a suitable pelican case.
I can’t speak to the longevity of Kaizen foam, but pickable Pelican foam lasts about 5-8 years for me before it turns into powder. And although it’s good foam, the square cubes don’t do it for anything curved.
An alternative is Harbor Freight cases, but once again, not as usable for curves.
So what I’m planning on doing is nab a Ridgid 22″ tool organizer for a normal price of $30 + a full case of foam & lid for $39. That’s $70 for something that’s pretty beefy. Without relying on any sales or promotional pricing.
[On sale for BF 2019 is a Milwaukee Packout 22″ that comes with pre-installed foam (no lid foam sadly) for $50. With an purchase of a Kaizen foam lid topper for $15, that brings the total to $65 for a slightly smaller case.]
And it’s better than buying 8-12 floor mats (~$2 each), sanding them smooth, then layering them with plenty of contact cement. Forget about cutting them to the exact size of the case you have, with all the structural ribs, nooks, crannies. By the time you’re all said and done, you’ve nearly broken even on cost — without putting any value on one’s time.
Well said, thanks!
What some of the negative respondents forget is that having one’s latger set of tools and parts organized in a known easy to follow standardized fashion, leads to increases in efficiency, productivity and accountability; which in anything from medium sized companies becomes an absolute necessity.
It may not be suitable for every individual, nor necessary ( or affordable ) for every tool, etc. and everybody’s needs differ, powertools sets have become more disposable, … and if one only has one narrow defined job and can get by with a duffel bag and a bucket, by all means, keep it simple.
But, one can see this daily, pretty much anywhere one goes; unless the workspace, tools and parts are organized to a certain minimum degree: lost time due to missing parts, misplaced tools, bits, pieces, accessories …
Digging through this bag, that bucket, this box, that box, extra trips to the truck, trips to the shop, trips to the store, … at $15-30-50-100/hr per person times multiple people stopping what they’re doing, standing around, looking for something, adds up REALLY quick and can have very bad cascade effects, combined with weather if working outdoors, ultimately leading to issues with deadlines, frustrated staff, unhappy clients, unfinished projects, contract liability, penalties, …
And, that is besides the issues with cellphones and electronic distractions in the work place. It used to be a quick cigarette break every two hours, now half the people have a phone that does not stop buzzing, ongoing need to read and respond to texts, calls, and a social media addiction on top of it.
Recent issues with a particular project (( delayed start, slow parts order, personnel issues, rain delays, a couple crew mistakes eating into good weather productive time and pretty much the coldest and dampest November in recent history )) resulting in a massive time suck and cluster; have me looking at everybody’s productivity – including my own productivity, optimizing storage, access, setup times, …
I love getting things done, don’t mind multitasking and easily hand out my tools to get something done, reducing down time at that moment in time; but then absolutely hate not being able to put my finger on what I need, not get stuff back, forced to back track when and where something was used, by whom for what … wasting my time looking for my stuff … things get lost, damaged, disappear … completely unproductive, expensive and not healthy.
Long story short: out with random bags, boxes, buckets, … digging for this that another. Is it here, there, …
Task modules, labeled cases, marked / tagged tools, as needed tool cases per specific task with their accessories, and one extra set of spare blades, bits, whatever it is, … what comes out goes back in its spot. Period. Want to do a grab bag or two for the day? Fine. But things will go back to their identified home.
I just put in a PO for a $50k test set, and part of that was $850 for their own hard case. This thing (and its assortment of supplemental pieces) will be used all over the country and likely overseas too, either by me or through FedEx – lots of traveling for it.
So there’s the protection, of course, making sure it goes out with all its bits, and returns that same way. If I didn’t have the option of buying (at a semi-rudely inflated cost) a custom hard case, I’d have to create one, and put the whole mess into a good Pelican box.
As ToolGuyDan says, with this stuff you’re buying confidence that what needs to be done will be assured to get done. Given all the associated costs possible, these sorts of cases can be some of the best money spent. But also, clearly not always.
As an commercial advertising photographer for decades I can easily attest to the usefulness of item by item (lenses, camera bodies and misc gear) placed in custom created US made first Halliburton aluminum then Pelican and Anvil hard cases.
And the occasional custom configurable padded soft cases as well.
But the hard cases with cutout inserts are always easier to determine what you have and whether it’s actually available.
Only misplaced one lens ever. An assistant nearly dismantled a Town Car trying to find it. (He failed to reinsert the lens I’d handed him while on a Kenworth Truck shoot sitting on a closed off freeway in Indianapolis).
I’m about to order a number of these custom Kaizen inserts after reading this thread.
Good points all.
And thinking about my own use of custom “tool” cases too.