The Bin System
The robotics room can become quite disorganized if tools are not properly put away. To solve this issue, the 4311 Swampscott Currents adopted a new method of organization in 2020 - the Bin System. The Bin System centers around the concept that the STEM room was disorganized because where robot components should go was not well defined. Robot parts were placed on shelves and totes, separated by general category (such as "drivetrain" or "electronics"). Because of how many pieces and parts 4311 had, and how many items could fall into different categories, things were both hard to find and hard to put away. The Bin System attempts to alleviate this problem by organizing parts into a multitude of smaller bins, which are specific enough that things are easy to find.
All team members are expected to clean their workspace after they finish working. All items must be put away after meetings, and cannot be left out on tables.
Under the Bin System, robot parts are organized into small bins, where a single bin corresponds to one specific component type - such as 775 motors, Toughbox Mini parts, or hex wheel hubs. The “digital sensors” bin, which 4311 already has, is a good example of this - it contains all of the sensors used on the robot, and is a distinct/small enough category that finding things inside of it is quite easy. Each bin is labeled with the item it should contain, and is color-coded for various types of parts (such as drivetrain or pneumatics) to make things incredibly simple to find.
At the end of each day, team members must put away the bins they have been using. Any robot subsystems that are currently being built should be placed in a specified location at the back of the room.
The Swampscott Currents work with two sets of tools: their own tools and the STEM room tools. At the end of each day, team members must put away any tools they have been using. STEM room tools are to be placed in the wooden cabinets, and 4311 tools should be placed in a specified location at the back of the room.
Hex keys are particularly problematic on the team because they are easy to lose. However, the team only uses three or four different types of hex keys for building the robot. These hex keys are color-coded, and must be placed back in their special bin after use. Boxes of nuts/bolts that correspond to the color-coded hex keys are also color-coded.