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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This simple device has saved me many many hours of frustration trying to find tiny parts on a 20' x 20' garage floor. It's simple, and inexpensive, to make, and since it has saved a few hundred "Change to your other eyeglasses, bend over, and look for it," senior moments, it's well worth the little time & effort it took to construct.
My parts catcher consists of a piece of cloth from and old bed sheet, a 1" dowel, two pieces of metal bar stock, and two pieces of 1/2" EMT (metal) electrical conduit. My "deluxe" edition also includes two optional springs to push the parts catcher back out when my fat belly has pushed it in too close to the workbench.

The photos show how it was made. I drilled two holes in the front 1x4 frame of my workbench, for the pieces of conduit. The front ends of the conduits were cut with a hacksaw, and then split apart and folded out 90 degrees. I drilled 1/8" holes in these resulting tabs and secured the ends of the conduit to the front frame of the bench with screws. The back end of each conduit fits in a hole drilled into the back frame of my workbench.

I was careful to keep the two conduit pieces the same distance apart. (We model railroaders need to keep things "in gauge." 😄 ) ,so that the finished parts catcher would slide in-and-out, without binding. I drilled, and tapped, holes in the front end of each steel bar*
Screws would later be threaded into these holes to secure the front dowel to the two bars. The dowel was drilled with a 1/8" hole through either end, again I was careful to keep the front ends of the two steel bars "in gauge." On the inside I drilled the 1/8" hole out wider. Just deep enough to let the very end of each steel bar nestle into the 1" front dowel. This made for a stronger, more stable, joint.

My wife was kind enough to make the front loop in the cloth on her sewing machine. Before screwing the second bar into the dowel, I slid this front loop, or "sleeve" around the dowel. I then added the second screw, and secured that end of the dowel to it's mating bar.

On my workbench I have a piece of aluminum angle screwed along the front edge. I use it as a pounding surface, and straightedge. It now also makes for a handy way to secure the bench end of the parts catcher cloth to the workbench. I removed the aluminum angle, stapled the cloth to the bench. set the angle back in place over the cloth, and punched holes in the cloth so that the original screws could be used to secure the angle back onto the bench.

The two sides of the cloth were draped over the bars, and secured with safety pins.
The springs were a modification. I got frustrated by pushing my new parts catcher closed with my belly, when I reached to one of the many parts cabinets on shelves behind the bench. The springs were added to let the parts catcher automatically reopen itself as my belly backed off.

That's it. Simple, but very effective!

* The sliding side supports were originally wood dowels, rather than steel bars. One of these dowels split in two when I accidentally leaned on the parts catcher, so I replaced the wood dowels with steel bars.


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