Color-Coding Tools

      Thoughts on paint, tape, markers, and other ways to color-code tools for shop organization. December 24, 2012

I am looking for some kind of paint to mark tools. We have colored our work benches and now want to color the tools that belong to each bench: Blue hammer equals blue bench, etc. I need something with primary colors that is easy to apply like fingernail polish. Does anyone have any ideas where to find this? Any other ideas for improving bench productivity?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor L:
We use colored electrical tape.

From contributor H:
We also use colored electrical tape although not for that specific use. Many colors are available.

From the original questioner:
I was hoping for a paint type product. I have used electrical tape in the past but over time it tends to unravel at the ends and get a little gummy.

From contributor H:
How about Plasti-Dip?

From contributor R:
Our local industrial supply house has a permanent paint-type marker in a few different colors. It's somewhere between a magic marker and a grease pen. This has worked pretty well for us. I have never marked pigs, but these things remind me of a fine-type pig marker.

From contributor K:
If color electrical tape doesn't fit your need, buy the needed colors of spray paint. One shot, and it dries quickly, not to mention stores easily (at bench) and lasts a long time and quick to reapply.

From contributor W:
To add to Contributor K use some florescent colors for visibility and the tools might not "take a walk out of shop".

From contributor S:
I don't like the electrical tape because of the gummy factor and eventual unraveling at the ends. I have used this before but haven't had much success keeping the ends intact. The spray can idea solves the tape issues but either requires masking or an unsightly spray job. Ideally the paint would apply like a big mark-alot pen.

From contributor S:
It isn't that hard to make a template that does a 1" circle, and then a few thin coats from a can of spray paint and you are done. Maybe you could buy an engraving tool and use a complex numbering system.

From contributor C:
Tell the guys the missing tools come out of a pool of all of their checks if the tools walk. Document it and sign it as a condition of employment. You just hired a police force of your investment. Spray paint, but not all over the tools. It looks terrible on tours.

From contributor K:
"Spray paint, but not all over the tools. It looks terrible on tours." No matter which you use, use a numerical/color system as there are those who are color-blind. Card with color spray painted on corner, table number, and use a hole punch with number of corresponding holes/paint to match tables. Use holes set up on a card for horizontal and vertical and it costs next to nothing to replace. Place dots on a place on the tool where the hand does not usually touch. Redo as necessary.

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