This Tips & Tricks is all about how to install and customize your Pro Library! We’ll show you how to mount your Pro Library to the wall, as well as highlight some inspirational community examples for setting up the collection to suit your needs. Let’s get started!
If you’ve already set up your Pro Library and are looking for inspiration, check out our Pro Library resources page for tons of guides and invention ideas.
Depending on your workshop or educational needs, you may find that you want to set up your Pro Library with a personal touch. Below we’ve highlighted some amazing customizations and modifications we’ve observed in the littleBits community.
Like a proper library, this Pro Library is set up in an actual library cart, and serves a high school makerspace. The bins are easily stackable, so multiple bins can fit securely into the angled shelving on these carts. This set up can also allow you to “check out” an entire Pro Library to a group of students or use it as a mobile classroom unit.
An epic customization of the Pro Library, this mobile tower is perfectly suited for large workshop settings. We were especially excited about this iteration of the Pro Library, because of its modularity and presence within this makerspace. Large groups of users can access the collection at the same time, allowing them to very easily explore and discover the littleBits landscape. We especially loved the sample circuits below each of the panels.
These bins are part of a mobile makerspace that serves patients at a hospital. We find these to be wonderfully playful, and perfect for getting people engaged with the littleBits platform. By labeling these bins with our signature littleBits colors, users can easily find what they’re looking for and put everything away without any trouble.
Custom Bit Bouquets
Some modules, like the power, button, pressure sensor, LED, bargraph, servo, and DC motor are especially popular. If you are exploring particular topics (like motion, light, or wireless), you can choose to distribute those more selectively. Our purple Tackle box is great for that, and perfect for transporting bits between classrooms.
You can also use sandwich containers, plastic shoe boxes, hardware organizers, and even plastic cups for making custom configurations for workshop or classroom settings. These organizers are also great for storing projects and modules. All of these organizers are readily available online, and at your local supermarkets and hardware stores.
Things You’ll Need
1. Wall Anchors – 20
2. 1 ¼” – 1 ½” Screws – 20
3. Countersunk Washers – 20
4. littleBits Wall Storage panels – 4-5
3. 18” Ruler
4. 24” Level
5. Tape Measure
– Unless the surface you are mounting to is ¾” thick plywood, you must use anchors for installing your panels. We used plastic anchors for mounting the panels onto drywall. The type of anchors and screws you use will be different depending on the surface you’re mounting the panels to – consult your local hardware store.
– We found that the most convenient arrangement of the purple panels is two rows of two (a 2 by 2 “square”, if you will). This arrangement covers an area 36” wide by 38” tall, so make sure you have enough wall space if this is the arrangement you plan on using. For the updated Pro Library (March 2018), you’ll have an extra wall panel that you can set up however best accommodates your space.
– Before you begin installation, decide on a maximum height for your purple panels. Most adult users set the max height of their panels to somewhere between 75” and 78” (190-198 cm). If the majority of your users are children, we recommend a maximum height of anywhere between 55” and 64” (140-162cm).
– As a general rule of thumb, it is helpful to have the Pro Library mounted in an open and visible area – not in a corner or behind other tools or fixtures. With younger users, we recommend that you keep the area beneath the Pro Library free of any desks or shelving, as it might make the bins harder to reach.
Mounting the Purple Panels
As with most things in life, it’s much easier to mount the purple panels with the help of a friend. With the right amount of elbow grease, this should take no more than 30 minutes.
1. Once you’ve decided on a height, use the tape measure and a pencil to mark that height for the top left pilot hole for your panel.
2. If you are mounting to drywall, you can simply use your screw driver to “drill” a hole for your wall anchor – simply apply some pressure on your mark while turning the screw driver. If you have a drill on hand, use a bit that is slightly smaller than your anchor.
3. Mark the next pilot hole 16” to right of your first pilot hole, using a ruler and level. Drill the hole.
4. Insert a wall anchor into each of the holes you’ve just made.
5. Match up the mounting holes on the top edge of the panel to the holes you’ve just made, so you can easily mark the lower pilot holes without having to measure them out.
6. Once you’ve marked those, set the panel aside and drill the last two holes for this panel. Insert a wall anchor into each of those holes.
7. Screw on your panel with a washer and screw to each hole.
8. Set the next panel right up against the edge of the panel you’ve just mounted.
9. Mark your pilot holes, set aside the panel, and drill the holes. Place an anchor in each, and screw on your second panel using washers and screws.
10. Repeat steps (8) and (9) for the remaining panels.
11. Congratulations! You’ve installed your first Pro Library.
Above is the format we’ve used to set up one of the Pro Libraries at littleBits HQ. This is not the only way of organizing your Pro Library, but it’s a setup that’s worked for us.
Here’s how we set ours up:
– Power, input, wire, and output modules are organized by columns
– Accessories can occupy the bottom row of the Pro Library.
– We find that the most efficient way of organizing the modules into their bins is in ascending order of their identifying numbers (ex. i11, i12, i13…), and by columns.
– Make it accessible! Mount your Pro Library in a wide open space, so users can easily explore all the different modules in the littleBits universe.
How do you store your modules and projects as you are working on them? If you have built a unique customization to store your collections, definitely tweet us some pics @littleBits and hashtag #bitstorage #prolibrary. If you’re feeling especially inspired, walk us through how you did it by posting your build on our projects page!