I routinely make laser engraved/cut pins either for commision or for friends and family. For attachment I usually use these butterfly clutch pin back blanks.
They have a good pin length and a 4.5mm glue pad with barb to prevent pin rotation. Usually use CA glue for attachment.
Typical procedure would to be to dump a bunch of pins on the bench, count out what was needed and then stand them up right on the pad one at a time with tweezers. Then grab 2 at a time and hit the pads with a drum sander on my rotary tool to roughen the pads for better gluing.
If it’s just a few pins then it’s no problem, but if I’m doing more than 15 or so then it starts being a pain. So I decided to finally make an idea I’ve been kicking around for awhile, a laser cut pin back sorting jig. Basically a shaker box with a screen with holes big enough for the pin ends but not the pads made from 1/8" ply.
It’s composed of 3 parts; an opened ended shaker box, a screen and a solid pad.
The shaker box is open on both ends. Made using finger tab joints but, with no top or bottom to keep it square, I added a friction fit outer collar around the base. The joints are glue together.
The screen is cut to fit freely within the box and has a 8x8 hole grid. I used 3 layers of 1/8" ply glued together to get the height I needed so the pins hang freely. The the holes on the top layer are smaller than the pad, but larger enough to fit the pin stem and the spur so they sit flat. The next 2 layers have holes that are larger to prevent the pin stems from catching on the side of the hole as they slides in.
The box goes on top of the solid pad which is the same size as the box collar. The screen is then dropped into the box.
To use, pins are added to the box and, while holding the bottom pad to the box, the box is gently shaken and swirled from side to side for about 30 seconds. Most pins drop in the holes but the last few can be directed into holes with tweezers or don’t even worry if all holes are filled. Excess pins can be dumped off after the box is removed if necessary.
Lift off the box and the pads can then easily be scuffed with a sanding block swirled over the pads.
Lift up the screen, place the bottom pad on top of the pin pads and flip everything over.
Lift off the screen and everything is lined up and ready for gluing.