View Full Version : Tool-Bit Storage (Tool-glut, HELP!)

Liger Zero
12-26-2008, 03:15 PM
Ok, Santa brought me more tool-bits of different styles and kinds than I ever thought I'd own. We're talking at least 250 of them not counting inserts for the indexable ones... and this doesn't even begin to account for the drill-bits. At least THOSE come in a case.

Currently I got them all stored in stainless-steel boxes lined with LDPE foam, I made the boxes out of scrap when I worked sheetmetal over the summer... more of a thought exercise than anything practical or useful.

For those of you well-stocked in the tool-bit department how do you orginize? I'm looking for photos/ideas/suggestions, I gotta get the work-area cleaned up for after New Years because I have a paying order for some odd plastic spools for a customer downstate.

I'm thinking some of those plastic "screw and nut" supply cabinets with all the pull-out compartments... or maybe have someone make a hardwood tray with compartments for the commonly used ones so I'll have them close by.

12-26-2008, 03:36 PM
I use a craftsman side cabinet tool box with the cheap divider trays from KMS tools in the drawers. They are a perfect fit.



12-26-2008, 04:16 PM
Now you're rubbing it in Ernie. :D I'm glad I managed to organize mine a bit better than what you saw.


dan s
12-26-2008, 04:19 PM
I keep my turning tools in plastic storage containers like this with a few drop s of light oil on them.

http://www.tapplastics.com/uploads/products/images/fullsize/standard/530_infinite.jpg (http://www.tapplastics.com/uploads/products/images/fullsize/standard/530_infinite.jpg)

I keep end mills and inserts in the plastic containers they came in.

Liger Zero
12-26-2008, 04:27 PM
Ah! Plastic boxes! Great idea. I know where I can get 'em cheap.

Thanks for the other ideas as well. I'm an org-freak, everything has to have a place... it should be labeled too. :D

12-26-2008, 04:44 PM
If you can swing it, try to find a Lista/Lyon/Vidmar/Nu-Era/etc tooling cabinet. They are not cheap, and I resisted for a long time, but then finally took the plunge and bought one. I'm now picking up my 3rd (largest yet) on Monday or Tuesday. Here are some old pics of some of my tooling drawers. The lathe tooling has now expanded to fill one entire drawer as shown, along with another deeper drawer in a different cabinet. Likewise, mill tooling has a (almost full) drawer of it's own now, and I also included my "general" (i.e. misc) tooling drawer. You can also see my tap drawer for reference...

As you can see, I love these things. It is AMAZING how much you can put in those drawers, and still open them with little effort. My "setup" drawer is about 4" deep and near full of 123 blocks, several 1x2x12 parallels, v-blocks in all sizes,... it's basically filled with steel/iron at a volume density of near 50% and still opens with one hand. And with felt on the bottom of all drawers, things tend to stay put and edges are (reasonably) protected as long as you don't slam the drawers...

http://img4.pictiger.com/9ec/14437280_th.jpg (http://baddog.pictiger.com/images/14437280/)

http://img4.pictiger.com/152/14437283_th.jpg (http://baddog.pictiger.com/images/14437283/)

http://img4.pictiger.com/c3f/14437281_th.jpg (http://baddog.pictiger.com/images/14437281/)

12-26-2008, 04:48 PM
Oh what the heck, here are a couple more, including an old one of the "setup drawer" before it reached it's currently nearly solid condition...

http://img4.pictiger.com/37e/14437270_th.jpg (http://baddog.pictiger.com/images/14437270/)

And my arbor/shaft/lap/etc. drawer...

http://img4.pictiger.com/d8d/14437269_th.jpg (http://baddog.pictiger.com/images/14437269/)

12-26-2008, 04:52 PM
I'm going to have to force myself to do something like that too. I have only been really collecting milling tooling for a couple of years but am definitely not finished.

12-26-2008, 04:59 PM
I keep mine in old punch card cabinets. Not the best solution but the price was right. FREE !

Liger Zero
12-26-2008, 05:08 PM
I just found on Craigslist someone giving away Card Catalog cabinets with drawers. Depending on how big we're talking this may be an option... it'll be some work ripping out the card-file guts...

Going down tomorrow to take a look.

12-27-2008, 01:36 AM
I just found on Craigslist someone giving away Card Catalog cabinets with drawers. Depending on how big we're talking this may be an option... it'll be some work ripping out the card-file guts...

Going down tomorrow to take a look.

Sounds great! I always keep my eye out for those. Hardwood or metal, both seem about right for lathe tooling.

12-27-2008, 01:51 AM
I have a couple of the Nu-Era cabinets with the 40"x26"x4" drawers with movable dividers and tabs and they are a wonderful way to store things. I have two drawers for endmills and 3 for drill bits, and I can usually find what I am looking for in just a minute or so. For the little tiny bits that slip under the dividers, I use the little grey harbor freight part bins in the drawers. They fit between the dividers and the bits stay where I want them.

12-27-2008, 01:55 AM
If you're interested in the more budget approach, drawers built from 1"x4" pine w/ 3/8" plywood bottoms, hung from surplus full-extension rack-mount computer sliders mounted to surplus rack frame rails in a cabinet work really well. The slides handle a hundred pounds or two w/o problems, and the full extension really helps make effective use of that scarce shop space.

- Bart

12-27-2008, 02:27 AM
If you happen to work at a place where you can get the computer racks cheap during a remodel or something, then that would work. But when you can get the off-name Nu-Era, Lyon, and such for $200 or so a cabinet (see CL or go to auctions) it doesn't make much sense when you'll spend well over half that in plywood (priced wood lately?) and computer cabinets IF you can find them at a scrapper or something, not to mention the time. Again, if you can get the stuff for near free, and I know some have connections such that they can, then building is an option to save 2 to 300 dollars or more. But I don't have those connections, plus I enjoy the time spent trolling auctions and surplus more than cutting wood and making cabinets even if I could find similar deals in that (building) direction...

Myself, I'm picking up a wide format cabinet full of 3" shelves on Monday, complete with normal dividers and a hundred or so aluminum slats for subdividing. That and a few other small items for $200 even. The mid-height Lyon I got about 6 months ago (with dividers) was $50, but really nasty due to spending several years near a turret mill running coolant. Some degreaser and pressure wash fixed everything but the top which was scraped up and rusty, so it got hammer finish gray paint. It's true that the "street price" is often $400 to $800, depending on shelf config, and particularly high if it says "Vidmar", but as with all things, there are bargains. A friend of mine picked up about 8 of the mid-wide cabinet with 4 & 5" shelves for about $1000 at a recent auction. It might have been as high as $1200 or so, I don't recall. But he got the bid on one, and they asked "how many you want for that bid?", he said "all of them", I just don't recall what the bid was, but well under $200, and these were in near new condition. If you have some cash, now is the time to hit some auctions...

Liger Zero
12-27-2008, 02:23 PM
The majority of the lathe-bits I have fit in these large pill-and-vitamin holders I found at the Crap-For-A-Buck store. Bit of sand-paper and the week-days come right off, and they seal air-tight. Got 20 of them. Scary to think that someone would need that much room PER DAY to hold all the pills they take. I hope someone kills me long before I get that old and unhealthy. :D

K-mart had something similar in the hobby/craft department, the compartments are bigger, so the boring-bars and holders and parting blades and stuff like that can go in those.

I am currently seeking permission to relocate the Red Toolbox Of Large-ness to the workshop. I share this space with SWMBO, who as some of you knows dabbles in machining, and this is also where she does whatever "artistic" thing strikes her at the moment. For example I can't move the bench over because that's where she has all her boxes of clay and related stuff at the moment.

If/when I move the tool-box up here, the organizers will go in there, and (in theory) I could put the Wee Bandsaw on top of that.

...webcam is broken at the moment I'll do a quick sketch of the room this evening maybe ya'll got some ideas how to share this space out better.