PDA

View Full Version : Storing horizontal cutters



Doc Nickel
01-24-2009, 08:24 AM
I have been struggling to try and find a decent way to store all these cutter wheels for my horizontal mill. The usual issues: They need to be accessible, but not in the way, they need to be open enough I can find the one I want but not so "loose" they take up a lot of space, and I don't want to spend half a year making a thousand little drawers or boxes or racks.

So I've tried two ideas recently. One, a simple welded rack and dowels:

http://www.docsmachine.com/machineshop/022-01.jpg

Not bad, and nice and dense. There's some 300 cutters there. The problem is, that lets the cutters bang against each other, which is especially bad for anything with side-cutting teeth. And to get at a cutter- especially one towards the middle- there's a great deal of handling, which means more banging and more wear.

Probably won't be too bad for just slitting and slotting saws (no side teeth) or slabbing cutters (only have one so far) but by no means an ideal solution in general. Gets 'em up off the floor, though. I have over a thousand of these things, and have no place to put them. :D

The second idea was to emulate a commercial CD storage rack- made of wire- by slotting a section of aluminum channel extrusion...

http://www.docsmachine.com/projectpics/023-01.jpg

To make this small rack that holds fifty-eight small slitting saws:

http://www.docsmachine.com/projectpics/023-02.jpg

Somewhat better, in that they're not allowed to bang against each other, and are much more accessible. But a pain to mill, as I don't have enough Y travel or a long enough arbor setup to be able to do even just a foot of channel without having to reset at least twice.

The latter style, optionally, can also sit on a table/workbench, possibly with a nice routered oak base, or sit in a deep drawer and act as dividers.

I'm not entirely happy with either method just yet, but I'm still pondering options. Any other ideas or suggestions? Again, I have over a thousand cutters- I can't just hang 'em all on a pegboard.

Doc.

MickeyD
01-24-2009, 08:48 AM
That really looks nice Doc. Organized and the edges protected, and you can even find the one you need easily. The way that I have almost always seen them stored is thrown in a old 5 gallon bucket filled about half way with preservative water. And then they wonder why nobody wants to buy them at the estate/going out of business sale.

John Stevenson
01-24-2009, 08:55 AM
Again, I have over a thousand cutters- I can't just hang 'em all on a pegboard.

And 900 are going to finish up on Ebay :D

No seriously Doc, you will find that a lot of these won't get used, you will have 'favourites' and stick to using these.

In the last photo, 3 racks up from the bottom, two cutters in from the right is what looks like a 6" x 3/4" straight tooth side and face cutter. These take a tremendous amount of power to run and are very hard on a light or even medium machine, that big one, second rack up in the middle with helical teeth will cut smoother, use less power and get more use.

Perhaps racking them larger straight cutters in the middle [ less use ? ] and smaller, thinner helical's to the outsides may stop a bit of sorting ?

Stiff cardboard disks in between will help.

.

Greg Menke
01-24-2009, 09:49 AM
I scored a 10 drawer library card catalog at the local transfer station- kind of grungy- prev owner had stored misc hardware (nails, screws) which got into EVERY nook and cranny- quite a pain getting it all out.

The shallow drawers are great for storing the cutters. Also help them to be generally sorted by type. I lined the drawers w/ fabric, and wrap each cutter so they don't bang into each other. Not a great solution for 900 cutters but works pretty well for a hundred or so. The drawers are fairly long so hold spare arbors, etc.

Sorry that its not an immediately helpful idea- but if you run across one...

Regards,

Greg

J Tiers
01-24-2009, 10:26 AM
Drawer with pegboard in bottom, and dowels sticking up. The pegboard holds the dowels and provides some structure to the arrangement

Plain cutters of all kinds (gear cutters, ordinary slitting saws, plain milling cutters, convex and concave cutters, etc) stack directly with no clashing, and a disk of cardboard keeps side-cutting ones from damaging each other.

Some side-cutting types have a big enough hub that they stack without touching adjacent plain cutters.

You are looking at 75 cutters, in a fairly small drawer, including a number of shell end mills that take up a lot of space on their own.

It is not much trouble to organize the stacks to be related types, like all 16 dP gear cutters, etc. And no stack is so high that it is a pain to get to.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/drawr3.jpg

The horizontal dowels are fine until you want the one in the middle. Then it is really hard to set the dowel down in a way that won't damage every one in the stack. Short stacks avoid that problem, and sit nicely on a surface just like stacked cards when you want to get one out.

derekm
01-24-2009, 11:16 AM
...

The second idea was to emulate a commercial CD storage rack- made of wire- by slotting a section of aluminum channel extrusion...

...
Doc.

Great Idea!!! let me take it another stage further. Make it out of wood (3x4say) and use a compound sliding chopsaw to make the thinner slots (1 or more cuts) and a router to do the rest 1/2"+ - Lots faster than milling and a better protection for the cutters... I could make one 20ft long if needed (But I wont :))

Have it wall mounted horiztonallly (cutters vertical, wood underneath), put a strip of wood in front to stop them rolling out forwards and a wooden backplate to stop the cutters touching the wall.

Doc Nickel
01-24-2009, 09:03 PM
The way that I have almost always seen them stored is thrown in a old 5 gallon bucket filled about half way with preservative water.

-Well, the Craigslist ad I bought them from, showed them all basically just heaped in plastic bins. I was told by a few here they'd seen the ad posted for several months, so I suspected there might have been a lot of "handling wear". Fortunately this proved to be largely untrue- there were indeed a few with chipped teeth, but the majority of the larger (non-slitting-saw) cutters are new-in-the-wax.


And 900 are going to finish up on Ebay

-Well, maybe not all 900... :D

Now, there's more than a few I'll probably let go, and a few duplicates, but really, the majority of them are unique, including a huge number of profile cutters not shown in these racks. Concave, convex, corner rounding, 30, 45 and 60 degree single and double angle, 3", 4", 5" and 6" OD, almost a full set of involute cutters (for smaller gears, anyway) and so on.

But on the other hand, that's another reason to organize these- to see what I have duplicated, and/or what might be completely unnecessary.


n the last photo, 3 racks up from the bottom, two cutters in from the right is what looks like a 6" x 3/4" straight tooth side and face cutter.

-The whole rack (seen in the first photo) is somewhat segregated. The first two dowels are spaced to accomodate 3" wheels (with a few 2" on the first rod) the middle two are spaced for 4" wheels, the penultimate for 5" wheels (though it only has a few fivers on the end) and the last rod spaced for 6"- although it's got a larger dowel and is holding the majority of the unwaxed 1-1/4" arbor cutters.

There are only a couple of 6" cutters on that whole rack and none of them are wider than about half an inch.


Drawer with pegboard in bottom, and dowels sticking up. The pegboard holds the dowels and provides some structure to the arrangement.

-That was the original plan, but I was hoping for some solution that didn't force me to make two dozen drawers and a cabinet to fit them into.

Now, that IS still an option. I've been needing more drawer-type storage in here, and I may well get a woodworking buddy to help me assembly-line a bunch of plywood drawers. But I also need those drawers for other things too, not just wheel cutters- and I only have a limited amount of space for drawers anyway.


Make it out of wood (3x4say) and use a compound sliding chopsaw to make the thinner slots[...]

-The problem with wood is that if you make the "divider" too thin, they start getting brittle and you start to loose teeth after a while. And if you make them too thick, your storage density goes down in a hurry- it takes more and more space to store the same number of cutters.

Doc.

J Tiers
01-24-2009, 09:27 PM
-That was the original plan, but I was hoping for some solution that didn't force me to make two dozen drawers and a cabinet to fit them into.

Now, that IS still an option. I've been needing more drawer-type storage in here, and I may well get a woodworking buddy to help me assembly-line a bunch of plywood drawers. But I also need those drawers for other things too, not just wheel cutters- and I only have a limited amount of space for drawers anyway.


You DID notice that I said the drawer had 75 cutters in it, didn't you? Up to 4" diameter, meaning some small and medium gear cutters and the rest misc form cutters etc that are larger.

Note that the picture is older, I counted the cutters at the time of the post. I haven't moved any of the dowel rods, nor have I increased the drawer area since the picture.

The drawer in question has only a space about 12.5 x 18 inches x 2.5 deep devoted to cutters. The other part has arbors and associated spacers.

At that packing density, the entire drawer would hold over 125 cutters. More if so much room wasn't devoted to a few shell end mills, and a fair number of relatively thick double-angle cutters etc.

I have a huge number of other cutters that I don't or can't use on my mill, most of which I have stored on edge in wood-lined drawers. Since I got them in milk crates, I feel happy that they are in as good condition as they are, which is with relatively few nicks, and only a few that had big chunks torn out of them (the seller had a huge locomotive-sized K&T, IIRC).

Your density depends on the cutter diameters and widths you have to store. You seem to have a lot of thin plain milling cutters, so the density should be pretty good. It gets worse with side mills of the types that can't sit on their hubs with the edges clear.

Of course, wider cutters means you can use a deeper drawer and still get enough in a stack to make it worth while.

Fortunately many of the side mill type slitting saws I have WILL sit on each other's hubs with the edges clear, so I don't have to waste much space on cardboard spacers.

You also appear to have a number of types, which means that stacked up by general type makes a lot of sense. Or at least it does for me. I find that the cutters I need most migrate to the top of the stacks. But of course, with only a 2.5" depth, no stack ever gets too deep and unwieldy.

But if you can get anywhere close to the packing I get, your entire 900 will store in 10 or so drawers. Since you definitely will only need some of them twice in your lifetime, the odd ones can go on edge in heavy boxes or whatever, stored somewhere with a list you can easily reference.

wierdscience
01-24-2009, 09:47 PM
How about sorting and grouping by width all the cutters first.Doing this means all the like cutters end up in the same group.Select one cutter from each group and make a nice easy access rack for those since they will be in actual use.The rest keep in their groups and store in reserve.

Label the groups according to width and store the extras in a closet somewhere out of the way until one you have out needs replacing.The best way to store them would be on edge in a wood box seperated by cardboard.That way you still have quick access to the rest without having to dig through.

Doing this you could possibly get down to 30 or 40 cutters representing a crossection of what you have and will use on a day to day basis.Then maybe a rack for the specials like gear and roller chain cutters.

Doc Nickel
01-24-2009, 10:35 PM
You DID notice that I said the drawer had 75 cutters in it, didn't you?

-You did notice I said drawers were still an option I'm researching, didn't you? :D

The issue, again, is space. I have a long, thin shop, and right now, the 11-foot long wall where the horizontal is, is the last remaining "empty" space where I need to fit both machines and storage.

I was actually hoping to have four machines along that wall, but it's looking like three is more practical- one of them is a 16" shaper.

I've been planning a cabinet of sorts to go on the wall, behind and to the side of the horizontal. Drawers for this have been in the plans from day one. But those drawers need to store far more than just cutters, and I have some five hundred pounds of cutters. They arrived in thirteen Priority Boxes- that's not too far from the volume of a normal refrigerator.

Yes, some will be in "long term" storage, for want of a better term, while others will be near the machine and in various racks, drawers and pegs. I do, however, want even the infrequently-used stuff to at least be reasonably accessible.


But if you can get anywhere close to the packing I get, your entire 900 will store in 10 or so drawers.

-Except I have a large number of larger cutters as well. 6" x 3/4", lots of 5" x 1/2", 1" dia. concave radius cutters, 3/4" radius corner-rounding cutters, 4" x 1-1/2" 80-degree double-angle cutters... I have one box that weighs fifty pounds and only has a dozen cutters in it.

I'm not saying your method won't work or that I don't want to use drawers. I figure the final result will be a wide mix, in fact- some in drawers, some on benchtop free-standing racks, some in boxes, some on pegboards, some on the dowel racks, etc.

But, that said, I'd like to find a more organized and uniform storage. I'd wager, given the dimensions of your drawer, that I'd need closer to twenty just for these cutters, let alone all the other things I need drawers for.

I don't have room for twenty, I probably dont have room for ten. Now, I have the option of filling some of the workbench space which is currently used as open storage, into a rack of drawers, and I may well do that.

But before I commit, I'm fishing for other ideas and options.


Doing this you could possibly get down to 30 or 40 cutters representing a crossection of what you have and will use on a day to day basis.

-And that's my other issue. Given that I'm running out of space, I'm leery about taking the time, cost and labor to make elaborate storage for pieces I may well never use. But on the other hand, I'm a general machinist, and something new is always rolling in the door, and I'm new enough to the horizontal that I really don't yet know exactly what will become the most frequently used.

Slitting saws, sure. Maybe a slabbing mill, almost certainly. Corner-rounding and radiused slotting cutters? Definitely.

But I have yet to need, for example, any of the 5" x 1/2" staggered-tooth wheels. I have yet to need a 4" x 3/16" non-side-cutting slotting saw. That doesn't mean I never will need them, it just means I haven't needed them yet.

Doc.

hornluv
01-25-2009, 01:31 AM
You could put some plastic washers between them to keep them from banging into each other. McMaster Carr sells a wide variety of them with lots of different hole sizes.

derekm
01-25-2009, 05:37 AM
-

-The problem with wood is that if you make the "divider" too thin, they start getting brittle and you start to loose teeth after a while. And if you make them too thick, your storage density goes down in a hurry- it takes more and more space to store the same number of cutters.

Doc.
note the cutters are standing vertical on the thick wood base. The "wooden teeth"/separators only hold them upright not support weight.

J Tiers
01-25-2009, 12:16 PM
-
-Except I have a large number of larger cutters as well. 6" x 3/4", lots of 5" x 1/2", 1" dia. concave radius cutters, 3/4" radius corner-rounding cutters, 4" x 1-1/2" 80-degree double-angle cutters... I have one box that weighs fifty pounds and only has a dozen cutters in it.


But, that said, I'd like to find a more organized and uniform storage. I'd wager, given the dimensions of your drawer, that I'd need closer to twenty just for these cutters, let alone all the other things I need drawers for.

I don't have room for twenty, I probably dont have room for ten.

I figure that you can get at least 40 of the largest diameter cutters you mention into a drawer only an inch or two bigger than I have (using the whole drawer).

up to 75 of the next size (5 x 1/2) would fit in a drawer.

I suspect you are underestimating the capacity of a reasonable-sized drawer, say 24 x 19 inches, and 3 or 3.5 deep. You'd need to make them stout, with ball bearing slides. That's what I did, and I have a hundred cutters, plus arbors, end mills, drawbars, a vertical head, angle plates etc in two drawers under the mill.

The other larger ones I store elsewhere, until I have got rid of the ones I can't use.

Your choice.

TECHSHOP
01-25-2009, 02:40 PM
With that many cutters I think I would make a "large" wall hanging cabinet with sliding doors (barn door hardware) about 8" to 12" deep. The inside (closes to the wall) would hold the heavier and/or least used cutters, the outer sliding panels would hold the cutters most often used.