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  • Horizontal arbor rack

    I have a Nichols horizontal mill, and over the years I've gathered a fair collection of tooling for it. What I haven't done is find a good way to store them. Up until now, they've been literally just jumbled in a couple of old milk crates, usually wrapped with heavy rags to protect any cutting edges.

    Well, I recently re-rebuilt the machine and it's now basically 100% brand-new again, nice and tight and accurate.



    And so now it's time to start sorting out the tooling. Several months ago I added an extension to my cutter rack, and now have reasonably decent storage for the bulk of my wheels.



    But, I still need to organize my arbors. To start with, I drilled, sawed and milled a series of comb slots in a chunk of heavy 3" angle aluminum, and drilled and countersunk some mounting holes.



    That got mounted to the underside of the overhead shelf....



    And with a 5/8" bolt screwed into each arbor or toolholder, I could hang up to eleven on the rack.



    Why all the extra slots? Because sometimes I'll have a larger disc cutter on the arbor- it can simply be moved one slot over as needed. Also, the factory Nichols arbors don't have the drive flange, and can be stacked closer together.

    I still have a dozen more toolholders, and almost another dozen Nichols arbors (that use a 7/16" drawbar rather than the 5/8") so I'll still need to make at least two more like this, but it's a start.

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  • #2
    Nice arbor rack. I like it. I could do the same, but I have fewer arbors, so I have them in a rack like a wine bottle rack, in a drawer of the mill base.

    The cutter rack looks cumbersome, though..... I put the commonly used ones in a drawer. It has a bunch of short dowels sticking up, and I can put a few on each depending on thickness Means I move and fiddle with less cutters to get the one I want. Usually just lift up 4 or 5 maximum to get any one I need.
    CNC machines only go through the motions

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    • #3
      I have too many cuttters and nowhere near enough drawers to do that.

      That rack has several hundred cutters on it, and that's out of a collection of over a thousand. That rack stores them in the most compact manner possible- albeit with some risk of chipping or dulling side teeth- and lets me see in an instant the thickness and diameter of a cutter. And it's fairly quick to access- the entire rod can be lifted out, wheels and all, and with a little care to minimize jostling, some cutters simply slid off to access the one you want.

      I'd had the idea of a similar rack- IE, transverse rods- for the arbors themselves, but wasn't sure how compactly I could store them that way. Bare arbors, sure, no sweat. But I plan to set some of them up to have a selection of common cutters, like one of the small slab mills, probably a 3/16" and 1/4" slotting cutter for keyways, and a couple of my more often used form cutters, left assembled so certain common jobs can be accomplished more quickly.

      The overhead bar spaces the arbors 3" from the wall, meaning I could have up to a 6" diameter cutter on it and still clear.

      Doc.
      Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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      • #4
        Nice rack... I used an eye bolt on the end and bolt on the rack.
        jeff

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        • #5
          Your Nichols looks to be in much better shape than my tired 1941 model. I call it the frankenmill as I've added a x power feed and a couple other things to it.

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          • #6
            Nice milling cutter rack. It really maximizes the space.
            Not that it would apply in your shop, but it's an OSHA inspectors wet dream.
            Can you imagine stumbling and falling into a rack of sharp saw blades?

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            • #7
              Was that cutter rack made from scratch or was than an off-the-shelf product adapted for your use? Seems like a quick and efficient way to store them but I'm not sure it would work for me. I have a similar problem - the collection isn't up to 1000 yet, but probably a couple hundred. That said, I'm clumsy enough that I can almost guarantee I'd leave some piece of junk at the base of the rack and think, "oh yeah, I can just reach over that" and, in the process, over-extend and drop one end of the dowel, sending the whole collection cascading to the concrete floor!

              For me, I think I want a reasonably compact storage solution that stores 1-3 cutters independently from the others. Not as space efficient as your design but maybe a little bit more idiot proof.

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              • #8
                Nice rack Doc. Quite a collection of tooling you have. I hope one day I can find enough floor space to park a horizontal mill in the shop.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by I make chips View Post
                  Your Nichols looks to be in much better shape than my tired 1941 model. I call it the frankenmill as I've added a x power feed and a couple other things to it.
                  -Took a long time to get it there.

                  Bought it in '08, had it mostly rebuilt within a year, and got some pretty decent use out of it. But as it'd been a badly-maintained production mill (despite being the "toolroom" model) the middle third of the table travel was very badly worn. Like rock the table an eighth of an inch at the ends, worn. That limited what I could do with it.

                  A few years ago, I sent the table and saddle off to get re-ground, and only just got the machine back together last summer. Now it's tight, smooth, quiet and basically 100% new.



                  Was that cutter rack made from scratch or was than an off-the-shelf product adapted for your use?
                  -Fabricated.



                  A little angle iron, some flat strap rolled (in a quick-and-dirty welded fixture) into a hook, and a little extra strap underneath to reinforce the hook. A couple different lengths and a couple different spacings for different size cutters, a little grinding, some rattle-can Hammerite and a handful of drywall screws to stick 'em to the plywood walls.

                  Doc.

                  Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dan Dubeau View Post
                    Nice rack Doc
                    Giggity Giggity. That made me laugh.


                    But seriously, looks great Doc. I always appreciate that you take the time for little details like rounding the edges of comb slots.

                    Cayuga, Ontario, Canada

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tom S View Post

                      Giggity Giggity. That made me laugh.


                      But seriously, looks great Doc. I always appreciate that you take the time for little details like rounding the edges of comb slots.
                      And he painted it! Lots of shops would consider paint a waste of time.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post
                        I have too many cuttters and nowhere near enough drawers to do that.

                        That rack has several hundred cutters on it, and that's out of a collection of over a thousand. That rack stores them in the most compact manner possible- albeit with some risk of chipping or dulling side teeth- and lets me see in an instant the thickness and diameter of a cutter. And it's fairly quick to access- the entire rod can be lifted out, wheels and all, and with a little care to minimize jostling, some cutters simply slid off to access the one you want.
                        [snip]
                        Nice work & now that it's done you're probably not in the mood for suggestions on how else to do it, but ...

                        I like the drawer idea. I'm a great fan of drawers - very efficient use of space. Stand the cutters on end in rows - for your cutters, maybe 3 cutters wide & 12" deep, so as to not get too heavy. Something like this would be perfect:

                        Click image for larger version  Name:	d10.jpg Views:	0 Size:	40.5 KB ID:	1938804
                        (That's a bit of an in joke: http://www.docsmachine.com/projects/misc/drawerz.html.)

                        That would be a lot of work, here's something quick & still way more accessible, in the same wall space (angle iron & wood):

                        Click image for larger version  Name:	Holder.jpg Views:	0 Size:	18.5 KB ID:	1938805
                        Last edited by Bob Engelhardt; 04-16-2021, 07:42 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bob Engelhardt View Post


                          Click image for larger version Name:	Holder.jpg Views:	0 Size:	18.5 KB ID:	1938805
                          Now that's a hell of a good idea Bob. Also, 1/8" or 1/4" slots with plywood inserts could be added to separate the cutters or prevent the them from falling over. This is one for the project list.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by nc5a View Post

                            Now that's a hell of a good idea Bob. Also, 1/8" or 1/4" slots with plywood inserts could be added to separate the cutters or prevent the them from falling over. This is one for the project list.
                            I'm a big fan of 1/8" Masonite for dividers. Put a standard kerf blade in the table saw and go to town. Very easy and quick to build all kinds of dividers. I've got some drill indexes I built back in 2006 or 2007 and they're still in great shape, so the Masonite seems to be holding up well, despite humidity, moisture, oil, etc.

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                            • #15
                              I looked at your cutter storage and wondered, Does he have an fixture for unloading the cutters. In my mind I can see a couple of stands on the bench, thin metal with a V on top to hold the 'arbor'. In use you would find the cutter you want and make a gap between it and the rest of the cutters. Pick up the whole mess and put in the fixture so that the V goes between the cutters and holds up the arbor and a second stand goes on the other end. Slide off the cutters till you get to the one you need,

                              lg
                              no neat sig line
                              near Salem OR

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