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  • drill storage

    how does everybody store their drills?

    I'm looking for a more compact way of storing my drills, because the sheet metal dispensers they came in take up entirely to much space in my tool chest. I like the method fasttrack used to store his taps, but i don't know how practical that would be for small # drills.
    -Dan S.

  • #2

    Keep them in their boxes. Don't try to take up space in the toolbox, make a rack for them by the machine where they will be used most. There are at least four series of drills fractional, number, 1 to 60, and then a small set, 61 to 80. 80 has a dia of about 13 thou. Then there is the letter set and finally there is the metric set. Put all of these in your toolbox and you have to keep all your other tools on the bench. Peter (lucky dog, wish I had a godfather like that)
    The difficult done right away. the impossible takes a little time.


    • #3
      currently i have 4 sets all jobber length:
      1. 1/16 - 1/2 x 1/64
      2. A - Z
      3. #1 - #60
      4. 1mm - 13mm x 0.5mm

      on top of that i have:
      1. #1 - #8 center drills
      2. tap and die sets (metric & imperial)
      3. cap screw counterbores (metric & imperial)

      Basically storing everything in the stock cases takes up to much space.

      Storing them on the shelf would be a good idea for just about anyone but me, as it seems anything that sits out in my shop ends up on the floor at some point in time.

      Now that I'm slowly replacing the cheap bits (as they wear out & break) with high quality ones, I feel even more inclined to store them in the tool chest with the other $$$ tools.
      -Dan S.


      • #4
        I forgot to take a picture, but i have a ball bearing tool chest from Menards that i got on sale for something like 50 bucks. It sits next to my drill press and i'm making some sheet metal and wood dividers for three of the drawers. Each drawer has a different variety of drills in it - cobalt, black oxide and TiNi but once i get a better selection of A-Z bits and 1-60 bits i will combine all the fractions in one drawer and all the lettered in one and all the numbers in the other.

        Ok - saying that, i've got a bunch of indexes in the bottom drawer. They are the nice sets, a cobalt set and a thunderbit set along with screw-machine length and two 1-60 sets. They only get pulled out for precision stuff in the mill or lathe and when one gets dull or broken i replace it from the drawers.

        Then i've got a nifty plastic deal that sits in the top part of the chest and holds a fractional set upright. These are the ones that get used all the time - mostly in the drill press or for the quick n dirty holes in the lathe. Rather than buying one of the plastic deals, though, i suggest drilling holes in a 2X4 or bit of "milkboard" if you have any.

        I dunno - just my 2 cents.

        I forgot to take some pics last time i was home though...


        • #5
          Different Idea

          I don't even own a tool chest. I found that they just don't work for me. I keep the drill sets, Number, Letter, Fraction and Centering, in their metal cases. I built a small stand from scrap 2"x2" and plywood I salvaged from a dumpster at a home construction site. This small stand sits under the table of the floor mounted drill press. If the table has to be really lowered, the stand is small enough to pick up and move. All the drill bits are right there when and where you need them.


          Being ROAD KILL on the Information Super Highway and Electronically Challenged really SUCKS!!

          Every problem can be solved through the proper application of explosives, duct tape, teflon, WD-40, or any combo of the aforementioned items.


          • #6
            Seems to me, for individual drills, that the index boxes (sheet metal) are about as compact as you can get and still keep them organized. Of course it would be more compact to just toss them in a drawer and shake it till they settle down, but finding the size you want would be quite difficult.

            I have other systems. I keep a set of fractional drills on a stand (sheet metal again) next to the drill press. It has two rows and only takes up about 2" x 5" of shelf space. Very handy. I also have a stand up holder with countersinks there.

            You can just drill blocks of wood to hold the drills in the same manner. It's generally best to use the next size for drilling the holes to make insertion/removal easy. But I doubt you could get any more compact than the commercially available ones.

            For several large size drills (over 1/2") that I have collected I either keep them in the original tubes or make a tube from PVC pipe. This helps protect them from chipping. I mark the sizes on the sides and ends of the tubes for easy locating.

            I used this for a bunch of reamers I picked up on E-Bay: it would work for drills also.

            Others have done things like making drawer inserts from wood or whatever with slots to store drills. But each slot is a different width. Or at lease several widths are needed as the drill sizes change.

            I also have bulk drills in some sizes. I really don't want to sharpen 1/16 drills. I can but .... I keep them in the original envelopes, more or less in order in small cardborad bins. These are presently in a drawer, but could be consolidated in a larger bin on a shelf if the collection becomes larger (or when).

            As I said above, you really can't get more compact than the sheet metal drill index boxes and still keep them organized. Well, perhaps you could get a seamstress to make some kind or roll pack. I have a set of wood drills in one, but they tend to get bulky too.
            Paul A.
            SE Texas

            Make it fit.
            You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!


            • #7
              I can't imagine any storage method that would be more efficient than a drill index. There's not a lot of wasted space in the ones I have. It also lets you grab an entire set and carry it to a given machine if you need to. Take them out of the index and you trade space for the annoyance of having to sort through them all to find the one you want.

              Putting them all in drawers to rub against one another is a great way to dull them--especially with all the rummaging you are going to have to do.

              Me...I just can't imagine the hassle of having to dig through a drawer full to find the size I wanted every time. If you don't like the folding box type indexes, you can certainly buy stamped sheetmetal "stands" that are fixed in nature and serve the same purpose. I have one of my fractional sets stored this way.

              Paul Carpenter
              Mapleton, IL


              • #8
                Originally posted by Paul Alciatore
                Of course it would be more compact to just toss them in a drawer and shake it till they settle down, but finding the size you want would be quite difficult.
                i used to work with a guy that used that method. well, he had five or six cardboard boxes and they were at least grouped sorta according to size.

                andy b.
                The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining


                • #9
                  I have three metal indexes with screw machine drills,then I have some of the plastic drawer boxes with tap drills and specials since I may have several of various sizes and finally I have a box of crap drills on the outside of my toolbox so machinist wannabees stay away from the good stuff
                  I just need one more tool,just one!


                  • #10
                    Paul - Since PVC and CPVC both contain chloride, have you had any problems with your reamers rusting in the tubes? I'd be afraid of out-gassing and ruining all my reamers.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pcarpenter
                      I can't imagine any storage method that would be more efficient than a drill index.
                      agreed. its so easy to grab the boxes and take to the lathe, mill, DP. also, put the drills in point first when they're starting to dull, next time you need a size that's upside down, you sharpen all the upside down ones.
                      in Toronto Ontario - where are you?


                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the feedback guys, it's greatly appreciated.

                        I spent most of the night re-organizing the shop, and after a lot of head scratching, I found a way to store all the drills, and still have them easily accessible.

                        One thing is for sure, if I acquire any more tools I’m going to need to start parking the car in the drive way, or get a bigger shop.
                        -Dan S.


                        • #13
                          I've got my "extras" in the common Huote divided drawer boxes for Number and Fractional.

                          I've got a full set of "good" Jobbers in Huote/Allied individual drill indexes (one of each size) for fractional, number, and letter. These are my "go to" sets that are always in use, and always kept sharp. If I dull or break one, it goes in the big Huote box with the point turned out instead of in so I know it needs sharpening (as opposed to others). When I get enough reversed (or run out of one I need), I spend time for sharpening and they all face in again...

                          One set of decent Chinese 135 drill sets. They work, but rarely used, and mostly only for odd, rarely used number/letter sizes I don't have in a good brand.

                          Recently got a full number and letter indexes of PTD "screw machine" drills. I've had some screw machine for a while, but never full sets of top line PTD drills. I love these in the lathe and mill (as well as my PW "sensitive with minimal z-space) when Jobber length is not needed.

                          And finally, I've got a bunch of big MT2 and MT3 taper drills (1/2 to 1-1/4) in a Lyon (like Lista) drawer, all in tubes.

                          This works VERY well for me. I've always got what I need (AND sharp!) in one of 5 easily grabbed index boxes. Spares as needed, easily accessible without having to stop to sharpen or look, and I can always lay my hand on what I need. And when it's time to sharpen, I can easily find all that have been used to touch up (will be in the index boxes) or dull (backwards in the my index boxes).
                          Master Floor Sweeper


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CCWKen
                            Paul - Since PVC and CPVC both contain chloride, have you had any problems with your reamers rusting in the tubes? I'd be afraid of out-gassing and ruining all my reamers.

                            They have been in there for two or three years and so far do not show any signs of rust or any other problems. Of course, it is somewhat dryer here in Iowa than in some parts of Texas. I guess I will find out what happens in a humid climate when I retire to Beaumont. Frankly, I suspect plastic of almost any variety would be better than wood or cardboard or a dis-similar metal that could set up galvanic action. Perils everywhere.

                            I have seen rust start on items I have tried to store in cardboard or wood. My nice, new screwless vise has some starting on the bottom. It's box is now in the trash and I need some scotch bright. Pardon the tear drops on the page. And I have had to clean rust off of my letter and numbers stamps several times. I think the wood and cardboard draw the oil away from the metal and leave it unprotected. I am thinking of replacing the wood blocks with something less likely to draw the oil away. One set is in a plastic box and so far it is OK. Wood blocks seem to be OK for frequently used tools as I have one by my Unimat for many of the frequently used tools and have had no problems. It may also have become saturated with oil from frequent use. I have been using it for over 40 years now: boy that's hard to believe.
                            Paul A.
                            SE Texas

                            Make it fit.
                            You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!