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Arranging small tools around the lathe.

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  • Arranging small tools around the lathe.

    I have my mill and lathe next to each other in my workshop. I don't do a heck of a lot of work (and none for profit) so you'd think that it would be easy to keep my workspace tidy and clean.

    Not so I'm afraid. I will tidy the area up in the morning and by evening it will look loke a complete disaster-zone again. I get very focused on what I do and I use a tool, allen keys, spanners, digital caliper etc and put it down on the nearest available surface. Usually this means if I'm using the mill I'll put stuff in the lathe's chip tray and if I'm using the lathe I'll stash stuff on the bed of the mill. Not Ideal I know (and I can hear the sucking of air through teeth from here )

    I want to be able to just grab a tool yet not have my machines cluttered, so I'm looking for inspiration! What ideas do you all have for organising the stuff you always need to-hand around your mill and lathe?
    Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

    Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
    Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
    Monarch 10EE 1942

  • #2
    I have a sloped chip shield made of Coroplast behind the lathe. At the top edge I have put nails and some holes in the frame to hold the chuck keys and various other tools regularly used to make adjustments, change tools, etc. It's been great for keeping things readily available and out of the way.

    My mill sits on a pyramid-shaped stand. The top is the same size of the base of the machine, so chips just fall to the floor. The front side is vertical with several drawers, and the top drawer has all the tools for the mill.
    Last edited by winchman; 08-29-2010, 07:00 AM.
    Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

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    • #3
      I've been planing a shelf behind my lathe as a catch all. Next to the mill I have a rolling stand for a machinist toolbox that has some left over room as a catch all.
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      • #4
        My Lathe has a good built-in splash-guard, I guess I could move it away from the wall a few inches and fab-up a shelf for the top of that.

        Currently I have the lathe along a wall and the mill next to it spanning a corner. I'd thought about turning both machines around to stick end-out from the wall to make it inconvenient for using either as a bench for the other but it would really mess-up my turning space for getting my bike in and out of the workshop
        Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

        Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
        Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
        Monarch 10EE 1942

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        • #5
          I recently put some nicely beaded steel edging on the front of the lathe bench. It sticks up about 1/4" forming a low fence along the top edge of the benchtop. This allows the tools to assume a steeper angle of repose before they begin to fall onto the rubber mat below.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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          • #6
            I bought two rollaround chest-type tool boxes, one for the lathe, one for the mill. All tooling goes into the chest for that machine. The top compartment is kept empty for tools-of-the-moment, a work surface. It gets pretty cluttered.
            The box sits right behind the table of the mill, and next to the tailstock end of the lathe. I intend to add a wall shelf behind the center of the lathe.

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            • #7
              You need a tool storage system that is also the most convenient place to put the tool down. I think wheeled cabinets with appropriate trays, drawers, shelves and worktop, that you can have next to the machine while in use and wheel them out of the way when not. Most commonly used tools right on top.

              Anybody got photos showing this type of machine tool tool storage.

              Phil

              Originally posted by Peter.
              I want to be able to just grab a tool yet not have my machines cluttered, so I'm looking for inspiration! What ideas do you all have for organising the stuff you always need to-hand around your mill and lathe?

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              • #8
                A shelf anywhere within reach of my lathe will collect chips quickly. That's why I went with putting the tools on the chip shield.
                Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Evan
                  I recently put some nicely beaded steel edging on the front of the lathe bench. It sticks up about 1/4" forming a low fence along the top edge of the benchtop. This allows the tools to assume a steeper angle of repose before they begin to fall onto the rubber mat below.
                  Hah! I get piles too but don't have the edge to prolong the inevitable slide to the runner on the floor.
                  John M...your (un)usual basement dweller

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                  • #10
                    I made a roughly 10 by 12 inch wood tray for a sliding fit on the V ways. Routed out a few slots for holding drill bits, taps, small tools, etc. I used to use an inverted cardboard box lid for the same purpose, but on more than one occasion I accidentally knocked it off, and the tools fell behind the lathe. This is heavy (1 " ash) and rides on the ways, so it stays in place.


                    Gary



                    Gary


                    Appearance is Everything...

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                    • #11
                      I used to keep my collets, holders and other R8 tools all over the place. they were in drawers, on tables, behind other items and I could sometimes not find the one I needed. I decided to handle the problem. They are all next to the Mill now. The holder rotates like a Lazy Susan. It's even got a bronze bushing. I cover it with a towel to keep the dust off.

                      Now if I can only figure out places to put all of the cutters and so on for the lathe. Right now, they're all in drawers, boxes and wherever. LOL.

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                      • #12
                        No need to overthink it.

                        Here is the shelf setup that has evolved at my shop. It "evolved", and so it suits what I do pretty well. No guarantees that O won't change it later.

                        Plywood shelves, with a small rim around them. Mounted on a piece of 1/2" iron pipe, flanges top and bottom.

                        The smaller shelf is clamped onto the pipe using a split piece of 2 x 4 wood. You can see one clamp screw in the pic.

                        Holds wrenches for the toolpost, chuck wrenches, tailstock tooling, misc tools and recently used toolholders on top one, mostly cutters on the bottom one.

                        1601

                        Keep eye on ball.
                        Hashim Khan

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                        • #13
                          More pictures showing the layouts would really be great.

                          It is hard to visualize some of these setups.

                          Thanks

                          TMT

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                          • #14
                            My mill is on a wooden stand of its own, and on one side I have several screws to hold wrenches. Not ideal, but so far it's been workable. What I mean by that is that so far I've been able to put the wrenches back on the screws when I'm done using them. It's sort of convenient, though I do have to bend down a bit and look under the table a bit. I'm going to make a tool tray similar to what JTiers has, but I'm thinking that some way to swing it out of the way or into a convenient position would be good. Height-wise- for me it seems that if the bottom of the tray was just above the mill table, that would be about right.

                            Things like allen wrenches would be good to drop into evenly spaced holes, but you don't want them to extend out the bottom of the tray. Maybe a wood block sitting in the tray would be a good holder for those type of things. Other than that, various wrenches can just be casually placed anywhere in the tray. That's how they're going to end up anyway, so why try to keep them separated into distinct slots or whatever- sometimes over-organizing is just too much and the habit of putting each tool back into its own spot just won't form.

                            At the lathe, I don't have a good tool storage- usually I just lay them on the bench next to the lathe. That's not working out since they don't always stay in that area. I have drawers in the lathe stand- that doesn't work either, since it requires the extra step of sliding a drawer open, then closed again. It's not laziness, it's convenience that's the problem. The tool has to be seen instantly and grasped without effort so the habit will form to always place the tool back in that same spot. It seems like the best answer there is going to be another tray with shallow raised edges, placed behind the lathe (from the top of the chip guard and behind, for those with attached chip guards). I can't use a floor stand there, but if I could then JTiers method of a pipe and flange stand would work.

                            It may seem anal, but one of the things I've thought is that if you have to twist your upper body to reach for and grasp a tool, it won't be convenient enough to let you automatically form the habit of finding and replacing a tool in that same place every time. If you have to step away even one step to get the tool, it's kind of the same thing. If you can just stand in one spot and reach out without a full arm extension to grab a tool, then you could form the habit more easily. Reaching across your body also seems to be counter-intuitive- I'm left handed and if I have to reach over to the right side of the lathe or mill, I'd also be less inclined to keep replacing my tools to that spot.

                            Just a few ideas. Maybe try just standing in front of the machine where you normally would, then simply reach out easily into empty space where you might want to place a tool tray. Then go about arranging to hold the tray at that spot. You can always make up one pipe and flange stand, then if you find the 'sweet spot' for the tray you can change the mount arrangement if the pipe stand is in the way of things.
                            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                            • #15
                              I should have used an angle shot... both trays are BEHIND the lathe bed.
                              1601

                              Keep eye on ball.
                              Hashim Khan

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