Boxes for Precision Tools

I HATE working with wood, REALLY hate it, which is why I work with metal about 95% of the time, but I also hate it when tools lack a nice wooden box to protect them.

Thankfully the Shapeoko 3 makes it easy for someone with 11 thumbs to create craftsman quality items. OK, near craftsman quality. Note to self, Poplar needs TWO coats of poly before adding black paint to the engraving. ((PS Yes, I missed a space…I’ll let you find it))

Designed and GCode created 100% in Carbide Create (wish I could make an elliptical circle for the mic box, but a circle still worked),



Did something similar a while back:

Drew the tools up in OpenSCAD though

Started on a list of them along w/ CAD files thinking this would make this sort of thing easier — turns out Starrett publishes CAD files for their tools.


Very nice! Love the precision square box… So minimalist! :grinning:


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Very nice boxes!

I was going to say it would bug the heck out of me to have the A-F backwards from what’s printed on the lid…but then you had to point out that missing space, so now that bothers me more. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The A-F backwards is actually a copy of how they are backed in the factory plastic box. It’s so they fit in the smallest size square. I thought about rearranging them, as well as renumbering them, and realized that what the factory did, was best…now if I could only add that damn space…

Carve out a pocket and do an inlay w/ the fixed text?

Well it’s a compound error. I milled the 3/4 board to 7/16 so that the box would fix inside the Kennedy’s top drawer, and now I noticed that due to it thinness and double engraving (outside/inside) it has a small bow already, so more milling isn’t an option…and I’m out of Poplar…and It’s acceptable when the cover is closed…haha.

Poplar is a fun wood to mill. Hopefully 2 coats of poly will ward the dents away. Thank you for sharing!

I hear Poplar is very popular…oh sorry, but what I don’t understand is, I bought to 24 inch (3/4) boards (so that they can fit inside of my S3 (rather then a 6’ board which was almost the same price), but back to my concern.

The board that I used to mill the base of the box is VERY hard and dense compared to the board that I used for the top of the boxes. Meaning to dent the bottom is quite difficult, but yes the top board, is so soft…See metal is much easier to work with…I really hate wood.


Natural material, grown in different areas, harvested at different times — Apple arranges to have the timber for their stores harvested at the same time every year for consistent colour.

I love visiting lumber yards — take a plane so that you can smooth boards to inspect their grain (or scrape w/ a pocket knife) and a hand saw so that you can break down boards if need be.

You know it funny that you mentioned that. I went to a Rockler yesterday to pick up the hooks for these boxes, and when to the back of the store where they have the rare and not so rare hard wood. I was there for almost 1/2 hour, touching each piece. I also saw some Acacia, which reminded me that I have a bunch of this wood for some up coming plaques. My wife works for a Table Top company and they get many cutting boards samples, and some get rejected…and forwarded to my work shop. The latest batch all being Acacia wood…I have no idea how this wood machines. I was also fascinated with the Ebony wood, but so expensive.

Richard’s quote of the day: Wood, I still don’t like it but if you treat it like metal it’s tolerable.


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Counterpoint: Wood, I love it, and if you explore the unique characteristics of each piece you can make art.

For hardware see: — the irony is, I got a machine to make hardware for projects such as

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There was a reason to my madness. Sure I could probably find a premade box for my 6" solid square BUT could I find one that made room for my little 2" vise? I think not. The space on top of my enclosure is very controlled. Haha

That’s the really awesome thing about the Shapeoko. Make WHAT I want, to suit me to a tee… or the letter L as in this case (2 puns intended)


Not madness at all! I can’t wait to get my SuperPID up and running so I can make some of that Alum stuff. Looks very professional and well engineered!

BTW:I’ve been meaning to hit up my local Rockler but waiting for my machine to get fully tweaked before I abandon my wallet and all common sense! :grinning:



I assume that you have a DeWalt router (if you are looking at a PID). I do ALL my aluminum machining at 16k to 25k rpms so I can’t understand why you would want to slow your spindle down.

I DO have a Makita (10K) spindle, but that is used for STEEL…

Talk to me Fred…

Well, one reason for slower speeds in case I want to do something more exotic than 6061aluminum, such as other alloys, composites or steel, and also the capability to use pwm speed control in the future grbl version or if I move to tinyG. I also feel that slower speeds can be better for larger endmill sizes. I recall in my early machine shop days flycutting cast iron at very slow speed and feed on a NC bridgeport mill and the finish coming out like glass. Now I’m not saying the S3 has anywhere near the rigidity for this, but there are enough compelling reasons to want the use the PID.

Maybe someone will come out with a good quality, affordable, 110v spindle someday. This is probably a pipe dream though. :worried:


Edit: I did have the 611 Dewalt router, which I’m very happy with, but not against switching to the Makita, except for the investment in PreciseBits collets…

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Well, there’s the Kress (apparently the 110V Ugra has been discontinued) — — $305 from (listed at )

Kress 800 FME looks very nice indeed. I’ll have to see if it is compatible with aforementioned SuperPID, but I imagine it probably is considering the soft-start and speed control. Also wonder if I could get a precision collet set…


The Kress being a real spindle affords real collets — sizes available seem to include 1/8th inch, 1/4th inch, 3mm, 6mm and 8mm.


I was going to mention before that we used to make limited, special edition boxes for my company’s precision tool line. Usually hold a nice caliper, mic and 6" rule and made of mahogany or walnut or even some exotics. They were quite popular with the “old-timer” journeyman machinists as retirement or anniversary gifts or just someone that appreciated something nicer than a plastic case. (Think Gerstner Toolbox). We would engrave names, slogans, logos, etc… on the boxes to personalize them. We lost touch with our wood box supplier a some years ago and discontinued that service.

Now that i’m retired and fooling around with all this wood stuff, I might offer this service once again using my S3 machine. Do you think there would be a market for this in our disposible society? I can get all the precision tools I need, and would give me a reason to hit up the Rockler store more often! :slight_smile:

Anyone, please chime in on your thoughts?


Edit: My Company -

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