Endmill storage

This is 3D printing rather than milling but thought it still might interest some. I was getting sick of my giant pile of endmill cases, which made it difficult to find what I needed, so I 3D-printed some little trays to hold them.

I turned this pile of boxes (though they weren’t stored in this bag):

Into this neat little pile of trays:

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Very nice!

I can’t quite bring myself to divorce the tool from the (labeled) storage tube (and need to work up a way to label the blank tubes some come in and to source tubes in a way which will satisfy my OCD.

I’ve also been thinking I should just begin directly entering usage notes onto the packaging in some way — maybe a color-coded system of dots — can’t quite be rigorous enough to use a notebook.

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My thinking right now is a two-tiered system:

  • A “tool crib” next to my machine with 1 of each of the most commonly used tools. Their position in the tray would correspond to their number in the tool crib in Millalyzer or Fusion or SolidWorks or whatever I use.
  • A “cold storage” set of trays with all of the less-frequently used endmills. The locations for these would be kept in a spreadsheet.

But after watching CGPGrey’s latest video, I have to say I’m tempted to redo these with hexagons… I’m thinking basically honeycomb with the back of endmills sticking out of it. That should make it easier to access lots of them too.

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My thing is, I want at least 2 of each tool – one for roughing passes, a second only for finishing — it just gets more complex from there.

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Your solution of “dots” is not permanent nor readily extensible. However, a solution is sort of right in front of your nose … XYZ coordinates. :smiley:

Which, if used, sort of distances the solution from the infamous “hexagon is bestagon” theory.

The regularity of circles (holes) and squares (gaps between grids) seems to fit XYZ so much better. :smiley:

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I like it. Maybe I would make a grove at the bottom of the “row” across all bits to make it easier to take them out (e.g. space for my big fingers to go) but other than that it looks perfect

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Thanks for that suggestion! How to resolve that problem has been bugging me since I finished this. I’ve been using tweezers (annoying but better than hunting for the right container then grabbing pliers to separate the endmill from the cap) but a simple 10-20mm slot at the bottom of the row would be perfect!

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But you could have milled this out of a solid piece of plastic and and made a pile of chips :wink:
Great job and inspires me to do something about a similar pile of bits boxes.

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How do you remove the endmill from the tray?

EDIT: Read further… Saw the tweezers post.

To make them easier to remove from the tray you could also make the slots deeper at the plain ends. To remove the cutter you could push the end down, tipping it up so that you could get your fingers around it and easily remove it. Hopefully that description makes sense.

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Hmm, I really like that one. I was thinking of adding some kind of lever underneath the endmill at one point but your idea is so much cleaner. It also avoids having to fit your fingers around the endmill, you just need to be able to press on it, which should be easy even with sausage fingers like mine.

For those looking for inspiration, the First Community Challenge was for bit storage. There are some really good ideas and pictures to get you started.

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Works well for gage pins!

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Maybe that’s where I originally saw the idea and it popped up in my subconscious mind. :roll_eyes: