Organizing/grouping your endmills

Hi all,

I’m considering how to organize my endmills, for when I get the Shapeoko assembled and up and running.

I’m considering either grouping them by shank/collet size, or by intended material.

How do you organize your endmills? When do you demote an endmill to use as a roughing endmill? Do you use both roughing and finishing endmills for work in wood/MDF/plywood?

There has been some previous discussion on this, and it depends on a number of factors:

  • how many endmills you have
  • how many different materials you cut
  • how much record-keeping you wish to (are willing to) do

I use a couple of different machines which complicates things, and haven’t really found a system which is a good fit.

Job shops usually segregate endmills by materials and usage, sometimes having complicated hierarchies encompassing categories such as:

  • a new endmill will be used for finishing passes in aluminum
  • a no longer new endmill will be used as an aluminum rougher
  • once worn it will be delegated to roughing in cast iron

I try for the much simpler:

  • used endmills are for roughing
  • newer endmills are for finishing passes (need to get a stock of HSS tooling for that)
  • unused are spares and will be put to work for finishing passes when an endmill is delegated to roughing

I am hoping to be more organized when my Nomad 3 and Pro arrive, and have set aside two small notebooks to serve as machine logs, and I’m going to source a set of colored markers and work up a color-coding scheme where each time an endmill is used the label on the case is marked in a color based on material and in a shape (or symbol or letter) which denotes toolpath.

See previous discussion on record-keeping:

and see:

which has a PDF.

To actually answer the question, mine are in plastic organizers:

organized by:

  • shank size
  • cutting diameter
  • endmill shape

in a larger version of that organizer:

(I had to buy 3 of them to get enough of the front–back organizers — fortunately, they’re generally useful and I’ve got my leatherworking tools and various other things in the overflow)

Odd tooling as well as a couple of most frequently used ones are in the smaller one shown in the forum link.


This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.