Tool Numbering Strategies

I’m getting more comfortable with my machine and amassing a collection of cutters and am suddenly struck by the question: “What strategy do y’all use for numbering your end mills and bits?”. At first, I was just doing it sequentially, but it looks like Carbide3d has a system for numbering their bits by size and type. How do you choose numbers for new tools you add to your library?

I just have a set of 4 tools in CAM (6mm for hogging material, 3mm for finer work, a chamfer mill and a 1mm ball endmill for finishing curvey things) numbered 1-4.

Since there are so few tools in there, I don’t feel the need to come up with a numbering system.

I do have a lot of endmills but I don’t regularly use most of them. When I do, I just throw them in with a random number. In the meantime I keep track of them with a giant CSV file mapping endmill to storage location.

I use a homebrew pattern. I use the first digit to represent the number of flutes and then the second two digits to represent the diameter in mm. So for me, a #230 is a two-flute 3mm endmill, and a #105 is a single flute 0.5mm endmill. For ball endmills I use an 8 in the first digit since it looks like a B, and for V bits I use a 5 (since it’s V in roman numerals) and then the angle as the second pair of digits. So a #863 is a 6.35mm (1/4") ball, and a #560 is a 60 degree VBit.

I only do this so when Carbide Motion prompts me for the tool there’s a little bit of extra information in the number that I can mentally validate to reduce the chance of me making one of my many, many mistakes :slight_smile:

One thing to keep in mind is whether or not your GCODE Sender (CM, CNCjs, UGCS etc) is intercepting Tool Change T commands or not. GRBL itself will error if a tool number above 255 is used. The intercepted senders appear to have a higher limit set and this may not be a problem for you.

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Mostly I use Carbide 3D tooling, but when adding V endmills, I use the degree angle after 3, so the 45 degree endmills are 345, &c.