Monday, March 19, 2012

Shop tooling organizer

Gary Paine posted on the Home Shop Machinist forum about some nice storage boxes he made:

Often I turn to woodworking to supplement my metalworking activity. Usually this turns into some form of organizer for the tooling and cutters. Such is the case with the accessories box that resides beside my Burke horizontal mill. The milling cutters are sharp and fragile, and I needed a way to quickly find the right one without handling a whole pile of them. The tills fitted in on top make it a bit less than instant to get at one of the cutters on the bottom, but they are individually and safely wrapped in protective wood on the bottom layer.

In a drawer of the custom cabinet that lives under the legs of my Delta Milwaukee Toolmaker Grinder are partitions for the fragile grinding wheels that are used on the machine.

Different diameter wheels needed different dividers, or it would have been less convenient to get out the small wheels from the large dividers.

The purpose of this post is to try to give something back to this great group by sharing the construction method for the dividers. Many times this turns out to be just two dowels, two end plates, and a bunch of leaves or dividers. I size the dividers between 60 and 80 percent of the cutter diameter in height and about ½ inch or so wider. I space the dowels so they are just clear of a tangent to the diameter, trying to be at least 1/2 in. from side and bottom of the leaf. The dowels are fitted into the end plates at least 1/8 inch from the bottom more than the dimension on the divider so they slide freely. The hole in the end plates for the dowel is not drilled through, but only about ¾ of the way. That way, the dowels act to hold the end plates up against their support. No glue is needed. The holes in the dividers are a generous clearance for the dowel. A side plate such as I show in the photo can be added if desired for full protection of the cutter or ease in handling the assembly. Tip: drill the dividers first as a clamped together stack, top leaf in the stack marked LEFT. Take that leaf and lay it in finished place on the right end plate with the LEFT mark up and transfer the holes into the end plate. Then lay it on the left end plate with the mark against the end and transfer the holes. Doing it this way cancels layout or drilling errors and assures all the holes line up sweetly and it all sits flat. The dividers can be anything from 1/8 inch thick up, and cardboard works but I fear it will absorb moisture from the air and go limp in time. Hope you like the idea.