Introduction: CNC Cutting Tool Storage System
Purchasing cutting tools for a CNC (computer numeric controlled) router is often an expensive proposition, with some tools costing well over $100 US apiece. Even when tools are much less expensive, the cutting edges are still delicate and prone to damage from storage, mishandling, or being dropped.
This CNC cutting tools storage system meets several of my needs, and you might find it useful yourself:
- The cutting tools are protected from damage;
- The storage system is inexpensive;
- The tools are clearly visible, and;
- The tools can be stored conveniently.
- US quarter storage tubes (example: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004S7SUFI)
- Thin cellulose sponge, foam, or even cotton balls
- 15/16” steel washers (one for each storage tube)
- Magnetic tool holder (example: https://www.harborfreight.com/18-in-magnetic-tool-holder-60433.html)
- Hot glue gun and general-purpose glue sticks
- 1” hole saw
- Drill press (not absolutely necessary, but highly recommended)
- Safety glasses
Step 1: Padding to Protect Cutting Edges
Note: If you choose to use cotton balls to pad the end of the tube, you can bypass this step.
Don your safety glasses.
Chuck the hole saw into the drill press. Retract the drill bit in the center of the hole saw high enough that it doesn’t cut into the padding material. Although you can do this step with a hand-held drill or even scissors, the drill press makes this process much safer.
Place the cellulose sponge under the hole saw, and cut out sponge discs. Repeat the process so you end up with enough discs to have one for each coin tube.
Step 2: Padding Installation
The sponge discs will be a very snug fit in the coin tubes; so compress the sides of the disc slightly to fit inside the tube. Taking care not to fold or collapse the disc, slide it down until it sits at the very bottom of the coin tube.
If you have a protective sleeve on a bit that you want to retain (perhaps it has technical information about the cutting tool you want to keep), you can omit the padding and just store the sleeve in the tube.
Step 3: Glue-up
Using the hot glue gun (and taking care not to burn yourself), extrude a thin doughnut of hot glue around the bottom of the coin tube.
While the glue is still hot and soft, center a 15/16” washer on the bottom of the coin tube, invert the tube, and press the tube down to firmly seat the washer in the glue. Set aside until the glue cools.
Step 4: Using the CNC Cutting Tool Storage System
Install the magnetic tool holder in a convenient location.
Place one cutting tool in each coin tube, and screw the top on the tube. The metal washer on the bottom of the tube will be gripped firmly by the magnetic tool holder, and the clear storage tube will make cutting tools clearly visible. An 18-inch magnetic tool holder will hold fourteen or so cutting tools.
Feel free to label the tube lids or apply a label to identify the cutting tool.
Larger or smaller cutting tools can be stored in US half-dollar or dime, penny, or nickel storage tubes.
Right in front of my CNC I installed a second magnetic tool holder on the edge of the table; this gives me a place to securely place the cutting tools I need for a particular job.