Drill Bit Storage Case




Introduction: Drill Bit Storage Case

I recently acquired some long, thin drill bits for a project.

Thin drill bits are stored in a small box. Long drill bits are stored in a roll. These bits were too long for the box and too fragile to be rolled up with foot-long masonry bits, so they needed a case to keep them safe.

The largest bit was 5mm so I decided to hollow out two layers of 4mm thick plywood which would give more than enough depth.


Almost everything was left over from something else. I had some brass hinges and catches, but without those, a strip of leather or canvas could be glued and nailed as a hinge and some kind of strap or look used to hook over a screw-head for the catch.

I'll try and find links for similar hinges and catches to what I used and put them at the appropriate point in this 'Ible.

Tools:- I used a handsaw, a drill and 8mm bit, a jigsaw, clamps and a small screwdriver.

Step 1: Cutting the Blanks

The drill bits and the scrap plywood are shown in the second photograph. I was lucky that the outer plies of the two bits of scrap ran in orthogonal directions, so that I could stagger the orientation of the pieces of plywood. This gave a cleaner look on the edge and got rid of any tendency to warp (not really relevant in such small boards).

I got an idea for size by laying the drill bits on the wood, then cut a couple chunks which would be large enough.

They were doubled up and sawn to size on top of each other so that they matched perfectly.

When the four pieces were stacked in the right order (alternating direction) then a made a broad pencil mark on one edge of the stack to keep me straight as to orientation and ordering.

Step 2: Marking and Drilling

On one of the internal pieces I laid out a drawing of what wood should be removed.

I needed long thin grooves to hold the drill bits and prevent them from knocking together, and a large absent square in the middle to allow my fingers to get in and select each bit.

There was enough room for five grooves for the drill bits while leaving enough wood in between that it wouldn't be too fragile.

I sized the square by taking the shortest of the drill bits and making sure that even if it slid all the way to one end of its groove then the other end of the drill bit would not yet have left the groove on the opposite side of the central square.

Then I stacked the two internal pieces up on top of each other and drilled two 8mm holes together at each end of each planned groove.

Step 3: Cutting the Inside

All of the thin fingers of wood left by the cutting would be quite delicate, so I had to plan the order of cutting to reduce the stress which would be placed on them.

The first cuts were made by starting a jigsaw in the paired holes, and then running down each side of the marked line until the cut had crossed into what would be the central square hole.

Once the grooves on both ends were done, I manipulated the jigsaw around and made the end cut of the square which cut across the ends of all of the tongues at each end.

The final two cuts were made along the line of the outside edge of the end grooves, with the very last little bit being removed gently with a small handsaw to avoid stressing anything.

Step 4: Gluing

Gluing. With glue.

I'm a big fan of this brand which is a very good PVA.

The rules for PVA are:-
don't use much
spread it very thinly and evenly
use more clamps.

Do that, and you should end up with a pretty good bond. I left the clamped bits for a day just because I could.

Step 5: Sand and Stain

Once the glue had cured, I sanded the outside of everything and the top face of the inside with a few grades of sandpaper, going down to 180 grit.

There was only a tiny amount of varnish left in my tin, I made sure to get the flat surfaces coated properly before coating the total black hole that is edge-grain.

Since the inside was going to be lined with felt, I didn't worry about varnishing the bottom of the cut-outs, although some varnish ended up there as I was squidging the exposed edges.

After the varnish had dried, I gave the outside a very gentle going over with 320 grit sandpaper and managed a final lick of varnish. The tin is now as empty as an empty thing which has been evicted from the Empty Club for being too empty. Which is good: I hate to waste stuff.

Step 6: Hinges

I had some half-decent brass hinges in my box, so I used them. This case is not going to be under a lot of stress, so the cheapest hinges you can find should be fine. These ones on Aliexpress (no connection) look about right, but five seconds with a search engine should provide you with a solution.

For a different look, or if you don't want to wait for delivery, a strip of leather along the back of the box, pinned and glued (epoxy or cyanoacrylate maybe?) would probably do.

Step 7: Lining

I had some self-adhesive black felt which I'd bought for a different project, so I decided to sacrifice a small amount of it to line the case.

I cut a strip wide enough to cover the base of the central square hole, and put them in.

Then I cut thin strips just wide and long enough to fill the base of the grooves.

Making the join to the big square piece first meant that could be done perfectly, and then I used the but end of one of the drill bits to guide the thin finger of felt into the groove and press it down.

One down, nineteen to go.

Step 8: Catch

To hold the case closed and prevent the drill bits falling out, I screwed a small latch to the front.

Positioning of the hinges of the back isn't that important, but since there's only one catch, I spent some time getting it perfectly centered before screwing it on.

I had this catch in my junk box, but there are lots of places selling them (again, no connection). For some reason search engines like the term "jewellery box catch" to describe these things.

Step 9: Crimes and Concealments

And ta-da we're finished.

The joins between the pieces of felt in the lining weren't perfect, but scratching around over them with a fingernail went a long way to conceal the join.

The catch I used was within 1mm of being too large to fit. I really need to get some smaller bits in my stock.

The hinges were was too good for this. Next time I am definitely going to use a scrap of leather as a hinge.

Any other thoughts for improvements or mistakes, please let me know and if you've read this far, then thank you :-)

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    2 years ago on Step 6

    Counter sink tiny neodymium magnets into the case to hold the drill bits in.

    Alex in NZ
    Alex in NZ

    Reply 2 years ago

    I used that trick on a poker for the Green Egg barbecue, but I decided against it for this.
    It is certainly the better thing to do, but I figured that the bits would be secure in their individual grooves and there was little chance of them springing out while closing the lid, unlike the flexible poker.
    Thank you very much for the comment: it is certainly a great way to hold bits of ferrous metal nicely and unobtrusively.