Introduction: Nut Driver Holder

Is your workbench pegboard getting overcrowded with tools?  Or perhaps the printed sizes on your hand tools seem to be getting a little smaller and blurrier every year?  Perhaps this nut driver holder will help with both of those issues.  The same basic design can be applied to other similar tools such as screwdrivers.

I made this at TechShop

Step 1: Materials & Equipment

Vector drawing software (I used CorelDraw)
Laser Cutter (my TechShop has a Trotec Speedy 300)
1/2" thick 3-1/2" x 12" poplar board
1/4" thick 2" x 6" poplar board
1-1/2" x 12" walnut veneer
150 grit sandpaper
Spray acrylic

This instructable assumes some basic familiarity with CorelDraw and a laser cutter.

Step 2: Design the Base

The nut drivers are 1.05" at their widest point.  My set includes seven nut drivers, so I drew out seven 1.05" diameter circles for reference and tried a few different arrangements until I found one I liked.  I drew them in blue to make it clear these are just for reference and will be deleted later.

Now we need to create the outline of the base.  I decided I wanted the sides of the base to be 0.2" larger than the nut drivers.  So I drew a series of 1.45" diameter circles around the outer nut drivers.  Draw them in red with a hairline width to indicate that they should be cut (not engraved) on the laser cutter.  I then drew straight lines (also red hairline) to join the sides and back.  Then, to avoid sharp inner corners I added two small 3-point arcs to smooth where the circles meet.

Next the holes need to be added for the shafts of each nut driver.  I measured the widest part of each nut driver (at the socket portion of the shaft) and added 0.1" to each diameter.  Draw the seven red hairline circles centered on each nut driver location.

Finish by deleting all lines/circles except the outer perimeter and the seven holes for each shaft.  Use the Virtual Segment Delete tool to do this.

Step 3: Design the Top and Spacer

To make the back nut drivers easier to reach I added a top section.  Designing it is very similar to designing the base.  I started with the final design of the base, added 1.45" diameter holes to each of the back positions, added the 3-point arcs between each circle, then deleted all of the extra lines with the Virtual Segment Delete tool.

I decided that this top section needed to be a little taller, so I designed a 1/4" thick spacer to fit between the top and bottom sections.  This was made almost identically to the top section, but I used smaller circles so that the top piece would have a visual overhang.  These circles were only 1.1" in diameter.

Step 4: Design the Rings

Since the holes in the body of the holder have to be large enough to fit the socket portion of each nut driver and the shaft of each is a fair bit smaller, the nut drivers won't naturally sit in nice orderly rows.  So we need to add a raised portion around each hole that is just larger than the base of each nut driver handle.  It turns out that the handle bases will fit nicely into a 0.93" hole.

Starting with the design of the lower base, change all of the lines to blue to act as reference lines.  I added a 0.93" diameter red hairline circle around the front three holes, followed by a 1.2" diameter hole.  Then connect the three holes together with a 0.45" tall rectangle.  Finally, delete all of the unnecessary line and arc segments with the Virtual Segment Delete tool.

As you can see in the images the approach for the top section is the same.

Step 5: Design the Text

I decided to engrave the size of each nut driver on the face of the upper and lower sections.  I simply created two text boxes with each nut driver marking located on 1.3" centers (the center distance from hole to hole).  I set the font to bold so that the numbers would stand out better.

Step 6: Laser Cut All the Pieces

Now it is time to play with the laser.  The 1/2" thick poplar cut well at 100% power and 0.27% speed.  The 1/4" poplar cut at 100% power and 0.7% speed.  The walnut veneer also cut well at 100% power and 0.7% speed.

Step 7: Engrave the Text

Prop the base up on end (I set another piece of wood behind it to help hold it straight).  I first engraved the text at 100% power and 40% speed, but it didn't seem deep enough to me.  So I made a second pass with the same settings which seemed perfect.  Do the same for the upper piece.

Step 8: Sanding, Gluing, and Sealing

Start off by sanding all of the pieces with the 150 grit sandpaper.  I decided to leave the burned edges alone (they provided a nice contrast to the light color of the poplar).  Then glue the spacer to the base (using wood glue) and the walnut overlay over the bottom set of holes (using superglue).  I used superglue because it is a pretty thin piece of wood and I figured glue was likely to ooze out and be hard to clean off and superglue dries clear.  I then glued the top overlay to the top piece of wood.  It seemed like a good idea to clear coat the two pieces now since the final overhang would make it hard to get good overall coverage.  Once the two pieces dried I glued them together with wood glue.

Step 9: Finished!

That completes the nut driver!  I set it on a pair of hooks on my pegboard and it stays pretty firmly in place.  I originally planned to paint the engraved letters with white or black paint to improve visibility.  However, when I test placed it on the hooks on my pegboard my overhead light really provided a lot of contrast as is (even though that doesn't show in the photos) so I left it alone.  Now to start planning a similar holder for all of my screwdrivers...

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