Intro: Rotary Tool Organizer Made With a Laser Cutter
Here is my rotary tool organizer. It consists of a wood box and a set of removable trays that hold the rotary bits. All the parts were cut on the the laser with the exception of the latch hardware, which was made on a 3d printer.
Step 1: Materials and Equipment
1/4 inch plywood (about 18x24 inches) for box
1/8 plywood or MDF (about 12x12 inches) for tool bit trays
screws and/or CA glue for hinges and latch
finish ( I used water based polyurethane)
paint for lettering (I used some nail polish)
Step 2: Design
My rotary tool came with a set of bits, a bunch of grinding/cutting wheels, sanding drums, and a chuck key. I needed a way to organize all these parts in one place.
The bit trays are removable, so I can set them on the work bench when I am working. The trays have to be held in place in the box with the tips of the bits near the lid. This will prevent the bits from spilling all over the inside of the box during storage and transport.
I decided to use some existing plastic snap boxes for the disks and drums.
Appearance wise, I was going for a retro-ish machinist tool bit storage look.
I designed some plastic hinges and latch hardware for the 3D printer, but decided to go with metal hinged. I kept the latch.
The box design was made using a web based boxmaker that pumps out a PDF file. It is important to know the exact thickness of your plywood (not the same as the nominal thickness) and the kerf size when cutting this material on your laser . So it is best to select your wood and do some sample cutting with your laser BEFORE drawing the box. I imported the PDF into Corel Draw, and modified to add lettering, and a flush lid that wood accept hinges and a latch.
I designed some bit holder trays that would fit inside the box, but could also be used stand-alone. Te trays are angled slightly to make it easier to access the bits.
I have included my cut files for your reference, but you will need to adjust (or redraw) for your specific wood and laser.
If there is interest, I can post the instructions and files for the3D printable hinges and latch.
Step 3: Cut and Assemble
Pre-finishing the plywood with a thin coat of varnish will help prevent soot stains. Place a piece of masking tape on the lid where the lettering will go. This will serve as a mask for painting the lettering.
Using the settings from the test runs, raster out the lettering and cut out the parts on the laser.
After cutting, paint in the lettering. After the paint dries, remove the tape.
If you made the fit tight, the box and trays can be glued without clamping. Ensure the the sides are square, and that the lid has clearance.
After gluing, apply final coats of varnish
I used MDF core plywood for the box, which is not so great for holding screws, so I simply glued the hardware in place with CA glue. It looks to have held quite fast.
Step 4: Test Drive
I was planning on attaching a layer of soft foam rubber to the lid to hold the bits in the tray, but decided instead to create a tray holder that moved the bit tips close to the top of the box. A much better solution.