I do a lot of engraving work for my various art projects. Over the years I've amassed quite a collection of burrs and cutters. Some came in fancy sets in padded cases, but a lot of them were single purchases individually wrapped in a clamshell pack or bag that, once opened, can't really be resealed. This makes for a lot of loose burrs rattling around, potentially getting dulled and/or damaged.
So I made some new burr cases
Skill: A little.
Could easily be adapted to make cases for any number of small knickknacks.
Step 1: Get Your Crap Together
- Rotary tool burrs and/or bits.
- Small storage case(s) to hold the burrs.
- Couple packs of Sugru, or similar slightly flexible putty stuff.*
- Rare-earth magnets.
- Glue (doesn't have to be super strong, but quick-drying is good).
Step 2: Magnets! Optional, But Cool
For easy access, clean-up and general organization, I added magnets so I could stick the cases to my locker door. I used 10mm neodymium disc magnets with a lift rating of 0.9kg, because that's what I had lying around. One magnet didn't have quite enough oomph to keep the boxes in place without them sliding down, but two was perfect.
If using contact cement or other fixative that needs to dry before being pressed into place, keep the magnets far enough apart that they won't pull toward each other and get glued together. Hold them in place in the box until the glue is definitely dry and they won't go anywhere. Yes, they can be glued to the outside of the box too, but having them on the inside keeps them from ever ripping or falling off, and makes for a smoother profile at the end.
Step 3: Time to Putty Hard
Grab the Sugru. For the size of plastic cases I had, two of the 5g packs was the perfect amount, but of course that will vary depending on the size of the box. My partner-in-crime for this hack went with green, while I opted for one in red and one in blue/yellow stripes. Squish it together and get it pliable, but don't overwork it or it goes all mushy and kind of gross.
Once it's at a good consistency, mould it in a big block inside the case, working it into the corners and edges and around the magnets. We made one along the bottom, one down the side and one across the middle, relative to case latch placement.
Step 4: Lions & Tigers & Burrs
...Okay, just burrs.
Sort out the burrs that are going into the case, then start embedding them in the Sugru. May want to coat them with some kind of oil so the Sugru doesn't stick, but I got away with not doing that. Press down on them so the putty wraps over the sides a bit, holding the burrs in place. Chances are good that this will wreck the neatly aligned edges made in the previous step. Fix it up a bit if final appearance is important.
Once everything is placed to satisfaction, put it somewhere safe while it sets.
If/when I make another one of these in the future, I think I'll wait for the Sugru to partially cure before putting in the burrs. When it's still all soft, the magnets have a tendency to grab the burrs and pull them down and out of alignment, and I'm hoping letting things harden up a bit would mitigate that.
Step 5: Enjoy the New Burr Cases
The Sugru probably fused to the burrs if no oil was applied to them before, so now it's time to get them loose. Gently remove them and clean off any traces of Sugru. The burrs should now snap back into place in their individual grooves, and be easily pried out when needed. The magnets mean the burr cases can be stored on anything magnetic. I keep mine stuck to the inside of the door of my locker at Hack Bergen.