Introduction: The Drill Bit Rack
Drill Bits ... you know I love them ... especially Forstner bits. What I don't love is sorting through a pile of bits to find the one I need/want/desire.
Do you have one of these tray things on your drill press? If so, what is in it? Mine is pretty useless as a beer ... I mean cup holder. I'd say almost as useless as the slide out drink holder on my old desktop computer. For awhile I put my most used bits here, but then I still had to get a microscope to find the etched diameter marking on each bit ... or break out the calipers.
Maybe you store your bits in the factory case/box? Those all seem to be different sizes, making storage a nightmare ... that is if they plastic hinge doesn't break within the first week.
Maybe you use old coffee cans or plastic containers like I did for awhile, which ends up becoming a catch all for small hardware, fasteners and sawdust.
It was time to put an end to this madness and organize my drill bits. I wanted them grouped in sets, I wanted them portable, and I wanted them labeled.
Step 1: The Back Panel
Oh yes ... 3/4" plywood. My chosen space could accommodate 30" x 24", so that's what I went with. I drilled holed in the top corners so I could hang it from the ceiling, thus avoiding the need to drill into the concrete wall.
Step 2: The Racks and French Cleats
Next I ripped down 24" long strips for the drill bit holders and cleats. Using the shanks on my Forstner bits as the average gauge, I went with 1 7/8" depth for the holders. The cleats are probably 1 1/4"-1 1/2".
Step 3: Fabricating the Holders
For my largest diameter Forstner bits, I had to laminate two layers of 3/4" plywood. Everything else just requires one layer.
I laid out the bits by eye, made my marks and drilled the holes on the drill press. The cleats were attached with glue and brad nails.
Step 4: Laying Out the Rows
I debated about how to lay out the spacing. Should I try to make it adjustable? Should I space according the bits I had? Should I overthink this until my brain explodes? In the end, I went with 5 equally spaced rows. Most of my bits fit into this spacing and those that don't, I can just stagger.
I cut a quick spacer block out of some scrap plywood and attached these cleats with glue and brad nails.
Step 5: Finishing
Once the glue was dry, I finished the rack and all the holders with boiled linseed oil. For hanging, I just used some plastic perforated strapping ... also called pipe hanger strap .. and attached each side to a ceiling/floor joists with a washer and screw.
Step 6: Complete
Labeling was done with a fine tip sharpie. I thought about using a label maker, but the spacing was tight and I figured they'd just dry out and fall off over time.
This design allows me to take a set of bits to my work bench or a job site. I'm also able to rearrange them on the rack if I so desire.
The last picture shows the plywood lamination in order to accommodate larger diameter bits.