How do you guys store your end mills so you can find them? Over the years I have accumulated a lot of end mills. 2 flutes, 4 flutes, roughers, longs, center cutters, carbide, HSS, ad finitum. Most are in their tubes and they are kinda sorted by size in a compartmented cabinet but still finding the particular one I need is an ordeal.
Any of you have a particularly good racking system? I think the ideal way would be to keep each in it's own holder but that would get expensive.
What if you had a cabinet with drawers deep enough to stand the endmills up in?
In each drawer, put a framework of wooden spacers that are about half the depth of the drawer. Get yourself a piece of thin board and make a bunch of holes of suitable sizes for the endmills. Lay this over the framework. Put the endmills in upside down and group them according to type and size, noting the sizes on the board so you're not forever having to take them out to check the size.
It wouldn't have to be a real expensive cabinet - you could build a wooden one yourself, or if you're into welding you could go that route.
I got a box from J&L, but all the machine tool supply outfits have them. They have a black plastic bottom with a bunch of blind holes in several sizes, and a clear plastic top. I actually have 3. One for small end mills, one for big ones (3/4" and up) and one for collets and end mill holders. Someday I will make up a case with drawer slides so these can fit in a smaller space. With these, all the small end mills are in rows by size, and you can pick out 2 flute, 4 flute, long, stub, etc. by sight. You can also see when you are running out of a particular size.
While most of my endmills were acquired in bulk form at auctions so they did not have tubes, I use those clear plastic tubes used for putting coins in that collectors use. I found a huge boxfull of them while scrounging one day. They are about 4" long and in various diameters to fit from dime size up to a quarter. I sort my endmills according to diameter, place the business end in the tube, and if it can be capped, I cap it if not it still protects the endmill. I lay them side by side in rows according to diameters. One drawer holds from the smallest up to about 1/2" and so on.......Easy to see what you have. My drawers are about 1 1/2" high in a typical 11 drawer type machinist tooolbox mounted on the wall behind the mill. Larger cutters such as the Shell end mills and flycutters etc.
I do have a few Lista and also Stanely Vidmar cabinets, and also have the tray inserts that are made for laying drills etc in them with felt liners, but do not use them. They space things out too much for an alrerady small cramped shop, so I find I can better store more items back to back in the clear plastic tubes...........
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I bought a Huot 13350 end mill cabinet and mounted it on the wall next to the mill at chest height. Plenty of compartments and very convenient to use. It's hard for me to see how it could be improved. I think I bought it at MSC.
Maple blocks soaked in light oil. Holes bored using metric forstner bits e.g. 13mm for a 1/2" shank, going next size up in metric makes a tighter clearance hole than going up to the next fractional size. I seem to recall making a sort of piloted reamer to enlarge holes for one of the larger sizes.
Plastic end mill storage trays for the smaller sizes.