As soon as I started milling multiple materials I understood I had to find a solution for keeping my milling bits organized.
It wasn’t straightforward for me to understand I can’t use the same 1.0mm endmill for aluminium and plexiglass, but once you see the finishing that becomes clear. Then my 10 pack of 1.0mm endmills got rapidly messy.
I then thought I could literally build a milling bits holder, but I wasn’t satisfied with the designs out there:
Made out of wood and using some readily available hardware (M3 nuts and screws), it’s a handy and simple design capable of housing 40 endmill types, each one in multiple instances, so to always have backups, plus some spare space for additional items and non-standard bits.
But when I was mid through the build process, I realized the number of endmill types I would have needed to store was more than double!
I then went for a completely different solution, this time buying something already existing, but definitely much more compact and sturdy:
Each holder in the picture can safely host fifty 1/8in endmills and I got three of those for a grand total of 150 endmill storage/indexing capability: a lot more than I need right now.
But now finding the proper endmill can be a bit difficult unless I use a little grey matter to fix that: a proper index table for my holders.
As you can see on the table I have the endmill number (matching the number I have configured within Fusion360 tool library), the bit dimensions and, on the right, the bit shape and number of flutes (when applicable).
It took me quite a few iterations to get it right, but in the end, I got a very satisfying result, both in terms of alignment/sizing and readability: here is the spreadsheet I created.
I used a colour laser printer, some heavyweight paper and a good cutter: now all my bits are nicely classified, indexed and secured!