Like many makers, I have a problem keeping track of all of my drill bits. Today, I’m going to fix that problem and so can you with our digital plans available below!
Most of my shop organization projects start while I’m cleaning the shop. I notice areas that I have to clean more often or places that I have to move around a lot. These annoyances build up over time because they aren’t yet priorities. One major annoyance I have in my shop is my drill bit storage. I am constantly frustrated that I can’t find certain bits, or they’re buried under layers of saw dust, or they aren’t placed in a marked holder. It is finally time to organize all of these drill bits into one location, mark them effectively, and place them under my drill press where they should be.
Obviously, there are a lot of different form factors, what the container would look like, when organizing shop fixtures. Some can be very specific to the tool itself, like our table saw extension wing and storage cabinet. For this drill bit storage solution, I decided to start with a generic container that could fit under the drill press table, on top of the metal base. I thought it would also be handy for others if the top of the cabinet were flat and deep enough to fit a bench-top drill press.
The highlight of this simple cabinet is the cabinet’s center divider and interior walls that I cut dado slots into. These channels allow 1/2″ plywood platforms to slide in and out of the cabinet for easy access and portability. Essentially this is a box with a door and a bunch of removable shelves; simple and effective. I used 3/4″ plywood to construct the cabinet with edge banding covering the plies, but you can use whatever material you deem fit. We have plans available below so you can make you own!
Like most of my shop fixtures, I wanted this drill bit storage cabinet to be on wheels so I could move it out of the way if I needed to. One thing that was different about this cabinet is that I wanted it to sit on top of the drill press’s metal base. When building the cabinet, I made the side panels longer to account for the base’s 2 inch height. I used some raisable casters so that I could kick down the lever and the wheels would engage. When sitting in place, the wheels can be disengaged and the metal base and side panels will support the cabinet.
To ensure that the trays were able to pull out of the cabinets interior space, I had to attache hinges to the outside. Traditional hinges may cause a problem by not allowing the cabinet door to swing far enough out of the way. The plans we offer below have a link to the specific hardware we used, as well as a list to the right of this article. I also made sue to add a door closing mechanism and a simple handle to the outside.
While this cabinet can be used for any number of applications, I am using it specifically for drill bit storage under my drill press. To solve some of my original problems with my existing drill bit organization is that some of my specialty bits no longer have a container to help identify their sizes. Also, some bits are small or have strange shapes that don’t need an entire shelf for themselves. In order to address these issues as efficiently as I could, I designed a digital layout in Adobe Illustrator. The plan was to use my laser engraver to cut out the holes and burn in the labels for this drill bit tray. I arranged my Forstner bits, step bits, counter sink, bits, and some special brad point bits in a way that made everything easy to retrieve and labeled correctly.
One thing I was excited to do with the laser was to write some information related to the specialty bits on the tray. For example, I have a set of wood taps and I always forget what size pilot hole they require. Using the laser I can cleanly make special notes about specific items so I don’t have to waste time in the future. I also added a panel on the bottom of the tray to hold the drill bits’ shanks in place. This pieces coupled with some stand off blocks and the labels panel on top made for the perfect solution for a lot of my bits.
Many drill bits you buy as a complete set come in their own handy case. I have some that are very useful and even include conversion information and labeling. For items like this, I simply used some short screws to attach one side of the hinged case to its own platform. I don’t think you need to reinvent the wheel when organizing your stuff. If the manufacturer’s case works, keep using it. I have some cases that hold impact wrench bits with hex shanks. Those cases are a pain to use so I was all too eager to get rid of them for a better solution.
Make Your Shop Useable!
I know there is something about your workspace or workshop that bugs you. Chances are you’re putting it off due to a priority list, budget restraints, or you’ve convinced yourself that addressing it afterward isn’t that bad. I’m here to tell you that finding a solution to hose irritations feels really good. Making a simple cabinet like I did for these drill bits solves a lot of my problems without being that involved. Take some time to invest in your shop and find some creative ways to get rid of those annoyances.Get These Digital Plans!
(purchasing via these affiliate links supports ILTMS)
- SawStop cabinet saw
- 8″ Dado stack
- Dewalt 20v drill driver combo
- Dewalt Miter Saw
- Countersink drill bits
- Orbital Sander
- Grizzly Drill Press (WAAAAY overpriced (3x) on Amazon, buy from Grizzly directly.)
- Shop Fox Hanging Air Filter
- 2HP Dust Collector
- 1 Micron bag
- Speed square
- 90˚ corner clamp (4 pack)
Finishes & adhesives I like:
- Glowforge (laser)