by Doug Ripka
Here is something I recently saw at an estate auction that would be a good tip for someone organizing number size drill bits (or similar items). The machinist in question did a lot of short run work in plastics and stainless for local businesses; the work often called for drilling really small holes.
Using a parts drawer unit – the type with clear plastic drawers and a steel case – this machinist marked the drawers of the top row #1-#80, #2-#79, #3-#78, #4-#77, and #5-#76. The next six rows were similarly numbered. After sizes #35-#46, each drill had its own drawer. The idea, of course, is that each of those plastic drawers could hold one of the larger size drill bits and a smaller one and, in the case of the really small drills, three or four sizes.
It would be really easy to get two close sizes confused or mixed together, plus it is not an efficient use of the space. As long as the sizes are markedly different, it is easy for someone to separate the two sizes. This way, a 45- or 50-drawer unit can hold 80 different drill sizes, with less chance of size confusion or contamination.
The same idea could be used with end mills, reamers, taps, dies, or any other part that comes in a series where the sizes vary enough to be distinguished.
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Editor’s Note: We have received a great deal of mail concerning our June Pass Along Tip, “A Low-cost Insulated Wall.” Readers have pointed out the fire risks of using exposed foam insulation. It is suggested that prior to installing any exposed insulation, readers should carefully review all manufacturer’s recommendations and all applicable code requirements to ensure that issues of safety and regulatory compliance are not jeopardized.