Bit / Tool inventory system

Hey all, very happy to see Avid creating this forum.

What is everyone using to keep track of their bit inventories? I mean that in the physical (where are they) and technological (what are they) sense. I currently have all my bits loaded up in a numbered slotted tray. I’ve tried to group the numbering together to indicate general purpose (1-20 end mills, 21-40 V bits, 41-60 Bowl bits, etc…). I’ve then made sure these numbers correspond with the tool database in Vectric. I also add an asterisk in the Vectric tool database to indicate it’s a bit I physically have (makes it much easier to distinguish upcut/downcut/compression versions of bits, etc… when designing projects).

Pros of this method:

  • keeps things fairly organized
  • easy to physically find bits
  • allows me to limit my bit selection in design to bits I actually have and have the feeds and speeds for

Cons of this method:

  • maintenance heavy. Have to keep on top of adding new bits, replacing old ones, etc…
  • not very portable. I’ve kind of tied myself to the Vectric tool database. I wish there was some kind of industry standard format to allow maintenance and synchronization of an external bit database.
  • I often have multiple copies of the same bit (I’ll replace them after x number of hours) but like to keep the older copies around for perilous cuts. I’d like a better way of managing this without resorting to my current method of paint pens indicating an older bit.
  • no clean way to track collets, etc…

Enough blabbing for now. Hope to hear someone has already solved this cleanly.

Ed T.

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Here’s one way you can do it: CNC Tool Tray | Avid CNC

Personally I just have a set of plastic drawers that I keep all of mine in. They are organized by type.

New ones are stacked off to the side.

In my tool database I keep the popular ones setup. I don’t put them all in because I use several different CAM programs so that would be a lot to maintain.

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TapWorks: I have a very similar problem, I personally don’t do a very good job of keeping them updated in Aspire. The ones that I use most I try to keep ( try ) organized and near my workstation. But the others seem to end up in a drawer and of course always hard to find. I like your idea using the numbering system to indicate whether or not it is an endmill or V bit etc. For some time I have been going to build a special cabinet just for my bits several drawers dedicated to the type of bit it is. Just can’t get that done. And I’m curious how you store your physical bits at this point?

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I currently just have them in a Harbor Freight storage tray under my table next to my touch plate holder (have a 3D printed bracket near the table’s x/y zero). This allows me to have the bits separated by type and in numbered spots. It also allows for wildly different sized bits.

Eventually I’m planning on making some kind of drawer to store them in that would fit under the table in that same spot, but, alas, I seem to do my shop projects that aren’t urgent in spurts.

Thanks for the link. It’s a cool design and one I may someday emulate (once I feel like I have most of the bit types I’ll ever need LOL). But for now I also keep them in a plastic storage tray.

But the physical storage isn’t what I find onerous about this topic. It’s the management in the software that seems in need of a solution. Right now I’m doing all my CAM in Vectric, but would like to do more in ACad. As you mention, maintaining multiple separate digital inventories is simply unwieldy. It would be nice if there was a way to either synchronize basic tool data between them, or allow import/export. But now I’m just day dreaming.

Thanks for the reply.