Liftout steel boxes to sort parts in the tool box

Last weekend I was out working in the garage on the project I am about to share here when I realized I was using a tool that I had partially made with the AVIDcnc, and that lead to the project I shared last week about the Steel Plate Slicing/Scoring Machine… With that foundation laid, it will make much more sense when I share the project I was working on last weekend, here, and you see the machine in-use.

In amongst working on the, the lathe, the drill press, grinders or even the AVIDcnc and other machines around the robot studio & garage, there are a good number of supporting piece parts that I find myself using over and over. When it comes to fixturing and clamping on those machines, often one needs tiny small clamps for fine parts on the lathe face place or around mico-endmills on the mill or on fixture plates, while other pieces have much bigger / heavier hold-down requirements for higher clamping forces.

Over the years I’ve ended up with a decent set of 1/2-13 clamping setup gear and smaller amounts of 1/4in, 5/16in & 3/8in. These latter 3 were always sinking to and getting lost at the bottom of the toolbox drawers, so during a recent toolbox organizing project, I decided to segregate them out into their own containers in a dedicated side draw.

The tool-box ‘reorg-party’ went quite well and the 1/2-13 hardware draw came out well enough that I can open it and quickly come up with the clamping hardware I need…

With that task accomplished, a few weeks back, it was time to sit down and knock out a quick flat-pattern CAD model to aid in making some organizational boxes/lift-out trays.

The model is extremely straightforward. There are a few places where 0.060in offsets are applied that are not easily evident untl holding the actual part in one’s hands, but these do play a critical roll in clearances for folding / bend-radii later on…

Form that step, G-Code is generated and then run through the plasma aware post-post processor, to insert all of the touch-off’s, pauses, feed-rates appropriate for material thickness and consumables, etc…

This part of the project goes so very fast that walking to the computer with an idea and walking away with G-Code for a part like this was about an hour and a half. A good chunk of that time came from changing my mind a few times. :smiley:

One last step before walking away from the computer is to use an independent / 3’rd party tool to verify the toolpath. It is super fast to step through the code and observe what the machine is going to do before one gets out to the garage to actually cut steel. Better to find an error in simulating that while cutting a $$$ steel sheet.

With these steps out of the way, it is out to the garage and time to fire up the AVIDcnc. A 1/4 sheet of 16Ga steel is dropped on the water table side of the machine and the Laser Alignment tool is used to dial the sheet in square and identify the origin corner. You’ll notice I didn’t slide it all the way in. I am moving around the area of the slats I am cutting over in the water tank to increase their longevity as over the years and thousands of parts they are a consumable.

And next up, the fun part…

I say it each and every time but, … Mo, this part never gets old.

These parts just came out great! That is always the case on the plasma table… The image below was taken after the 3’rd (of 4) parts…

Below, one of the parts, after absolutely minimal clean-up… Had to take it outside and set it on the box hedge to catch the last dying bit of light the next evening, but the photo in natural light tells the story that much better.

I had done the work above on a small work-vacation after the memorial day holliday. I then had to knock out a couple extra long days work for ‘the man’, but on the next weekend (jsut this past weekend) I was right back at it. This brings us back to the intro of this story and the project I posted in the project forms last… I set up the plate scoring machine and went to town.

This is 16Ga material and even with the slots cut in by the plasma for bending it still takes a whole lot of force. I use those slots more to line up the cut for the slicing/slotting machine…

An “action shot” the slicing/scoring machine in action…

The photos don’t show quite as well as it does to the naked eye. These are crisp / clean scores 0.040in deep and in 16Ga material that makes folding easy.

The scoring allows the folding process to be carried out with simple sheet metal pliers.

This first image shows the nice crisp corners this method affords…

From a project a few years back I’ve got a 1lb bag of powder for powder coating that came out of an ‘ugly-colors’ selection and was being sold at 1/4 of the regular price to get rid of it as they had already discontinued it. It normally comes out much more blotchy than it did here, but this is functional powdercoating so that I can wipe things down and keep using them and they won’t rust over time, so the color doesn’t really mater. In this case the antique color on this one came out kind of nice. (the other three are not so nice.

I’m not done sorting here, but you can see how these will keep the 1/4in, 5/16in & 3/8in clamping hardware together and allow me to lift the individual sets out to carry out to the garage or over to the lathe, mill, etc… I’ll get the rest of the piece parts sorted into the appropriate box in the coming weeks.

(inserting an Edit here) I forgot the following when I originally posted this. :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: Video Link, cutting the outline: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper:

This sure beats digging around under 100lbs of 1/2-13 clamping hardware to find that one 1/4in T-Nut needed for a project. :slight_smile: This project definitely has room for improvement, but it is ‘good-enough’ for my uses… -Kenneth

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Whoa! really cool project! Man, I need more time so I can get my CNC plasma up and running. This would be a really useful project in the shop. That slicing machine is super cool. Never seen anything like that.

I have been keeping my eye out for a magnetic brake, but with that slicing machine I wouldn’t need it.

Thanks for the ideas!

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