28 August 2017
28 August 2017,

You can’t get there from here. Sound familiar? Is that how you feel when you need to move your tools, collets, and supplies from machine to machine? Is the longest walk the trip from the tool crib to the machine? Then get your act together and put together a rolling cart to be your R8 tool holder, fluid carrier, tool toter and anything else you need to get the job done. It’s a do-it-yourself in minutes job.

Grab a Cart

To get started, you need a good rolling cart. It’s up to you if you want all casters to swivel. As a machinist, you should respect rigidity. That rigidity makes a cart with 2 swivel casters and 2 fixed casters easier to move around the shop than a cart with 4 swivel casters. Think that annoying grocery cart that won’t go where you want it. Not good for maneuvering around equipment.

The cart doesn’t need to be expensive. Just get something sturdy. Uline carries great utility carts and Global Industrial does too. Wal-Mart and the office product stores have carts too.

Don’t go overboard with the number of shelves. Sure, it means you can cart more stuff. But, the more shelves you have the smaller the distance between them. This will limit the height of the items you can carry and make placing and removing items difficult.  You want at least one shelf.

r8 tool holder protects colletsGrab an R8 Tool Holder Tray

Next get some trays. If you are a Bridgeport machinist, this means grab an R8 tool holder tray or two. If you aren’t, then get a 5C tray. It doesn’t matter your collet style. It matters you get your trays. Sierra American makes a great R8 tool holder and they have one for 5C too.

Just pick a tool tray that is made from a heavy duty plastic that won’t damage your collets and tools in transit. Double check your dimensions. The depth isn’t as important as the length and width. Make sure the dimensions match with your cart.

organize your shop to operate as smooth as the finish from a cnc fly cutter

Art courtesy of Stuart Miles

Get Your Supplies and Get Organized

Grab your cutting fluid, collet wrench, shop towels, calipers, edge finder, safety glasses, needle nose pliers and all the other tools of your trade.

Now get organized. Organize your collets neatly in your R8 tool holder (or 5C if that’s how you roll). If you are only using 1 tray, then fit a small tool bag in the additional space. If you are using multiple trays on the top shelf, you won’t have room for much more than safety glasses.

On the bottom shelf arrange your fluids, shop rags and tools. Stanley makes a tool tray that is deep enough to handle your micrometer, as well as organizing wrenches and pliers.


You are ready to roll. Add a decal or two from your favorite NASCAR driver or just slap on an American flag.

You’re organized. When you’re organized you work more efficiently. In any CNC shop efficiency is the name of the game.

Got a cart already? Snap a picture and share it in the comments below. We would love to see it.



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