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How to Organize Tools in a Machine Shop

The key to getting the most out of your shop time is to keep your environment tidy and organized. This concept applies to any working environment, but it's specifically pertinent to the metalworking industry. The organizational system for your tools directly impacts your shop's overall productivity and efficiency.

Machine Shop Storage Ideas

While there are many different tips for organizing your shop, you must customize each organizational system to best fit your specific work environment. Consider getting everyone who works in your shop involved. Having such input means everyone will be more likely to follow these organizational systems once they are in place. Below are a few ideas to start the administrative process.

Storage Racks

In almost any machine shop, storage racks help a store owner utilize the space because racks can be installed along the walls and keep tools off the ground. Each rack or shelf can hold parts that are often used together to make the environment more efficient. Invest in solid and durable storage racks as milling cutters, and drill bits are notoriously heavy.

Tool Cart

Tool carts are a great organizational tool that allows mobility. Tool carts come in various sizes and with a variety of drawers, so you can choose how to organize each section to fit your shop's needs best. Tools carts are great for milling tool storage as projects typically require different kinds of milling tools, so with a mobile cart you can place next to your workstation, you can save time switching out your tools.

Drawer Liner Foam

Having storage containers with multiple drawers is a crucial first step in organizing your shop. However, it is also essential to keep the tools organized within each drawer instead of throwing tools in whatever drawer is empty. To continue to improve on organization, use drawer liners to create separate sections within each drawer.

For best results and to achieve maximum organization, consider using Kaizen foam. It comes in various sizes and thicknesses. It might also be good to purchase a Kaizen knife to cut the foam to fit each unique tool. Kaizen foam separates each layer of tool storage and creates cushioned storage for expensive tools.

Plastic Bins

Organized shops swear by the effectiveness of plastic bins to keep all carbide inserts organized by size. It's also a lot easier to maintain a proper inventory with plastic containers, as one can see when a specific insert is running low when each size is separate.

Label Tools and Parts

The work areas in a machine shop are diverse, from shipping and receiving to assembly to production. Consider adopting a color-coded labeling system to improve organization. Have each color correspond to a particular area of the machine shop. This makes it easier to keep all the tools and parts in their proper place. Such a system will reduce production time as you won't have to spend time moving through the entire shop to locate a specific tool.

Consider more helpful tips to organize your shop:

  • Avoid leaving a mess when you leave your shop. Taking the time to clean up at the end of the day will make the following day much more relaxing.
  • You can reduce clutter by implementing a system that involves putting away three tools for every tool you pull from storage.
  • Keep your shop organized with work zones and clean by zone. This makes cleaning less overwhelming as you can focus on cleaning a particular site at a time rather than seeing it as an entire messy shop.
  • Space is good. Don't feel like you have to fill every room. Having a shelf or counter space free will make the shop feel less cluttered and be future storage space for new tools or parts.

Having a well-organized store is not only efficient but also safer. Working in a shop can be dangerous, and you want to keep yourself and your workers as safe as possible. Organization reduces workplace accidents and increases efficiency. It may take time to develop a system that works for you, but this time will be much less than the time you waste working in an unorganized shop. If you still feel like you don't know how to organize a machine shop, you can also consider professional organizing services if you need additional assistance.

 SCTools TechTips QR Code If you have any questions about carbide cutting tools, end mills, drills, etc. be sure to reach out to us @ or call us at (877)737-0987. We help you machine better! 

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