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Shop Tip: Print Your Own Labels for End Mill, Drill Bit, and Small Parts Storage Bins

Here’s a tip on how to create and print your own customized labels for your storage bins. It’s not rocket science, but it sure is satisfying to create your own professional looking labels.

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A friend of mine has the misfortune of having too many end mills. Hundreds of them. I wish I had his problem. For him, the  issue with having hundreds of end mills is that he can never seem to find one with the right diameter, number of flutes, etc. when he needs it.

His previous attempt at organization involved sorting the end mills by diameter into several tupperware containers and coffee cans. Finding the right diameter was simple enough, but then he had to sort through the container to find one that had the right number of flutes, or a slight radius, etc.

Oddly, he had a set of storage bins on his workbench that sat virtually empty. He had the bins, but like so many of us, he didn’t have the motivation to organize the end mills into the bins. So I volunteered to help.

He wanted the end mills organized by used or new, diameter, number of flutes, and type (Ball, Hog, ect.). At first I started hand-writing labels for each of the bins, but I quickly realized that a printed label would make the project look much cleaner, and be easier to read from a short distance. Since the bins didn’t come with any labels, I made some up on my computer, cut them out, and stuck them to the bins using 2″ wide clear packing tape. Here’s what the labels look like:screenshot

Below you’ll find an Excel file with the labels I used. Simply change the content of the labels to suite your own storage needs. You could also take this idea one step further and buy your own self-sticking labels from an office supply store (which would make things even easier). Avery makes good labels if you decide to go this route, and Word and Word Perfect both have pre-formatted layouts that fit Avery labels.

If you decide to alter my attached Excel document there’s a few tips you need to know: If you want Excel to display a fractional size such as 3/4 you have to type an apostrophe in front of the fraction (i.e. ’3/4) to prevent Excel from converting the fraction (3/4) into a date (4-Mar). Also, if Excel changes your 0.500 to 0.5, format the cell so that it shows 3 decimal places. If you run into any snags post a comment.

Have fun organizing!

  End_Mill_Labels.xls (19.5 KiB, 687 downloads)
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About Tyler

Tyler is a hobby machinist and 3D printing aficionado. He teaches computer programming and web development at Highline near Seattle. Tyler founded Projects In Metal in 2008 because he was frustrated by the lack of free plans available for hobby machinists.