Tool organizer

This forum is for users to post tips and tricks they have found useful while working with VCarve Pro
Post Reply
Janus
Vectric Craftsman
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:02 pm
Location: Germany (Bavaria)
Contact:

Tool organizer

Post by Janus »

Hello!

For my new workshop I tried to make tool organizers like this. http://foamfittools.com/

No problem to mill but you need the profile for the tools.
You can draw simple contours, but for special tools you need a better workflow.
I tried to take pictures on black, white and colored backgrounds.
Even on a light table.

The result was not satisfying. For normal tools it was OK. But if you have transparent or shiny material like chrome, then you have a problem.

But now I've found the perfect solution: you do not photograph the tool but the shadow of the tool!
The light source must be as small as possible, ie, point-like. Perfect here is a single LED.
If you have nothing better, the LED lamp from your smartphone is OK.

This point light source results in a sharp, precise silhouette. On a small screw you can still see every thread.
And it works with any material. Whether reflective or even transparent.

Since I need this more than once, I built an apparatus.
You can of course also place a glass plate between two chairs, LED at the bottom, shadows on the ceiling. The CAD images show the principle.

I photograph the tools individually and make the final layout for the drawer in VCarve.
I have a glass 300x400mm from a frameless picture holder.

This size is then also the reference during subsequent vectorization.

To take pictures, I use a webcam (Microsoft LiveCam Studio) which is centered on the glass plate.
This will save me the additional workfor perspective correction.
The camera can of course also positioned outside of the glass plate and thus use the entire surface.
The camera resolution I have chosen is very low: 960 x 544 pixels!
This is more than sufficient and you do not have as many details in the image. The vectorization then proceeds much faster and better.

The complete workflow in detail:

The pictures
- Place tool on glass plate
- Take shadow picture
Repeat steps for all your tools

Vectorizing in VCarve

I have a VCarve project for Vectorizing
The job size is 300x400mm (like the glass plate)


- Import photo in VCarve
- Scale Photo so that the glass plate in the picture has the size of the job. You can see it better if you us guide lines at the corners ob the job
- Trace bitmap (black / white)
- Fit curves to vectors (0.5mm)
- Mirror (do not forget, as some tools are asymmetrically!)
- Enlarge contours by 1mm (with offset function)
- Save your work


The second VCarve project is for milling
The job size is the size of the tool drawer

Copy tool vectors from VCarve import project around the job area
Arrange the tools as desired until one drawer is filled.
Now create toolpath for the the required depth.
To make it easier, I have created a layer and template for each depth. (6mm, 8mm, 10mm .....)

You just have to select the contour and then use 'movo to layer'.
For example: layer_10mm)

If you have a tool with different deep (Like screwdriver handle and blade)
Then separate it into 2 contours with the help of 'node editing'

It sounds more complicated than it is. It goes very quickly in reality.

I cut the whole thing with a cutter for carbon. Full feed, full spindle speed. Almost everything with 6mm router. Only for very small tools I've used 4mm.
CAUTION: After milling leave everything on the machine and insert the tools for testing. Corrections are now more easily because clamping, zero point, etc. are still correct.

With the result, I am very satisfied.

For European users: You can buy the two-tone foam here http://www.gummifritz24.de

It is difficult to explain if English is not your native tongue.
But I hope you understand everything.

Jan
Bild1.png
Bild2.png
Bild3.jpg
Bild4.png
Bild6.jpg
Bild7.jpg

User avatar
FixitMike
Vectric Wizard
Posts: 1598
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:21 am
Model of CNC Machine: Shark Pro Plus (extensively modified)
Location: Renton, WA USA

Re: Tool organizer

Post by FixitMike »

Very ingenious. I like it.
Good judgement comes from experience.
Experience comes from bad judgement.

ozymax
Vectric Craftsman
Posts: 202
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:34 am
Model of CNC Machine: Home built cnc router using Mach3.

Re: Tool organizer

Post by ozymax »

Nice work.
I wouldn't of thought to use the shadow, but it looks to be the perfect way to get the shapes.

User avatar
Regnar
Vectric Craftsman
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:22 am
Model of CNC Machine: Mechmate 48"x96"
Location: Mobile, Alabama

Re: Tool organizer

Post by Regnar »

I like it! Have you tried it with something thicker like a battery drill? Also can we get a photo of your jig that takes the photos?

Janus
Vectric Craftsman
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:02 pm
Location: Germany (Bavaria)
Contact:

Re: Tool organizer

Post by Janus »

Hello!

If the part is thicker, there is no problem. Just try it with a LED in a dark room and see the shadow on the wall.

I dont fully understand what 'jig' means. But I think it is what you see in pictuere 1 and 2.

It has no great influence how you do it. Take a single LED and make a photo of the shadow. Thats it.

Jan

knowlzy0791
Vectric Craftsman
Posts: 288
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:01 pm
Model of CNC Machine: PAE 110SD Series/Mach3 Software

Re: Tool organizer

Post by knowlzy0791 »

Been looking for a new project to test my skills and I think I will take this one on.

Have never taken a "shadow picture" before. How do you ensure that the shadows will translate to the correct sizes in the trace bitmap portion? Seems like they could easily end up larger or smaller.

Very nice project and quite handy. Thank you for sharing it!

Janus
Vectric Craftsman
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:02 pm
Location: Germany (Bavaria)
Contact:

Re: Tool organizer

Post by Janus »

Hello!

I sayd it here:
Vectorizing in VCarve

I have a VCarve project for Vectorizing
The job size is 300x400mm (like the glass plate)

- Import photo in VCarve
- Scale Photo so that the glass plate in the picture has the size of the job. You can see it better if you us guide lines at the corners ob the job
The trick is that the glass plate and the job size is the same! So if you scale the glass plate in the picture to the size of the job. It will perfekt fit. Much less than 1mm!

In the 3. picture you can see the glass plate (white) and the black surrounding. The white part must fit the job size.

Is hard for me to explain in English, I hope you understand
Jan

RhoTu
Vectric Craftsman
Posts: 148
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 10:12 pm

Re: Tool organizer

Post by RhoTu »

Just wanted to send Janus a big thank you for posting his process. I'm good at putting things back after using them but can never find them easily. Had thought about and organizer but didn't know where to start.

He has many good tips in his post, pay attention to them. I don't have the greatest level of patience so rather than make a shadow box like his I had an old wine box lying around (one of those always available), had some LED's left over from a lithophane project, so taped one to the bottom of the box (like he said a single Led is best, fewer shadows), had some plexiglass lying around from a previous project (hmm..seems to be a trend here), made a 3 inch frame the size of the wine box opening, put one piece of plexi on top of the wine box, set frame on top of that, set tools on Plexi in side frame, put another piece of plexi on top of the frame with a sheet of thin white paper on it. Turned off the lights and there was a beautiful outline of the tools. Snapped a photo with my camera (no Flash), sent photo to my dropbox, imported it into Aspire. Then traced the bitmap after adjusting the shading and cleaned up the results. Measured the largest tool and then grouped all the tools in the picture and sized it until the tool measured the same.

I have had a little laser from Darkly Labs for about a year so I picked up some thin foam from Hobby Lobby and set about lasing the tool outlines on some paper first to test the outlines for irregularites. Once I had those the way I liked them I lased the foam. Being as cheap as I am I found some gray foam floor mats on sale at Harbor Freight that machines fairly well with a single flute 1/8" bit. Pocketed each tool like Janus said and 3M 77'd the thin colored foam to the gray foam.

Oh, BTW, orange foam looks just like yellow foam with laser glasses on!

Attached is the end result for the first drawer of my new workbench as well as a couple of photos of the workbench itself. All frame joints are mortise and tenon with draw dowels all done with Aspire and my DIY CNC. The drawer box joints also done with Aspire. Tooling for my bench mill on the right (haven't moved the mill yet, gonna need some help with that) and tooling for my bench lathe on the left. Little laser in the middle, control boxes and computer below.

Sure glad golf season is over here in the midwest, I can finally get some shop time in!
Attachments
Tool Shadow - reduced.jpg
Workbench - reduced.jpg
Drawer Box Joint - reduced.jpg

Janus
Vectric Craftsman
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:02 pm
Location: Germany (Bavaria)
Contact:

Re: Tool organizer

Post by Janus »

Hello

Thank you for the feedback. This is very rare nowadays.
Nice work.

I never missed a tool and saved a lot of time, since I have this solution.

I am happy if I could help
Jan

User avatar
martin54
Vectric Wizard
Posts: 4780
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:12 pm
Model of CNC Machine: Gerber System 48 (modified)
Location: Crossgates, Scotland

Re: Tool organizer

Post by martin54 »

Janus wrote:Hello

Thank you for the feedback. This is very rare nowadays.
Nice work.

I never missed a tool and saved a lot of time, since I have this solution.

I am happy if I could help
Jan
You need to check in on the forum more often, this sort of feedback & support is the usual on here :lol: :lol:
One of the best forums I have ever been a member of.

Janus
Vectric Craftsman
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:02 pm
Location: Germany (Bavaria)
Contact:

Re: Tool organizer

Post by Janus »

This is very rare nowadays.
You're right.
This was of course a general note!
In this forum it is normal to say thanks.

Jan

User avatar
martin54
Vectric Wizard
Posts: 4780
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:12 pm
Model of CNC Machine: Gerber System 48 (modified)
Location: Crossgates, Scotland

Re: Tool organizer

Post by martin54 »

You have obviously developed a technique that works well for you but just out of interest did you ever try using just natural light & no flash on the camera? I work as a signmaker & have had to recreate quite a lot of things over the years by photographing & then redrawing & resizing. Auto trace programs were not very good so I had to learn to draw which has proved very useful over the years :lol:
I haven't ever really had to much of a problem if photographing using natural light but out of direct sunlight, with the flash on the camera turned off. Photographing that way seemed to cause little if any problems with reflection but obviously I wasn't using the photographs the same way you have.

Just wondering if it was something you had tried :lol: I tend not to be very organised when it comes to tools, they always just seem to end up getting thrown into a big box but then none of them are precision tools & none of them are particularly good quality :oops:

Janus
Vectric Craftsman
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:02 pm
Location: Germany (Bavaria)
Contact:

Re: Tool organizer

Post by Janus »

Hello!
Just wondering if it was something you had tried
Yes, I tried all techniques. No problem to take a single photo. But then you must do what you say: 'redrawing & resizing'.
That is OK for a single sign. But if you have hundreds of tools, you need a workflow with only little manual work.
With the shadows 'Trace bitmap' did a perfect job. No hand editing needed.

As always in life there are different possibilities. :D

Jan

Post Reply