I agree. Plastic, metal or anything that cannot retain moisture is better than using wood for the collet rack. I live in an area of the USA where the relative humidity is extremely low and using wood is less of a problem. Along with the extremely low humidity comes the potential for wildfires.
We had one very bad wildfire in November 2008 that totally destroyed about 140 homes in our city and hundreds more damaged. In 2008 our next door neighbor's house ignited due to 50+ MPH winds and a firestorm that was almost unstoppable. Our house is in the background and the destroyed neighbor's house has been rebuilt.
Our house was saved with the fire dept. foaming but it just a matter of time before this happens again. We are better prepared for this 2017 fire season but always subject to a chance ignition no matter how well prepared. I spend about 80 hours per year in brush clearing down into our box canyon each year to be prepared.
Paul Jones (Sep 3, 2017)
That's a neat design for a collet rack. I like to make such tool blocks from dense hardwoods and after finishing I soak them with a drying oils to enhance the color and retard moisture absorbtion. In this design I'd still make the top slotted part out of aluminum or brass screwed on to a bottom "L" shaped wood piece. It might be interesting to sink a small cylindrical neodymium-iron into the base under each collet to hold it in place incase of a tip-over. Those magnets are cheap and easy to get in quantity and various sizes from Chinese eBay sellers.
Frank S (Sep 3, 2017)
I like your suggestion for using a drying oil to enhance the color and retard the moisture absorption. This would be an excellent solution with our dry weather. Even a drop or two of ordinary oil per collet opening in the wood should improve the moisture resistance. I also use sticks of raw camphor as desiccants and this makes the tool boxes smell like VICKSŪ VAPORUB™ never a rust problem for the precision tools..
I am not sure if the small cylindrical neodymium magnets would be an ideal solution if the the magnets caused a residual magnetism on the collets. Over time there could be a fine steel dust adhering to the collets and the collets may not seat perfectly into the collet chuck. I use the Techniks brand of collets that have a standard of 0.0002" TIR and it doesn't take too much dirt to ruin the TIR.
Toolmaker51 (Sep 3, 2017)
Agreed & most whole-heartedly; magnets [esp neodymium] are not a good idea in close proximity to collets and metalworking tools in general for a few reasons, including iron fines attracted to holder itself. I visited a construction trailer, they held reduced shank bits on a magnetic bar. Wood doesn't care. I 'warned' them, asking if they drill structural materials on occasion. A big howl broke out; recounting some guy high on a lift swearing a blue streak about wads of red iron chips halting the work....So now they maintain two sets, lol
Sometimes well meant practicality outruns logic and or uhh-oh. They usually catch up.
I do like magnets on the underside of things you'd like to remain 'parked'. Counter-bore them in a bit and seal the hole with a nonferrous blank slug, right under flush. Any materials that adhere wipes off readily.
...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...
Paul - I didn't think residual magnetism in the collets would be a problem until you mentioned how small steel particles could mess up the mounting or gripping trueness of the collet. Looking for a simple "plan B" now for retaining the collets against the compromises in my old body. Like in recent years more things I come near to end up falling on the floor. 7 day plastic pill boxes work well for small collets; but, well, they look like 7 day pill boxes. Easiest solution I can think of at this point is a stretched out oring glued into a groove deep enough that only .010"-.015" protrudes and located just in front of the bottom of the collet so it holds it in place.
I think the 7 day plastic pill boxes for storing small collets liked the WW style (Webster/Whitcomb) of collets would be a quick solution. Whatever you do, you don't want to drop the collets on a concrete floor. I like having the concrete over a wood floor for supporting the heavy machine tools but I cringe every time some slips off the workbench and lands on the concrete. I would prefer rubber mats along the front of the workbenches but this can be pretty expensive so I use left-over sections of carpeting to pad the areas.
If you go the Rick Sparbers web site he also made a collet holder from wood. A metal box absorbs the cold especially in unheated or only heated when in use shop then when it gets warm the inside tools( metal ) sweat and rust starts forming, that how it is where i live. High humidity also contributes to the problem. That is the reason i stay away from metal boxes. One can also make wood holders for small collets I always try to incorporate a lid for my storage boxes. On my south bend !6" lathe there is a metal collet holder that will be insulated with wood with a lid on it to keep them from rusting and keep to dirt of.
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