Not every idea is a good idea, or failed at filing files

TLDNR: The glowforge did exactly what I asked it to, but I asked it to do something stupid.
Key take away points:

  1. When making a stand for tall skinny things, support them accurately at the top and the bottom
  2. When making a stand for tall skinny pointy things, don’t put them too close together.
  3. Only make a support for as many things as you need at hand, not as many things as you have. This is particularly important when your eyes are not so great and the things all look the same.
  4. Prototype in cheap materials first. :roll_eyes:

Like a lot of folks who work in metal I like files. Maybe I like them more then most, or maybe I am hoarder, it’s a toss up. My collection of files has been disorganized for many many years, and I decided to do something about it. I also wanted to spend some time with fusion360 and see how it compared to OnShape.

So first off, here is what I am dealing with.

The needle files were a main sore point (pun intended). I made this ugly wood “stand” in 10 minutes 30 years ago and have been cursing myself out ever since. The holes are either too small, or too big, and getting at the ones in the middle is dangerous.

Glowforge to the rescue, right?
I made this in fusion.

Short ones will go in the front, tall ones in the back (still feeling optimistic at this point).
I brought it into illustrator as a dxf of each face I cared about and did the holes there. Illustrator is pretty much second nature for me and I was starting to curse at fusion and scare the cat.

Upload the SVG and hit print. 36 minutes (!?!?). I could have made it much faster by intelligently grouping the little engraved dots in the bottom, but I just let it run and read a book.
So many holes.

I had intended that it would stand on my bench like the old one, but realized that if I put some holes in the back I could also hang it on the pegboard. OK, just grab the back and add some keyholes, toss the piece in the machine, align with grid, and cut keyholes. At this point I discovered that until you choose a material depth the preview image is seriously off, but once I chose the right thickness it was easy to line up and get very close by eye.

Glue it together (I was too lazy to be accurate with kerf) and hang it up and it looks great. Then start putting files in it and realize I have replicated at least one mistake from my previous situation.
Also discover that putting it on and taking it off the pegboard causes all the files to jump around. :frowning:

I thought maybe that adding better holders at the bottom would help, so… more holes!

Sadly I think this thing is just a loser design. I am hoping I can repurpose it for something else, but I definitely have some better ideas for storing the files.

Glowforge worked great though! :+1:


Get that man into therapy… (Are you thinking that you might need a file to breakout of jail???) :wink:


Ummm, this IS therapy!


That’s one heck of a collection! :slightly_smiling_face:
(Really like the organizer too, even if it’s less than effective for needle files.)


I have no files to ‘file’, but loved your walk-through and especially your list of take-aways. Those tips can be applied to most any project and they were also very funny.

This reminded me a lot of the old saying about one’s eyes being bigger than their stomach.



You should just store your files in the cloud. That’s what everyone is doing these days. :neutral_face:


Cool! Most damage is done to files when they touch each other. Been a long time but I used to sharpen my files by a few seconds in an acid bath.
I really have room for improvement in my tool storage. Yeah, I made a file block for my bench files and you reach in and gingerly pinch a file out from the top.


Why not other than lots more glueing go with 4 or 5 tier and instead of hole on the top and pit on the bottom go with a pit and half circles in racks for the upper tiers to cradle the files using gravity and lean to rest them and the added pull forward and up to get the file out easier?

If you were using Inkscape, I know it is relatively easy to change the diameter of your holes slightly… By perhaps taking a whole row and offset or inset object. You would get more snug holes that way. Also, the files would be top heavy, could you make the base taller so as to be closer to the center of their gravity and less prone to fall over?

I have to say, my file collection pales next to yours Josh!


@ihermit2 @Sawa those are all good suggestions. The main problem is I have too many of them and don’t need to have them all available at hand. I am culling the herd and making handle and then will cut some kind of hanging slot arrangementt.

@PrintToLaser happy to send you all the dull ones! :stuck_out_tongue:


Thanks for sharing…we all learn from this very thing.

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Well, you’ll probably have a better design by the time I lay hands on my first Glowforge!
Can’t wait to make one for my pile of needle files!


Maybe this is a stupid idea, but how about storage for the files pointing down? Small hole at the bottom so they don’t got through, or maybe backed by another sheet. Sort by length of file so only the handles protrude.

Ah, but then he wouldn’t be able to see which file was which–which is the point.

If the storage is open, he can still see in. Might need some trick for better lighting. My experience with needle files is that for the subtle differences between files (e.g. different rhombuses or triangles) you need to pull and compare side by side…

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Finally finished the file furniture. Making handles all the same let me lay out a hanger that fit perfectly.


Very nice! :grinning:


Such tidy organization…swoon!


VERY NICE job. I like the clean uncluttered look that your design has. Guess I better get to work and make something nice too. :smile: