Published Dec 20. 2016 - 4 years ago
Updated or edited Jan 22. 2021

Laser cut tool holders

I'm working on an article on tool holders and have been fooling around with a drawing program and a laser cutter

Mounted on the vise
Tool and lamp holder
Vise stem lamp and tool holder
Martin Joergensen

When I look out over my tying table, I see an even layer of tools and materials. I have never owned a tool holder, and most of the time my tools just lay on the table wherever there's space, which is over and under assorted pelts, feathers, glues, bags and other tools.

A few of my fly tying friends have tool holders. Most use the Renzetti foam block, and seem to be pretty happy with that.
I researched a bit and as soon as I dug into the subject, I started finding a lot of different gadgets meant to hold your tools while you are tying.

All this research is going into a long article that's underway, which will cover a whole lot of different tool holders on the market.
But as I always do when covering these subjects, I try to look into less expensive alternatives as well as DIY projects, and here I have been fooling around with a pretty high tech solution, namely cutting shapes in different materials using a laser cutter.

First batch
In the cutter
Lots of layouts
In the making
Martin Joergensen

Laser cutters are really cool machines! Not a thing you put up on your desktop (yet), but accessible many places in workshops and maker spaces. I bought my way into one online and also had access to one in a public library. Yes, some Danish libraries have things like that! This one just requires that I book a time and pay the materials (or bring them) and the rest is paid with my tax money. So cool!
I cut a whole lot of different layouts, all on the same basic shape. A couple of them can accommodate an IKEA lamp of the Jansjö type while others are for tools only.
Fun project.
I will return with more details and more practical experiences in the article.

A note on durability - or lack of same

I have left this project hanging here, because the acrylic was way too fragile for this use. Even in two layers it would break so easily under weight and stress that it was completely useless. Metal or wood is probably a better solution. Plywood can be cut on a low power laser cutter, and aluminum can be cut on a water jet still using profiles similar to the ones shown above.

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