After-Market Tool Holder Parts for CNC Equipment

CNC owners discuss where to find minor accessories for their CNC gear — and how to fabricate their own parts from plastic, on the CNC itself. March 3, 2009

Wondering where I should be looking for spare parts for my Biesse Rover 37. I'm interested in tool clips and they will cost me $300 a pop through the manufacturer. Anyone know how I can procure spare parts like tool clips?

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor R:
Are you referring to tool holders? I never heard of tool clips, what are they used for?

From contributor A:
If you watch the auctions there are often auctions with boxes of parts and tooling that go pretty cheap. We got about 10k of parts, pods and tooling for our Weeke for about $250 last year.

From the original questioner:
Yes I’m referring to a tool holder.

From contributor M:
I'm still confused. Are you looking for tool holders or tool holder "grippers". Tool holder grippers stay attached to the tool changer and hold the tool holders.

From contributor R:
The least expensive tool holders but of high quality I purchase from Guhdo. They are usually half the price of any other manufacturer.

From contributor T:
I have one observation referencing tool holders and in particular Biesse fixed position (bed mounted) magazines. For clarity - I will refer to the holder which accepts the collet/tool as tool cone. I will refer to the carousel or magazine portion as the cone holder.

Often aftermarket tool cones come with predrilled balancing holes. It is common practice, but different manufacturers drill in different locations. In the bed style cone holders used on older model Biesse's and some other machines, the aluminum fork (which holds the cone) uses a spring loaded retention pin to keep the cone stabilized within the fork enough that the cones do not come out when the forks are pneumatically driven up but allow for the electrospindle to remove the cone laterally when retrieving a stored tool. Most router spindles do not have an orient feature. When the spindle receives the command to stop, it stops but not in the same place every time.

If you purchase cones with predrilled balance holes located in the trapezoidal groove which locates the cone in the cone holder, over time the holes damage the springloaded pin (deformation, burring) and cause the cones to "stick" in the cone holder. This can result in broken cone holders requiring replacement and related calibration issues.

So be very careful when using aftermarket cones! Inspect your magazines regularly, especially the condition of the springloaded retaining pin. As for the original post, if referencing the cone holders my recommendation is to have them reverse engineered at a local machine shop.

From the original questioner:
The manufacturer of the "tool-holder-gripper-finger" wants $300 per unit. They are nylon with metal "mounts" that use capped machine screws to hold them to the tool mag. I was just wondering if I could fine these "tool clips" somewhere else. Looks like auctions are a good bet.

From contributor R:
I know the type of holder you are talking about. I've helped several clients write programs for their own CNC's that can make the plastic parts of the holders. Is that an option for you? McMaster-Carr usually has the right types of plastic. You might need some type of holding fixture, but that’s not a real issue. I've even helped customers make their own rotary carousel for an eight position changer.

From contributor L:
We've made the plastic tool holders for our machine from UHMW. It looks like the same thing the originals were made from. A lot cheaper than buying the molded ones and seems to last just as long. UHMW is available from all the plastic suppliers. "O" flute bits seem to cut it nicely.