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The title says it all... Is it for marketing purposes, or is there an actual reason bits are typically stored sharp side up?

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In older days a drill bit set would normally be kept in a metal box called a drill index. Here is a picture of a typical drill index.

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The hinge out carriers for the drill bits were made of metal and it is a possibility that the nice sharp ground edges on the drill flutes could be worn if the fluted end of the bit was shoved down into the holes.

More of the modern drill kit boxes use a different style. They are made of plastic and often have a squeeze in holder for the smooth shank part of the drill bit. It is much harder to get the fluted end it snap in to this type of holder and the sharp edges would cut up the plastic.

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So there you have two plausible answers to your question. Only other thing I can say is that the fluted ends all look cool when packaged in a size sequenced set. Why not show them off?

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  • As long as the index was made from a softer metal than the bits, there should be no fear of bit damage. And plastic indexes could surely be designed to accept bits tip down. – Tester101 Dec 10 '17 at 15:27
  • Softer metal on the index than the bits = drill index being worn down over repeated drill bit insertions upside down. I think it started this way out of practicality and stayed that way out of convention mostly for display/marketing purposes. I like being able to see the tips and flutes of the bits I'm buying to know they're not completely dull before I buy them and I expect others do too. – statueuphemism Dec 10 '17 at 16:05
  • @Tester101 - My old old metal drill index boxes have steel carriers for the drill bits. I have indeed seen others that have the carriers made out of aluminum so that would be much softer. Although along with that I've also seen those get bent out of shape much easier. – Michael Karas Dec 10 '17 at 20:20

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