Ball Link Pliers - The homemade kind
I think that's the correct terminology. I've seen people referring to them as ball-joint pliers as well. Anyway, I made some and they actually work. I checked a few LHS's for some; most had none but one shop had a set for $36 and they were too big anyway. The shop owner (JES Technical Services) showed me a pair of large pliers he had made so I decided to make something similar and small enough for the CX2/Lama.
I started with some fairly worn-out needlenose pliers. No sense ruining a good pair as I wasn't totally sure they would work. I used a Dremel 545 diamond cutting wheel to make a straight slot while the pliers were clamped in a vice.
Next, I used a propane torch to heat the slotted tip. Orangish-red. Then I pried the slots apart with a small screwdriver as I continued to apply heat. (Keeping the pliers clamped in a vice makes everything easier and safer) Once they were spread I was able to use small needlenose to bend them out and toward the opposing tip. I kept them hot the whole time so they didn't snap off. The bend allows you to apply leverage to the ball without the pin you see on commercially made pliers.
I quenched them and sized it up on the linkages. (If you forget this step you're gonna ruin some plastic for sure. ) There was too much metal for the split ends to slip behind the link so I ground it off on a wheel. After that it was just a matter of fine tuning with the cutting wheel and sanding off all of the rough edges.
With the slot varying in width you can use them on different sized balls. I work on my heli's alot due to crashing, mods, and generally not being able to leave them alone. I find the pliers to be a very useful tool for popping the links.
I'm still a noob so if this was posted before I apologize but I couldn't find it with a search. I recommend wearing safety glasses through the whole process just-in-case.
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