Tools you can't live without. - RC Groups
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Oct 24, 2001, 02:38 PM
Just an average RC'er
Jim McPherson's Avatar

Tools you can't live without.

I've noticed a lot of "newbie" questions recently. I'm hoping that this means that more there are more people entering the electric flight hobby. Because of that I thought I'd post a few tools that I feel are essential to the e-flight hobby. Please list your "can't live without tools" as well... after all I didn't know I couldn't live without a tool until I actually knew about the tool.
My Short list of tools not typical of a garage:

1. Quality Weller Adjustable Soldering iron (or equivilant).
2. Helping Hands w/or without maginifying glass.
3. Dremel Tool.
4. Miniature C-clamps
5. Quality automatic wire strippers.
6. Z-bend tool for smaller size wire.
7. AstroFlight Watt Meter.

Please add to this list!
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Oct 24, 2001, 02:52 PM
Registered User
Second the Dremel.

And add a variety of Perma-Grit tools. They last for ever.
Oct 24, 2001, 03:00 PM
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Larry @ SR's Avatar
Hi Jim...

If the Weller soldering iron you're talking about is the"gun" type, no, no, no, no, no! The gun type solder guns heat by inductance which is a fancy way of saying magnetism. The problem is that you can demagnetise the magnets in your motor and the motors in your servos. You want to stay very far away from anything magnetic with that type of soldering gun.

Oct 24, 2001, 03:29 PM
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BEC's Avatar
Not specifically e-related but tools I find indespensible include:

Fourmost miter cutter and sander (

Third the Dremel. I find I use the wimpy little Mini-Mite cordless one much more than the old powerful one on the cord.

Along with the Whattmeter, a decent tachometer is a plus.

Also, a good quality scale! Also a good quality covering iron like the Coverite 21st Century unit.

I'm sure there are more....
Oct 24, 2001, 03:37 PM
Most Exalted Windbag
For my old eyes a crane type magnifying light. It's good for light even when you're not looking through the lens.

Of course the Dremel.

Oct 24, 2001, 04:17 PM
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Oct 24, 2001, 04:23 PM
Just an average RC'er
Jim McPherson's Avatar
Originally posted by Larry @ SR
Hi Jim...

If the Weller soldering iron you're talking about is the"gun" type, no,
Hehehehe.... I'm not sure I've ever used a gun type soldering tool... that's kind of why it says "adjustable" and "Iron" in my description. But your right, a gun is a very very bad idea! Bye bye servos!
Last edited by Jim McPherson; Oct 24, 2001 at 11:35 PM.
Oct 24, 2001, 04:31 PM
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Larry @ SR's Avatar
I thought it was worth mentioning as most people aren't aware of the problem.

Oct 24, 2001, 04:56 PM
Registered User
Higley trimmer for covering. My covering jobs have gotten much better with this tool
Oct 24, 2001, 04:58 PM
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DNA's Avatar
Emery board finger nail files. Handiest thing in my shop.
Oct 24, 2001, 05:14 PM
Registered User

Are you saying that ALL soldering "Guns" heat by inductance? Or is it just the Wellers. If it hums, is it heating by inductance?

Tools I cant live without:

a big piece of thick (1/4") glass! Found a glass topped coffe table at a yard sale a couple of years back, how did I build well without it?

a tabletop bandsaw...Ok, so I dont use it at all for my electrics, but for scratch building slimers...gotta have one.

a GP slot machine...ditto on the comment about building electrics.
Oct 24, 2001, 07:14 PM
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Rudderman98's Avatar
Incidence meter, CG stand, and prop balancer. Oh yeah,
and a multimeter.
Oct 24, 2001, 07:14 PM
Registered User
Sorry I am new, but what is a dremel tool?
Oct 24, 2001, 08:00 PM
high-speed freak
opualuan's Avatar
I've had my experiences with soldering... with even a pen-type cheap soldering iron I couldn't solder worth anything... got a weller esd safe temp-adjustable iron, and I now make my own double-sided smt and trough-hole circuits! makes a WORLD of difference.

as far as dremel, any accessories to get? I want to get a dremel for my b-day coming up...

also, for a tach, is a globee intellitach any good? I've been looking to buy one to see if the rpm's are matching in reality with motocalc's predictions..

already have a crane light... probably more useful if you've got bad eyes...

suggestion: digital readout caliper. since I got mine, I don't know how I lived without one, for measuring wire size, motor shafts, prop sizes, etc...