Tools for getting started in RC

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WoodiE

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We get a lot of questions from users who are new to the RC hobby about which tools they need or worth buying right away. The purpose of this thread is to help answers some of those questions.

If you have been in R/C for several years and have hundreds of dollars in tools already, this post isn't going to be very helpful for you. If you're just getting started in R/C, maybe you just picked up your first RC model and want to know what tools to pick up... this post is exactly for you!

Short version:


Hex Drivers

Most any other manufacture, usually includes some L hex wrenches. These are usually a pain to use especially in hard to reach areas and do a great job at rounding your hex heads and for those reasons I recommend throwing them away or giving them to someone you don't like.

Bondhus makes great tools, offer a lifetime warranty, and make tools here in the USA and offer some very nice priced tools that are great to get started with, like the Bondhus 10686 6-piece set. Which includes 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 4.0, & 5.0mm hex drivers.

In addition you'll also want to pick up a Bondhus .050" hex driver. For less than $20 you'll have all your hex screw needs covered and then some.


Nut Drivers

The tiny 4-way cross wrench isn't bad, truth be told I still use mine every once in a while but have a couple nut drivers makes the work far more easier and quicker.

The Dynamite metric nut driver set is a nice set that's going to cover both the 5.5mm and 7mm nuts used on most RC models.


Screwdrivers

You probably likely already have a couple screwdrivers laying around somewhere but if not then the Tekton 4 piece set makes a nice set to cover both slotted and phillips screws.


Other Stuff

There are a couple more things I'd recommend adding to your R/C toolbox to finish it off. Needle nose pliers, again something you may already have if not any, if not again the Tekton 3504 needle nose pliers for a few bucks will be fine.

Blue thread lock, as you'll be using this anytime a screw goes into a metal piece to prevent the screw from backing out. I'm a HUGE HUGE fan of the Loctite blue sticks. You can get the small bottle version but with the sticks you don't have to worry about it leaking, dripping, running, or drying out. It goes exactly where you put it.

To finish it off, get some permatex white lithium grease. This offers great lubrication without being overly messy or thick.

For not much money you can pretty much have all the tools you're going to need to work on your RC's that's going to last you a good long time and a toolbox that will go with you as you buy more and more RC's.

If you have tool recommendations for new people into the RC hobby please share below!
 

Certified Mike

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I have been working with 1:1 cars since childhood. In my experience with tools, I will recommend that no matter which 'brand-name (or not) you are choosing to buy, QUALITY of the tool is the most important thing. Sure, a good brand name may lead you to a good starting point for your search BUT, a lifetime warranty on a tool does NOT insure that you have a QUALITY tool. In many cases what that translates to is a number of trips to the store to exchange pieces of junk for shiny new pieces of junk until finally picking up another brand. And THATS the tool that gets the job done! I am a BIG fan of Snap On tools because they do typically carry a high quality tool with a lifetime warranty... Often, they come at a hefty price tag quite however. Be prepared for sticker shock often when looking for good quality.
CHOOSE your tools wisely! Buy them like you intend to use them for life and you will often spend a little more, but you WILL likely have them for YEARS to come!
Take care of your tools. Have a GOOD storage system for them and be sure to take a little time to maintain them. Keep them clean (so you aren't starting a job with the dirt, grease etc... from the last job you used them for! A quick wipe with some brake-kleen (and lube when necessary) will go a long way. Good luck! I hope this helps to guide you to happy wrenching!!!
 

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Just wanted to add... Loctite is a GREAT and often suggested and required for securing hardware. Please be aware that while it is almost a requirement for metal to metal, attemping to use it in a metal to plastic applications can be disasterous!!! Unless it is specifically called for by manufacturers, DO NOT USE IT WITH PLASTIC!!! It can eat plastic away as well as often guaranteeing that the plastic part will have to be destroyed when removing the hardware.
 

hamz9561

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Just wanted to add... Loctite is a GREAT and often suggested and required for securing hardware. Please be aware that while it is almost a requirement for metal to metal, attemping to use it in a metal to plastic applications can be disasterous!!! Unless it is specifically called for by manufacturers, DO NOT USE IT WITH PLASTIC!!! It can eat plastic away as well as often guaranteeing that the plastic part will have to be destroyed when removing the hardware.
I will enhance this by adding to use the right type of LocTite on the connection. Unless it's on the engine (where there is a lot of heat/vibration) I will use a medium version (#242 liquid or #244 stick) which is blue in color.

Green Slime is another sealant for o-rings on shocks and needles that should be in the toolkit.
 

Alexander_0_1

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How 'bout a cheap camber gauge. When I first started I'd run into everything causing my steering links, as well as camber links to get pulled out of place from time to time.
 

Certified Mike

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A body scissors set. A curved, straight and body reamer. All are available from a number of manufacturers. I recommend buying a quality set. Keep them dedicated for body work only. Using them for any other use will dull the blades. You will also find that they are easy to knick. Once that happens, every cut you make in a lexan body will show that same knick.
For R.C. body work and other plastic and metal working on scale level... A dremel tool with a good assortment of bits is key. There is a right tool for every job. Dremel makes most of those tools. This may be considered a little beyond 'basic tools' for some. I think looking back on my humble beginnings, a dremel would have saved me a LOT of headache and jobs botched.
 

WoodiE

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Definitely can't go wrong with a set of MIP hex drivers! Also a good set of vice grips, soldering iron, a good metal ruler with measurements.
Most certainly. I use my MIP hex drivers a lot!
 

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