Monday, August 8, 2016

Tools & Storage Solutions, part 2.

Tools & Storage Solutions, part 2.

Part two of a multi-part series about how to keep things from getting lost while building, store your spare parts, eliminate (some) frustration, and generally stay organized.

Part one of this series focused upon how not to lose things during construction and storage. This article will focus on the tools that I use to build and tune RC chassis. I will not go into painting as that is a topic for another time.

Cutting Implements

I use two different tools for cutting plastic parts off of their spurs and to clean them up. First, I use a pair of side-nippers such as these Xuron 2175 Maxi-Shear Flush Cutter to remove the part. Then I use a standard X-acto knife to clean up the remaining seam line and left-over excess plastic. This is something I've always done when working with injection-molded plastic parts, whether it be for a 1/35 Tamiya tank, a 1/100 Master Grade Gunpla, or a 1/10 Overdose XEX chassis. Depending on the plastic, I'll use my special Tamiya Sharp Pointed Side Cutter NO.123 (74123) but this is only for ball-end caps as I prefer to save these side-cutters for Gunpla.


I use either Tamiya screwdrivers, Wera Kraftform hex and nut-drivers, or Bondhus Allen-keys when building as I found that with tools, it's better to spend a little more for something that will last a long time than to cheap out and use something that could break over time or worse, round-out a screw, leaving it stuck in the plastic or metal.

The Wera drivers I use are the Wera Kraftform Plus 354 Hex-Plus 2.5mm, the Wera Kraftform Plus 354 Hex-Plus 2mm, and the Wera Kraftform Micro 2054 1.5mm. I first was introduced to these screwdrivers at my local hardware store, which had some extra-long, serrated Phillips-head screwdrivers. They are made in Europe and depending on the size, have either the hex or Hex-Plus heads, which are very similar to a hex but have slightly rotated sides so that more or the tool contacts the fastener. I don't know if this really makes a difference, but I've yet to round out any fastener using them. However, Wera screwdrivers are a bit pricey for some at ~$10 each, but given that chassis average ~$300, spending maybe a tenth of that on a set of tools that you'll have for the life of the chassis is well worth it in my opinion.

If your wallet needs a break, Bondhus makes several excellent sets of Allen-keys. Either in their "ProGuard" or "BriteGuard" finish,these tools feature a ball-end hex that allows you to angle the L-wrench around 20-degrees, which helps get around things that might get in your way. This really isn't a feature that helps during construction, but it does help immensely during maintenance and disassembly.

Soft-jaw pliers have been my most-recent tool purchase as they allow me to remove turnbuckles and work on shocks without worrying about marring the parts. You can purchase either the Tamiya pliers or the IPS pliers, which make those pliers for Tamiya and are several dollars less. Having the Tamiya name will not make your car three-times faster or drive three-times better, and they're not red.

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