It doesn’t matter if you start off with electric or glow power radio control, you’ll always be in need of a few tools for the hobby that really can’t come from the traditional tool box. Over the years we’ve assembled a handy tote of our own that has gotten compliments and a lot of use from others at the flying field. If you’re the cost conscious type, you need not worry as this complete kit is less then $100.
All of this may seem like a lot but when it comes down to it, the items listed below will keep your down-time at the flying field to a minimum. We admit, the nicer items are more expensive, but once the investment is made you’ll be set for quite a while. And once your beginners toolkit is complete the only thing left is telling everyone to stay out of your bag!
The Tool Bag
A great tool tote is a toiletry travel for men (Check out eBags.com for a great selection). They’re small, have a lot of long pockets, and a carrying handle. Search any stores travel section and you’ll find a toiletry travel bag for men. Be sure to get a sturdy fabric bag and avoid the PVC bags as the tools will rip the plastic.
The Must-Have Tools
We included some alternative options for some tools since we’ve found a little more money invested at the right time goes a long way.
- English & Metric Hex Set – $12
You will need these, period. A majority of hardware stores will carry the “L” bend sets in both English and Metric measurements. You’ll need both. After some time, we decided to invest in two (2) premium sets from Dynamite. Though they are more expensive, they’re easier to handle, way more visible, and if you bend or break the shaft you can replace it without having to throw out the entire tool.
- Phillips & Flat Head Screwdrivers – $10
Two (2) of each please. One large, one small. Keep in mind these are for small hobby screws, not for your average households picture wall mount. Think small. Pick these up at any hardware store and save money.
- Small Crescent® Wrench – $8
An adjustable 4″-6″ wrench (again, think small) with a rubberized grip, is great for spinners and mid-sized bolts. You may not use it that often, but it will come in handy at the right time.
- Mini Pliers Set – $16
We found a nice set of Husky mini-hand tools at our local hardware store for only $16. This was a great addition for our kit. The mini-set comes with all the essential hand tools needed for most any job. We especially liked the long needle nose pliers to help grab servo wires and thread silicon fuel line through tight spots. The hand tools are also great for electric fliers as they are perfect for re-bending wire landing gear and other small jobs. If you’re lucky some mini-kits come in their own durable carrying case like ours did.
The Required Extras
All the little things! We found through trial and error that these items are critical.
- 2 oz. Bottle of medium CA – $3
Not thick, not thin, but medium for all jobs. It’s the middle man for all gluing jobs on the flight line. Get a bottle that has a “fail safe” cap to avoid spills in the tote.
- DuBro Hinge Tape – $5
Get a few rolls of DuBro at your local hobby store or online. We keep our tapes in a small plastic bag to avoid dirt and grime.
- Scissors or X-acto® Knife – $6
Handy and often overlooked by many. Keep a cutting utensil in the tote for all things.
- Adhesive backed Velcro® – Approximate Cost: $5
Fliers everywhere live by this stuff. It’s handy for mounting receiver batteries (or batteries in general), receivers, power switches, etc. Odds are you’ll find a need for it and want to keep it on hand.
- Segmented Lead Weights – Approximate Cost:$5
Seems odd we know, but when you’re out at the field and suddenly your center of gravity is off on your plane, you’re going to need some weight.
These tools are not used that frequently on the flight line but they do come in handy from time to time. Due to their specialty purpose use, they can get expensive but they’re perfect for a number of jobs.
- Metric Nut Driver (Assortment) – $3
Again, these are a ‘Murphy’s Law’ tool. Typically they’re used more at home then on the field. Wiha offers a great assortment for the dedicated pro who’s willing to spend some cash. It took us about 1 year before we really saw a need for them but now, we can’t live without ours.
- Hobbico 2-in1 Wire Cutter/Strippers – $10
It’s the electric fliers ‘jack-of-all-trades’ tool. If you’re going into electrics this is a must have for your toolkit. It’s great for anything electric and also comes in handy for snipping zip ties that we use to hold down wiring inside our airplanes.