We all know everyone needs tools to assemble, disassemble, maintain, and fix their helis. Well this is a guide to inform people on what various tools they need to purchase when first entering the hobby. Lets Begin with the basics.
Well first off, screws dont get very tight without a proper wrench/screw driver to compliment them in the tightening process. A basic screwdriver set contains a small, medium, and large sized phillips, a small, and medium sized flat head screw driver, some hex drivers consisting of 1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, and a 3mm sized wrench. Ive had my share of wrenches over the past 3 years in the hobby and the best ones in my opinion are the Dynamite ones, featuring a knurled grip, for getting every last bit of strength into tightening those screws. Overall they seem to be the most robust, and best fitting wrench I have used. What makes them nicer is the knurled grip, often times I have wet, or slimey hands, and most other wrenches I would slip while tightening down screws, this is not the case with these wrenches.They can be purchased through Horizon Hobby. This set only has the 1.5, 2, and 2.5mm wrench, and you will need to purchase the 3mm one separate. A nice tip is, if you would to really like to torque down those screws, you can drill a hole through the wrench, allowing you to instert another wrench into it and use it much likea T Handle type driver.
My favorite phillips/flat head screw driver is one from home depot actually, it has 4 bits of various sizes, all in one little package. The only time I needed a bigger screw driver was working on some phillips headed frame screws in a Raptor 50/ Vision 50. You can order it online from Home Depot.
The next must have in the world of helis is a set of ball link pliers. Sure some dont use them that often, others swear by them, but eventially when our fingers start to hurt after removing and snapping the balls back on, well you begin to appreciate these pliers. They also have nice cut outs for various sized rods, such as flybars and spindles, to hold in place for what ever reasons. The teeth on the pliers are pretty “graspy” if you would, and pretty much hold anything from rotating with enough pressure. I had these pliers and lost them on my trip to Italy and replaced them with a different set, and I really regret it now, those were the best pliers I had, even though the price point is $33…its WELL worth every penny. You can order these online at Heliproz.
Next tool that will be needed is a glow plug remover. There are many different types of these, and well they all serve their purpose, which is removing the glow plug. But I prefer two different styles, and I will discuss why. First is a basic long wrench, with a socket on the end of it. It seems to be the best way to go now, there is no handle to get in the way, and is super skinny, allowing it to fit in the titest of places. The second one is a basic 4 way wrench. Yes it also removes your glow plug, but it also has a few other features that I find handy. One is that most of them have a glow plug storage of 3 or 4 glow plugs, which is always handy to have when ever one decides to go out, and secondly, it can be used to remove the nut on your 50 sized motor. You can get them both at heliproz, 4-way wrench, and the glow plug wrench.
The next tool that is optional, but usefull in many cases is a ball link sizer. What exactley is it? Well often times some ball links are tight on the balls, not rotating free, falling under their own weight, ect.. well what this does, is basically its a ball, with 2 big cuts in it, allowing the ball link to be snapped on, and rotated, while cutting away some of the plastic material in the ball link, and made to fit better on the balls. Some dont use it, others let the links break in, and some people use it, its really all up to the person. The best one I have seen is the JR one, and can be purchased at Heliproz.
Next tool is another commonly used one. A Pitch gauge. Sure there are many many types, styles, and manufacturers that make them, and well, each one does the same exact thing, so there is really no partiality to any brand, or style, pick what ever one you want. Definently one of the top things in a tool box.
One final basic tool that may or may not be needed during the build, depending on your eyeballing ability are paddle alignment gauges. All these really do is make sure that the paddles are squared up to the flybar, and the other paddled and allowing them to be dead flat with reference to the flybar cage system.
Obviously there are many many more useful tools out there in the world of helis, some home brewed, others are other various things such as Dial Calipers, Crank Lock Tools, C Clip Pliers, Soldering Guns…so on and so forth, and yes, most of them are equally as use full as anything else, but for the sake of keeping this article down to the nitty gritty, I wont be discussing them. The tools listed above are all a modeler will need 95% of the time to complete anywhere from a 250 to a 50, and maybe some 90 sized helis.
Hopefully the article was a pleasure to read for you all.