Tool tips Print E-mail
Written by Vidar Fagerjord   
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 19:59

Now, what do you need as a cockpit builder? I'm not talking about the sledgehammer, the screwdrivers, and the punching ball and so on. Let's take a look at my Big Toys ®!

(click on the images for larger versions)


Power tools, incl. accessories
The Dremel ® Stylus ™.
This little doohicky is a battery powered thingy that does 5 000-25 000 rpm. It is small, so it fits in your hand. Great product for delicate work!
The Dremel ® MultiPro ™.
This tool is just like the Stylus, but it is powered from the wall socket and are more powerful (mine does 10 000 - 37 000 RPM). It's great for about any job.

The Dremel ® Workstation ™.
This is a drill-press for the Multipro. In addition to the usual up/down movement, you can angle the Dremel up to 90°. When you do so, pulling the handle will extend the Dremel in the selected angle (placing the Dremel at 30° and pulling the handle, will make holes at a 30° angle - that's how I made the holes in the Boeing style knobs).
You WILL need this one!

The Dremel ® Shaper/Router Table™.
You mount the Dremel underneath this table, and you can make panels, special cuts, etc. like there's no tomorrow! Not the most important tool, but once you have it...
The scroll saw.
Also known as a contour-saw, this saw is excellent for any delicate sawing job, being able to make almost 90° turns.
The drill press.
Now, this is essentially the same thingy as the Dremel Workstation - but it is bigger and takes much larger tools.
Measuring devices
The Caliper.
This doo-daah measures very accurate. A must have! And do not buy the cheapest one you can find! Spend some money on it, because this is a precision tool!
Fluke 179 Multimeter incl. temp. probe.
Every time you are fiddling around with wires and other electro(nic) stuff, you'll sooner than later going to need a multimeter. In short, this instrument can measure and read a lot of data, ranging from direct current to Ohm's. One of the most useful features is the setting that makes the multimeter to beep if it detects contact between two points - for example if you need to identify wires. Just hook one probe on the known end of wire you need to identify, and test your way through the cable spaghetti at the other end of the mess.
There are a vast number of different models out there - just go for a quality one, and make sure it can read: Direct current (=V), alternate current (~V), Millivolts, Amperes (A), Milliamperes (mA), contact function (the beepy thingy I talked about) and Ohms (like a U upside down). It is also nice to be able to read temperatures, Hertz (Hz, periods per second) and have memory functions.
Handheld tools
The tapping set.
Do you need threads? Do you want to thread a hole or a shaft so you can screw things in place? This toy is for serious boys! Such sets comes in a variety of sizes, and have different tools included. You will most likely need just a few sizes - from M3 to M5 inner and outer should do the trick. Do not buy a set with all possible sizes! Should you need an obscure dimension, visit your local tool-pusher and buy just that one dimension. Some things is nice to have, but you never use'em. There are better things to waste your money on than useless tools...
Misc. tools
The Helping Hand.
This gadget is VERY "handy" indeed! If you ever have attemted to solder on an electronic circuit board, you know it is VERY hard to do! But place the printed circuit board in the grips on this baby, and you're in for a smoooth ride. The magnifying glass is very useful for delicate jobs.
The Stepdrill.
This drillbit is useful for widening holes in a controllable fashion. If you use a drillpress and fasten the item with the hole, you can widen a hole with ease. But with a stepdrill, you will find it much more easy. And you can even do it by freehand. And it does cut cleaner than you can do with a regular drillbit. Last, but not least, you can grade the edge of the hole (that means: round the edge around the hole so it isn't sharp).
The Soldering Station.
If you want to build a cockpit, you WILL have to learn how to solder. And you should also get a good soldering iron. I recommend a soldering station, since it is a "all-in-one" package. You get a stand and correct temperatur (get one with adjustable temperature if you're serious enough).
The Desoldering tool.
This tool is essentially a spring-loaded piston inside a tube, with a nozzle in the front. You press the piston down until it locks. Then place the nozzle right next to the solder-spot you want to desolder. Heat with the soldering iron, and when the solder is liqufied - press the red button! *Schloooorp* - the soldering tin is now gone.
The Wire stripper.
Get the plier kind. There are cheaper ones on the market, but that type is THE best. It is adjustable for different wire gauges, and you can sharpen it should you need it.

A quick advice: Do not buy the cheapest tools you can find! You do not need to spend the entire budget either - just go for good quality. I prefer to spend some extra bucks on the more "essential" or "delicate" tools. Namely, the tools that I use for delicate work where the error tolerances are small.

The general screwdriver is good enough, and a hammer is pretty much a hammer. At least for a simbuilder.

You certainly do not need to buy EXACTLY the same tools as I did, and you do not need every one of them - and you do not even need to buy all tools before you start building! Just use this page as a "good ideas" kind of thing.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 May 2010 20:04
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