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Thruster 12-16-2007 08:36 PM

Tools of the trade
 
What are some of the tools needed to make scratch building easier, I have the Estes tube marking tool but what are some of the other tools and tricks?

stefanj 12-16-2007 08:47 PM

A razor saw (Xacto or equivalent)

A square (like a ruler that goes around a corner :-)

Another lighter duty steel ruler.

Lots of rubber bands and/or cheap plastic clamps.

CPMcGraw 12-16-2007 09:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thruster
What are some of the tools needed to make scratch building easier, I have the Estes tube marking tool but what are some of the other tools and tricks?


1. A 12" steel ruler for making straight cuts with your X-Acto knife...
2. More than one X-Acto #1 knife with a fresh blade...
3. A spare pack (or two) of fresh #11 blades for your X-Acto knife...
4. 3 oz paper bathroom cups...
5. Assorted artists brushes...
6. A "T-Bar" or other aluminum sanding block...
7. An assortment of sanding papers, with a larger portion of 220-grit...
8. A can of 3M-77 spray contact adhesive...
9. A Zona saw, or a #3 X-Acto handle with fine-tooth cutting blade...
10. A set of disposable kitchen cutting mats...
11. Various mechanical pencils and fine-tip pens...
12. A pair of tri-edge rules, one Archetectural, one Engineering...
13. Numerous holding stands; wooden base with a dowel and an expended motor casing on one end, or some empty CD/DVD spindles...
14. A pack of sanding twigs -- foam strips 3/32" and 1/8" wide, 6" long, with sandpaper glued to two sides...
15. Various widths of masking tape...
16. A computer with a good graphics program (Corel Draw, Photoshop, The GIMP) to create patterns with...
17. Stack of #110 cardstock, to create templates and patterns made with your computer...
18. A decent color printer...
19. T-Pins...
20. Wax paper...
21. Various viscoscities of CA glue...
22. Small bottles of yellow glue...
23. A large bottle of yellow glue to refill the small bottles from...
24. A notebook to sketch ideas in...
25. A scrap bin, to catch bits and pieces of discarded balsa and tubing in...
26. An office "cubbyhole" shelf unit for holding your cardstock, decal sheets, etc...
27. Tack rags...
28. A good air compressor, 5-6 HP, oilless, with a good regulator...
29. Several inexpensive airbrushes for colors, and at least one or two larger detail guns for spraying primer and base whites. Don't use any gun with multiple types of paint; only use one type of paint with any one gun or airbrush to avoid gumming internally.
30. Two or three dozen fresh 1 oz jars to fit the airbrushes, and several jar adapters...
31. Paint thinners by the gallon. It's much cheaper...
32. Wooden clothespin clamps, with the wood pieces turned upside down...
33. Rubber band clamps...
34. Small one-hand "pressure/tension" bar clamps... (Perfect for us, No?)
35. Patience...

Thruster 12-16-2007 09:05 PM

Thanks, those are the same tools I use for the RC planes, the tube marking tool works great and is easy to use.

Thruster 12-16-2007 09:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
1. A 12" steel ruler for making straight cuts with your X-Acto knife...
2. More than one X-Acto #1 knife with a fresh blade...
3. A spare pack (or two) of fresh #11 blades for your X-Acto knife...
4. 3 oz paper bathroom cups...
5. Assorted artists brushes...
6. A "T-Bar" or other aluminum sanding block...
7. An assortment of sanding papers, with a larger portion of 220-grit...
8. A can of 3M-77 spray contact adhesive...
9. A Zona saw, or a #3 X-Acto handle with fine-tooth cutting blade...
10. A set of disposable kitchen cutting mats...
11. Various mechanical pencils and fine-tip pens...
12. A pair of tri-edge rules, one Archetectural, one Engineering...
13. Numerous holding stands; wooden base with a dowel and an expended motor casing on one end, or some empty CD/DVD spindles...
14. A pack of sanding twigs -- foam strips 3/32" and 1/8" wide, 6" long, with sandpaper glued to two sides...
15. Various widths of masking tape...
16. A computer with a good graphics program (Corel Draw, Photoshop, The GIMP) to create patterns with...
17. Stack of #110 cardstock, to create templates and patterns made with your computer...
18. A decent color printer...
19. T-Pins...
20. Wax paper...
21. Various viscoscities of CA glue...
22. Small bottles of yellow glue...
23. A large bottle of yellow glue to refill the small bottles from...
24. A notebook to sketch ideas in...
25. A scrap bin, to catch bits and pieces of discarded balsa and tubing in...
26. An office "cubbyhole" shelf unit for holding your cardstock, decal sheets, etc...
27. Tack rags...
28. A good air compressor, 5-6 HP, oilless, with a good regulator...
29. Several inexpensive airbrushes for colors, and at least one or two larger detail guns for spraying primer and base whites. Don't use any gun with multiple types of paint; only use one type of paint with any one gun or airbrush to avoid gumming internally.
30. Two or three dozen fresh 1 oz jars to fit the airbrushes, and several jar adapters...
31. Paint thinners by the gallon. It's much cheaper...
32. Patience...

33 An understanding wife. :D

Tau Zero 12-17-2007 12:42 AM

Rearranging Priorities
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thruster
33 An understanding wife. :D
Actually, you may want to scoot that one all the back up to #1. ;) :D


From somebody who knows,

tbzep 12-17-2007 07:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thruster
Thanks, those are the same tools I use for the RC planes, the tube marking tool works great and is easy to use.


There's a lot of R/C stuff that comes in handy building rockets. I did without a lot of those things until I first started doing R/C.

BTW, there's another handy little item that I haven't noticed (I only skimmed the above lists). I recently got a hobby vice and wish I had bought one years ago. I only have one problem with it....my son always has something clamped in it. :mad:

Hey, where'd my pic go? I'll try linking from Hobbico instead of Tower.


Ltvscout 12-17-2007 08:11 AM

This is a good thread. Should I make it a sticky?

ghrocketman 12-17-2007 09:09 AM

Item #9 of the list of items Craig put together above needs to be edited.
You need a #5 or #6 X-Acto handle for a razor saw, NOT a #3 handle....a #3 X-Acto is a gold version of the #1 with a screw-on pen-clip cap, which definitely will not accept a razor saw.
I'm not positively sure, but I don't think X-Acto even catalogues the #3 anymore but the #6 and #5 are still around.

DaveR 12-17-2007 10:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
2. More than one X-Acto #1 knife with a fresh blade...
3. A spare pack (or two) of fresh #11 blades for your X-Acto knife...

Not a bad idea to have a small first aid kit or at least a few Band-aids handy. ;)

Here's a couple of very handy PC tools for making marking guides, centering rings, etc.
http://www.rocketreviews.com/tool_template_widget.shtml
http://www.rocketreviews.com/freeware_rocket_suite.zip

CPMcGraw 12-17-2007 11:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ltvscout
This is a good thread. Should I make it a sticky?


Good idea, Scott. This is something all model builders might appreciate, and we can add to it as the need arises.

CPMcGraw 12-17-2007 11:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Item #9 of the list of items Craig put together above needs to be edited.
You need a #5 or #6 X-Acto handle for a razor saw, NOT a #3 handle....a #3 X-Acto is a gold version of the #1 with a screw-on pen-clip cap, which definitely will not accept a razor saw.
I'm not positively sure, but I don't think X-Acto even catalogues the #3 anymore but the #6 and #5 are still around.


Thanks for the heads-up, GH. Mine is certainly not gold, though they sometimes get priced like they were...

I have a couple of large-size handles for saw blades. One is a solid metal item, which may not even be from X-Acto, and the other has a red plastic body, which may be a true X-Acto. I keep a stiff-backed saw in that one, just for cutting larger balsa sheets and blocks.

CPMcGraw 12-17-2007 11:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sadmug
Not a bad idea to have a small first aid kit or at least a few Band-aids handy. ;)


Now you tell me, after several attempts to slice my thumb down the middle over the years...

I just thought you were supposed to scream and holler real loud, running around the house until the bleeding stopped on its own... :o

MKP 12-17-2007 11:45 AM

Naw, just use a piece of soft balsa to absorb the blood. It's pretty absorbent.

I thought I'd mention 3-M sanding sponges, I find they make life a little easier.

ghrocketman 12-17-2007 12:50 PM

The solid metal X-Acto that holds a Razor-saw is their #6 handle, the red plastic one is the #5 handle.
I have several of each, but have always liked the solid aluminum #6 much more than the cheesy plastic #5.

tbzep 12-17-2007 03:07 PM

Band-aids? We don't need no steenking band-aids! Medium CA works much better!


P.S. Don't use fast (thin) CA cause it gets really hot on your skin, especially with larger cuts. Don't ask me how I know. :eek:

ghrocketman 12-17-2007 03:19 PM

Actually it is a little known fact that original thin CA glue ( I think it was known as Eastman 527) was developed for instant needle-free fast field suturing during the Vietnam War.
It is commonly still used in Veterinary medicine now, but not as common in human surgery any longer.

You actually want to use the thin CA for this purpose instead of medium as it give the wound a good antiseptic "sear" with the heat in addition to closing the wound.

jadebox 12-17-2007 04:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Actually it is a little known fact that original thin CA glue ( I think it was known as Eastman 527) was developed for instant needle-free fast field suturing during the Vietnam War.

http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/msuperglue.html


Quote:
MY opinion WILL be accepted by all as FACTUAL information; questioning is NOT allowed; Dissent is unacceptable!

Ooops.

-- Roger

tbzep 12-17-2007 05:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Actually it is a little known fact that original thin CA glue ( I think it was known as Eastman 527) was developed for instant needle-free fast field suturing during the Vietnam War.
It is commonly still used in Veterinary medicine now, but not as common in human surgery any longer.

You actually want to use the thin CA for this purpose instead of medium as it give the wound a good antiseptic "sear" with the heat in addition to closing the wound.


You might want it to sear yours, but I'm not to fond of my skin being seared. ;) I'll stick with medium if I have it on hand and just hold the cut closed a few extra seconds. As far as antiseptics go, I'll just rub a little dirt in it before gluing it shut. :D

ghrocketman 12-17-2007 10:34 PM

My "sear" comment was made in a warped attempt at humor. :rolleyes:

C'mon now, haven't you ever heard of medical cauterization ?? :p

I actually have used the stuff to close wounds to fingers from R/C aircraft propellers.
Nothing like a good splash of 40% Nitromethane model engine fuel in a wound, then sealing it off with some good ol' thin CA.....good times man, good times ! ;)

barone 12-18-2007 02:12 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
My "sear" comment was made in a warped attempt at humor. :rolleyes:

C'mon now, haven't you ever heard of medical cauterization ?? :p

I actually have used the stuff to close wounds to fingers from R/C aircraft propellers.
Nothing like a good splash of 40% Nitromethane model engine fuel in a wound, then sealing it off with some good ol' thin CA.....good times man, good times ! ;)

I think they actually had an over the counter product called "Liquid Bandaid".......super glue. ;)

tbzep 12-18-2007 07:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
My "sear" comment was made in a warped attempt at humor. :rolleyes:

C'mon now, haven't you ever heard of medical cauterization ?? :p

I actually have used the stuff to close wounds to fingers from R/C aircraft propellers.
Nothing like a good splash of 40% Nitromethane model engine fuel in a wound, then sealing it off with some good ol' thin CA.....good times man, good times ! ;)


I figured it was, but some folks just love to watch the steam coming off a fresh cut when you squirt a little CA o it! :eek:

You must use APC props. Those things slice and dice! I've always used wooden Zingers so the prop would break if I nosed it over or stuck a hand in. :cool: A little performance is lost, but the chance of breaking the plane and the skin are lowered a little...and I don't have to waste any CA. :p

Ltvscout 12-18-2007 08:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by barone
I think they actually had an over the counter product called "Liquid Bandaid".......super glue. ;)

Still do. We have some in the medicine cabinet.

Since this is a sticky I think I'm going to ask Eagle3 to pull this OT stuff out of this post and put it into FreeForAll as its own thread. Buzz, caould you do that for me when you have time?

ghrocketman 12-18-2007 08:38 AM

I have ALWAYS used APC props on all my R/C planes; pattern, pylon, and sport as I'm never willing to give up ANY performance. They are MUCH stronger than wood as well....a minor touch to our grass field with an APC equals a grass/dirt mark on the prop, with a zinger it is a busted prop.

I DESPISE wood props for that reason.

Mark II 12-18-2007 09:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
1. A 12" steel ruler for making straight cuts with your X-Acto knife...
2. More than one X-Acto #1 knife with a fresh blade...
3. A spare pack (or two) of fresh #11 blades for your X-Acto knife...
4. 3 oz paper bathroom cups...
5. Assorted artists brushes...
...
35. Patience...

I would also add some aluminum angles of various sizes (for drawing fin and launch lug lines). For micromaxx-sized projects, I use small brass angles.

Mark K.

Mark II 12-18-2007 10:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
1. A 12" steel ruler for making straight cuts with your X-Acto knife...
2. More than one X-Acto #1 knife with a fresh blade...
3. A spare pack (or two) of fresh #11 blades for your X-Acto knife...
...

It would also be a good idea to have a #2 Xacto knife (like the #1, but bigger and with a thicker handle) and a pack of #24 blades (identical to the #11 blades, but larger and stronger). I use mine all the time to cut balsa or basswood that is too thick for a #11 blade, but too thin for a razor saw. I also use it to cut thin (up to 1/16") aircraft plywood.

Also, a self-healing cutting mat, and a clear plastic mat. The latter is helpful to protect your work surfaces when you are gluing. (Especially for your self-healing cutting mat - you really, really do not want to get glue on that. Repeatedly replacing cutting mats gets pretty expensive.)

In addition:

- a box of craft sticks, a box of round toothpicks, and at least one dowel of every diameter that you can find. The craft sticks and toothpicks are indispensible for applying glue. The dowels have a gazillion uses, as you will find out.

- a box of nitrile gloves (usually colored blue or purple). These are much better than latex for protecting your hands from harsh chemicals and epoxy glue. And a pack of cheap white cotton gloves, for keeping fingerprints off of your newly painted models - after the paint has fully cured, of course! You can get both types of gloves at an auto parts store.

- a quart of acetone, and a bottle or three of isopropyl alcohol. The acetone is for cleaning up CA, and the alcohol dissolves and helps clean up uncured epoxy glue. It is helpful to have bulk quantities of both on hand, as you will eventually find out. (In addition to the commonly-found 71% isopropyl alcohol, Wal-Mart also sells 91% isopropyl, for the same price. Look for the bottles with the red label.)

- finally, a pack of dust masks, at least one pair of eye guards, and a good quality respirator. You will want to live long enough to become a BAR, and we want you to, as well.

Mark K.

Mark II 12-18-2007 10:29 PM

One more thing I forgot - save your spent black powder engine casings - at least a half dozen of each diameter and of each length of the 24mm Estes engines. They have almost as many uses as the dowels. ;)

Mark K.

jadebox 12-19-2007 09:51 AM

Quote:
- a box of craft sticks, a box of round toothpicks, and at least one dowel of every diameter that you can find. The craft sticks and toothpicks are indispensible for applying glue. The dowels have a gazillion uses, as you will find out.


My wife brought me home a bag of wooden cuticle sticks used for doing nails. She bought them at a Sally Beauty Supply store. Always on the lookout for rocketry things (isn't she great?), she thought I could use them. They are about 1/8" in diameter with the ends flattened into spades. They are great for mixing epoxy and spreading glue. I've also used them for scraping paint to fix an edge where paint seeped under masking tape.

-- Roger

Rustee 02-23-2008 11:39 PM

Cool tool
 
One of the things I use a lot is an Xacto mitre box. It can used for it's intended purpose but also for marking tubes for fin and launch lug lines. You can even use it to align the fin when attaching it as well,sometimes I don't even bother drawing the line. Of course,there's only room to do two fins that way. It comes in handy as a weight to hold things down and as a square or straight edge since it's machined out of aluminium. It's awesome for cutting balsa because you can really get a grip on it. The bottom has grooves that are perfect for holding dowels or launch lugs, and I imagine most people already have one.

Rustee 02-25-2008 02:12 AM

Warning!
 
Ok,don't slice your finger off with this one,but I needed a very thin,sharp blade so I broke a disposable razor apart and took out a blade,it's so thin it will get between the cut lines of a fin sheet and flexible enough so it will conform to a body tube and slice a fin or lug off flush like it wasn't even there,should it be broken or crooked. Of course,it's also razor sharp!

Mark II 02-26-2008 01:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustee
Ok,don't slice your finger off with this one,but I needed a very thin,sharp blade so I broke a disposable razor apart and took out a blade,it's so thin it will get between the cut lines of a fin sheet and flexible enough so it will conform to a body tube and slice a fin or lug off flush like it wasn't even there,should it be broken or crooked. Of course,it's also razor sharp!

You can buy packs of single-edge razor blades at just about any hardware store.

You can also get scalpels for really intricate work.

Neither of these items is essential, IMHO, at least for someone who is just starting out, and I would be reluctant to recommend them to younger builders. (This comes from painful personal experience - several experiences, in fact.) It's good to reach adulthood with all of your fingers intact. (I eventually learned that, and did manage somehow to keep all of mine.)

Once the builder has learned to exercise appropriate care (and manual dexterity, too), these tools can be real handy to have around when the right situations come up, such as in the ones that you mentioned.

I wouldn't recommend breaking apart a shaver to salvage the blade, though. You have no margin for error with that, and you are using the blade for something that it was never designed to do. Other tools are available to do the same thing, such as the previously mentioned scalpels. They at least are actually designed to be used as hand tools, and therefore possess some safety features.

Mark

Rustee 02-26-2008 08:37 PM

Oh ya?
 
I would recommend doing exactly what I described,because a blade's intended purpose is for cutting,like for instances where a single-edged razor blade or scalpel won't work. So there.

Mark II 02-27-2008 02:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustee
I would recommend doing exactly what I described,because a blade's intended purpose is for cutting,like for instances where a single-edged razor blade or scalpel won't work. So there.

That's fine. You can do whatever you want, cowboy. Don't let anything that I say, or anything that anyone else on this forum says, or common sense stop you. Neither me nor anyone else here is trying to control you. I just definitely do not recommend that anyone else do what you are doing.

Mark

Solomoriah 02-27-2008 07:31 AM

I'm with Mark II on this one. I wouldn't dismantle a disposable razor... a really sharp, very flexy blade with no handle just does not sound like a smart thing to play with.

sandman 02-27-2008 08:34 AM

Not exactly a tool but...it works.

If your neighbor, or you, are replacing any interior doors do some dumpster diving and save one.

Actually a bifold closet door works better but a plain interior door works real well.

Strip all the hardware off of it and get a pair of those cheap folding plastic sawhorses. Harbor Freight has them sometimes for $10 a pair and make a handy portable work bench.

Works great and nobody will care what you spill on it!

tbzep 02-27-2008 02:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman
Not exactly a tool but...it works.

If your neighbor, or you, are replacing any interior doors do some dumpster diving and save one.

Actually a bifold closet door works better but a plain interior door works real well.

Strip all the hardware off of it and get a pair of those cheap folding plastic sawhorses. Harbor Freight has them sometimes for $10 a pair and make a handy portable work bench.

Works great and nobody will care what you spill on it!


I bought a cheap plain interior door to use as a flat build table for R/C airplanes years ago. I put drop ceiling tiles on the board so I could pin down the parts with T pins. I've never needed it for rocketry, but it might come in handy for somebody on some odd rocketry project. Good one, Sandman!

sandman 02-27-2008 02:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbzep
I bought a cheap plain interior door to use as a flat build table for R/C airplanes years ago. I put drop ceiling tiles on the board so I could pin down the parts with T pins. I've never needed it for rocketry, but it might come in handy for somebody on some odd rocketry project. Good one, Sandman!


I did the same thing years ago when I was into stick and tissue free flight rubber band airplanes. Probably one of the absolute cheapest hobbies you could get into.

Instead of buying a new door, go to your local lumber yard, living in a small town makes it much easier, ask them if they have any damaged bifold closet doors.

Usually they have one or two that have been damaged in shipment, storage or by the new kid learning to drive the fork lift.

You can sometimes get them for free.

I have one mounted by it's hinges on the wall of my shop with folding legs. When it's not being used it can fold up against the wall.

Of course I don't think I ever folded it up 'cause it's always pilled up with "stuff"! :o

I believe that it's one of Murphy's Laws, "The amount of existing material will expand to fill the available space."

tbzep 02-27-2008 08:07 PM

Back in my original post on this thread, I mentioned a very handy little tool. It's a little hobby vise that I got from Tower Hobbies. My son has all but taken it over. Any time I want to use it, I have to move it from where he works on his stuff.

I ordered another one Saturday so that we will both have our own little hobby vise. It came today. Anybody that wants to see a picture, check post #7, or just click right here.

LeeR 02-27-2008 09:52 PM

I keep at least one of every size body tube around for painting nose cones. They are typically scraps 6" long or so. Even if you are painting a cone the same color as the body tube, I find it helpful to paint them separately. Some cones need a fair amount of manipulation to fully paint, such as needing to hit them from the top down to get the tip painted. This is easier if it's off the rocket, so you aren't loading the rocket's body tube with overspray.

I also wrap a piece of paper around the tube, so the tube stays clean and does not load up with lots of paint from multiple painting sessions. And finally, I wear at least one nitrile glove, to keep the hand holding the tube free of paint. Since it gets little paint on it typically, I use the glove for numerous painting sessions. (Yep, I'm cheap ...)

To dry, I have wooden blocks with a dowel in them, much like a rocket display stand, to hold the tube upright while drying. Or, you can clamp a dowel in a workbench vise, to support the tube as the cone dries.

ScaleNut 02-29-2008 09:12 PM

some of my personel favorite tools not previously mentioned

-parchment paper, not even ca glue sticks to it . I lay a sheet on the worktable when glueing painting ect and a sheet lasts a long time.you can see drawings thru it if necesary

-glad press n seal ,great with masking off rockets for painting it really sticks but is not sticky so no taping off necessary. it can even be used as a mask when rubbed down and trimmed, I also use it to seal bottles of paint, glue, epoxy cans ..ect ( also reusable)

-bamboo skewers, for mixing ,glueing

- nail sanding sticks from Sally's beauty supply (all different grits) I use these alot !

-estes marking guide, I use it most of the time to draw perfect circles around nosecones.

-lazy susan- for painting

-3m adhesive spray , for paper laminating balsa sheet

-swingarm lamp with magnifier,couldn't live without it(my eyesight aint so great anymore)

-plastic squeeze bottles, I premix fill n finish and always have a bottle ready, very quick way to go about filling without having to mix something up or worry about it drying out.
I also keep larger bottle glues in the smaller squeeze bottles , including west system epoxy

-ambroid pro weld- for plastic joining

-rocket building cradle- a few different sizes ( for the larger rockets)

- decal film, decal solvent, and decal set .

-110# cardstock- worth mentioning again (many uses)

-plastic totes- shoebox size , for keeping all those unfinished projects in.

-little plastic springclamps, I use these buggers alot !

-craft level artist brushes, many uses, also essential for lifting , turning, unfolding and pushing decals into position.

-balsa usa gold ca-thin and thick (they don't make medium) after trying it,I'll never use annother brand.

-aluminum angle, a few sizes and length

-empty engine/motor casings- marking ,setting motor blocks, hooks and for making model stands.

-scissors,good ones strictly for paper and cardstock.

-room , to put all this stuff.....


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