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Tony Kenny19/06/2017 10:00:31
282 forum posts
62 photos

Thanks again for how supportive everybody has been in this forum, the aeromodelling community is fantastic!

I'm about to embark upon my first kit build (kinds not-first, as I did one back in mid 90-s but never got to fly it).

I'm flying only electric so I'll not be getting anything IC related.

What tools besides the standard tools that most people have, would you include in a new workshop?

What one tool would you say has been your greatest investment?

thank in advance!


Nigel R19/06/2017 10:15:07
4301 forum posts
716 photos

Assortment of sanding blocks.

Make your own from MDF - cost, very little, value, priceless.

The essential ones - a few 8" x 2" blocks, 80 & 150 grit.

Optionally... one or two 8" x 1" and 8" x 1/2"... A nice long 24" block for edge trueing sheet parts & very lightly running over wings before sheeting... A few different size dowels with paper wrapped around... Several bits of small HW of different widths for making slots.

It's worth making sure all the edges are at 90deg, so you can use the blocks sideways on the bench to get perfect 90deg edges to parts.

There's a good list of basic tools here: **LINK**

Allan Bennett19/06/2017 10:34:02
1776 forum posts
55 photos

Apart from a hobby knife, I think my most-used tools may be my fretsaw and my PermaGrit sanding tools and blocks.

Stevo19/06/2017 10:37:53
2699 forum posts
419 photos

Permagrit, Permagrit, foam sanding blocks, razor saw and a disc sander, and of course Permagrit. And a Bandsaw.

kc19/06/2017 11:02:01
6788 forum posts
174 photos

Buy a retractable scalpel ( Swann Morton Retractaway ) instead of the fixed type.  Note that price varies a lot from stand to stand at shows so shop around!

I am going to suggest you read my old thread -Tools You Can Make Yourself for some ideas . Especially useful and easy to make is my 'improved' design for the traditional carpenters bench hook. Make from scrap ply or MDF etc, and use in a vice or Workmate. If you don't have either then make the traditional design to use on any square edge worktop.

You will find the Permagrit 'wedge' block is quite expensive but so useful and it makes so little mess compared to other sanding methods. Disc sander is so messy ( hazardous to health too) I wouldn't bother. Bandsaw is liitle use too- mine is always idle but a power fretsaw is beter in my view. ( like Marmite you either love or hate bandsaws - keep all your fingers buy a power fretsaw which is safer )

Edited By kc on 19/06/2017 11:05:50

Edited By kc on 19/06/2017 11:13:24

Stevo19/06/2017 11:05:20
2699 forum posts
419 photos

+1 for the wedge block KC ...oh yes and spring clamps - the small variety. I've got around 20 and they aint enough

Old Geezer19/06/2017 11:25:19
670 forum posts

+1 for a Permagrit wedge - medium grade one side, fine on the other. Another +1 for retractable blades, cutting with blunt blades is a nightmare. A David Plane is also invaluable, just make sure your blade's sharp and correctly adjusted. A protractor. Set squares. As many clamps in a variety of sizes as you can afford, you can never have too many. Dividers to transfer measurements from plans to balsa. A couple of straight edges ( 12" & 3 foot ) with fine sandpaper glued on the back, they can't slide about when you're making straight cuts in balsa sheet - try it - you'll become a convert!

kevin b19/06/2017 11:49:55
1971 forum posts
176 photos

If you are staring with kits then power tools aren't a necessity, though a Dremel type tool is extremely useful, with a set of cutting /sanding discs. Also a good quality razor saw as well as knife and a decent set of needle files will get you started, along with a steel rule. Other useful tools are a set of small metric spanners, small adjustable wrench )up to 13mm) magnetic screwdriver with a set of bits (usually the bits come in a silicon container) and Graupner pins. Last but not least is a decent (not cheap) covering iron.

Again, building a kit means you shouldn't really need to do any heavy sanding, so home made blocks and fine paper should be sufficient, rather than buying expensive Permagrit tools. However if you do buy one you soon will find you have bought several more (ask me how I know !)

When you start building from plans, then investing in more expensive equipment may be necessary. That's when you will find you need a shed.

Craig Carr19/06/2017 11:50:40
741 forum posts
519 photos

Permagrit tools. You won't regret them. Get their sanding blocks and spar slotters as a good starter for 10teeth 2

Was in Aldi last week and they had sets of ratchet clamps (set of 2 minis and 2 medium/large) for only a fiver for the set. So useful I bought a couple of sets.


photo 3.jpg

Gordon Tarling19/06/2017 12:47:48
237 forum posts
4 photos

Tools that are essential if you're flying electric are a Watt meter of some kind and a cell voltage checker. A decent charger is also a good idea!

kc19/06/2017 13:22:55
6788 forum posts
174 photos

The important thing in setting up a workshop is to set it up for household repairs and DIY - then it quite rightly comes out of the household budget, the few extra tools that are needed for aeromodelling can then be bought! Doing it the other way round dosn't seem to work!

A good solid bench for woodworking with an inset woodworkers vice is a very good start if you have the space. If there is no space for a seperate metalwork bench with engineers vice then bolt a small (3inch?) engineers vice to wood block so that it can bemounted into the woodworkers vice for the few times it's needed. Far better than obstructing the woodworkers bench permanantly. A Workmate or clone is a fair substitute for a bench and has the advantage it can be stood in the middle of a room for certain jobs like assembling models. Can also be brought indoors to enable working on models whatever the weather.

A picture framing saw ( box saw) is very handy for making precise cuts in hardwood & ply. As explained earlier buy it when some household job requires it! Again mounting it on a wood block to go in the vice is a god idea.

But actually aeromodelling needs few tools so don't be put off if you cannot have a proper. dedicated workshop

Trevor19/06/2017 13:40:17
528 forum posts
62 photos

I'm another Permagrit fan but, as others have said, they are a significant investment so may be best bought after you have built a couple of models when you might feel better able to choose just what you want.

I'd also support the point about miniature clamps and clips - pinch a few clothes pegs (the wooden ones are best) and salvage the clips from trouser and skirt hangers etc.

The most used tool(?) in my workshop though is masking tape. The secret of a stress-free build is making sure you have the right glues and enough ways to hold the bits together while they dry - which is where the masking tape comes in of course.

gangster19/06/2017 13:54:17
1065 forum posts
29 photos

Just remember that most modellers started off with a single edge razor and some home made sanding blocks and built up their workshop over the years. A good scalpel and a razor plane or permagrit block together with a junior hacksaw will see you on your way

kevin b19/06/2017 14:27:06
1971 forum posts
176 photos

Pound shop, or market stall purchases will also help you with deciding which tools you need. Then you can purchase more expensive versions with more confidence. Don't forget about storage boxes as well. There are plenty of cheap options for compartmented boxes, which makes life easier than rummaging through collections of jam jars !

Don Fry19/06/2017 14:29:54
4557 forum posts
54 photos

You need a stand. Banana box from supermarket, cut as necessary, foam protection of edges

Peter Miller19/06/2017 15:53:09
11619 forum posts
1393 photos
10 articles

I only have an 11 inch permagrit block and some Permagrit swiss files. ply snad paper and odd blocks.

A cheap flat pack desk from HOmebase or similar will make a good workbench.

Also a 48" X 12" melamine covered shelf covered with two layers of cork tiles for wing bulding is great. You can lift it off the bench while the wing is drying to work on the fuselage. I actually have two so I can build both wings at once.

Since you are going electric soldering irons, 12 watt, 25 watt and a 40 Watt for heavy undercarriage wire.

Assorted small cheap pliers.

Of course as you progress you will need more


And also storage for small parts etc.


Rob Ashley19/06/2017 17:31:42
263 forum posts
86 photos

Hi Tony,

You wont regret building - become frustrated maybe - but it's worth it.laugh

Greatest investments were the CNC machine (way OTT), bandsaw and Dremel (both very useful), but to start you really only need a building board, cradle, scalpel and hacksaw to get going (as others have stated). I am also an advocate of masking tape, clamps and rubber bands to hold parts while glueing. If you can I would also recommend a fus jig such as the one sold by SLEC - they really help build straight.

I prefer the Great Planes Sanding systems as I find the Permagrit a bit too chunky and difficult to get into small areas. Neither system is particularly cheap, but you you don't need these to start - just good sandpaper with home made pads.

You will develop your tool box as you go as you will find some tools work best. Best of luck with the first build.


Denis Watkins19/06/2017 18:03:48
4656 forum posts
132 photos

Yes to the Dremel

And a good wire bender, for undercarriage construction

Peter Miller19/06/2017 18:11:26
11619 forum posts
1393 photos
10 articles

And always grab any type pf clamp you see., Paper clips, clothes pegs, cramps, anything.

Stevo19/06/2017 18:24:30
2699 forum posts
419 photos
Don't forget a decent height for the workbench..

Look after your back

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