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Modelers who do plastic scale use sprue cutters like this one to liberate parts cleanly from the “trees” to which they’re attached. They find use for cutting things like servo arms, or pushrod sleeves or any other softer material. They’re quick and easier to use than a Zona saw or a Dremel rotary tool for the same purpose.

Throw away your cache of masking tape. It’s as irrelevant as the dinosaurs. 3M’s blue painter’s tape is wonderful, and can be used in so many ways—and most importantly, not leave a mess or destroy a surface or decal. There should be a contest to see how many ways this tape can be used when building or assembling a model. It comes in two adhesions, medium, and low-medium. The former is a heavier tape, good for clamping purposes, and the latter better for delicate surfaces. Here the tape is used in a more obvious way, to clamp a control surface in neutral before adjusting the pushrod length to its exact dimension. There could be a whole article about how to use this stuff but room here doesn’t permit that. Like the inventor of Cheerios—just ask a mother of a little tyke—the inventor of this tape should be canonized a saint.

Came across this medium threadlocker a few years ago in an auto parts store and it’s been used almost exclusively since to prevent loosening nuts or screws. It’s a thin paste that can be dispensed on an unlikely tool, an expired credit card. Then just dip the end of a screw a bit into the blue paste and it will stay in place instead of running all over like most liquid threadlocker. A toothpick can dab a little inside a nut. One more nice feature about this is that it has a screw on the bottom of the tube that dispenses the paste. Once finished the screw is reversed and the excess drawn back into the nozzle.

Corded power tools have always been one of the major banes of workshop life. The cords are usually long, thick and unwieldly. Cordless power tools came along but they never had the power or were too big, to use easily in the shop. Then I discovered this Craftsman Nextec cordless drill. It’s small, but it packs the punch of a heavy duty ³⁄₈-inch drill. The secret is the compact lithium battery, which holds a charge for quite a while, in its base. It’s great for modeling since the chuck takes drill bits from ³⁄₈ down to about #55. And it’s light and nicely balanced to make drilling easy and much more precise.

These small shaped wooden sticks came to light when I was assembling some outdoor wood furniture. Thought they were a specialized tool, but then unexpectedly found a bag of 750 in a craft store, A.C. Moore. They are far better than popsicle sticks, tongue depressors, or broken prop blades for mixing epoxy and applying it or other glues to surfaces. The pointed end can be used to mix the epoxy, as shown, or apply a tiny dab inside a hole. The broader end can be used as a spatula to apply larger amounts of the glue, whatever it is, and then smear it evenly on the glue surfaces. No more cleaning prop blades, or using unwieldly popsicle sticks. And they’re inexpensive.


Dropped a tiny screw or nut deep down in a fuselage? Trying to snag a cable buried inside a wing’s servo bay? Hemostats are the answer. They originally were used in surgery, but when I was an Army medic I found a much better use for them! Yep, I liberated the large hemostat you see from my medics bag and I’ve used it ever since then on every model I’ve ever built or assembled. Use one once and you’re hooked. You’ll buy a lot more than one, and now you can easily find them in hobby stores, like the smaller ones with it.

Conclusion I began by saying that I’ve got a lot of tools in my shop and there

are others that are indispensable, like the legendary Dremel rotary tool. Won’t tell you how many I have. Or the 36-inch aluminum rulers. Or the taps and dies. They’re all extremely useful but they don’t have the frequent use the above tools do. So go and build something, and try some of these out.


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