Workshop


Shop
Adhesives and other liquids Clamping and holding Cutting
Drilling and reaming Driving Electronics Measuring and marking
Miscellaneous Power tools Safety and comfort Shaping

Shop

My workshop is tucked into a corner of our basement. The basement was finished when we bought the house, but very sloppily so - so all of the wallboard and crooked, misaligned ceiling tiles came down and most of our stuff went in.

It started out as a woodworking shop. The previous owners of the house left behind a huge old workbench made of massive pieces of timber, complete with a large and perfectly functional vise. I gave it a new plywood top, installed a lower shelf and braced it with wire at the back. It got new adjustable feet so it could be leveled. And I dabbled, built a few things, took a couple of cabinetmaking courses... and then the RC bug bit me. This is now, first and foremost, an aeromodelling shop.

On the other side of the basement we are creating a dedicated wood shop. My darling wife, an avid woodturner, has her lathe there. And other tools will move there - the band saw, drill press, grinder and mitre saw.

From the outside looking in you can see the airplane bench in the foreground, the big workbench against the wall in the background, and the toolbox off to the right:

Workshop

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Yes, this is a Billy bookcase from Ikea. No worries - it's anchored to the wall. Most of my old woodworking books and magazines are still in there, along with a lot of rattle cans. The top shelf is mostly hardware my dear departed and much-loved Grandfather-in-law gave to me when he and Grandma moved out of their house. There's a tower of tape on the floor and you can see the vise on the end of the bench:

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Here's the main bench. Tools on the wall, adhesives at the back, glass on top, references underneath:

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A little storage. Drill bit sets in the bottom drawer, drill accessories above, miscellaneous tools above that, and more drill accessories on top:

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Metal shelves with storage, grommets, heat shrink and waaay to much junk:

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The toolbox I got for Christmas when I was sixteen, a storage dresser in need of repair or replacement and shelf with most of my collection of screws. Airplane bench to the right, bandsaw in the corner:

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Here near the stairs, more storage. Transmitter cases on the floor, shelves for 2-stroke oil and balsa, a dresser resurrected from the curb with soldering station on top. Top drawer - chargers and covering irons. Second drawer - balsa and ply offcuts. Third drawer - covering scraps, stickers and decals. Bottom drawer - Rolls of covering. And another fine Ikea shelf that holds portable power tools:

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Another shelf with RC-specific stuff on it:

Workshop, north - 01

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Adhesives and other liquids

Acetone is very handy for cleaning epoxy from benches, fingers, tools, etc. It's also great for cleaning CA tips and applicators:

Acetone

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99% IPA is great for cleaning brushes, thinning epoxy and sterlizing wounds:

99% Isopropyl alcohol

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Epoxy is the workhorse of adhesives in my shop - especially the 30-minute stuff:

30- and 5-minute epoxy in stand

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I use plenty of zip ties. When I trim off the ends, they go into the epoxy stir stick bin:

Stir stick offcuts

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I use thin CA mostly for hardening threaded servo screw holes; the medium stuff with accelator is generally useful and especially helpful when balancing prop hubs:

CA glues

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Cabinet glue is another useful shop adhesive:

Cabinet glue

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Out of a drawer and onto the stick - it's the tower o' tape. Masking, duct, electrical, packing, double-sided... everyone is welcome:

Tower o'tape

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Nothing - not WD-40, alcohol, acetone or peanut butter (yes, peanut butter) removes sticker residue as effectively as Goo Gone:

Goo gone

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Great for cleaning up slimy glow planes, transferring MonoKote or cleaning up Goo Gone. Good glass cleaner too:

Windex with Ammonia

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Keeps epoxy off of things you don't want epoxy to get on, like threads and hinge pivots:

Vaseline

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Clamping and holding

It's been said, and I believe it - you can't have too many clamps:

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It's just not possible:

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This vise was attached to the workbench that was in the basement when we bought the house. Lucky me! It gets consistent use:

Vise

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A pair of shopmade jaw pads are handy for more delicate work:

Vise with shopmate jaw pads

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Storebought rubber pads are good too:

Vise with rubber jaw pads

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For clamping small items, the simple clothespin is a great help:

Clothespin

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These small needle nose pliers are great for delicate work:

Small needle nose pliers

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These are a step up from the usual locking pliers - an adjustable screw inside the handle determines the locking tension, which is constant for all items regardless of thickness:

Constant tension locking pliers

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Very useful for bundling and securing wires, especially when the bundle may need to come apart:

Velcro ties

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Zip ties are a mainstay in the shop and are using for securing all sorts of stuff inside airplanes:

Assorted zip ties

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Cutting

The ubiquitous hobby knife and #11 blade - the go-to cutting tool for fine work. This one has a hex collar that stops it from rolling off the bench:

Hobby knife

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The very handy single-edged razor blade - excellent for straight cuts:

Single-edged razor blade

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The simple utility knife gets a lot of use in my shop:

Utility knife

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I bought this band saw before I became interested in RC flight. It's been very useful for the hobby:

Band saw

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A fine back saw is great for fine cuts:

Fine toothed back saw

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A flush cut saw is essential for trimming flush to a surface:

Double-edged flush cut saw

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Despite their bulk, end cutters often fit where side cutters don't; they're especially useful for snipping the free ends of zip ties:

End cutters

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Drilling and reaming

This cordless drill gets a lot of use in the shop:

Cordless drill

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My benchtop drill press gets frequent use too:

Drill press

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When the cordless drill is too big or too clumsy, this hand drill often does the trick:

Hand drill

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The pin vise is an excellent tool for drilling small holes - servo mount screw holes, for instance:

Pin vise

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Brad point drill bits cut more cleanly than standard twist bits:

Brad point drill bit set

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A closer look reveals the brad point and outer spurs:

Brad point drill bit

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Forstner bits are excellent for drilling clean, large diameter holes:

Forstner drill bit set

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A close look reveals the centre point and cutting edge:

Forstner drill bit

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Depending on the size of the engine's crankshaft, a propeller hub may need reaming to fit. Enter the metric prop ream:

Prop ream - Metric

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And the imperial prop ream:

Prop ream - imperial

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Propellers for 50cc engines (such as the DA 50R on my SBach 342) require four bolt holes to be drilled. Enter the prop drill jig:

Prop drill jig - 50 cc

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Driving

The best RC fasteners are socket head cap screws, which require hex head drivers. Ball drivers add flexibility by allowing an angle between the driver and the fastener. However, not all ball drivers are created equal. These are by Bondhus, made in the USA. Metric set:

Bondhus ball drivers - Metric

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Imperial set:

Bondhus ball drivers - imperial

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Flat, Philips and Robertson screwdrivers


Electronics

I've owned several soldering irons, but this soldering station is a cut above:

Soldering station

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Here's a shopmade clamp to hold two wires together for splicing:

Wire splice clamp

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For the application of covering film, I use two irons - this small one:

Small covering iron

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And this larger one:

Regular covering iron

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Heat shrink tubing is a highly useful insulator:

Heat shrink tubing

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Here's some more:

More heat shrink tubing

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Measuring and marking

For most measuring, I use 12" and 18" steel rules:

Steel rules

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When something longer is needed, I have a 36" steel rule:

36 inch steel rule

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And when I need a really long straight edge, there's this 48" power tool guide:

48 inch power tool guide

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For smaller and more precise measurements, digitial calipers are handy:

Digital calipers

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When marking a centre through a hole, the transfer punch is the tool to reach for. They're also great for determining the diameter of a hole. These get a lot of use:

Transfer punches

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I calculate centre of gravity by weight, so I have a few of these digital scales:

Digital scale

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A panel line pen is very handy for marking covering:

Panel line pen

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An awl is good for marking a drilling location. This one is a converted precision screwdriver:

Awl

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All propellers need to have the balance checked before they are put into use. Enter the prop balancer:

Prop balancer

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For measurements in degrees, I use an Android application. The throw meter is useful for determining control surface deflection in inches:

Throw meter

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To determine the thread size and pitch of small nuts and bolts, this thread ID set is perfect. It identifies national coarse, national fine and metric fasteners:

Thread ID set

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For markings on darker surfaces, a correction pen is handy to have:

Correction pen

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A marking gauge excels at marking a line parallel to an outer edge:

Marking gauge

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This handy device helps to mix the correct ratio of two stroke oil into gasoline:

Mixmizer

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Miscellaneous

When I was a kid my Dad told me never to throw away inner tubes because the rubber is useful for so many things. I still keep all of mine:

Inner tube

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O-rings also have many uses:

O-rings

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Grommets are great for finishing holes in cowls and covering:

Grommets

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Bamboo skewers can be used to pin firewalls for additional strength:

Bamboo skewers

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Popsicle sticks are excellent for building structure; I used them as framework for the external elevator servos on my Pulse 125:

Popsicle sticks

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Rare earth magnets put regular magnets to shame:

Rare earth magnets and accessories

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This is my Robart stand, modified to add a little height:

Robart stand, modified

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I keep Ziploc bags of all shapes and sizes - they're excellent for storage:

Ziploc bags

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The thin plywood from orange crates is an excellent building material:

Thin ply from orange crate

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This set of brushes in plastic, brass and steel are good for cleaning parts and fasteners:

Brushes

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Power tools

This is the tool with a thousand uses. I bought it for my Dad at Christmas when I was about eighteen. When he and Mom moved out of the house into their condo, I got all his tools - including this. It's incredibly reliable and gets a lot of use drilling, shaping, cutting and grinding:

Rotary tool

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Excellent for covering compound curves, removing wrinkles and shrinking heat shrink tubing:

Heat gun

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My bench grinder gets dual use as a grinder and a polisher:

Bench grinder

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I got this small compressor on sale at Canadian Tire. It's great around the shop:

Compresor

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Safety and comfort

I use this face shield whenever I'm doing something that might make pieces fly. Using the rotary tool with a cutting wheel comes to mind:

Face shield

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All of my used razor, hobby and utility blades go into this bin:

Used blade bin

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The radiant heater is nice on cold winter days and nights:

Radiant heater

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Dust mask

Anti-fatigue mat

Canvas apron


Shaping

Sanding pads conform to the shape of your hand:

Sanding pads

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This miniature block plane is great for fine work:

Miniature block plane

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Palette knives for applying filling:

Palette knives

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A cabinet scraper for fine shaping:

Cabinet scraper

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The block plane is a great shaping tool:

Block plane

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Small files are perfect for small work:

Small files

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Filler is great for dents and gaps in sheeting:

Filler

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Fiberglass for repair and strength:

Fiberglass

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All sorts of sandpaper, from 80 grit to 3000:

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