Basic tool kit?

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jimboshop99

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Hey everyone,

I'm getting back into rocketry after a 10 year absence. I just finished a build on a Deltie B kit that I never opened and I found my old "exacto" knife (needs more blades), some sandpaper, straight edge, pencil, and wood glue. I'm definitely gonna build a few more rocket kits in the next few months , and since the local hobby shops are pretty much shut down, I'm concerned about not being able to get other tools if and when I need them. So, I'm going to find some stuff online.

Can anybody recommend any other tools I might need?

Thanks,
Jim
 

Off Grid Gecko

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You have the hobby knife covered, that's a big one. I sometimes use a hacksaw for bigger tubes when I don't feel like wearing out my fingers (3" and bigger heavy wall). Power tools help with cutting custom parts from plywood. I have this cool hole saw that has several sizes in one saw, but only goes up to 2.5". I like also having 30-minute epoxy on hand for when I need it, and CA in addition to wood glue (thin stuff is prolly best and would be easy to get from a hobby store). Paint, primer, spot putty, and whatever other fillers you like to use. Masking tape. Sand paper from 40-320 grit should cover most build stuff, but some 600 or higher if you want really slick finishes. Dowel rods come in handy, but I use sticks from a certain weed that grows out here and makes really straight shafts. You may need some cordage for shock cords unless you are just using the stuff in the kits, people seem to like kevlar.
That's what comes to mind at the moment. Depends on the kit and how much custom work you are doing. A cutting mat comes in handy too. They have them in the sewing section at wally world.
 

BABAR

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Clothes pins, clamps, Estes Fin Alignment tool are nice to have, but not essential.
 

neil_w

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Aluminum angle is an absolute must, useful in a million ways. Not so easy to order online, admittedly.
 

Mike Haberer

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A Dremel. I use it for all sorts of tasks. Sanding down epoxy that is too thick along fin joints. Cutting my own centering rings. Cutting out bulkheads for my nosecones to hold an Eggfinder sled and/or adding weight to the nose for bigger engines.
 

caveduck

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Aluminum right angle 3/4 x 3/4 x 1/16 8ft for $20 https://www.amazon.com/Orange-Aluminum-Extrusion-Extruded-Bracket/dp/B07RB77HKZ/
Oddly the 8ft piece is less expensive than either the 6ft or 3ft options, and has free shipping. Chop it up into marking guides of various lengths from 6" to 3ft.

Orange Aluminum has all the common sizes 1/2, 3/4, 1", 1.5", 2" listed on Amazon, in 1/16 and 1/8 thickness (watch what you're getting there, you probably want 1/16" for marking purposes).

1/2" is best for smaller tubes, 3/4" for BT-60 out to 2.6" or so, 1" or 1.5" for HPR tube sizes.
 

neil_w

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I use a triangular aluminium engineers scale ruler. More expensive than aluminium angle but easy to order online.
Good thought. For my own purposes, though, the 120 degree angle would be much less useful than 90 degrees when working with smaller tubes. The triangle probably works well on tubes above a certain minimum (whatever that may be).
 

Mike Haberer

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...and if you are going to design anything yourself, a good digital caliper is a must. For example, after cutting off the nose cone back end, I measure the interior of the nose cone at the shoulder to size my bulkheads. Also comes in handing when you can't remember which vendor tube you are using and need to determine the ID and OD for sizing centering rings, Aeropack engine retainers, etc. I use the calipers as much or more than I do the aluminum ruler. I also have a plastic triangle with a 180 degree compass internal to it so you can measure off the angles for positioning screw holes in bulkheads ( I use three at 120 degree angles for my nose cone bulkheads).
 

Mike Haberer

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Actually, I have two digital scales. One is a postal scale that I use for weighing bigger components and the final rocket and a small scale that can measure in either grams or tenths of ounces for weighing out epoxy by weight...
 

neil_w

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For smaller LPR stuff I find a .1g/.01 oz resolution to be quite useful, but it really depends on the size of things that you're typically weighing.
 

AfterBurners

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Sometimes what to buy can be difficult. For me I always bought things as I needed them and from there built up quite the collection of tools and some home fashioned jigs.
 

BABAR

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If you plan on using epoxy, get nitrile gloves.

If you use a dremel or drill, get eye protection.

For the time being, forget about painting in doors because you won’t be able to find an appropriate mask for a while.

A good cutting mat would also be helpful.
 

Weldo

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I've never tried that! Always assumed it would split with the shearing action and all.
 

neil_w

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Admittedly it is not great with the grain, but very good against. I've used it most with 1/32", sometimes with 1/16".
 

RFMan

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I've bought most of my aluminum angle at Lowe's or Home Depot. I have some brass angle I like because it's thinner, though not as stiff; I actually bought it at one of our small, local, non-chain hardware stores that is well stocked (they have the small display of copper and brass and aluminum tubes, sheets, angles, rods, and other shapes that you also tend to see at hobby shops. I have the brass angle at different sizes to better fit different diameter body tubes.
 

KILTED COWBOY

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Check out Hobbylinc website.
They have all kinds of cool tools for us model builders.
I use many on my rocket builds as well as for my plastic and wood models.
Can order anything you need online while the stores are shut down
 

Weldo

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What else might be good is a box of these...



I believe they're supposed to be lint free and come in handy for small stuff.
 

kuririn

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Metal ruler.
Emery stick.
An oscillating tool can do many of the functions that a Dremel can.
Good for making cuts in basswood and ply. When not building rockets do home repairs.
Rubber bands, clamps.
Q-tips.
Good 'ol masking tape.
Various sizes of dowels:
Apply glue inside body tubes.
Pre curl paper shrouds, nozzles, and tubes.
Hold models for painting.
Hold models horizontally while glue is drying.
Use in a display stand.​
Small plastic cups.
Popsicle sticks.
Grommets/Grommet tool.
And of course, a paint respirator.
 

PXR5

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I highly recommend that Estes fin alignment jig :)
 

Donnager

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Bamboo skewers for glue spreading.

I actually use aluminum channels (1"x2", and 0.5"x1") to hold my rockets during construction. Smaller channel is used for fin alignment (half the width of the larger channel--so finding center is easy) and to do all the marking I would ordinarily do with an angle.
 
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