Top Five Must Have Tools

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

COSTransplant

Well-Known Member
TRF Sponsor
TRF Supporter
Joined
Oct 26, 2022
Messages
386
Reaction score
276
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
Ok all. My wife has been asking me for months for ideas on tools that I might want for building rockets. I have picked up things along the way -- drafting tape, a cutting board, a good light / magnifier, etc. -- but I am wondering what everyone else considers to be their go tool tools. I've been pondering a desk top variable speed belt / disk sander or a mini scroll saw or an inexpensive laser wood cutter. Anyone like to share their thoughts? Thanks!
 
Last edited:
Need to know size/type/materials of rockets you want to build. How are you doing them now? What is the budget? What do you wish you could do that you currently can't do well/effectively/efficiently?

Since November, I've picked up both a CNC router and the traditional kind, as well as a 3D printer. But I didn't get them just to have them. I have a long list of specific uses (rockets/rocket parts I want to build and how to build them) in mind for each of them.
 
Depends on what size rockets you're building. For sure, though, aluminum angle and a good sanding block (you have the good one there) are right at the top of the list.

I'm a snap-off blade convert (I have an Olfa 18mm and 9mm). Love them. Rarely use the Xacto anymore, although sometimes the good old #11 is useful for fine work.

A small digital scale. For my LPR work, one with .1g resolution and 500g max weight is good, but if you're doing larger stuff you might need a bigger one.
 
X-acto knife, sanding block, metal ruler (around 6 inches with mm increments), scissors and pin vise.

95% of my LPR work involves just those tools.
 
i have to ask where you use it in the build process :questions:
I used to use it to drill out altimeter vent holes in main body tubes, but now I use this.

One use I now have for it is to drill out holes in my nose cones to make them like this.

Another use for it is to drill out holes in the middle of a circle piece of cardstock, plastic or balsa that I'm using as a bulkhead for LPR payload bays or disposable baffles.

Basically, if I need a small hole in something, I'm probably using my pin vise tool.
 
Yeah, those are a big help when sanding away the inside of spent 18mm BP engines casings for other uses, like couplers, baffles, thrust rings and dummy engines.

I make mine by getting plastic pens and markers of differing diameters, covering with self-stick sandpaper, then slowing stepping up the diameter until I remove the desired amount of inner casing-paper.
 
I'm just figuring out how to use right angle aluminum and I do have a Dremel. I have tried the Du-Bro Kwik Sand hand Sander which I really like. I think I am just a tool nut.View attachment 552116
On some tubing that sander also works for marking lines as well, get both sizes currently offered they are great sanding "T"s.
 
In addition to all the other great ideas here, I'd add a three sided scale ruler, preferably aluminium. Good for marking larger tubes, holding tubes and couplers while glue dries, etc.

View attachment 552173
This is something that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY! :p

Specifically, before I screwed up my main body tube using spare BT-20 peices and a homemade coupler.

Won't make the same mistake again, thanks to this post. :cool:
 
Ok all. My wife has been asking me for months for ideas on tools that I might want for building rockets. I have picked up things along the way -- drafting tape, a cutting board, a good light / magnifier, etc. -- but I am wondering what everyone else considers to be their go tool tools. I've been pondering a desk top variable speed belt / disk sander or a mini scroll saw or an inexpensive laser wood cutter. Anyone like to share their thoughts? Thanks!
If you are building your own designs using plywood or G10 fins, then the sander will be great but I don't know why you would need variable speed. A scroll saw or even a band saw could be useful to cut out the fins.

I mostly build LPR, using hobby knife, sand paper, sanding block, 12" ruler, 1" x 1" aluminum angle about 12" long, pencil, scissors, paper towels. I sometimes use a disk sander.
I've use a fine tooth razor saw for cutting plywood fins.
Several different tools could be useful for cutting out plywood centering rings.
I paint with spray cans but I would like to try a spray gun, I already have a compressor. I don't do small details or an airbrush would be handy.
 
If you are building your own designs using plywood or G10 fins, then the sander will be great but I don't know why you would need variable speed. A scroll saw or even a band saw could be useful to cut out the fins.

I mostly build LPR, using hobby knife, sand paper, sanding block, 12" ruler, 1" x 1" aluminum angle about 12" long, pencil, scissors, paper towels. I sometimes use a disk sander.
I've use a fine tooth razor saw for cutting plywood fins.
Several different tools could be useful for cutting out plywood centering rings.
I paint with spray cans but I would like to try a spray gun, I already have a compressor. I don't do small details or an airbrush would be handy.
Sounds like you are exactly where I am right now, as that is most of what I am using. I guess I need to determine whether or not my lack of additional tools is hindering me or not....
 
Sounds like you are exactly where I am right now, as that is most of what I am using. I guess I need to determine whether or not my lack of additional tools is hindering me or not....
A few more that might be helpful- cutting guides for cutting tubes and fin jig for gluing on fins. You can buy or make these.
 
Back
Top