What's your favorite non-tool building tool?

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We've all repurposed everyday household items for things they weren't originally designed for.
My favorite is a thin bamboo skewer, the kind with the pointy tip (see pic). These are really cheap and available at places like Walmart.
I originally used it as a temporary "handle" for painting a nose cone by sticking the pointy end into the base of the nose cone.

But it's since found unlimited uses for things like applying CA or white glue into tight places (with Q-tips taped to the end), for making a starting hole for drilling into balsa or BTs, for unplugging glue bottles, as a stir stick for bottle paints or dope, cleaning out the ejection crap from body tubes...well, you get the idea.

My 2nd all time favorite is the aforementioned Q-tip. It doesn't take much imagination to see all the ways you can use a Q-tip.

What's your favorite repurposed household item "tool"?

View attachment 318386
 
Cheap oscillating electric toothbrush with the bristles cut off and sandpaper stuck to it.
 
Cheap oscillating electric toothbrush with the bristles cut off and sandpaper stuck to it.

BigDuphis

Sounds like a great way to cut down airfoiling time for wings. (Being the impatient type I find it a pain to spend hours meticulously hand sanding glider wings and fins. But also being OCD I can't help it--it's gotta be perfect).
 
I epoxy popsicle sticks to 24" dowels to spread and contour epoxy fin fillets inside the tube

Dave A Now I finally have a use for all those popsicle sticks I've been collecting! (I've only ever used them occsionally for bracing and aligning fins on multi-stage rockets).
 
I have a bunch of discarded machined metal parts. Great for weights, spacers, stand-offs, etc.. (doing what I do, I get to see certain parts come in from outr machinists. Sometimes a hole is off, sometimes is just a bit too short, or a bit too long. So, they are considered 'scrap' and will be tossed..)

Stereo!!

A 2" x 2" x 12" block with very good 90° sides. Stick a piece of sand paper to one side, and you have a good 90° sanding block for crisp 90° edges
Machinist's squares, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VUGTVAI/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 
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LEGO
One can use these versatile playthings for building rocket assembly cradles, tube marking guides, and alignment guides....Tools  - Lego.jpg
 
Bamboo skewers and throw away chopsticks are my most used, repurposed items.
 
I wouldn't say it's actually a favorite, but it does help me with painting. I have a bunch of different sized dowels that I bought at Michael's. On one end I glued either card stock or plywood rings, which fit inside different size air frames. I find these handy when painting rockets. I'll get a plastic milk crate and wedge the dowel between the the crate and use the crate as a stand. If its a heavy rocket I'll get a couple bricks and put them inside the bottom of the crate for stability. I think I speak for most of us, that we all seem to fabricate stuff we need when building that makes the process easier.
 
Coathanger. The metal rod kind. Bend it straight and make a little hook at one end. Great for reaching in tight places. Also those metal parts of the hanging file folders. they also can get into tight places since they're flat.
 
rstaff3
AfterBurners Specialized tools specifically designed for a single purpose are great to have yes, but don't ya just love stuff that performs the same function just as well and are otherwise just lying around waiting to be used? And I like the cost (frequently little or nothing). I love to hear about stuff that folks have cleverly adapted for rocketry needs.
 
I like to use the bases from old pedestal fans as bases for painting. I have a bunch of dowels like Afterburners described and stick those into the tube after the fan has been removed. They are usually heavy enough to hold just about any size rocket.
 
While I have not used on on rocket build yet a have a loose underwire from either my wife's or daughter's bra. I found it in the laundry room and used to clean out my carpet cleaner intake. It is thin metal and curved.
 
I like baking parchment a lot - much better than wax paper for fiberglass layups.
 
As a Geezer, now wearing spectacles to see better… full spectrum ‘OttLite’ in my work table lamp.
It’s so good, I can now see too many imperfections in my work… dang nice bulb though…!
 
I like baking parchment a lot - much better than wax paper for fiberglass layups.

Cabernut RocketFeller I haven't tried baking parchment yet, gotta ask the boss first unless I want her raiding my building supplies. All kidding aside, wax paper has been a lifesaver. It's kept me out of the doghouse after spilling CA, white glue, even dope. I use it when bending ammonia-soaked balsa to protect the form underneath or when gluing pieces of balsa together to prevent them from sticking to the table or cutting mat. If parchment works better it's worth picking up my own supply at the dollar store down the street.
 
As a Geezer, now wearing spectacles to see better… full spectrum ‘OttLite’ in my work table lamp.
It’s so good, I can now see too many imperfections in my work… dang nice bulb though…!

Mitkof What's an "OttLite"? As a fellow reading-spec dependent geezer, that sounds like something I could really use to avoid CAing small parts to my fingers. Is it something that can go into any ordinary table/desk lamp?
 
Cabernut RocketFeller I haven't tried baking parchment yet, gotta ask the boss first unless I want her raiding my building supplies. All kidding aside, wax paper has been a lifesaver. It's kept me out of the doghouse after spilling CA, white glue, even dope. I use it when bending ammonia-soaked balsa to protect the form underneath or when gluing pieces of balsa together to prevent them from sticking to the table or cutting mat. If parchment works better it's worth picking up my own supply at the dollar store down the street.

It really does work better, at least with epoxy and contact cement (not 100% about CA). It is more expensive than wax paper, but it is so non-stick that you can often reuse a piece multiple times. Also, it comes in 15" wide rolls, which is nice if you are doing larger projects.
 
And you can use parchment to put quite a shine on something that's chucked up! Note: don't do this to something that needs more paint or glue.
 
It really does work better, at least with epoxy and contact cement (not 100% about CA). It is more expensive than wax paper, but it is so non-stick that you can often reuse a piece multiple times. Also, it comes in 15" wide rolls, which is nice if you are doing larger projects.

Thanks buddy, good to know.
 
And you can use parchment to put quite a shine on something that's chucked up! Note: don't do this to something that needs more paint or glue.

Now that I've used up the wife's furniture polish, I have just got to sneak some of her parchment to try on my fleet.
 
My favorite is usually the Eyeball-Micrometer. Finely calibrated in the machine shop during college.

Realistically, I keep finding new uses for toothpicks. I like to think of them as high fidelity bamboo skewers.
 
What's your favorite repurposed household item "tool"?

Two answers. Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft Excel.

They are, by far, my most critical modeling tools. Excel is used to create a simple spreadsheet for all of my scale models, into which all of the major dimensions of the prototype can be entered. Once that it done it is a simple matter to use a formula to convert and compare a variety of scale factors.

Illustrator is used to create workshop drawings, decal files, and drawings for parts to cut on the laser cutter. Once a drawing is done for a model I can grab the fin bits off of that drawing to create a new drawing for cutting fins. Perhaps most importantly, jigs and patterns drawings can be drawn up, and then cut on the laser cutter.

Perhapas not the answer you were looking for, and while Illustrator stretches the definition of "household," Excel can probably be found in 50%+ of the homes in America.

James
 
I think me is my most useful tool. I don't think I could do modeling at all without me. Other than that I would say money. Money isn't designed, or designated, in this household, for throwing at rocketry vendors and hobby shops, but I find it extremely helpful in obtaining products. Also, since time is money, money is time and time is, while also not designed for spending on sanding and also sanding, critical to building models.
 
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