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KrisR

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Hey everyone...newbie here. Been probably 20 years since I laid eyes on any kind of model rocket. I used to build lots airplanes when I was a kid. My wife surprised me with a little Estes kit this Christmas and now I'm obsessed.

So my question is, what are the proper tools and items one should have in their toolbox for constructing model kits? What sort of adhesives, paint and other required things should I stock up on?
 

CharlaineC

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this is my main building kit fitted in an old rifle cleaning kit box

it contains the estes fin marking guids, pin vice, bits, dimand files, pin files,assorted xacto blades, 5 different sized xaco handles, one xacto saw/carving tool handl, one large blade handle, xacto miter box, several diffrent right angles from old erector set, mechanel pencile, hole reamer, small scrw driver multi c clamps, two xacto saws large and small, and 3 sets of tweezers. oh almost forgot sanding block

100_2102.jpg
 
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DaveCombs

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Charlaine covered a good bit of ground. A few more things:

Sandpaper (150, 220, 320 and 400 grit, depending on the application).

A good wood glue, like Titebond or Titebond II. School glue is not the right tool for the job.

Cyanoacrylate glue ("super glue" or CyA or CA) in various viscosities or "thicknesses" - thin, medium and thick.

Model glue (for styrene parts - plastic parts are becoming more popular).

Masking tape, cellophane tape (good old Scotch tape) and some low-tack painter's tape (the blue or purple stuff).

Sanding sealer (Midwest/Pactra, etc.).

Wooden dowels for those hard-to-reach places.

Those are the basics; there will be more. Also - SAVE EVERY SCRAP OF BALSA YOU ARE LEFT WITH out of kits. It comes in very handy.
 
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DaveCombs

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One more thing...

To store all this stuff, consider getting either a box with a FLAT bottom and a clamshell lid, or a plastic toolbox with drawers. That way, not only do you have plenty of room for all that stuff (including a number of spray paint cans), but as you get further down the road you can store all the extra parts you collect, like lugs, motor mounts, screw eyes, kevlar and elastic shock cords, and so on. And try to keep this stuff separate from what you take to the field - get a different (smaller/lighter) toolbox for your field gear, like your launcher, engines, igniters and wadding, and a basic repair kit with spare parts (lugs, chutes, etc.) and adhesives.
 

KrisR

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Sweet, thanks! Bringing back memories of what I had for my plane kits back in the day...ah the smell of glue and drying paint. My wife will be thrilled for my new hobbie :)
 

CharlaineC

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if you have thrift shops ook for kabootals they work great
 

RimfireJim

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CharlainC has a pretty comprehensive list of tools in her toolbox, but I actually use only a few of those for building rockets. I build other things, too, so I do have all those tools plus more, but don't need them for rocketry.

My main tools for LPR/MPR builds: X-acto type handle (I use, and recommend, the padded Grip-On Excel model) and either plenty of #11 blades (buy the 100 piece bulk dispenser) or a way to resharpen them, a 12" rule with cork backing for both measuring and cutting, cutting mat, sanding block and sandpaper, sharp pencils, aluminum angle for laying out fin and launch lug lines, round needle file for the occasional cleanup of bumpy fillets, and a homemade fin gluing fixture (optional). That's pretty much it.

Assembly & finishing supplies: yellow wood glue, white glue when I want a slower grab, Aleene's Tacky Glue for fillets, thin and thick CA, masking tapes and paper, Elmer's Fill-n-Finish and KILZ for filling grain and spirals, (old version) Krylon primer and top coat for painting.

Building materials to augment kits: Kevlar thread and cord for shroud lines and shock cords, elastic for shock cords, Nomex heatshields, snap swivels, rip-stop nylon for parachutes.
 

hcmbanjo

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Hi Kris R,
Stop by my website when you have a chance:
www.howtobuildmodelrockets.20m.com

It was written for people like you getting back into the hobby.
The first two pages are dedicated to the bare minimum tools. The rest touches on many points the instructions don't get into.
These tips are what works for me after 40 years of trial and error. Everyone has their favorite tools and methods.

Good luck with the builds,
Hans "Chris' Michielssen
Old/New NAR # 19086 SR
 

jflis

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You've gotten LOTS of great advise and tools lists here already.

Here are some specialty items that many (most?) of us have either in our boxes or readily available. These come in hand at the oddest times, but when needed are indispensible:
  • Dental picks
  • Hemostats (think "hospital needle nosed pliers" that lock when you close them)
  • tooth picks
  • Emery boards, various grits
  • Fine tweezers of various shapes (both normally open and normally closed)
  • Small clamps
  • Spent motor casings (for setting engine blocks, gluing to dowels to make holders for painting, gluing to cardboard to make rocket stands, etc)

That's just a smapling of what I could recall in my head...

You may also find it valuable to have 3 different boxes:
  1. Building box with all of your primary building tools and adhesives
  2. Finishing box with all of your finishing materials
  3. Range box with all of the items you need to prep, launch and repair in the field

These different boxes have many similar or identical items. I found, over the years, it was simply easier to buy duplicate items (like an X-Acto knife in each) as I simply got tired of going to one of the three boxes only to discover I was missing a tool cuz I had left it in another box...

Great topic!
jim
 

KrisR

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Wow, thanks so much everyone for all the great tips and suggestions...making my shopping list now!
 

GNaroz

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this was a list I had put together from other posts like this one. Pretty Complete but of course you mileage may vary :)

Tools and Supplies to build Rockets

A razor saw (Xacto or equivalent)
A square (like a ruler that goes around a corner :)
Another lighter duty steel ruler.
Lots of rubber bands and/or cheap plastic clamps.

1. A 12" steel ruler for making straight cuts with your X-Acto knife...
2. More than one X-Acto #1 knife with a fresh blade...
3. A spare pack (or two) of fresh #11 blades for your X-Acto knife...
4. 3 oz paper bathroom cups...
5. Assorted artists brushes...
6. A "T-Bar" or other aluminum sanding block...
7. An assortment of sanding papers, with a larger portion of 220-grit...
8. A can of 3M-77 spray contact adhesive...
9. A Zona saw, or a #3 X-Acto handle with fine-tooth cutting blade...
10. A self healing cutting mat or A set of disposable kitchen cutting mats...
11. Various mechanical pencils and fine-tip pens...
12. A pair of tri-edge rules, one Archetectural, one Engineering...
13. Numerous holding stands; wooden base with a dowel and an expended motor casing on one end, or some empty CD/DVD spindles...
14. A pack of sanding twigs -- foam strips 3/32" and 1/8" wide, 6" long, with sandpaper glued to two sides...
15. Various widths of masking tape...
16. A computer with a good graphics program (Corel Draw, Photoshop, The GIMP) to create patterns with...
17. Stack of #110 cardstock, to create templates and patterns made with your computer...
18. A decent color printer...
19. T-Pins...
20. Wax paper...
21. Various viscoscities of CA glue...
22. Small bottles of yellow glue...
23. A large bottle of yellow glue to refill the small bottles from...
24. A notebook to sketch ideas in...
25. A scrap bin, to catch bits and pieces of discarded balsa and tubing in...
26. An office "cubbyhole" shelf unit for holding your cardstock, decal sheets, etc...
27. Tack rags...
28. A good air compressor, 5-6 HP with a good regulator...
29. Several inexpensive airbrushes for colors, and at least one or two larger detail guns for spraying primer and base whites. Don't use any gun with multiple types of paint; only use one type of paint with any one gun or airbrush to avoid gumming internally.
30. Two or three dozen fresh 1 oz jars to fit the airbrushes, and several jar adapters...
31. Paint thinners by the gallon. It's much cheaper...
32. Wooden clothespin clamps, with the wood pieces turned upside down...
33. Rubber band clamps...
34. Small one-hand "pressure/tension" bar clamps... (Perfect for us, No?)
35. Patience...


I am really short on #35 :)
 
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Rocket Al

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Now when you win the lottery...

http://www.gerstner.net/

When I showed those tool boxes to my wife she said she'd let me keep one in the living room!:D

Sweet mother of pearl!!!!!! :eek:

years ago before I moved to California, a friend of mine said he could get me one of the #52 chests for $150. I bought it, but thought it was too nice to put my clay and silicone covered sculpting stuff in, so it sits under it's custom vinyl chest cover that it came with.

Never thought to look what it was actually going for. I think I'll move it into the house to use as an art piece....

Al
 

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