12 Essential Tools for RC Cars
By Joe Rich
Regardless of what aspect of radio controlled cars you are into weather truck, car, rock crawler or drift, you would need to maintain your vehicles at different times.
For this maintenance you are going to need some tools.
Here is a list of the tools we will be looking at in this article.
- Electric screwdriver
- Flush cutters
- Hex Wrench with Ball End
- Body Reamer
- Rotary Tool
- Heat Gun
- Soldering Iron with High Temperature
- X- Acto knives
- Wire cutters
- Bits and bobs
Even if you purchase models already built, you would eventually have to work on it, add hop ups, make repairs or just want to open it up to see its working.
Although there are common specialized tools required for jobs related to RC, a simple tool collection will suffice quite often.
If you have a basic tool for jobs around the house, then you most likely will always have most of the tools needed.
Let’s have a look at the main tools necessary for building, maintaining and running RC cars.
Electric Screwdriver and bits
Hand tools of high quality are a necessity for any RC car toolbox. If energy saving is a priority a electric screwdriver is a must have.
Get an electric screwdriver with the adjustable clutch will make the building process infinitely easier.
It will also make it less likely to strip a thread or round off a screw head.
This is the only set back when using electric screwdrivers so be careful a simple 2 minute job can turn into a half hour strip down.
This is why i like to go old school and use a hand held driver.
Lots of RC companies like OFNA, XRAY, EDS and others provide ¼ inch metric hex bits and SAE sizes to create the perfect fit.
Side or flush cutters come in very handy when dealing with plastic parts on trees.
It is sometimes impossible to just twist the parts of the tree and not leave a large nub of the plastic on it and also risk damaging the part.
This is why quality pair of flush cutters are essential, they are designed to get into tight spots and can snip sections off trees with professional and clean looking results and making assembly easier.
Hex Wrench with Ball End
If you come across a Hex head fastener that needs to be removed or tightened and are unable to get to it straight on then using a standard hex wrench will probably end in tears.
You will most likely end up stripping the screw head out every time or shearing the tip-off.
You should certainly invest in a set of quality ball end hex wrenches. They are manufactured to easily fit suspension fasteners at odd angles. Great for suspension set ups
You have most likely heard of this tool before, you until you purchase one, and use it you can not know the usefulness of a body reamer and how easy they make drilling body mounting holes.
They create burr free, clean holes in all RC bodies. Attempting to create body holes utilizing rotary tools or hobby knives ( bad idea ) runs the high risk of the body cracking so to avoid butchering your RC car body having an RC toolbox without a body reamer is a big no-no.
This a tool which has a million reasons as to why you it should be in your tool box and used in building and maintaining your RC cars.
Polishing, grinding, cutting, removal of a stripped screw, body shaping, metal parts de-burring, mount wires pipe trimming as well as manufacturing of custom parts.
These are some of the major reasons why a rotary tool is an essential tool for every RC’ car enthusiast to have.
No matter how long you’ve used them you’ll always find another purpose for them.
Nitro and electric guys should definitely have heat guns because they are certainly more powerful than using your wife or girlfriends hairdryer.
They are very useful when trying to cover wiring within shrink tubing, putting cutting body skins of vinyl, reviving tire inserts made of foam.
Heat guns are a great addition to your RC cars toolbox.
Soldering Iron with High Temperature
This is what multi-faceted tool not just for electric but also for nitro, sooner or later you would have to use a soldering iron and it’s the most horrifying experience trying to work with a low temp, cheap soldering iron.
Asides from being frustrated during the work process, most often, the joint you created will end up failing at the least expected times. So investing in a top-notch soldering iron will definitely be a life saver.
Having a variety of plier sets in your toolbox is certainly a must.
A plier assortment random from large Channellock to small nose middle varieties would be very helpful when tightening lockouts which help to secure your RC car wheels.
Most times you would grab a plier for jobs that may require a hammer, bench vice or wrench because of how handy they are.
However, they should be used with caution, as most RC parts are manufactured with aluminium or plastic which will easily get marred by the plier jaws.
X- Acto knives
One of the most trustworthy tools you can have in your RC building and maintenance journey is the X-Acto knife.
There are so many kinds to pick from, but the standard model with triangular blades is very popular.
If you need precise cuts they are very useful. However, ensure the blades are very sharp because dull blades cause cuts which look jagged. Most importantly, a dull blade can cause body injury and mistakes due to poor cutting methods.
When building RC cars you would have to cut wires hence getting wire cutters is vital.
Nevertheless, purchase cheap wire cutters would leave you frustrated, always leaving uncut wire strands behind.
Ensure you invest in a quality wire cutter set as they are very durable. They will make sure you get clean, professional looking wire cuts whenever the need arises.
Now that you have built your tool kit don’t just leave them laying about to get rusty and damaged.
Invest in a good quality toolbox with plenty of draw space not only your tools but for any spares.
That means that everything is kept all together so less time searching for that all elusive part or wrench and more time racing.
If you want to save a bit of cash you can use old food containers to keep everything together anything with a lid you do.
Bits and bobs
Other stuff to have in your kit include needle nose pliers to help with difficult circlips, cable ties to tidy up wiring, rubber bands, damper oil, gear and differential grease, old rags for cleaning also have some small brushes to get the stubborn dirt off an old toothbrush is great for getting into tight spots.
Your toolbox will ultimately reflect your RC maintenance or building activities.
The more specific or varied the interests you have are, determines the tool collection you will possess.
The tools that are outlined in this article provide a great foundation regardless of which sphere your RC love pulls you but as stated above, getting tools is not just enough.
You need to purchase high-quality tools to make sure you don’t ruin your hard work with jagged cuts or wire strips.
This will ensure the tools serve their purpose effectively and produce fantastic results you will be proud of.