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Tools for DIY Wishlist...

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Since the holidays are around the corner and 'tis the time for holiday cheer and gift giving what is on your wishlist?

 

This is mine...

 

Case Work:
Drill Press - Not sure what is best for DIY purposes. Recommendations?
Automatic Punch - General 79 Professional Automatic Center Punch
Digital Caliper - still looking into this. 6" seems fine for this hobby.
Countersink - what sizes?
Deburring Tool
Scratch Awl
Rotary Tool - Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool - or go with Dremel?
Tin Snips
Files - small set
#4-40 and #6-32 or Metric M3 and M3.5 taps
Klein Tools 76011B Nibbler Tool
Set of carbide burs for said rotary tool.

PCB Work:
Hot Air Station http://www.circuitspecialists.com/bk4050.html
Stainless Steel Probes - http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/20215/243-1102-ND/1963944

 

Bring it on!

post #2 of 20

That's quite a wish list there.  Hope you've been very good this year:)

Having enough DIY stuff think the only tool on my list is a grinding wheel dresser.  The wheels on my small grinder are packed w/aluminum at the moment:)  That & the dremel get far more use around here than a nibbler.  Prefer (thick) aluminum panels vs steel myself.    If you don't have a quality soldering station + solder sucker/Soldapullt they should be on your list.

The small $75 Harbor Freight drill press I got as a gift has worked reasonably well for everything I've thrown at it.  As has my cheap 6" generic digital caliper.

I've had great fun w/my little Microcarve MV3 desktop CNC, may ask for some bits for it.

post #3 of 20

IMHO, a milling vise is a great accessory for a drill press.  A cheap drill press is fine, but if it has enough depth to allow an milling vise, it's even better.  A center punch is OK for the odd hole, but a good drill press will override those if you're not careful and if you are drilling for a bunch of cooling holes, things can get out of hand quickly:

http://www.harborfreight.com/5-rugged-cast-iron-drill-press-milling-vise-69159.html.  You have to be a bit handy in coming up with tooling fixtures - a small block of wood can be the base for clamping your work, while you have a larger piece of wood attached on top with your part screwed in it (or similar).

 

As for the cheap digital calipers, I've had a 2 or 3 of the Harbor Freight kind go bad quickly.  I don't think the electronics outlast the batteries in most cases.  Plus, they don't have a lifetime guarantee on electronics-assisted tools (at least my store never honors it).  This is the one I've had each time: http://www.harborfreight.com/4-inch-digital-caliper-47256.html .  It's nice while it lasts because of the ability to switch from inches to millimeters, but it doesn't last.  I have a 6" dial caliper from them that's lasted for 7 years, now.  Unfortunately, they don't have dial calipers in metric.

 

Go to your dentist for the SS probes - you won't find any better and they simply throw them away after awhile.  Cheap ones like they have at Harbor Freight will bend like butter.

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

@cfcubed Yeah I've been a little naughty and a little nice. So at least Santa will leave something under the tree. Maybe the drill press? ;) I'm thinking hot air station for a very close 2nd. A dremel tool wouldn't hurt as well.

 

So the grinding wheel dresser cleans aluminum gunk on grinding wheels? Nice!

 

I've read that the nibbler is good for aiding in cutting out IEC socket holes. Besides a greenlee rectangular punch is way too expensive for what it does.

 

That Microcarve CNC looks nice. Never really thought of a CNC. Could you get something like that instead of a drill press? Or is it more of a one tool does a better job at somethings and the other does a better job at others?

 

@tomb So I'd assume it's safest to go for a floor mount drill press if you wanted to add on the milling vise? Otherwise, looks like a bench drill press won't cut the mustard in terms of depth. So the center punch is unnecessary if you have a good drill press? I'm a bit confused about the milling vise and tooling fixtures. I'm assuming the milling vise is to hold your chassis or whatever you're working on. The tooling fixtures (wood blocks) are for what? To aid in holding oddly shaped chassis, etc?

 

I'd assume a decently priced digital caliper should last. Is this just not the case or is a harbor freight thing?

post #5 of 20

> the nibbler is good for aiding in cutting out IEC socket holes.

In thin material only (e.g. sheet metal)

>  Microcarve CNC looks nice.....that instead of a drill press?

No, a drill press is essential as is center punches & deburring tool.  Floor stander not necessary unless you've the space for it.  The CNC was more of an expensive luxury ($2k when said & done) + something I wanted to dive into & learn about.  Use both but use drill press way more (e.g. jobs other than DIY audio:). 

IMO a milling vice is also non-essential, I've gotten by w/blocks & clamps so far.  And of course a std bench vice.  But holding small parts in drill press has been tricky w/o a drill press vice or similar.

BTW IIRC my digital caliper was from amazon, bought after reading reviews.

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mullet View Post
 

@cfcubed Yeah I've been a little naughty and a little nice. So at least Santa will leave something under the tree. Maybe the drill press? ;) I'm thinking hot air station for a very close 2nd. A dremel tool wouldn't hurt as well.

 

So the grinding wheel dresser cleans aluminum gunk on grinding wheels? Nice!

 

I've read that the nibbler is good for aiding in cutting out IEC socket holes. Besides a greenlee rectangular punch is way too expensive for what it does.

 

That Microcarve CNC looks nice. Never really thought of a CNC. Could you get something like that instead of a drill press? Or is it more of a one tool does a better job at somethings and the other does a better job at others?

 

@tomb So I'd assume it's safest to go for a floor mount drill press if you wanted to add on the milling vise? Otherwise, looks like a bench drill press won't cut the mustard in terms of depth. So the center punch is unnecessary if you have a good drill press? I'm a bit confused about the milling vise and tooling fixtures. I'm assuming the milling vise is to hold your chassis or whatever you're working on. The tooling fixtures (wood blocks) are for what? To aid in holding oddly shaped chassis, etc?

 

I'd assume a decently priced digital caliper should last. Is this just not the case or is a harbor freight thing?

All I have is a table-top Delta drill press.  It's got a good amount of space for the HF milling vise that I referenced.  However, there are tabletop drill presses that are almost half the size of mine and they will give you trouble, depending on how elaborate you want to be with vises/tooling fixtures.

 

A drill vise or milling vise both do the same thing: they hold something.  A milling vise allows you repeatability.  It also almost guarantees that things are in-line, if desired.  However as cfcubed says, they're not really necessary - but a vise of some sort is.  It's just that (IMHO) if you have to have one - might as well get one that can "index" back and forth and up and down without knocking things out of line.

 

As for the wood blocks, well - you always need a backing if you're going to drill through thin metal (typical casework).  Otherwise, you'll blow out the metal on the other side, or worse - rip the metal up, period.  In the case of drill vises, they very seldom are the shape you need to hold an endplate or a case extrusion.  Yet, you can stack wood blocks and almost always screw endplates or casework down to the wood blocks.  Then your drill vise holds the wood blocks.

 

Tooling fixtures are simply a description used for whatever is designed to hold a part for fabrication/machining.  It can be as simple as a drill vise, some wood blocks, or a very elaborate contraption with alignment keys and multiple clamps.  Large manufacturers will have entire divisions dedicated to tooling design. ;)

 

As for the center punch - by all means, they're indispensable for drilling.  Most of the time, a drill bit will follow the indentation like clockwork.  On the other hand, a quality, powerful drill press or mill may over-power some center-punch dents and drill the hole where you positioned the bit, regardless.

 

My mention of the digital caliper was specifically about Harbor Freight's version, nothing more.


Edited by tomb - 11/30/13 at 11:49am
post #7 of 20

I'd add a small square to that list. Very useful for layouts. 

 

Just buy tools as you need them - it makes it very easy to amass a large collection of stuff, and saves you from the otherwise likely situation where you buy something that you will never use. 

post #8 of 20

a dremel is on my list this year.... luckily my dad put a lathe on his list....

post #9 of 20

Here are some tips to help you possibly save some money or put it where you need it more. I like tools :)

 

- A corded drill (cordless sucks unless you can't get to an outlet) will be just fine for 99.9% of drilling if you practice and learn how to keep it straight. A drill press is nice to have but a good hand drill is more versatile.

- Stick to a normal punch and a hammer, you have way more control over the marks

- Digital calipers are OK but I don't trust them and you need to always re-zero them. A 6" dial caliper is all you need (mine is a Mac tools one worth 50 bucks) but you will need to learn how to read it. From what I've seen they are way less of a headache in the end and I've used both dial and electronic.

- Usually countersinks are one huge size and you go as deep as you need, stop, re-check, etc. They are categorized by the degree of the cut, get whatever angle your screw heads are. Most screws are 30-some degrees but don't quote me on that. I can't say for sure what the head angle is off the top of my head but you only need one countersink

- You can use any drill bit larger than the hole you made for de-burring (spin it by hand a few times)

- For a rotary tool don't go with the Dremel. Many have had bad experiences, myself included. Stick to the one you have in your list and use as many Dremel accessories with it as you can fit (the accessories have always been good to me). I've been using a $40 knockoff rotary tool and it's been WAY better than the high dollar Dremel, to put things in perspective.

- For a file set get this (http://www.amazon.ca/Nicholson-Gen-Files-File-Sets/dp/B00018ADSA/ref=sr_1_3?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1385851073&sr=1-3&keywords=nicholson+file+set) along with a full sized Flat Smooth and stick to known brands. I've worked with Nicholson for years. Also get a set of needle files. Can't go wrong with too many files.

- Fin snips are not needed most of the time unless you're doing construction because the cuts are rough and it bends the metal. Use the rotary tool for most cuts

- Invest in a large and good quality set of drill bits, take care of them and they will last for years (not cheap though, a full set is over $100)

- Get some cutting oil or gun oil for drilling and cutting hard materials

- Safety glasses and face shield, always wear at least the glasses even when just drilling or soldering. You only have one set of eyes.

- If you don't have a 6" bench vise with soft jaws (mine are home made from wood and glue), get one.

- Get as many different sized clamps and C-clamps as you can afford, they always come in handy.

- Get a variety of quality sand paper and keep it after it wears out. You can still use worn pieces to do final polishing on things as it won't remove much material.

- nikongod is right about the square, they come in handy!

 

That's about it, hope it helps! Buying all these at once would be quite expensive but just get what you need now and keep adding tools to the collection. Took me years to be able to make pretty much anything in my garage.


Edited by ady1989 - 11/30/13 at 2:55pm
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

Wow. This is some great info guys. Like nikongod suggested I'm taking it one step at a time. I'd say my top 3 at the moment is the drill press (and a nice set of drill bits), rotary tool, and the hot air rework station. Everything else will come with time as I need it.

 

From what I've read the Proxxon is better quality than the Dremel. I suppose the bits are somewhat interchangeable. I've used corded drills in the past and they worked fine with plastic panels, etc. I'm going to be doing a project that requires a lot of holes for ventilation so I think the drill press would come in handy. The EHHA gets hot!

 

Hrmmm a lathe. I'm figuring metal work first then woodworking tools next. I'd love to learn how to build my own wooden / aluminum chassis.


Edited by Mullet - 11/30/13 at 5:55pm
post #11 of 20

All I want for Christmas is a stereo microscope for assembly work like the one I had when I worked for Solectron.

 

Oh, and maybe a reflow oven...


Edited by Avro_Arrow - 11/30/13 at 9:43pm
post #12 of 20

A tip on the counter sinks.  McMaster and Carr specs the head angle on the screws it sells.  Makes it easy to get the right one.  They are also a great place to do business.

 

Jim

post #13 of 20

A few points:

 

1. A tabletop drill press is all that should be required.  Floor standing models just offer more depth for drilling and we're basically never working on things that large.

2. Nibblers are nearly worthless.  IEC's, done well, simply require patience and planning.  I have nibblers and haven't touched them for years.

3. CNC - you'd better have a lot of time, expertise and $$.  I had a manual mill for a while and its capabilities were certainly nice but they take up a lot of shop space and require a lot of time to do any better than hand held results.  Also, you'd have to buy a lot of professionally done panels to offset the cost so I'm content to let the pros do it.  And if you think the tools that you're looking at now are expensive just wait until you see what a single, high-quality end mill costs...

4. Hot air rework station, really?  How much surface mount stuff are you repairing? 

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by n_maher View Post
 

A few points:

 

2. Nibblers are nearly worthless.  IEC's, done well, simply require patience and planning.  I have nibblers and haven't touched them for years.

 


Use this instead

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avro_Arrow View Post
 

All I want for Christmas is a stereo microscope for assembly work like the one I had when I worked for Solectron.

 

Oh, and maybe a reflow oven...


Damn that microscope is hardcore! You have to be thrice as good to score one of those from good ole Santy Claus. Meanwhile I'm strolling along happy with my trusty magnifying lamp from Staples. I like that it doesn't need to be clamped down and can be stored away in a closet if need be.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by muskyhuntr View Post
 

A tip on the counter sinks.  McMaster and Carr specs the head angle on the screws it sells.  Makes it easy to get the right one.  They are also a great place to do business.

 

Jim

 

I've been using McMaster Carr for my last few builds for screws, nuts, thingies and they are great. I get things shipped within a day going from NJ --> NYC. It's weird, but every time I go to one of my local hardware stores they can never come up with the goods so I just gave up and go online.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by n_maher View Post
 

A few points:

 

1. A tabletop drill press is all that should be required.  Floor standing models just offer more depth for drilling and we're basically never working on things that large.

2. Nibblers are nearly worthless.  IEC's, done well, simply require patience and planning.  I have nibblers and haven't touched them for years.

3. CNC - you'd better have a lot of time, expertise and $$.  I had a manual mill for a while and its capabilities were certainly nice but they take up a lot of shop space and require a lot of time to do any better than hand held results.  Also, you'd have to buy a lot of professionally done panels to offset the cost so I'm content to let the pros do it.  And if you think the tools that you're looking at now are expensive just wait until you see what a single, high-quality end mill costs...

4. Hot air rework station, really?  How much surface mount stuff are you repairing? 

 

Good tips. So ok scratching the nibbler off the list. I'll have to start a separate thread on IEC / USB socket drilling approaches. Not doing the CNC thing -- the house I'm moving into barely even has enough room for a small shop -- think garage + small basement area combined in one. I'm thinking a nice work bench will have to suffice.

 

Perhaps, I might have to rethink the hot air rework station. There have been times that I've ruined a few surface mount ICs when trying to desolder them. I thought the hot air rework station could also be used to desolder other components such as through hole parts. Also using soldering paste it might make it easier to solder some chips into place as an extra bonus. A reflow oven like Avro mentioned might be nice, but I'm not doing too many SMD builds. Overall, I suppose I can nix the hot air rework station and go for a more traditional desoldering station or tool. Any ideas? Maybe something like the Hakko 808. I'm not a fan of the blob method of desoldering. Also, I've had more bad luck with desoldering pumps and remaining solder getting stuck and having to use push pins and other small pointy objects to get the solder to come out.

 

Lots of cool gift ideas here.

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