Having been into RC for over 35 years now (gulp), I've made just about every mistake a guy can. One of my mistakes was not investing in quality tools for wrenching on my cars. I invested in "good" tools two years ago and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
If I could go back in time, and talk to a younger me, I'd tell myself to buy MIP tools and nothing else. That's the message I'm sharing with you today as well.
I can hear you now..."but Rob, MIP tools are expensive...I can buy a complete set of tools from China for the cost of just one MIP." If you are thinking this, don't forget to consider the cost of replacing those cheap tools - the MIP tools will last much much longer. More importantly, using high quality tools will dramatically reduce the risk of stripping screws. Just think of how much time, frustration and expense you'll save if you ever strip a screw and have to cut it out. Trust me, that's a pain in the butt that you don't want to have to deal with.
Here's the good news, you don't need very many tools. If you are on a budget, this is the only one you need:
A 2.0mm Hex Driver will cover 90% of your wrenching needs and will only cost you around $20. If money is an issue, just get this one and you'll be in good shape. Do not buy a ball end driver - just get the regular 2.0mm driver (part #9008)
If you have a little more money, you may want to consider buying a 1.5mm and a 2.5mm hex driver as well. The 1.5mm comes in handy for small set screws such as those on pinion gears and for some of the trim pieces on the Gen8 body. The 2.5mm will be used once in a while on larger screws (My TR-SC10e only had two screws on the chassis that required this driver). These are available individually but you'll save some money if you buy the complete set. Again, don't buy ball end drivers...just get the regular hex drivers.
These will cover 99% of your wrenching needs. But, if you are anything like me, you may want to fill out your toolbox with a few rarely used but very handy tools as well such as a 2.0mm Ball End Hex Driver.
A ball end driver comes in handy if you have a difficult to reach screw (usually on lower shock mount or servo horn). The ball end allows you to access the screw from a slight angle. I don't recommend using a ball end driver unless it is absolutely necessary as your chances of stripping the screw increase.
A few other nice to have tools but not really required include:
I use my nut drivers all of the time and I'm very happy with them but truthfully, cheap nut drivers work fine. I just like everything to match and I like how the MIP handles feel in my hand.
I paid around $20 for my power driver and I REALLY like it. It saves a lot of time when wrenching on my vehicles but, you have to be extra careful to not scrip screws. I like to use mine to drive the screw in 95% of the way and then finish it off by twisting the screwdriver manually.
So, to recap, if you are on a budget, just grab yourself and MIP 2.0mm Hex Driver. If you have a little extra cash, go for the set including the 2.5mm, 2.0mm and 2.5mm Hex Drivers. After that, you really don't need anything but the power driver and 2.0mm speed tip is a time saver. Everything else is just a bonus.
'till next time