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SINCE THIS HOBBY REQUIRES SO MUCH BUILDING, NATURALLY THERE IS A WIDE VARIETY OF TOOLS THAT MUST BE OWNED in order to be able to build and maintain a helicopter.  Even though there is a vast number of tools that can be used, there are only a core few that required to get the job completely done.  Those core sets of tools are widely seen at every flying field and shouldn?t be left out of the anyone?s toolbox.  In this Tools of the Trade, we will break down seven very important tools that will help build and maintain your helicopter at all time.


1.  PITCH GAUGE - Even though some talented people out there are able to eyeball their pitch, there is a gauge for the rest of us (thankfully).  A pitch gauge is very important in making sure that you have your head set up properly and don't have an uneven pitch range for a balanced helicopter.  Pitch gauges come in various shapes and sizes, so find one that suits you best, and keep it in your tool box just in case.


2.  HEX DRIVERS - This is perhaps the most important set of tools in your toolbox.  Hex drivers are used for just about everything.  In most modern-day helicopters, all bolts have a hex head on them that makes them easier to tighten and remove.  The most common sizes are 1.5mm, 2.0mm, 2.5mm, and 3.0mm.  It is very common to see 2.5mm heads on almost all applications on larger helicopters.  3.0mm heads are used for items such as spindle bolts and blade bolts.  2.0mm heads are seen on specific applications that vary from helicopter to helicopter. 1.5mm heads are usually the universal hex driver on micro-helicopters.


3.  GLOW PLUG WRENCH - Anyone who flies nitro helicopters knows that changing glow plugs is fairly common but can be hard if you don't have the proper tools.  The unique feature of a glow plug wrench is its lenght, which allows you to unscrew the glow plug from a distance without obstruction.  Most plug wrenches can be found at your local hardware store and uses a t-shaped handle.


4.  CUTTERS/DIKES - When doing things such as dressing your wires with zip ties, you'll need a set of dikes or cutters in order to cut the remaining strand.  There are many situations where cutting may be needed.  Whether it be cutting tape for your gyro or fuel tubing, you'll need to use some sooner or later.  Dikes are ideal for cutting thanks to their size and smaller heads that make it easier when cutting around wires.


5.  BALL-LINK PLIERS - These pliers are very important tool that makes un-popping and popping ball links together much easier!  Even though many of the links in the head can be popped off with your hand, it often becomes a tough task and can get quite annoying.  Since tracking adjustment is very common, ball-link pliers become quite handy.  Not only can they be used to pop links, but also most of the time they have groves and cutters integrated into them.  The groves work well for gripping ball-link rods when building links to prevent them from spinning.


6.  NUT DRIVER - RC helicopters use a wide variety of nut and bolt applications, so a nut driver comes in handy for tightening down these applications.  Even though pliers can be used in some of these cases, nut drivers prove to be much easier to use in hard-to-reach areas and are just more efficient. The universal size for nuts on a larger helicopter is 5.5mm, so the 5.55 driver is the most commonly used.  You'll most likely use an 8 mm driver for the blade bolt nuts on a .90 size, so it will come in ahndy to have one of those in your toolbox, as well.  you might find smaller sizes on micro-helicopters, so look up the size in your manual and get a driver that corresponds with the proper size.


7.  CLASSIC SCREWDRIVERS - Even though screwdrivers are not as commonly used as hex drivers, you will usually run into something during a build that will either require a Philips or flat-head screwdriver.  Sometimes there's a pesky helicopter that will require a Philips for the entire build.  Philips are a little tricky to use because using them makes it easier to strip out the screw heads, but they do become necessary on our helicopters, so it is important to have a few in various sizes in your toolbox.

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