Monday, January 14, 2013

Portable Electronic Tool Kit...

This post is about a tool kit I put together for a friend who is a maker.  He has built audio kits and *lots* of other things.  When I visited, after his recent move, he had lost his electronic tools.  A nice, new soldering iron had been re-ordered, but have you ever tried wiring inside a chassis with a crescent wrench?  It takes more patience than raising a puppy!  So I put this together for him as a Festivus gift.  (Yes, Win, I said Festivus!)  This is far from complete, and for two reasons.  One, this is the best I could do locally after visiting four hardware stores.  When I get to Germany again, I will add some critical pieces that I think should be of high quality.  Two, I think tools chests should be living things.  I think they should grow and shrink over time.  The tools should come and go to match what you work on.  So, for EM gear, it would have more woodworking tools.  For repair of other gear, it might have more metal working bits, different screws, etc.


 The box itself is an old lineman's test box.  It had already been gutted when I got it.  So I just built a new inner box to help with organization. 

Yeah.  It says Western Electric.  Of course it does.

As you know, I am a junkie for details.  Check this thing out!

It is built like a tank.  What did you expect?


 The inner box that I built.  It is red oak.  I actually hand cut the dovetails.  I need practice!

The initial tools for the top box.

Files and a flashlight are musts.  Shipping damage means you will be "adjusting" screw holes and metal chassis junctions.

I prefer the strippers on the left, but I know I am in the minority. The ones on the right are more popular.

Hemostats, punch, and small screwdrivers.

These are the workhorses.  I actually prefer the Chinese pliers on the left.  However, you have to look at twenty before you find a pair that are straight and have a nice feel on the spring return.  The Knipex are really nice, but the only ones I could find locally are for working with larger gauge wire than I typically use. I think they are 12, 14, and 16 gauge.

the tools in the upper box...


So now we get to what I threw in the lower box.... larger screwdrivers... zip ties and zip mounts.... screws... 

I use Forstner bits all the time.  I could not live without them.  I also included a cheap drill bit set and lots of replacement for teh small size.  Why?  because these will not be used on a drill press.  They will be used on a battery powered portable piece of junk and inevitably will snap before becoming dull.  Oh, and some rasps.  They are handy.

You obvioulsy have to have these:  standard and metric allen wrenches.

 When in doubt, check the socket.  You never know.

These are really fly... a new style socket set from Craftsman... zoom in and check them out... I may get a set for my "living tool chest".... 


 Goop for Josh.  Clip leads for Dave.  European terminal strips for me.

 and this is *the* book on tool chests.  It may be more about life than tools, but it is about tools.  I guess what I am saying is that if you were interested in this post at all, go buy this book...  immediately... this was my other best gift this holiday season... 

some notes on the tool list.. it is missing quite a few things... some obvious... and that is because it is joining other tools when it lands... portable drills are everywhere... a nice, compact soldering station should fit inside.. if not, then a lone soldering stick will have to (and will) do... you also need box cutters... a Sharpie... a pencil and sharpener... note paper.. (I use cards).. and quite a few more nippers and such (local availability was awful).... but this is a good start... it will grow and shrink for years... I hope!



  1. Wonderful!
    Very soulful.
    Makes me laugh,
    I have so little patience.
    I guess I'm a "stack it and play" guy.
    Great product photography too!

  2. A bit early, but that is a very nice Valentine's Day present! :)


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