Rusty Hopper's Modeler's Corner

The Well-equipped Home Shop


| April/May 2004



Hello again. I recently was talking with someone who wants to start making models, which got me thinking about what somebody needs in the way of tools to equip a shop for making models and scales. Some of the items I came up with you might not agree with, while others should be on every model builder's list of 'must-haves.'

First and foremost is safety. It's important to know your limits and your skills - expand upon them wisely. Just because it is your home shop does not mean you should not be careful. Safety glasses are a must and earplugs are not a bad idea, either.

Basic tools include items such as measuring instruments, calipers, micrometers, flat rules and squares. Hand tools are also important: flat, round and bastard files, alien wrenches (it is easier to locate small bolts with these types of heads), hand wrenches and screwdrivers.

You'll also want different grits of sheet sandpaper, along with an air or electric grinder, a hacksaw or some type of cut-off saw.

A welder is a great item in a shop, as is a set of torches for brazing. Solder often works fine and holds well, but remember to clean all surfaces thoroughly before soldering.

A drill press is important, and it can sometimes be used for light milling work. It is harder to hold tight tolerances with a drill press versus a vertical milling machine, but it can be done.