• Lighter — I prefer the trigger
models with the extended
• Shop vac — the fastest way to
clean up sawdust and metal
• Cutting boards — mandatory
especially when working on
the kitchen table!
• Tape measures, rulers,
calipers — measure twice, cut
• Grinder — either portable or
bench top for metalwork
• Clamps and vises — these
are especially useful when
working alone and you need
an extra hand. Also required
for glue-ups (Figure 14).
• Magnifier — I use a
magnifier head strap which
comes with a light to aid my
• Compressor — needed for
pneumatic tools and
• Welder — if you work with
steel, sooner or later you
will want to be able to weld it.
• Multimeter — mandatory electronics troubleshooting tool
• Soldering station — from wiring LEDs to building PCBs,
you need to have one (Figure 16).
• Sawhorses — get big projects off the ground to make
them easier to work on.
• Pop rivet gun — an often overlooked tool for attaching
• iPad or laptop with Internet connection — to allow you to
work away from your computer and still view instructions
• Spray can grip — save your hands from aching after a big
paint job (see Resources).
Having a great shop doesn’t do you much good if you
haven’t stocked it with the necessary parts and materials.
Having things already on hand that will allow you to at
least start work on a new project helps in the process of
getting ideas out of your head and starting to take shape.
When shopping for parts, I try to always buy the bulk
packs. They are more economical and it allows me to slowly
build up my stock of available parts that I have on hand.
58 SERVO 05.2017
Figure 16. An adjustable soldering station will get
lots of use.
Figure 14. All sorts of
vices can prove useful.
Figure 15. A digital multimeter
should be in your toolbox.
Figure 12. The portable
band saw is my go-to
tool for metal.
Figure 13. You are more apt to use
your grinder if it is handy.