I was once told only wealthy people can afford cheap things because they can afford to keep replacing them. Ask anyone who wrenches for a living and they’ll tell you to invest in a good set of tools. That’s right, invest. This is a lesson I learned a long time ago, and this is where r/c tools enter into my workshop.
I had used normal tools I had in my tool box, but it became obvious after using r/c tools why anyone enjoying this hobby long term should have a few quality tools in their workshop too. Let’s a take a closer look, starting with what you get in the set.
Slotted 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 mm
Phillips® 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 mm
Hex Metric 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0 mm
Hex SAE .050, 1/16″, 5/64″, 3/32″
I noticed a set of 4 ball drivers (DTXR0297) Duratrax also offers is not included in this kit. This set of 4 can be purchased separately for $39.99 retail.
Speaking of cost, this tool set with pouch retails for $199.99. So why invest that kind of money in tools? A quick story should help illuminate my thinking, but first, let’s break down the pricing.
Each of these handles can be purchased retail for about $11-13 each; it’s not a bad deal for what you get here. So let’s say you can’t put up the cash for the whole set, you can still introduce these tools to your workbench one at a time, starting with what you use the most. You can also buy smaller sets of 3 or 4 handles for $30-40 to get you started. And because the pouch can be purchased separately for $19.99, buying a few handles at a time can be a great way to get started.
Now the story of why I use r/c tools. Years ago, I was at a track with my tool box filled with tools from a big box store. While running some laps, the suspension failed on a short course truck I was driving. I had nothing to worry about because I had everything I needed to get the truck racing again, or so I thought. It quickly became evident the tools I brought along were not exactly precision cut instruments and simply wouldn’t fit any SAE or Metric Hex screw on this vehicle. I knew I had the right size in my hand, but would have stripped the screws because there was just too much play.
I took a look around and noticed a driver with a set of r/c tools, so I asked to borrow the size I needed. Of course, the tool fit snugly into the screws and I was quickly able to make the repair and get back to racing. I had two tools with the same number on the side, yet one fit perfectly and the other wasn’t even close. This sealed the deal that I needed a quality set of tools, so I ordered my first few r/c tools and haven’t looked back since.
Investing in quality, precision tools has a long-term benefit that makes the few extra bucks you pay well worth it. If only in frustration and time saving alone.
I’ve been using the Ultimate Tool Set for several weeks now, and like using them overall. The machined, blue anodized aluminum handles look really good and featured knurled grips. They’re also hollow so you can use the handle for tip storage, which is accessible by removing the plastic cap at the base of the handle. Replacing the hardened tool steel tips is as simple as loosening the set screw and swapping out the old for the new. The diameter and weight of the handles are comfortable and my fingers don’t slip around, even when wearing oil and grease filled nitrile gloves.
As I continue to use the set, I do have a couple annoyances. For one, I am unable to effectively see which tool size I needed unless the handles were perfectly positioned in the pouch. With a little more thought, this pouch could include labels for each slot making it easier to find which tool you need in an instant. I find myself removing more than one tool on a regular basis until I find the one I need. Having labels on the pouch would also make it easier to keep the tools organized after several of them end up on the workbench throughout a project.
While I’m nitpicking, I’ll continue by letting you know the obsessive part of me also doesn’t like how the tips align with the set screw. To receive and secure the set screw, the end of each tip is machined flat, but it’s not done consistently in alignment with the tip; it’s most noticeable on the slotted tips.
While I realize I’m obsessing here, getting the tip lined up with the flat base for the set screw would also help you align the tip, making it easier to secure quickly. It also just looks better to have the tip aligned with the handle.
While I don’t have a long-term assessment, the fit and finish lead me to believe these tools will be with me for a while without the need for replacement tips. Under stress (really tight screws), the tips will flex a bit. However, the size precision for r/c screws and bolts is good when used with hobby-grade equipment.
This is one of the biggest differences between paying a few extra dollars for a quality handle vs big box store tools. 2.0mm doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone, and the precision wildly varies across brands. I’ve found this Duratrax set to be precise so far in my daily use.