RCU Review: RTL Fasteners Miniature Wood Screw & Master Builder Assortment

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    Contributed by: Andrew Griffith | Published: May 2012 | Views: 14957 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of RTL Fasteners Assortment Kits
    Review by Andrew Griffith (BarracudaHockey)

    Does your hardware organizer look like either of the two pictures above (left and center)?  Unfortunately this situation is pretty common for someone that has been around our great hobby for few years. The center picture was actually my pathetic attempt to organize some of the hardware that has been laying around my workbench, in plastic servo boxes and ziplock bags, or buried at the bottom of my field box for ages.  About the best thing I can say about my "organizer" is most of the washers are in the same place as are most of the bolts.  The bad thing is that I have no idea whether they are metric, standard, or something odd ball.

    There is nothing worse than working on a new model late at night and having to stop because you can't find the right size or length screw or you can find a screw but have every size nut but the one you need.

    Along came a chance to review a couple of RTL Fasteners hardware kits!  All of the sudden my hobby hardware collection looks like the right hand photo.  This is a double edge sword though, now that I have the organized kits, I'll be spending money on a few more to round out my needs.  Once I had everything at my fingers, organized by size and use, it will be hard to go back to the old way.

    I have used RTL Fasteners before and even without the organizer set, it is easier to have their bags of hardware neatly labeled and stored in re-sealable bags even if those bags are floating around the bottom of my flight box!  It's nice to be able to order screws in usable quantities for a reasonable price instead of the "4 screws for a dollar" that a lot of hobby hardware is packaged in.

    RCUniverse received the Miniature Wood Screw Assortment as well as the Master Builder Set to put to use in the shop and let you know our thoughts.

    Part #: 8011

    Retail Price: $49.95

    The Brass Phillips Wood Screw assortment contains a number of useful Phillips head wood screws and includes a handy clear plastic organizer.  The organizer (pictured below) has lots of slots and dividers that allow you to configure them in any number of ways.  Another nice feature of the organizer is that you can turn it upside down and shake it, and even the smallest screws stay put in their compartments.

    The screws are all brass pan head style and come in #0, #1, and #2 size.  There are six compartments and you get bags of 50 screws each from the diminutive 1/4" long wood screws up to 1/2" long.  RTL even includes a map that suggests the most efficient layout for organizing your new screw assortment in its container.

    These screws can be hard to find and are a lot smaller than anything you generally find at hardware stores and the like.    One area I have seen these used to excellent effect is in constructing cockpits of WW I era civilian and military aircraft. This set would be especially attractive to model boat builders for attaching small deck fittings and the like.

    The 2-56 hardware used in the popular 40 and 60 size airplanes is well represented with hex nuts, lock nuts, blind nuts, bolts ranging from 1/4" long to 1", and washers for every occasion.  Of special interest in this section are what are quite possibly the handiest screws in the whole collection.  Servo screws with the built in washer that have a hex head so they can be installed and removed with hex drivers instead of Phillips screw drivers.  If there are two items in the supplied kit that I will be ordering more of right away, these are one of them. (Bonded washers featured later are the other)

    We all know how much of a pain it is to install Phillips screws if you don't have a straight shot at the screw.  Installing and removing these little babies with a ball end hex driver will be a breeze.  Even with straight on access to the screw, it's easy to strip out Phillips screw heads, these are definitely the ticket!


    Moving on to the second organizer we find the #4 size hardware.  Plenty of nuts, lock nuts, blind nuts, and washers are provided.  4-40 size hex head bolts starting at 1/4" are provided in incrementing sizes up to 1 1/2" long.  This organizer provides an empty slot for something they sent me that isn't included in the builders assortments but once you use a few you'll be ordering a bag of them; steel bonded washers.  More on these later.



    The third and fourth organizer is dedicated to larger planes and includes hardware stout enough for most gasser applications.  The third contains the #6 hardware and includes hex bolts from 6-32 x 1/2" through 1 1/2 inches.  The last one contains the #8 size hardware and in addition to the nuts and washers bolts from 8-32 x 3/4" to 8/32 x 1 1/2 inches long are present.

    The nice thing about reaching the last two organizers is the hardware is bigger so you don't have to put as many dividers in!

    In addition to the organizers and the hardware, RTL also included a telescoping magnet tool to retrieve small pieces that always seem to end up in the most inconvenient places.  I've already used this so many times I don't know how I have gotten along without one for all these years.

    Stainless Steel Bonded Washers

    Borrowed from the plumbing industry, Bonded Washers, also called "sealing washers" have a number of uses of interest to RC modelers.  A friend of mine introduced me to these little beauties a couple of years ago while helping me with my first gas plane.  RTL has them in sizes ranging from #4 all the way up to 1/4" ID.  The #4 size can also be used with a #2 flat washer to adapt them for use with the 2-56 bolts as well.  These are stainless steel washers on one side, and neoprene rubber on the other.

    Over the years I have seen a number of tricks to keep fiberglass cowls to stay attached without rounding out the screw hole.  The popular options are to epoxy a CA hinge on the inside of the cowl, and to drill out the screw hole and epoxy or CA a piece of inner yellow nyrod tubing in the hole, extending out of the fuselage the thickness of the cowl plus a hair (yes, that's a scientific measurement!). 

    These washers will attach the cowl without crushing the fiberglass, and the rubber will make them stay put eliminating the need to thread lock the bolts.  I've used these on 4 50cc gas planes so far for the cowl, canopy, and stabilizer bolts and have yet to have one back out.  It's obvious they are catching on as the recently reviewed Hangar 9 Pawnee included them in the kit to secure the hatch and cowl (pictured above).  Another area these could be useful is for canopies that are held on by screws.  As with the fiberglass cowl, the rubber side should secure the plastic and keep it from moving around and being cracked by the attaching bolt.  As I said before, in addition to the servo screws, I've already ordered a couple of bags of these.

    While they aren't included in the builder assortment, the organizer for the #4 hardware has an empty spot that is perfect for the bonded washers.


    If you find yourself running to the hobby shop or a hardware store once a week to buy a bag of 2 screws or washers, RTL Fasteners should be bookmarked in your web browser.  They have a number of assortments in addition to the ones we looked at.  They sell a complete metric assortment, a Helicopter Builders Assortment, and a Giant Scale supplement.   They also have a set of small hardware just for park flyer pilots. 

    The hardware is high quality and the organizers are handy and easy to setup and use.

    If your hardware looks like my before picture, don't hesitate to give RTL a call so it starts looking like the after pictures!


    RTL Fasteners, Inc.
    708 Battlefield Blvd South, Suite 107
    Chesapeake, VA 23322

    Phone Number: 1-800-239-6010 or 1-757-482-0012
    Fax Number: 1-757-482-0038
    email: info@rtlfasteners.com

    Comments on RCU Review: RTL Fasteners Miniature Wood Screw & Master Builder Assortment

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    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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