Favorite Tool by Team

Didn’t see an old thread by this so here goes…

With the season approaching, I though it would be great if teams could share their handiest, favorite tool (please do not nominate a mentor :wink: )to use throughout the competition. So I’ll start.

A few years ago, our lead mentor showed up to a practice with these. Handiest wire strippers on the planet! No need to know gauge as it automatically adjusts. Also cuts wire to length. No corn dog maker function yet.

Here is how it strips (similar model shown)

Just thought I would pass this along for any team who has had trouble with their electronics and I would love to know your team’s best kept secret in tooling! :slight_smile:


These Wire Strippers will never be beaten in my book…

A pneumatic tubing cutter will save you hours of chasing leaks and is a staple on FRC558.

Our most commonly needed tool is definitely the 5/32" allen wrench.

We talk a good bit about using the precision tuner for percussive maintenance. (the P.T. is the rubber mallet).

Controls was revolutionized in the 2014 season when we bought some real crimping tools, rather than using a multi-tool that’s almost decent for automotive terminals for everything from Duponts to Anderson battery connectors.

I think we’ve used every attachment on my Swiss Army Knife (including the corkscrew) at one point or another.

Met a guy on electric snowmobile team in college, showed us this cool tool for crimping terminals on 6 AWG wire for batteries. Put the wire and terminal in the tool and then either used hammer or small arbor press to crimp, depending on which was available.


This is my favorite 25 pitch chain tool:


I second this. Crooked tubing cuts are a leading cause of pneumatics leaks on systems I’ve seen.

If you’re not cutting small (>14AWG) wire and zip ties with Hakko flush cutters, you’re missing out. Comfiest cutters I’ve ever used, stays sharp forever, and has the most flush cut I’ve ever seen. Great for cutting zip tie ends!

If you do any work with #25 chain, you need to get a Team 221 Dark Soul Chain tool. It’s the easiest chain breaking/joining tool I’ve ever used.

I love this thread. I’ve been compiling a list of parts and tools for us to purchase in preparation for 2016, so this is definitely helpful.

Used to be the Rotex punch. But we haven’t been in that shop for five years.

Zip tie gun made by Panduit!

We even have a sponsor who lives in San Diego that ships us tons of zip ties and guns every year.:wink:

So much that they even stole 195’s last year! :stuck_out_tongue:

Nate Laverdure :stuck_out_tongue:

Personally, my favorite tool in our shop is our 5lb. rubber mallet. It is my favorite because when even someone(more than likely its me) is in a poor mood, we hand them the mallet. On one side it has “Hows your attitude?” written on it. Changes everyone’s mood right away.

The mill. I use it as a drill press wit low runout occasionally, and of couse for machining all the time.
But apart from that, probably the socket ratchet set. It’s super handy for taking care of locknuts in tight spaces or though a hole.

CNC Plasma cutter


Hydraulic Crimper. Never have to worry about bad battery crimps again.


Zip Tie gun is probably more useful though.

I’m going to keep this to hand tools.

**1. **All of our rivets are set by hand, and some members of the team don’t have the strongest grips to use our normal rivet guns.

This one makes short work of even 1/4" rivets and can be used by almost everyone. It’s smaller than the really large hand rivet guns that Harbor Freight or else wear sell so it fits into more spaces.

**2. **Another great tool I don’t see enough teams using is a simple pair of aviation snips.

These combined with 1/16" polycarb can fix a lot of problems on a robot.

3. High Torque Ball End Hex Keys - These have been mentioned by other people on Chief before but they are fantastic. This year we have added colored heat shrink to all our hex keys to make identifying them easier. I also like the screw driver versions as well.

4. Cheap ratcheting wrenches - if you look on ebay you can regularly get ratcheting wrenches for under $3-5 each. We bought a ton of 3/8" since we normally use #10 hardware.

Team 423’s most used tool would probably be our 7/16" ratcheting wrenches. We have at least 3 of them and a few non-ratcheting wrenches, and there are still never any in the drawer.

Our favorite tool is probably our spring-loaded wire strippers (like the picture but with yellow handles).
They work really well and choosing what size wire you have is easy even without the gauge labeled on the wire. Probably not as easy to use as the gauge-agnostic strippers posted earlier in the thread. We call them cachuk-cachucks after the sound they make when you use them. That sound can be heard from any spot in the room throughout our meetings, even if no one is stripping wires, simply because it’s fun to use.



My personal favorite is the pneumatic rivet gun our district bought for us a few years ago. A Godsend for the unfortunate soul tasked with installing 100+ rivets on assembly day. One can install many dozens of rivets a minute working casually

Funny story about this, in 2013 we needed to replace a whole bunch of rivets in short time on our shooter mid-competition. We didn’t have our shop compressor at competition (pesky rules) so we installed a quick-connect fitting to our robot and used it to operate the rivet gun. One of my proudest moments.