Workbench essentials: Utility shears

Jun 11, 2011 2 Comments by

RC cars require a lot of maintenance – well, mine do anyway.  In my own humble opinion: If you don’t break it, you aren’t driving it hard enough.  This of course means I spend a good amount of time at the workbench, and that’s just fine with me.

Not everybody enjoys bench time as much as I do, however, and some people find it downright frustrating.  In many cases this is due to simply not having the right tools for the job, and that’s where my blog comes in.  Periodically I’ll post one of these “workbench essentials” articles with the intent of giving you a quick rundown on a tool or accessory that has made my life easier in the RC world.  My hope is to help you expand your tool collection in an intelligent and useful way, hopefully without breaking the bank.

My tool drawer find this time around is a humble set of utility shears, sometimes referred to as “paramedic scissors”.  They’re cheap, tough, available almost anywhere, and you can get them in whatever your favorite color is.

 

You can even match them to your outfit. How very fashion forward.

 

I’ve seen these shears sold for as little as a buck, but they’re usually around $4 for a set.  They have a ton of uses and will cut just about anything you can think of that needs cutting, such as servo tape, Lexan, parts trees, fuel tubing, zip ties… the list goes on.  They also work fairly well as wire cutters, although some of the larger gauge wires can put up a bit of a fight.  I’ve used utility shears to cut weeds and small branches that got themselves hopelessly lodged in my monster truck’s suspension, and I’ve even used them to cut small screws down to size for a field repair.  If you’re a scale crawler kind of person, these also work very nicely for narrowing tires – they’ll cut through a tire carcass like it was butter.

The blunt end of utility shears can also be used for various types of light-duty prying, such as popping off ball ends, gently forcing open a jammed radio box cover, or opening a stubborn can of your favorite energy drink.  The strengthening grooves in the blades, when laid flat and concave side up, are a fantastic place to put tiny parts during a repair, such as grub screws, diff balls, or e-clips.  In a pinch, they’ll even work as a screwdriver.

Overall, utility shears are a no-brainer addition for your field kit, and they’re also pretty darned good around the workbench in general.  For the price, there’s simply no other tool out there you’ll get as much use out of.

 

 

Pros: They’re cheap, safe to use, have a multitude of uses, and they won’t stab you to death if you walk around with them in your pocket.

Cons: The serrated blades can sometimes leave rough cuts – especially noticeable when cutting Lexan.

 

 

 

Featured News, Tom Ross

About the author

I got my first RC car way back in 1985 - a Tamiya Wild One - and have been involved in the hobby ever since. I've made every mistake in the book and loved every minute of it... Well, except for that one nitro engine I could never get to run properly. I've bought and sold more vehicles than I care to count, from cars and trucks to planes, helicopters, boats, and more. I'm a dedicated basher, certified bench racer, and collector of random tools. My very favorite part of the hobby is fixing things I've broken.

2 Responses to “Workbench essentials: Utility shears”

  1. TRUGSTA says:

    Fashoin forward.lol. what does that even mean.?
    as long as my tools do the job that they are meant to do Im happy with them.
    My favourites have to be the exaust spring tool the wheel hex,the angled body cutting scissors, the humble glowplug wrench and who could forget my favourite phillips head and flat blade screw drivers Oh and also the much needed Losi Hex tool.
    I have a ton more tools but the ones I have listed I could not do without…

    • Tom Ross says:

      Ah yes, good call on the exhaust spring tool. Those are also good for fishing out washers and O-rings from tough to reach spots. It’s definitely one of those things that makes nitro engine work a lot easier.

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