Tiny Tools

Published on: 18:40PM Jul 22, 2018

Sometimes tiny, economically-priced tools are just the ticket for fixing a problem. For example:

- Clogged cutting tips on acetylene torches make cutting metal un-fun. We've all done the trick of unraveling an electrical wire and used one of the wires to try and unclog the holes, and we all know how well that works. Much, much better is a miniature drill kit, like Lincoln Electric's Drill Tip Set. It's a set of teeny, tiny high speed drill bits stored in a pen-sized container. One end of the container has a collet tip that tightens to hold one of the teeny drill bits while the user spins the pen-like container to clean out torch tips. Most welding supply shops and many farm supply stores sell the drill bit sets for the princely price of....$6 to $10.

-More and more things on farm equipment are electronically controlled, and more and more of the connections for those systems use WeatherPak or Deutsch connectors. Those hi-fi connectors are pretty good about resisting moisture, but when moisture does get inside and turns blade-style connectors greenish, the old trick of scraping to bare metal with a pocketknife doesn't work so good.  IPA's Diamond Tip Terminal Cleaners look like a set of three different-size tweezers, with the tips of the tweezers coated with abrasive diamond dust. If you need to clean a female socket, you stick one of the appropriate-size tweezer ends into the socket and slide it in and out to clean the sides of the socket. If a male blade is corroded, you grasp it between both abrasive sides of the tweezer and polish it clean. You can find the kits on the internet for around $26.

-The same principle applies to IPA Female Bullet Connector Cleaner Kit. That kit has 12, diamond-powder covered round  "files" that range from 1/16" to 1/4" in diameter.  If there's a corroded round female socket, you just ream it out with the appropriate-size file. Compared to the time and cost of disassembling and replacing mildly corroded electronic connector sockets, the $35 kit is a reasonable investment.

Do I use these tiny tools every day? No. Do I use them every time I work on electronic equipment? No. In fact, I may only use each of them three to five times a year. But on those times when they are a quick way to get a machine running again, they're worth every penny I paid for them. And I have to admit, they're cool little specialized tools that are kind of fun to have.