(Topic ID: 105229)

What is in your tool kit?

By Lethalfrag

8 years ago

Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 34 posts
  • 26 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by redick
  • Topic is favorited by 23 Pinsiders
  • Topic is sticky in its sub-forum


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    IMG_20211013_131133 (resized).jpg
    IMG_9002 (resized).JPG
    zep (resized).png
    buffs (resized).jpg
    tool kit 22 full kit.JPG
    tool kit 20 wire heatshrink.JPG
    tool kit 19 misc.JPG
    tool kit 18 soldering.JPG
    tool kit 17 pliers etc.JPG
    tool kit 16 drill bits.JPG
    tool kit 15 clips and tape.JPG
    tool kit 14 wrenches.JPG
    tool kit 13 brushes.JPG
    tool kit 12 nut drivers.JPG
    tool kit 11 cutters.JPG
    tool kit 10 optics flash, mirror, mag glass.JPG

    #1 8 years ago

    I do not own very many tools, but am looking to eventually build a full kit for repairs and restorations. What are some of your favorite / most used tools? What is a must own for someone taking the dive?

    #2 8 years ago

    1. Klein magnetic nut drivers
    2. A magnetic star screwdriver
    3. long needle nose pliers
    4. DMM
    5. Soldering iron/solder
    6. extra hardware (screws, nuts, posts, rubbers etc).
    7. Novus 1,2, (maybe 3), invisiglass cleaner, q-tips, micro fibre towels, metal polish
    8. The phone number of a good pinball repair guy!

    ***there are many more things than this....youll have to keep running to the store when you realize you need something else***

    #3 8 years ago

    You can do most repairs with..... Nut drivers in 1/4 inch, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm. And 5/8 inch for legs.
    Phillips head screwdriver
    Small flat blade screwdriver
    Hex key set
    Needle nose pliers
    Dikes and or wire strippers
    Soldering iron/solder

    #4 8 years ago

    More to come as I'm doing this from memory:

    Small open end wrench set
    3 picks (straight, right angle, curve)
    1/4" nut driver 10" length plus an entire nut driver set
    Small socket set
    Contact cleaning tool (not nail file)
    Switch adjusting tool
    Molex round pin removal tool .156
    The longest #1 Philips head screwdriver you can buy (PM me for details as I'm not near my tools now)
    Plastic pry bar set
    Mulimeter with a good set of test leads including alligator clips
    Needle nose pliers (high quality)
    High quality crimper for .156 Trifurcon style terminations
    Allen or "hex" key sets in both metric and sae (don't buy the ones that fold up, get the "L" shaped ones
    Mini socket wrench set (the ones that are really tiny and have an adapter that fits into wrench to use in tight spaces...only goes up in size to 3/8ths or so)
    Right angle Phillips head and flat head screwdrivers
    Soldering iron station (search forums for a decent one)
    Solder "sucker"
    LED light that straps to your head
    Small jewelers hammer
    Pin punch set 
    Magnetic retrieval device (telescoping)
    "Grabber" retrieval device (punch button and "fingers" pop out other end to grab stuff in tight places)
    Telescoping mirror
    Plastic razor blades
    Fuse puller tool (not the little yellow one)
    IDC wire insertion tool
    Bulb removal tool
    3,000 RPM electric drill
    Channel Lox adjustable wrench
    Flipper gauge
    Feeler gauge set

    #5 8 years ago


    I have a Black and Decker "Ready Wrench". Basically, it's not as good as a set of sockets, but takes a limited amount of room and lets me pop off nearly any bolt I need to on any machine.


    #6 8 years ago

    The tools I use most frequently--pretty much every time work on my pins:

    Master Mechanic tool set. I've had this for over a decade (prior to my pinball hobby), and it has all the sizes I've needed so far (for pinball), with the exception of a 5/8" socket for legs. However, I'm not quite sure if this set is even made or sold any more since it didn't turn up in a cursory search. It looks like the brand is carried by True Value, which has largely been replaced by Ace Hardware stores in my area.

    Standard needle nose pliers (blue handle), long reach / jewlers / precision needle nose pliers (yellow handle), Cutter (from a 4-piece set), and 6" metric/inch/fractional digital calipers
    amazon.com link »
    amazon.com link »
    amazon.com link »

    Weller WES51 analog soldering iron.
    amazon.com link »


    18lb tumbler from Harbor Freight. The up-front cost seem like a lot compared to smaller tumblers, but it has been well-worth it, considering the size of the parts I've been able to use in it. If you buy it, I'd suggest driving to a Harbor Freight store, rather than shipping it--I've had issues with large, heavy items breaking en-route from them. Also, make sure to use one of their 20% coupon with any purchase from Harbor Freight.

    This list is by no means a complete list, there are several other tools I use regularly and infrequently. These tools are the tools I just seem to always end up having out when working on stuff.

    #7 8 years ago

    The LED headlight is the best tool you can have in your kit by far. You can't fix what you can't see!
    Get a decent one - this is what you want -
    amazon.com link »

    Yeah, it's more $$ than a lot of them, but you pay for quality. Mine has been thru hell & back and it never fails me.

    #8 8 years ago

    Thanks everyone for the great suggestions, tons of peripheral tools I would have never thought of. Cheers.

    #9 8 years ago

    A PS 120 nut driver set.

    #10 8 years ago

    Adding to my list above:

    Jewelers screwdriver set
    Heat sink for soldering
    Forceps of various sizes for holding wires while soldering
    Spare alligator clips for holding wires while soldering
    Titan ratcheting magnetic screwdriver - note, shaft is 6.5" (mentioned above, link below)
    This screwdriver is very high quality for the price and you can add any bits you want: 
    - bits to remove cap screws on flipper mechs
    - bits to remove hex head screws (even unslotted, as the screwdriver had a socket adapter)
    - bits for star screws, security screws, etc., etc.
    amazon.com link »



    #11 8 years ago

    special lubricants

    #12 8 years ago

    Telescoping magnetic wand.

    #13 8 years ago

    I really love a nice Magnetic Base Tray to hold all your hardware in one spot,its super handy!

    #14 8 years ago

    Hitachi cordless screwdriver. This thing is awesome! Almost all of the techs where I work on copiers use it and it works great for pinball machines. Comes with 2 batteries and these go a very long time on a charge. Highly recommended!


    #15 8 years ago

    I love this, lamp bulb changing stick, great for hard to access areas. works nice w LEDs too!

    #16 8 years ago

    Just getting around to this question. It is a great question because it gave me a reason to clean up my kit.

    I have been working on equipment since the late 80s and bought my first pin in 90. Since then I have been accumulating stuff. Here's what I got:

    I use a Platt extra deep case. It is pretty old, and all the molded rubber has broken away years ago. I replaced it with tie-wraps (CARGPB in me).

    tool kit 5 empty kit.JPG

    First we have a digital meter, cheap logic probe (with modified longer leads), assorted clip leads and a set of the Pinball Lizard Bally AID rig.

    tool kit 1 meter probes etc.JPG

    Next, some paperwork. A Bally 6800 manual for reference, some cards for notes and some rebuild info notes.

    tool kit 2 papers-61.JPG

    Tie wraps, Velcro, heat shrink and wire nuts

    tool kit 3 velcro tie wraps etc.JPG

    Small claw hammer and rubber mallet

    tool kit 4 hammers.JPG

    Metal file, contact file, socket cleaner stick, sandpaper and scrub pad

    tool kit 6 files etc.JPG

    Crappy switch adj tool, good spring hook, couple of bike spokes for gate wires, round board removal tool, WMS lamp removal tool, good switch adj tool

    tool kit 7 hook sw adj tube tools.JPG

    Assorted screwdrivers

    tool kit 8 screwdrivers.JPG

    Inclinometer, level, tape measure

    tool kit 9 level incl tape measure.JPG

    Flashlight (LEDs are good use here), disk drive platter for mirror, magnifying glass

    tool kit 10 optics flash, mirror, mag glass.JPG

    Box blade with extra blades, scraper, scissors

    tool kit 11 cutters.JPG

    Nut driver assortment

    tool kit 12 nut drivers.JPG

    Brass brush for boards, plastic brush, detail scrubber, paint brush (that doesn't bird nest), puffer brush

    tool kit 13 brushes.JPG

    Wrenches, bits and socket set

    tool kit 14 wrenches.JPG

    Large binder clips (perfect for clamping split plywood along the bottom edge of the cabinet), electrical tape and two sided foam tape

    tool kit 15 clips and tape.JPG

    Assorted drill bits

    tool kit 16 drill bits.JPG

    Assorted pliers, crimpers and strippers

    tool kit 17 pliers etc.JPG

    Soldering supplies

    tool kit 18 soldering.JPG

    Some miscellaneous, hurricane strap, outlet tester, slick 50 in visine bottle, screwdriver magnetizer, and C clamp (for disk brakes).

    tool kit 19 misc.JPG

    Bag full of wire, heat shrink and insulation tubing

    tool kit 20 wire heatshrink.JPG

    And it all goes in the deep tool kit

    tool kit 22 full kit.JPG

    Thanks for prodding me to clean and reorganize my kit. I hope this helps!

    10 months later
    #17 7 years ago
    Quoted from rollinover:

    I love this, lamp bulb changing stick, great for hard to access areas. works nice w LEDs too!


    Did you make that or buy that somewhere?

    #18 7 years ago
    Quoted from WesleyCowan:

    Did you make that or buy that somewhere?

    You could screw an old shooter rubber to a dowel.

    5 months later
    #19 7 years ago

    Any recommendations for cordless driver/drill? I am curious if you guys use them from installing or removing screws or nuts on or under playfield or hand tools only? And also if you use same drill or driver to attach a buffing or waxing pad for playfield. Pics, links or model numbers. What size/type chuck, what features are important in pinball applications?

    #20 7 years ago

    Highly recommend the dewalt gyroscopic screwdriver. Can change from forward/reverse just by turning wrist, built in light, clutch, comes with battery and case. Love it and it saves so much time. amazon.com link »

    #21 7 years ago
    Quoted from twisty4678:

    Highly recommend the dewalt gyroscopic screwdriver. Can change from forward/reverse just by turning wrist, built in light, clutch, comes with battery and case. Love it and it saves so much time. amazon.com link »

    Thanks! will check it out.

    #22 7 years ago


    #23 7 years ago

    Thats actually a really good idea. I've accidently cut myself more than once while picking up a game.

    #24 7 years ago

    My motto is...

    ...a place for everything, and everything misplaced.


    #25 7 years ago

    Don't forget the telescoping magnet for picking up all the little screws/etc that you drop

    #26 7 years ago
    Quoted from MT45:

    Magnetic retrieval device (telescoping)

    I second this!

    #27 7 years ago
    Quoted from Captain_Tilter:

    Don't forget the telescoping magnet for picking up all the little screws/etc that you drop

    Also useful for drop prevention!


    #28 7 years ago

    Digital 4 channel scope from rigol.
    16 channel logic analyzer from aliexpress
    Eprom programmer from aliexpress
    Logic probe

    And sooooooo much more.

    1 year later
    #29 6 years ago
    Quoted from cody_chunn:

    Assorted pliers, crimpers and strippers

    That automatic wire stripper is the bomb.

    #30 6 years ago

    A Dremel and these buffs. I use them on metal parts - leg bolts, lock bar receivers, ball guides, etc. I even use them (conservatively) to clean switch contacts.

    buffs (resized).jpg

    I used to use them to clean corrosion on boards too, but now I use this.

    zep (resized).png
    IMG_9002 (resized).JPG

    #31 6 years ago

    My tool kit is most probably empty. Screw driver over there... another over here... one in my glove compartment... etc.
    Every other Christmas - I get another set of Craftsman screw drivers (I'll miss those). You'd think after about 20 sets of screwdrivers, I'd have thousands of them. But nooooo... I'll bet the only thing I can find right now are 20 Torx T4's.

    #32 6 years ago

    Great topic!

    3 years later
    #33 2 years ago

    I'm loving this post.

    10 months later
    #34 1 year ago

    I haven't seen anyone mention this handy tool. Search for "383EER4001A Washer Inner/Outer Tub Spring Expansion Tool by Beaquicy".

    The other day I was having a heck of a time getting some rubbers on and I was thinking how nice it would be to have something like an oversized snap-ring pliers. It can expand easily around flippers and the like. You might have some problems with the little notches, it could damage some brittle rubber. This thing was made for metal springs and the notches make sense in that use case.

    IMG_20211013_131133 (resized).jpg


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