Tools, Materials & Supplies
PS3010 30V 10A PSU
The desktop power supply unit solves many problems you might encounter when working with drones, airplanes and other electronics. Not only is provides voltage. Decent PSU shows you power usage, amperage and current limiting without the need to use smoke stoppers, lipos and other batteries. PS3010 is a traditional, analog, and quite good PSU for its price.
Xiaomi Wowstick electric screwdriver
Xiaomi Wowstick electric screwdriver is an interesting little device... In theory, it solves a problem of manually screwing all those M3 screws. In practice, it does not have enough torque to overcome a proper M3 with a drop of thread lock on it. Still, with "manual assist" can overcome that too. Designed rather for precision work than for working with drones, it can be quite useful. I like mine!
936 Soldering Station
936 Soldering Station comes from many retailers under multiple brands. I have 2 such stations and so far, after 4 years, I had no problem with them. Sure, I had to replace soldering tips and heater element once, but that is, let's say, normal. 60W of power allows to solder thick cables (AWG12 with proper soldering tip) with ease. When a thin, precise tip is used, you can even play with SMD elements.
Coax cable crimping tool
Everything is simpler if you can just crimp those SMA/RP-SMA connectors with a proper tool. Pliers can be used if really really needed, but crimper is just so much better. I'm using this one. It is fine to crimp on a RG-178 and RG-316
Tilswall Hot Glue Gun
Hot glue is one of the foundations of a modern RC hobby. Invaluable when working with any foam model airplane. Useless without a hot glue gun. Tilswall 50W gun is surprisingly good for the price, heats up super fast and does not drip glue. Turned out that 10mm hot glue sticks are good for woodworking, for working with airplanes, 7mm sticks are just better!
Rigol DS1054Z Oscilloscope
A good scope will give you +10 to electronic skills. Even if it just sits on the workbench! When I was looking for an oscilloscope I was struggling between a cheap 2-channel chinesium and good 4-channel 50MHz scope just like Rigol DS1054Z. I've chosen Rigol, upgraded to 100MHz and a year later I'm still happy with my choice!
Anemometer is another tool that you might not use too often in the RC hobby (more useful on airplanes and glider than with drones), but a tool that adds this "scientific edge" to the flying fun on an airfield! This small Uni-T UT363 even has Bluetooth, and as we know, everything is better with Bluetooth!
N1201SA Antenna SWR Vector Network Analyzer
You can make antennas without SWR meter, but if you have one, everything is so much simpler. N1201SA is maybe a simple and cheap one, but gets the job done pretty well. Works up to 2.5GHz so you rather will not measure any FPV antenna, but it's great for LRS, telemetry and RC systems.
Uni-T UT210E Clamp Meter
Playing with current, voltages, current meters in our flight controllers and PDBs requires, sometimes, a way to measure and calibrate sensors. Or just measure the current going through wires. This is where clamp meters shine! Chinesium Uni-T UT210E is a toy grade, neither the less, it works and offers just enough accuracy and reliability to be a good amateur tool that is used a few times a year at most.
858D Hot Air Station
Yeap, you might want to get yourself a hot air station even when you do not do SMD and other surface mounted soldering. The hot air station is a great help when working with laminating film, hot glue, PLA 3D prints, shrink wraps and many other things that require heat treatment!
Just a wire cutter. Nothing more, nothing less.
XIAOMI Mijia Wiha screwdrivers
Xiaomi Mijia Wiha is a quite decent screwdriver kit. A nice slick case, good handle, decent bits. The only problem I have with it is lack of H2.5 and H3 bits in a default kit. Luckily, additional bits can be purchased separately under the name Xiaomi Wowstick Bit Set. Set X1 has both H2.5 and H3, so you can make your own set.
Toolkit ST8 Servo Tester
If regular servo tester is not enough for you, ToolkitRC ST8 should be able to satisfy all your needs. It can be powered from XT-60 up to 6S, has a built-in current meter, 4 independent servo channels, and can decode PWM, PPM and SBUS protocols. So not only you can check if servo works, but also how much current it consumes and verifies if the radio receiver is working correctly!
Mini Signal Generator
If you do not need a signal generator, then get yourself a cheap one :) I'm using mine twice a year, but when I use it, it becomes quite handy. Especially when in pair with an oscilloscope. This particular unit has two channels, can work as a counter and works just fine. If only the menu and the settings were more user-friendly...
Uni-T UT373 laser tachometer
The laser, non-contact, tachometer will allow you to measure the rotation speed of motors, propellers and other spinning objects. A much have tool when you are winding motors and want to measure KV!
Glues, tapes, materials and supplies
Performix Liquid Tape
One of the best inventions ever: liquid tape. You want to isolate something and protect it from short-circut or just from dirt? Just put liquid electrical tape on it. It comes in a can with a brush built in into the lid. It can be easily removed just by peeling it off. Just remember, it's not intended for making things waterproof! For making electronics waterproof use MG Chemicals 422B Silicone Conformal Coating
Isopropyl alcohol is a must-have in every workshop. Works great as a degreaser, solvent and cleaning agent. It's also safe for the majority of plastics and coatings, so it can be used with electronics and optics!
1.13mm Thin Coax Cable
This thin coax cable is a real lifesaver when, whatever you do, you have a noisy FPV feed or ESCs desync from time to time. Its usefulness is so obvious that I have no idea what else to write...
Loctite 243 threadlock
Threadlock aka anaerobic glue does one thing: protect screws from loosening and eventually falling off due to vibrations. Apply a small drop on a thread and screw it in. Do not over-torque! Loctite 243 is only one of the available products and probably the best known.
To make an antenna is one, but then to make it good looking and durable, you have to protect it somehow. For example with antenna tubes. They are cheap, come in many colors and give antenna this "semi professional" look.
Heat Shrink Tubes for LiPo rewrap
Nothing lasts long, even the best LiPo batteries. One of the first things that die is either cells or heat shrink that hold them together. Why not neatly replace broken heat shrink instead of using insulating tape?
MG Chemicals 422B Silicone Conformal Coating
Another great invention: silicone conformal coating, or using layman terms: electronic safe waterproof varnish. It will not protect electronics from physical damage, but will nicely isolate from the water! The chances that electronic will survive contact with water when 422B was used grow substantially! I'm not talking about full submersion, but about situations that are more likely to happen: mist, rain, water drops, dew, wet grass, steam condensation. You can easily solder through 422B when you need to fix something.
3M VHB 4910 double sided tape
The best double-sided tape. Period. You can use it to connect any two flat surfaces. The best part is, that not only the bond is very strong, but the tape can also be easily removed and leaves no marks and stains. It comes in different lengths and widths. 0.5" seems to be most suited for RC hobby tho...
Solder wick aka copper braid aka desoldering wire
Soldering is easy. Desoldering, and especially removing sold solder from THT components can be a real problem. "Solder sucker" not always is an option too. So, solder wick aka copper braid aka desoldering wire to the rescue.
Striveday AWG28 and AWG30 silicone wire set
I hate wires in rigid, plastic insulation. Not only they are hard to solder, but they are also hard to organize inside of a drone or airplane. This is why nice silicone AWG28 and AWG30 wires are the base of almost all of my FPV build! This set comes in a variety of thicknesses, from AWG18 to AWG30. I only wish red and black spools were bigger since they always come out first...