Author Topic: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)  (Read 799 times)

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Offline Airnautique

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Hey all,

I tried searching on here for similar threads but I didn't have much luck with the search.

I'm looking to get new equipment for my lab space at work. The bench I took over from a previous employee has a few random tools, but they are pretty cheap and beat up.

I would like to get a nice tweezers set, a few side cutters for different uses, and a few knives for general utility use. Are there any specific brands or products I should take a look at. Price isn't much of an issue, I'd like to spend up to $100 on side cutters and maybe $150 on a full set of tweezers.

I'm located in the US.

Thanks,
Air
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 07:20:51 am by Airnautique »
 

Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2019, 07:09:18 am »
2 things AIR, first the country you live in.  Prices vary greatly around the world.  2nd, expensive is relative.  I spent $110 for Xcelite 99-1-R ratcheting handles for the 99 series drivers for my work toolbag.  I wouldn't spend that for personal use and I will use the basic handles I am replacing for the drivers I will be keeping in the house.
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Offline Airnautique

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2019, 07:19:16 am »
Im in the US, I'll add that to my post. As far as expensive, I think around ~$100 for a nice pair of side cutter. Maybe ~$150 for a set of tweezers. And for knives I'm not sure what I'm looking for. I think I'll probably end up with a set that has replaceable blades, X-Acto has a set for $25 that is probably good enough for me.

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Online Dubbie

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2019, 07:23:00 am »
My picks:

Screwdrivers: Wiha
Sidecutters: Lindstrom for fine work, Knipex for heavier stuff. - expensive, but a joy to use and if you don't abuse them, they last a very long time.
Tweezers: I bought a cheap set off ebay which have been surprisingly decent. I have a couple of really nice Regine swiss ones that I save for special occasions. :D
Knife: I just got a 100pack of scapel blades and a handle off ebay. Always nice to have a new sharp knife to use. I drop them in a jar when they are blunt.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 07:24:37 am by Dubbie »
 

Offline eKretz

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2019, 10:19:04 am »
I'm partial to Erem sidecutters for electronics. Knipex are good for heavier work. Erem and Lindstrom are pretty good for tweezers, and probably a good idea to get a replaceable blade something or another if your knife use is somewhat abusive - no sharpening that way.
 

Offline ve7xen

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2019, 01:12:38 pm »
Screwdrivers: I'm partial to Xcelite XP600/XPTX600 precision ones. They are well made in Germany (not sure who the OEM is...) and I like the slightly more substantial handles than the Wiha and Wera precision sets, though any of those are also nice. The Xiaomi/Wiha set is pretty nice for the money also, and handy to toss in the laptop bag or whatnot.

Side cutters: I just use cheap Hakko CHP-170 ones. They're fine and I've never felt the need for something else.

Tweezers: I like the Aven Tools EZ-PIK line that DigiKey sells, but there's nothing particularly special about them.

Knives: +1000 to using a scalpel and carbon steel blades. Less fiddly blade mounting than X-Acto, the blades are way sharper and packaged in a more convenient manner. I use a Swann Morton #3 handle and #11 (similar to standard X-Acto) or #15T (short curved blade, better for cutting sheet materials IMO) carbon steel blades. The handle can be had on eBay for ~$5 and the blades are about $15 for a box of 100. Be careful, they are scary sharp.
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Offline eliocor

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2019, 05:41:57 pm »
Tweezers: Lindstrom 
Cutters: Erem   
 
Take a look to the following threads: 
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/good-sidecutters/?all 
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/lindstrom-cutters/ 
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/buysellwanted/on-ebay-lindstrom-tweezers/ 
 
in which I explain my reasons for my preferences
 

Offline shteii01

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2019, 08:18:58 am »
Wiha screwdrivers/bits have a bit of mixed reputation. 
I bought Wiha bit holder with a bunch of bits that are held in the handle.  However, after a couple of months I broke 3mm slot bit.  Started looking around, found out that bits are made in Vietnam.  Well, I am not buying anymore of Wiha bits.  I know that this is not a precision screwdrivers, but be careful with Wiha stuff.

Bought Elora 3.5 and 4mm slot screwdrivers because I was not sure which exact size I would need.  Imagine my surprise when they fit terminal blocks the same and were a little too tight.  That was first and last time I buy Elora screwdrivers.

Bought Wera 3.5mm slot screwdriver.  It fit perfectly.  I now buy only Wera screwdrivers.

Also used slot screwdrivers from HF and HD Husky brand, 3 and 3.5mm slot.  The metal is too soft.  Broke Tekton 1/8" (3-3.5mm) slot screwdriver.

Check Amazon for Wera screwdrivers, regular and precision, put a 5 dollar upper limit on the price and a lot of interesting choices popup.  If you know the sizes you will need, that is even better.
 

Offline PedroDaGr8

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2019, 02:50:17 pm »
For the best side-cutters bar none, I would go with Tronex, they are absolutely phenomenal quality and they are Made in the USA from USA tool-grade steel. As they run $40-60 per cutter, I am not sure if a set will fit in your budget, but if you can the quality is definitely unsurpassed by the likes of Erem, Lindstrom, or Swanstrom. They are rated for several hundred thousand cuts before needing resharpening, come in loads of "styles" to conform to any manufacturing situation, etc.

As for tweezers, there are a number of good companies Vomm, Rubis Tech, Ideal-tek, Dumont, etc. I believe even Tronex makes some in the USA and resells some from Switzerland or Germany.

« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 03:00:06 pm by PedroDaGr8 »
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Offline Airnautique

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2019, 02:29:38 am »
After some shopping around, I've put this rough list together. I am still not sure about the tweezers though. I haven't seen anything bad about Aven-Tools. I may be swayed by the fact they are titanium, but I don't know if that actually makes them any better. If I don't get those tweezers, I will get Lindstom tweezers.

Aven 18480TT 6 Piece Titanium Tweezer Set with Protective Pouch  - $125 https://www.amazon.com/Aven-18480TT-Titanium-Tweezer-Protective/dp/B006RB82EC/

Erem 2422EB Side Cutter - $75 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/apex-tool-group/2422EB/2422EB-ND/4524581

Swann Morton Scalpel with blades - $30 https://www.amazon.com/Swann-Morton-Scalpel-100-count-Reusable/dp/B00DNW2E10

Thanks for the input everyone!
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 02:31:22 am by Airnautique »
 

Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2019, 09:42:40 am »
After some shopping around, I've put this rough list together. I am still not sure about the tweezers though. I haven't seen anything bad about Aven-Tools. I may be swayed by the fact they are titanium, but I don't know if that actually makes them any better. If I don't get those tweezers, I will get Lindstom tweezers.

Aven 18480TT 6 Piece Titanium Tweezer Set with Protective Pouch  - $125 https://www.amazon.com/Aven-18480TT-Titanium-Tweezer-Protective/dp/B006RB82EC/

Erem 2422EB Side Cutter - $75 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/apex-tool-group/2422EB/2422EB-ND/4524581

Swann Morton Scalpel with blades - $30 https://www.amazon.com/Swann-Morton-Scalpel-100-count-Reusable/dp/B00DNW2E10

Thanks for the input everyone!

Since Digikey is out of the Erem cutters, check these out.  I have a pair and they are very nice indeed.  I received them as a gift.

https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/swanstrom-tools-usa/M509/232-1067-ND/7942545

That which doesn't kill you still requires a co-pay.
 

Offline Mortymore

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2019, 06:35:46 am »
Here you can see some of my screwdrivers and small pliers

Mostly I have deal with the following screwdriver brands: Wiha, Stanley, Wera, Felo...

My favourites are Wera and Felo, among other things by its ergonomics.
I like the Wiha ergonomics also but as happen with Stanley, they tend roll off the bench too much for my taste.
As for bit holders... I like long bits.

About pliers... for electronics I have mostly Knipex. For electrical, big share goes to Stanley, though I love the insulated Wiha pliers.

But I decided to reply mainly for one thing: I have a duck nose pliers from FRI-DA-REM (yellow one in the picture attached) that a friend gave me over 25 year ago, and it was already old or beaten at the time, but I loved to never leave it (just like my wife  :D). The thin nose is useful to straighten bent pins on tight places, remove ICs from sockets... I liked it so much that I spent a lot of time trying to find one like that, just in case. And that's how I began to by Knipex pliers... because of their Relay Adjusting Pliers. The red ones in the picture attached. It's so rare to find something like them among peoples hand tools. That's my big recommendation... one of those super slim duck nose pliers.

Because I'm only human... A mistake is not the problem. Not learn from it and not trying to correct it, is.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes, or you will end up doing nothing, being scared to even try to do something.
Don't search for excuses for your mistakes. Find solutions.
 

Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2019, 09:46:18 am »
I have an Erem sidecutter and i'm very happy with it's quality. It works extremely well for very fine and delicate cutting work.
I do recommend to also buy some cheap sidecutters. This will help in not abusing the high quality Erem sidecutters for small, but less delicate work.

I have some good quality tweezers from Erem and RR, and these have to be re-round every now and then because the edges get rounded from normal wear ( I have an Amscope stereo microscope now and can see all these things).

Recently I bought some ceramic tweezers from Ali, and I like these very much. Unfortunately the production quality of these varies a lot. You buy 5 and 2 are garbage. (or use as chizels, see below) The ceramic tips are also 100% anti magnetic and non conductive, which I like quite a lot with electronic work.
From one of the ceramic tweezers the tip broke (My own fault) and I removed the broken tip (They are screwed to the metal part). I wrapped some wire around the handle to make it less "floppy" and I ground the remaining ceramic tip in a very fine chisel form with a dremel and a diamond disk. (You can also use this to fine-tune the tip of your tweezers).
It is one of my favourite tools now. The chisel tip stays sharp for quite a long time, and the tapered part can be used for enlargening small holes.
The 90 degree "cutting edges" on the sides are also perfect for light deburring work.

For very high quality tweezers you can look into Hozan. They also make lots of other tools, but seem to not be well known here in the Netherlands.

I do not like the Wiha pliers. The soft plastic on the handles is not strong enough. I can easily push my finger nails into it and "spoon" pieces out of it. The handles of my Erem plier are probably Polyurethane. Soft & flexible, yet very durable. Knipex pliers always used to have soft PVC handles. Nothing special but they do the job. I do not have modern knipex pliers, becaus mine seem to last 30 years, and they are older than the folly of moulded in soft TPE wich almost always is garbage. The black in the Wiha Green/Black screwdrivers tend to turn into something resembling chewing gum after a few years.
 

Offline ve7xen

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2019, 07:11:10 pm »
My favourites are Wera and Felo, among other things by its ergonomics.

Aha! Your Felo precision screwdrivers look identical (aside from colour) to the Xcelite ones I prefer, they must be the OEM. Felo is hard to find here, good to know for those of us in North America.
73 de VE7XEN
 

Offline shteii01

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2019, 12:31:53 pm »
My favourites are Wera and Felo, among other things by its ergonomics.

Aha! Your Felo precision screwdrivers look identical (aside from colour) to the Xcelite ones I prefer, they must be the OEM. Felo is hard to find here, good to know for those of us in North America.
Use German Amazon.  My US Amazon account works on German Amazon so I just use my US sign on to login.  https://www.amazon.de/
Ordering guide:  https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showpost.php?p=7203322&postcount=14520

I have ordered Gedore ferule crimper from German Amazon, saved 20 USD over US price and it was already sale price in US.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 12:41:14 pm by shteii01 »
 

Offline coppercone2

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Re: Recommendations for lab tools (Knives, side cutters, tweezers, etc.)
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2019, 04:02:32 am »
I am a big fan of swanstron products including twezers and especially their carbide precision side cutters.
 


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