What a tool.
August 8, 2009 1:30 PM   Subscribe

What is the best open-anything bit/wrench kit you know?

I do a lot of PC repair--laptop, desktop, as well as some normal handyman type stuff too. I'm starting to do housecalls for PC repair, and would looooooove a kit that lived in its own clamshell.

I've looked at ebay, amazon, and thinkgeek, and really don't feel like I can make a good decision based on the info they give.

Major bonus points for it to include tamper-proof bits, and things like a flashlight or anti-static strap would be nice too. Soldering iron not necessary.

Extra hardware isn't necessary (jumpers, connectors, case screws, mobo mounts, etc) although a space to store them would be radical.

I feel like I've read this question on here before but couldn't find it.

So summary: pc case tools/bits are a must and are of primary importance, but lots of bits can't hurt.
posted by TomMelee to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The Leatherman bit kit has lots of stuff in it.
posted by box at 1:51 PM on August 8, 2009

As I would recommend for any type of toolkit: build your own. After 14 years of PC repair,I've found the one essential tool is your brain, and all others should be something that works well and that you like to use.

That said, in my experience a simple 4-in-1 screwdriver from Ace or anywhere is sufficient for almost everything PC-repair related. I've never run across security screws; many cases and even drive mountings now require no tools. If you happen to need a nut driver, many of these type of screwdrivers are a common size nut driver simply by the removal of the bit. The necessity of an anti-static strap varies depending on several factors. The other two pieces I'd throw in for laptops: a smaller screwdriver (again I have one with a removable/reversible shaft, Phillips on one end, flat on the other) and one of those spring-loaded screw grabber things. Go to BigBox-Mart, to the sporting goods section, and get a little tackle/fly organizer box for your jumpers and screws. Also found in automotive, tools, maybe sewing/crafts as well. I agree a flashlight can be helpful.

To expand into networking, get a cheap RJ-45 tester, good cable stripper, a crimper, and a punchdown tool. Toss in a handful of RJ-45 ends and punchdown jacks, plus whatever of those plus cable you need for a big job - on a per-job basis.

When I regularly repaired printers, that bulked up the kit a bit - but mostly with cleaning supplies (mostly for inkjets).

Now, all that having been said, since you already do repair work at home - what do you use there? Where/how do you store those tools? Can you put them in a small bag or toolbox and carry them on the road as well? If you want other tools for home repair or handyman type stuff, you may not want them all together - and you probably don't want to carry all your stuff around when you'll probably just need a couple of things for a PC job. Stock up on specialty bits all you want, but only carry to jobs what you'll need. (See above re: security screws in PC repair.)
posted by attercoppe at 2:33 PM on August 8, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the help so far.

At home, well, home is more of a concept right this minute than a reality, but at "home" I don't have a kit, per se. I've got a couple beat-up-ass old stanley's that don't really have a place to live day to day, and in storage I've got a huge top/bottom combo floor toolbox that has a lot of ratchets and big wrenches, but nothing much on the small end. Sort of the idea here is to kill lots of birds with single stones.

Absolutely good points though. You're totally right that most anything can be done with a #1 or #2 philips head and a small flathead. But...take today for instance. I was working on removing a broken heatsink retainer clip with these goddam little retainer screws that didn't have the space inside the tube for anything but a fine driver.

I also do some other funny stuff that involves taking apart old/junk/scrap pieces for their parts to play around. There are some weird things I actually come into contact with often.

I'm actually going to head out here in a minute to a Sears salvage auction and see what I can't pick up.
posted by TomMelee at 2:41 PM on August 8, 2009

If you're going to rely on precision tools in nail-bitingly tedious circumstances, get the good ones.
I use Snap-On tools every day and they are HANDS DOWN the best tools I've ever used. Check these out. And these mini Torx drivers. I don't usually use stuff that small, working on cars, but I DO have one mini precision Torx driver that is great. The base of the handle is on a bearing that allows it to spin very smoothly in your hand while maintaining that critical "holy shit don't strip out" pressure you need on tiny fasteners.
The prices are high, but the you'll feel like it's justified the first time you use them, especially if you're using them to make money.
posted by Jon-o at 2:50 PM on August 8, 2009

The other day, I found I'd left my house without a screwdriver, so I went to the $2 shop on the way to the job to pick one up. The only screwdriver they had (for $2, as it happens) was a multi-bit wonder (2 x flat, 2 x Philips, 2 x Pozidriv) with a ring-shaped bit-holder around the stem and a screw-on cap in the back of the handy hollow handle, so that's what I bought.

It wasn't until I got to the job and went to change bits that I found that not only were the bits held in by a strong little magnet, but that the stem was hollow and that the magnet was on the end of a telescopic radio antenna kind of affair. So not only did my $2 buy me every screwdriver I'm likely to need while fixing a PC, it got me an extensible magnetic dropped-screw-fisher-outer as well!

Lost the bloody thing after four days. I have no idea where it ended up. Sigh.
posted by flabdablet at 5:52 PM on August 8, 2009

i bought this thing from mac tools called the overdriver pro. it came with 30 different bits, flat, philips, torx, tamper proof, hex, and some others. You might want to call them as their site stinks.

SnapOn also has sets that would fit your needs, but they're pricey.
posted by Paleoindian at 1:11 AM on August 9, 2009

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