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Author Topic: speaking of Heathkit building...  (Read 24622 times)

Posts: 2069

« Reply #45 on: June 12, 2013, 12:32:33 PM »

WSY, a good quality plastic drinking straw will help with nut starting.  several sizes depending on how cheap the fast food joint is, collect the whole set Wink

as for dental tools, you will find a selection of them at many home centers, as well as places like MCM electronics.  once they get chipped or just a touch rusty, they're toss-outs from your dentist, so if you want conductive serious ones, ask them to save their junkers.  boil for a couple minutes and they're safe enough in case you poke yourself instead of a cold joint.  I think I've seen kits of them anyplace from auto parts stores to Harbor Freight with plastic handles.

Posts: 5688

« Reply #46 on: June 12, 2013, 02:40:05 PM »

Most of the Heath red plastic nut starters I've encountered at this late date are usually worn out and the little ring is stretched out so far as to be useless anyway. 

Plastic soda straws, collect 'em of different diameters, work great and not only that, are often longer than the Heath tool, sometimes good for reaching further into chassis or cabinet. 


Posts: 194

« Reply #47 on: June 12, 2013, 05:10:27 PM »

And speaking of Heathkit building (or in this case, building homebrew projects) ... does anyone know where I can find the "nut holder tool" that came with almost every Heathkit in the 1960s? It's a plastic tube and in my memory it is a dull red color. You stick a 6/32 nut into the end and use it to position the nut in hard-to-reach places, while screwing in the bolt from the other side of the chassis. You can do the same thing with long-nosed pliers but it is much more fiddly, especially when you are trying to "start" on the thread, and sometimes there just isn't enough room to use the pliers. Plus, I'm not 12 years old anymore and my fingers are bigger and clumsier.

Yes, Google is my friend, and a search for "nut holder tool" does indeed bring up thousands of results. But they seem to be for complex, expensive tools used (it seems) mainly in the automotive industry where I can imagine that "starting" nuts in awkward places is a fact of life. The thing I'm looking for must have cost Heath no more than a couple of cents.... I tried McMaster and Grainger but no luck. I tried my local electronics parts store (You-Do-It Electronics, excellent place) but they had never heard of the thing.

In that store, I *did* manage to find another stalwart item that came with my Heathkit tool set in the 1960s -- not sure if it came with the kits themselves, but I think it came with the soldering iron package that my dad bought for me in that suburban Washington DC Heathkit store that he used to take me to. It is a double-ended reamer and scraper: one end is a sharp point, and the other end is a slanted screwdriver shape. It is extremely useful when un-soldering a bad joint or opening up a hole that has been filled with solder. (OTOH it would be perfectly at home on a dentist's tool tray; yuck.)

73 de Martin, KB1WSY

A quick Google search brought up a few dozen hits.  Looks like the device is made by "Menda" and many companies sell it for $2 or less.

- k

Posts: 1299

« Reply #48 on: June 12, 2013, 05:44:18 PM »

A quick Google search brought up a few dozen hits.  Looks like the device is made by "Menda" and many companies sell it for $2 or less.
- k

Thanks! I was searching on the wrong term ("nut holder tool"). "Nut starter" (which is what the Menda tool is called) would have taken me there immediately. As so often, it's important to know what something is called....

I've just ordered the Menda from Mouser -- $2.20 plus shipping. It looks like a slightly more versatile version of the Heathkit tool, with the same general concept. It can hold nuts between #6 and #2 size, not sure how that works but will soon find out.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 05:59:55 PM by KB1WSY » Logged
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