5 Essential DIY Tools You Need, But Didn't Know You Need! Also, great gift ideas for any DIYer. How did I get this far in Life without these amazing tools?
Since you are here on Uncharted DIY, you or someone in your life must love tools as much as I do! You can Download FREE PDFs (bonus content not in the video) for each of these 5 tools. These PDFs have useful Tips and Tricks, and even plans for an easy and fun to build Flex Shaft Hanger Stand!
I’ve gathered a lot of tools over the years, though there were some tools I thought might be frivolous or something I’d only use a time or two. But, these 5 tools turned out to be so helpful, and solve problems so effectively that I wonder how I got this far in life without them! Here are 5 versatile tools or accessories that you need, but might not have known you need.
These have significant advantages: saving time, money, effort, and they often increase the quality of your results. They also can avoid wear and tear on your body and increase the comfort of your surroundings.
These 5 tools also make great gifts for you or for someone in your life.
In no particular order, these tools are:
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I may earn a small commission on items bought using them. These are the same recommendations I would make regardless of any compensation. For products that I have older versions of, I recommend the items that I would replace them with if I were buying them new.
Rotary Tool (Dremel) with Flexible Shaft Attachment and Stand
Rotary Tools, often referred to by the brand name Dremel, have the greatest number of potential uses compared with any other tools I can think of. As demonstrated in the video above, I’m convinced that everyone alive today would find creative uses for a Dremel Tool.
One add-on I have found to be essential and fixes the issues mentioned in the video, is the flex shaft attachment. I have links to these attachments, Dremel Tool kits with attachments, and commercial flex shaft hanger stands below. Hanger stands get the Dremel tool above your work and free up your hands, especially when combined with a foot control.
For about $25 in parts and a half hour’s work, you can build a sturdy, professional flex shaft hanger stand that clamps to almost any surface. This DIY stand adjusts higher, and the swing arm extends further, providing more coverage of the work area than prefab stands allow for. It’s a fun and easy DIY project, and the plans are FREE.
Download a FREE 8-page PDF with Step-by-step DIY Plans and Tutorial with a visual parts list and easy to follow instructions.
Resources for Rotary Tool (Dremel) with Flex Shaft
Oscillating Multitool (Multi-tool)
The Oscillating Multitool (multi-tool) rivals the Dremel in its vast array of functions.
For me, one the multitool’s best features is its ability to plunge cut, which is cutting without having to first drill a starter hole.
As shown in the video, other great uses for this oscillating multitool (OMT) include:
- cutting door jambs in place for adding a new hardwood or tile floor
- detail sanding where it would be difficult to use a dedicated sander
- plunge cutting
- flush cutting
- cutting pipes – from pvc, abs, conduit and copper
- scraping off flaking paint
- removing old mortar and adhesive
- cutting off trim and moldings
- grinding out grout
- cutting clean holes in drywall
- cutting off rusted, seized nuts
- and, doing tile work, just to name a few!
The ability to mount the blades at almost any angle, and/or flip the blade allows you to get the OMT into spaces other tools might not fit. The small arc of oscillation makes it a precise tool.
It may surprise you how often you’d find yourself reaching for an Oscillating Multitool.
Download a FREE Oscillating Multitool Tips and Tricks PDF that has useful tips (not covered in the video) for getting the most out of this multipurpose tool.
Resources for Oscillating Multitool
Infrared Thermal Camera (FLIR)
As demonstrated in the video, using an Infrared Thermal Camera is like adding a completely new sense to the ones we were born with.
It’s only in the last few years that the cost to own one of these amazing thermal cameras has dropped to an affordable level for everyday people.
Infrared Thermal Cameras are often referred to as FLIR cameras, for Forward Looking Infrared. Unlike night vision technology that amplifies available light, infrared cameras sense the heat being generated by all people, animals, objects and materials. They can “see” through smoke, haze, fog and certain types of thin objects, displaying the patterns of heat differences as shades or colors on the screen. They work in complete darkness.
So, why would you need one? A small sampling of things I have used mine for includes:
- Checking the walls for insulation gaps, or cold spots that could indicate water leaks, leading to mold
- Tracing the heating ducts through the floor or ceiling to spot any leaks or hotspots
- Identifying a dragging brake caliper, causing the wheel to heat up
- Finding the source of a radiator leak
- Inspecting the door seals on refrigerators and freezers
- Determining which cylinder was misfiring in an engine
And, as shown in the video, there are other fun, but less serious uses.
I chose a FLIR One brand camera because of the technology they call MSX. This overlays the thermal image with a regular camera, making it much easier to interpret what the images on the screen are. Thermal cameras have much less resolution than standard cameras, so this added information is extremely helpful.
You will find a stunning amount of cool things to do with your infrared thermal camera!
Download a FREE Infrared Thermal Camera Tips and Tricks PDF that has useful tips (not shown in the video) for using this amazing device.
Resources for Smartphone Infrared Thermal Camera
Cordless Impact Driver
I thought I wouldn’t use an Impact Driver much…until I needed one for a big deck project. Now it is one of my favorite tools! For me, when it comes to making quick work of tough jobs, or projects requiring a lot of fastening, nothing beats an Impact Driver.
They don’t replace a good drill driver, which is excellent for making precise holes and helpful for driving screws. Instead, impact drivers excel at driving: long screws, short screws into dense material, lag screws, structural screws, concrete anchors and carriage bolts. And, they are great for nut setting and working with metal construction.
When driving hundreds of screws for building a large deck, an impact driver saves huge amounts of time, and wear on your equipment and your body! Driving 10” structural lag screws is time consuming with a wrench or ratchet wrench, but they take only seconds to do with an impact driver. They also minimize the potential for stripping screws since the impacts (at around 50 pulses per second) keep the bit in tight contact with the screws.
Impact drivers have different prices and features, but are money well spent. I bought a Kobalt 24V Max brushless combo kit with a drill, impact driver, battery and charger since the combo is a great value. This impact driver has 3 power settings, electronic variable speed and a finish mode for precise control. It has plenty of power, and since they are brushless, they are stronger and go much longer in between battery charges. I can highly recommend this Kobalt combo kit.
The only thing I regret about buying an impact tool is that it took me this long in life to get one! I could have saved so much time and effort!
Download a FREE Impact Driver Tips and Tricks PDF with useful tips (not in the video) for getting the most “impact” from your impact driver.
Resources for Impact Driver
Often, taking an “eyeball” measurement just doesn’t cut it. Many objects have compound curves, holes and surfaces that are tough to get an eye on with a ruler or tape measure. Often, accuracy is needed way beyond what those tools can provide. Digital Calipers save the day!
As seen in the video, Digital calipers can cost a small fortune, but unless you require extreme precision, inexpensive calipers (around $30) can provide a huge step up in the measuring department.
Many come with 3 universal systems of measurement: decimal inches, millimeters and fractions. They can measure down to .001”/ .03mm, and the more expensive ones can do even better.
Digital calipers are much easier to read than Vernier or dial calipers. And, they can do some cool math tricks, saving you from complicated calculations!
They measure outside and inside dimensions, have extendable depth gauges for slots and holes, and most have a step feature that measures points along a surface.
I use my digital calipers to measure nuts, bolts, bearings, brake rotors, cables, machined parts, leather thickness, gaskets, and sizing drill bits, dowels, shims, and springs. They are also used in plumbing, 3D printer calibration, woodworking, reloading, fabrication, and turning on a lathe to name a few.
I find myself reaching for them often and since they are so inexpensive, I keep one in the office, one at my workbench and one in my toolbox. I even bring them to the hardware store to make sure I can measure how various parts will fit together.
Download a FREE Digital Calipers Tips and Tricks PDF with useful tips (not shown in the video), and some of the cool math tricks you can do with them.