Tools 4: The right tool for the job

A major cause of accidents and frustration is trying to use the wrong tool for the job.

Professionals usually know, and have available, the right tool. Amateurs and beginners may be blissfully unaware of it. When I was just starting into homebrew electronics in my teens, I actually used to drill holes in metal with a hammer and nail! I soon discovered the hand drill, but for the larger holes required for mounting tube sockets, panel meters, and such I had to drill a circle of small holes, then use a file to painstakingly smooth out the jagged contour this left. This is definitely the wrong tool…

I became aware of the right tools after maybe a year of slaving over those holes. First came a chassis hole punch, where you’d drill a hole as thick as your finger, and use it for the screw that connects the punch’s two parts across the metal; tighten the screw and the punch eats the metal like butter. Making the finger-thick hole was still a matter of drilling and filing, until I discovered the Reamer, a sharp tool that widens the initial hole in seconds.

Chassis punch set

Lastly, I found the de-burrer – a tool for removing the sharp metal burrs that might remain around your hole. My trusty metal files got a well deserved rest, and I could focus my time on designing better electronic circuits… and enjoying their realization in hardware much more.

Reamer and deburrer

Whatever work you do, if it’s hard and frustrating, if you’re not enjoying it, you may be using the wrong tool for the job.

3 Responses to “Tools 4: The right tool for the job”


  1. 1 charlie

    every project is just an excuse to buy a new tool.

  2. 2 Nathan Zeldes

    Yep… how delightful! 🙂

  1. 1 All staples are not created equal! at Commonsense Design

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