Tech index -> Tech Toolbox
Now that you know how to navigate the site, here's some of the stuff you will need to service your marker (Shocker(s), Ion, Impulse, Nerve). As with many other things, I have here a list of basic tools as well as more advanced tools (starting to see a trend in how my website is laid out?).
But before you get to any tools, you need to know my first rule for working on markers. Do not...I repeat, DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN THE SCREWS!
You NEVER need to make any of the screws in the gun more than hand-tight. Any worries you have about the gun falling apart on its own are generally unfounded. Don't worry about it (you WILL BE SORRY!)
When you overtighten screws, they get stripped. Simple as that! When things gets stripped, it will make disassembly a nightmare, if not totally prevent it in the first place. Meaning, you WILL NOT be able to take the gun apart. Further, stripped parts aren't even easy to remove when extracting them (not even if you're paying somebody to do it...it's still a pain). Some screws can't even be removed with replacing the whole part, which in some cases can cost HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS! So, I repeat once more. Please, for the love of God, DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN THE SCREWS.
With that said, let's get to the tools you need. First the basic things. This includes the things you'll need to disassemble the marker, mainly. Some of the advanced stuff is mixed in (for simplicity in pictures), so just bear with me.
Equipment manuals: The first and foremost item you need to keep available. Yes, keep! Your SP marker comes with a manual of its own, and many other items you purchase in the future will similarly have one of their own as well. I have manuals for most parts available for download from my manuals & documentation page, in case you lose your own.
Remember...when in doubt, RTFM (read the ****ing manual).
Allen wrenches: These are used for removing 80% of the parts on SP markers. Here are the sizes you will need: 0.05", 1/16", 5/64", 1/8", 5/32", 3/16", 7/32", 1/4", and 3/8". These are easy to find in a combination-pack at the local hardware store. Try to buy a set of allens that can be removed and are L-shaped like pictured below, instead of ones that are connected to their holder (such as the "fold-out" types). Those can be useful in some cases but won't work in all spots on the marker.
Ball-rounded allen wrenches can make disassembly easy if you find them more convenient. This would be applicable in 1/8" and 5/32" sizes.
No metric or torx bits are needed for any current SP markers, though some other markers use them.
Also please note that I don't suggest going to the local junk store and buying a set of allen wrenches for $0.99 (or whatever). Lower priced tools are of lower quality and will usually lead to stripping problems. In some extreme cases they won't even fit the screw heads they're designed for.
Screwdrivers - Again, required for the disassembly of key components.
· Combination screwdriver - I would suggest using a good-quality combination screwdriver with both phillips and flathead bits. You can use individual screwdrivers of different sizes and bit types but in my opinion it really isn't necessary unless you're using low-quality tools that will wear out. Combination screwdrivers can be bought at just about any store you find (grocery store, hardware store, whatever). There's a variety of different types out there, with differnt ways of storing the bits and such, whichever works best for you will do the job.
· Combination mini-screwdriver - This is the green plastic device shown below. They can be helpful due to their small carrying size but an actual long-handled screwdriver like the red one below is preferable.
· Precision phillips-head screwdriver - I have two shown in the picture below. These are used for solenoid disassembly and can also be useful with other things such as hoppers. Available at hardware stores; also commonly found in eyeglass repair kits.
Pliers: Different tools are required for different markers, so read the descriptions.
· "Regular" pliers - Useful for the removal of fittings and other parts. In the picture below I display a cheap type of pliers; you would probably want some with a wider grasping surface (and a covering for the handles).
· Needle-nose pliers - This is the most important grasping tool for many markers (in my opinion), and I consider to be the only actual "required" plier type. They are used for solenoid disassembly and other problematic removal issues.
· Channel-lock pliers - These are an extremely strong tightening and locking variety of pliers that can be used on components of virtually any size. This will make short work of many odd-sized parts, however I really don't suggest you use them unless you really know what you're doing. These can be an extremely useful tool in the proper hands but alternately, if used incorrectly, they will easily mar, scratch, or deform whatever you're trying to tighten. These will create large scratches in any anodizing layer held under their grasp.
Wrenches and sockets: Some markers require the use of wrenches or sockets in addition to regular tools.
· Wrenches - You may need any of these sized wrenches:
7/8", Impulse and Shocker piston housings
7/16", NPT gasline fittings (macroline, 1/8" microline, stainless braided hose, etc). Note that some air fittings use larger sizes.
1/2", pressure release valves (PRV) on Shocker Sports, Impulses, and Max-Flo manifold systems.
5/8", Ion regulator adjustment (a cheap wrench is included with each marker)
5/8", Nerve piston disassembly (two separate wrenches required)
· Sockets - Again, different markers require different sockets...
7/8" socket, Shocker Sport fill poppet
9/16" deep-well socket, Ion vertical regulator
Dental picks: This is the preferred tool to use for removing o-rings. Picks can also be used for very fine cleaning of threads and such. Experiences techs will find uses for both straight and curved/bent picks, sets of which are available at most hardware or electronics stores for under $10.
Wooden dowel rod: This is used for firing assembly removal on the Shocker, piston removal on a Nerve, or valve removal on an Impulse. Any sort of wooden rod with a flat end will suffice with any bolt available. Some Shocker bolts (such as the stock bolt) don't even require a flat edge. A wooden baking spoon will often work well, but please keep in mind that these are actually used for cooking as well, so I don't suggest snatching stuff from the kitchen drawers if other people will use them as well (meaning, buy your own and don't make the bakers mad...they will provide you with cookies, remember).
Anyways, strong chopsticks will also work, however you muse be ready for the weaker brands to break. I've found there's a wide variety of chopstick materials out there.
· Teflon tape - This will provide a clean seal on many pressurized fittings. Teflon tape requires no time to cure so it can be very useful at the field. Must be properly applied, though, or pieces will break off and clog the marker's smaller air passages. For this reason I generally don't suggest using it unless you're clean with it, but it can be good to have if so. Available from many hardware stores, everybody should have some available. Color doesn't matter for this situation.
· Loctite - Anaerobic sealing paste that will cure to metal surfaces to provide a tight seal. Loctite is also used to prevent screws from loosening on their own. Available in liquid form as well as "stick" form, although the liquid form tends to be more reliable (the sticks are designed for use in factories and other places where it will be used up quickly). You will need grades of blue and red. Loctite is also available in green, white, and purple; you'll need none of these with your marker (in my opinion). get it from most hardware stores. I suggest you purchase some blue Loctite, and if you can find red then get some of that too.
Also pictured (on the far right) is one of the Loctite sample packs that many stores have available. Pick up a few if you find them.
· O-rings - There are many kits available (from many sources), depending on your marker.
· Macroline - Good to have available in case you need to replace it. Might wish to stock some macroline fittings too.
· Detents - Never know when they'll blow out (unless you have Kila detents).
· Shocker/Ion wire harness - These are cheap so you should have at least one spare.
· Dow/Corning 33 grease, aka Shocker lube, aka Molykote 33 medium - This is the factory recommended lubricant for all Smart Parts markers and regulators, and I fully endorse this recommendation. I won't go into details here but I don't suggest using anything else, regardless of whatyou heard on the internet about it.
A small, 1/4-oz tube should have come with your Shocker, but this won't last forever so you may need to buy more. Larger, 2-oz containers (not shown) are available from major SP retailers for approx $6-8, which will last a very long time.
Industrial-sized amounts of Dow33 are also available, including the popular 5.3-oz tube (shown below) which is quite literally enough to last forever. For example, I have been lubricating markers 365 days of the year, for over two years, from the same 5.3-oz tube...and there is still enough to last many more weeks (at the time that I am writing this). These tubes can be bought from many online suppliers(such as mcmaster.com, or other metalshop suppliers), however when coupled with the shipping cost, often aren't worth it unless you buy something else from that particular store.
· Oil lubricant - Useful for other markers, not needed for SP markers though.
Cutting tools: Not needed for any common tasks, but can be useful for modification and other, more specialized repair.
· Wirecutters/strippers - Used for cutting and stripping wires. Available from electronics stores. Although this hopefully won't be needed with your Shocker, it is the correct tool to use for cutting and stripping wires.
· Wire crimp cutters - These will crimp and slice anything small and flexible enough to fit in their jaws. Can be used to cut wire, tape, urethane hose, and many other items. No one particular use in mind but I find them handy to have for my own specialized work.
· Scissors - For cutting electrical tape, teflon tape, or whatever else.
· Knife - Similar uses to scissors, though can do some other stuff with softer materials. In the picture below I show a rather rugged knife (made for hunting and gutting prey, actually) but it works good nonetheless.
Toolbox: With all the stuff you have for servicing your marker(s), you may wish to have a nice, organized way to keep it all together. For most situations I would suggest using a fishing tackle box or small toolbox to hold your tools and spare parts. This is rugged and easily transportable to wherever you go. If you don't have a lot of items yourself, consider pooling stuff with your friends and housing everything in the same toolbox (it's doubtful everybody would need access to it at once so space is infrequently a problem).
Here's an old tackle box I used to use. Eventually it got the point where I could no longer hold everything I needed in one box so i had to abandon this container and use a larger one (the tackle box is now used to hold my used equipment, as shown). Take a look at all the crap this will hold...
This is some of the crap you will generally never have a use for, during regular maintenance or troubeshooting. More experienced techs may find a use for more developed tools such as these, though.
Hand taps and wrench: Used for chasing damaged threads or for forming threads from raw cuts. Generally not needed unless you have a severe threading issue to deal with, however if you already have them available then you probably already know what they're for.
For SP markers you would commonly use a 1/4-28 and 10-32 size. Other sizes for SP markers include 2-56, 4-40, 4-48, 6-32, 1/4-20, and 1/8" NPT (7/16-27) Although I will say that, generally, you won't need any of those size taps unless you're producing new parts of your own.
Tapping oil should be used as necessary.
Electronics multimeter: This is an electronics diagnostic tool used to verify voltage, current, resistance, continuity, and other characteristics. In the hands of a skilled electronics hobbyist or professional this will be a very useful tool for electronics troubleshooting. Available for various prices depending on the quality and features. Digital model shown below.
Soldering equipment: Needed for advanced electronics repair only. Although I don't suggest bothering to purchase all this equipment if you don't already know how to use it, there may come a time when you will find soldering a useful ability to have.
· Sodlering iron - Use a quality tip with a nice synthetic sponge. I prefer the pen-style, myself.
· Solder - Regular 60/40 solder will serve your purpose with electronics.
· Soldering flux - If not using a rosin-core solder, you'll need a source of flux to let the solder "take" to the components. A flux brush is used in some other applications, though I personally find them a waste of flux.
· Desoldering bulb - Useful for the removal of molten solder for desoldering. Personally I prefer braid, though.
· Desoldering braid - Absorbs the molten solder in contact with the braid.
· Desoldering iron (not shown) - Combination desoldering/soldering tool. I prefer to use braid so I don't have one of these.