Cube FPV

Your FPV Toolbox

If you’ve decided to get into FPV and you want to build your own drones, you’ll need some tools to get started.
Use this list as a guide for making your own shopping list. I’ve made this list from my personal experience building many drones. So many times when getting started I would be delayed with new builds or repairs just waiting on the basic tools I needed to get the job done properly. When I think about all the individual postage amounts I paid buying supplies a few at a time, it would have just been better to buy it all at once and save on all those postage amounts. So if you’ve decided to get into FPV, then you’re “in for a penny, in for a pound” – you might as well get set up properly.


I recommend going for a soldering station (otherwise known as a re-working station) over a simple soldering iron. The soldering station should go up to about 480 deg C and also have a hot air blower. This hot air blower is useful for shrinking heat shrink. This is one item on your list where you should spend some money and buy quality. Don’t forget those little extras as shown in the info dropdown below. 

Solder comes in various types and thicknesses. I prefer solder with lead in it as it is easier to work with. However, solder with lead is not available in all countries. For lead base solder 63/37 is the best otherwise 60/40. Always buy resin core solder. I use 1mm solder for almost all of my soldering, so if you just want to buy one thickness, then go for 1mm. 

Soldering wicks are a must-have item. These can be used for removing excess solder from solder pads. Often when re-using a flight controller on another build, I will clean the solder off the pads with this, so I can apply fresh solder. This way you will always get the best solder joint.

Flux is another item not to be without. It’s great for cleaning up solder pads before soldering anew joint and adds a bit more flux to the joint than just using the resin from the solder. It’s not expensive, so add this to your shopping list.

Tip tinner is a great product for keeping your soldering tips in good condition. Just stick the tip in the tinner jar after a solder job to clean it and stop it from oxidising. 



A desk fan is not just for keeping you cool when working. You will need a small fan to blow away the solder smoke while you’re soldering. The smoke from soldering doesn’t contain lead, but it does contain various chemicals from the resin core which are not the best thing to be breathing in. Make sure it is a small, weak fan. A fan that’s too strong will cool the soldering area down too much. Ideally you just want a gentle breeze blowing across the work area.


Good lighting is essential for soldering work on the small flight controller boards we use in FPV. Having a good desk light is important and will make for less eye strain as well. Also consider having your workbench set up near a window where you can get some natural light.


Having a magnifying glass will allow you to check solder joints for any small threads of wire which may protrude out and make contact with adjacent solder pads. 

A round magnifying glass lens is good to use while soldering. You can also buy a plastic lens called a fresnel lens. These lenses are readily available on Ebay and allow you to see the whole work area without squinting, which you may need to do with a smaller magnifying glass. 

If you really want to get creative, why not use your soldering iron to make a custom workstation like this. Here I have bought LED strips and soldered them to either side of the fresnel lens. I have also mounted a higher magnification magnifying glass on a flexible arm.


A multimeter is an essential tool for building drones. The main uses for a multimeter are for checking the actual voltage of a battery pack when adjusting the battery voltage setting in Betaflight, as well as for testing for continuity of connections. If you’re getting into FPV then you are going to need a multimeter.


If you can’t measure it how are you going to replace it – get a good set of calipers, not cheap ones. 


Where would we be without chargers. When it comes to FPV your chargers are items that you are going to be using on a  daily basis. More importantly they are going to be used to charge those expensive batteries you bought. Take some time and do some research on the best ones on the market. Don’t forget about charging your transmitter batteries as well. 


Cutting boards are easy to pick up at art shops or on ebay. I found a lighter colour one makes it easier to see small parts instead of the standard dark green colour which seems to be so popular.


A set of allen key screwdrivers (hex screwdrivers). In fact, get two sets – one for the workbench and one for the flight bag you take to the field with you. FPV frame fittings are usually 1.5mm or 2mm hex. M2 (2mm ) frame bolts usually require a 1.5mm hex bit while M3 bolts used in larger frames require a 2mm hex bit. Don’t but the electric sets. It’s better to buy the cheaper manual ones so you can accurately feel the tension you are putting on the bolt as you tighten it. 

Avoid buying cheaper multi-sets like this one. These usually have shiny or polished bits and the steel tends to be very soft. Instead, buy a set with individual drivers for each one. These sets will usually have hex heads which are a darker grey colour and these will usually be much stronger. A good quality screwdriver set will usually be more expensive, but it’s worth paying the extra.

An example of a cheaper screwdriver bit which has burred. 




A set of pliers – one for cutting, and also make sure you have one flat tip pair (like the red ones here). Once again when it comes to tools, choose quality over cheaper options. 


Many people just use side cutters to strip wire, but I would recommend a pair of dedicated wire strippers for stripping back the silicone coating on wires. This pair shown here goes from 0.25mm to 1mm and a set like this is suitable for wires up to about 16 AWG. These are suitable for working on most quads up to 3.5 inch which typically use 4S battery packs and 16AWG wire for the battery connector. However, if you are working on a 6S build you may want wire strippers which go up to 2mm which will be more suitable for the 12 and 14 AWG wire (and XT-60 connectors) used on 6S battery packs.


 set of small files like this are very handy for touching up carbon frames that might fit together a bit tight.


You can usually buy tweezers like this in a seat. Important to get a set which has both straight and bent tip tweezers included.


Choose a good quality hobby knife and micro scissors. The hobby knife shown here is from Olfa in Japan and made from stainless steel. It has lasted for 10 years and still going strong. 


The big question is – to conformal coat or not? This is one of those questions which divides the FPV community. Conformal coating is a solution you can brush on to circuit boards to waterproof them. Many people swear by it and others say they never use it. It also depends on your flying conditions. If you fly a lot in wet environments, like in snow conditions or over grass with early morning dew on it, then conformal coating may be a good idea. You can watch some YouTube videos on this one and decide yourself. If you decide to get conformal coating then also get some disposable paint brushes on Ebay.


May be called something else in your country – this is often used to attach posters to the wall. No workshop should be without this wonder product. In FPV we use Blu Tack to hold components in place while soldering.


Often referred to as a “Prop Tool” this handy tool is perfect for your field toolbox. They often combine a few handy hex bits with a special tool used to tighten prop nuts on larger quads (example: 5 inch quads). Props on smaller quads up 3.5 inches will usually have a T mount and be secured by 2 x 2mm Bolts, for which you will need a 1.5mm Hex head screwdriver.


Silicone wire is a must for building drones. You’ll need a good selection. Usually we use 30 AWG wire for connecting receivers to flight controllers, 28 AWG for powering a VTX, 16 or 18 AWG for 4S battery connector leads and 12 or 14 AWG wire for 6S battery connector leads. 


You’ll need a selection of XT-30 or XT-60 connectors, depending on what size drones you will be building. Go with XT-30 unless you are build 5 inch drones in which case you will need XT-60 connectors.


Don’t start out in this hobby without a smoke stopper. A smoke stopper is a bit like an isolation circuit which shuts off the battery power when a short circuit is connected. After wiring up your drone, you’ll want to put one of these between the battery and the flight controller when you first power it up, just to make sure. 


If you intend charging your batteries in the field, you will need a 12 volt adaptor to plug into your car’s cigarette lighter and power your battery charger. You can buy these at most FPV stores, or you can just solder up one yourself. Connector needed will depend on onyour charger.


Balance lead extensions can make charging your batteries much easier. Many LiPo batteries have very short balance leads, and you can strain them trying to plug them into your charger. You can buy these on eBay and solder them up yourself, or just buy them at your local FPV shop. 


You’ll need a good selection of M2 and M3 bolts, as well as M2 nuts. Most flight controller stack mounts will be M2. M2 bolts are also used for frame fittings on smaller quads up to 4 inch.  Larger frames such as 5 inch frames will use M3 bolts for the frame. Often you can buy these in a variety pack often along with stand-offs as well.


Loctite is used like a glue to glue nuts to bolts or bolts into standoffs. It can be bought from most hardware stores. The one you want is the blue 243 version, not the red 263 version which forms a permanent bond. 


Spacers and dampeners are the building blocks of flight controller stacks. The more options you have here the easier your life will be.

Dampeners will usually be supplied with the flight controller, and usually they will provide a few different types, giving you some leftovers. But you can also buy packs of these at FPV stores. It’s handy to be well stocked up on these as they can be used for spacing VTX and Vista units too.

Spacers are usually made from alloy. But basically anything with a M2 hole can be used as a spacer. If you find a shop selling these in various sizes, then buy a few packs of each.


Having a good supply of heat shrink on hand is a great idea. 3mm is good for XT-30 connectors and 4mm is good for XT-60 connectors. It’s not expensive, so get a few colours in each size.


Flight controllers and Air Units will typically us USB 2 and USB C type connectors. Best to make sure you have one of each. These are commonly used for charging mobile phones, but not all leads are designed for carrying data. Some leads are only wired up for charging. Usually leads for carrying data will be thicker and this is what you need to connect your flight controller to your computer so you can update settings with Betaflight.


Most PFV shops will have some battery strap on sale. Stock up on a few various sizes. Besides batteries and props, battery straps are the next most common consumable item for FPV.


Battery mount rubber is often not supplied with FPV frame kits. Or the rubber they do supply is barely suitable. Keep some stock of this item in your FPV drawer.


Double sided mounting tape is great for attaching receivers and some VTX. It’s a handy thing to have in your FPV drawer.


Commonly referred to as Arm Tape, this fabric based tape is strong and will not stretch. It is usually used to secure motor wires to the arms of the quad. You can find this at most FPV shops. 


Cable ties are an essential item for FPV building. The thinnest is 1.6 mm, and you should aim to have a supply of 1.6 mm 2 mm and 3 mm. These are used to secure motor wires as well as other attachments like receivers and VTX units.


Buzzers are sometimes referred to as lost quad finders. Throw a few of these in your shopping bag as well because most frame kits don’t come with them included. 


Get organised with some storage boxes. These can be found at most hobby shops and hardware shops. 


Although not an essential item, if you are flying analog, a good supply of UFL connectors and adapters can be very handy. The problem is that they usually aren’t cheap, so pick up a few if they happen to be on special.