By Mike Garrison
Whether it's wheel nuts, wings, tools, tracks, trinkets and/or anything in between, the LiveRC staff gives their testimonial and review of each every Thursday morning!
Back in August I featured the Hitachi DB3DL2 Cordless Driver in a Thursday Testimonials product review (CLICK HERE to read). I have yet to put down the Hitachi since, as it has spoiled me with how easy it makes wrenching on cars. One problem I have encountered while useless a cordless driver, as opposed to a hand tool, is the lifespan and durability of the hex tips. It is expected that they would take more wear and tear than turning a wrench by hand, but after burning through three sets of hex drivers, I decided to go in search of something that can withstand the abundant amount of abuse I put on them.
MIP is well known among the R/C racing industry to offer some of the highest quality tools on the market, and not to mention is one of the longest standing tool brands in the industry as well, opening their doors in 1978. The MIP range of hex drivers has been the tool choice of many racers ranging from local Joe’s to World Champion pros. I have used a variety of different brand hand tools over the years, and have always had reliable performance out of the MIP range. While the MIP hand tools have always held up well, power tool tips are an entirely different animal, and I wanted to see if the MIP reliability and reputation followed when powered by my Hitachi driver.
This lead me to this week’s Thursday Testimonials review of the MIP Speed Tips.
MIP Speed Tips power tool bits (set of 3)
MIP Speed Tips are available in both Metric and SAE Standard sizes, sold individually or as a set, and select sizes are also offered in ball ends. Essentially these are the Thorp ends used in the MIP hand tools, however, the handle is replaced with a ¼” back that slips into nearly any power tool with a ¼” socket. Each tip is made up of USA hardened steel, is claimed to have precision tolerances, and includes an MIP Wrench Wrap colored label with transparent heat shrink to help you identify each size at a glance.
I chose to purchase the Metric set of three which includes a 1.5mm, 2.0mm, and 2.5mm tip (#9512). Also available is a SAE Standard set which includes 1/16”, 5/64”, and a 3/32” tips (#9511). You can also purchase each of those tips individually, as well as 1.3mm, 3.0mm, 2.5mm ball end, 1/8”, 3/32” ball end, and .050” tips.
My number one complaint with hand and power tool bits alike, is the inability to identify them at a quick glance. With power bits it is extremely difficult identify because they don’t have handles which are primarily used for identification labels, colors, etc. MIP includes an “MIP Wrench Wrap” with each power tool bit to solve this problem. The wrench wraps are colored stickers labeled with the corresponding tip size, which wrap around the shank of the bit, and then is sealed in place using the clear heat shrink included. The stickers themselves are not very sticky, making them a bit tricky to hold in place, and there is no chance they would stay on without the help of the heat shrink. Despite being a little trickier than expected hold in place to put on, they achieved the goal, and eliminated my number one complaint right out of the gate.
MIP claims their hex tips have precision tolerances, but then again so does every other tool manufacturer. To my satisfaction, MIP wasn’t lying. The fit of the MIP hex tips is extremely good. So good that I found a few lone screws that the wrench seemed too big to fit, but upon further investigation it was a poorly sized screw head as opposed to an improper wrench tip. It is not as easy to slip in and out of screw heads with the MIP Speed Tips because they fit very snug. This is a major bonus when using a power driver because you can’t always “get a feel” for a screw with a power tool like you can with a hand tool, and with screws as small as R/C, they can slip and strip very easily if not properly fit to the wrench.
To test the durability of hex tips I found a damaged screw head, caused by my previous power driver tips, and decided to go wide open throttle until either the screw head was completely destroyed or the hex tip itself rounded off or broke. After a solid minute of no clutch, high speed power driving, the screw head was a wreck. The MIP Speed Tip, however, was unharmed in any way. This was a VERY risky experiment, and I honestly expected the worst. Screws are cheap and easy to replace compared to driver tips, so to watch the screw suffer as the MIP Speed Tip just kept on truckin’ was pure awesomeness to my eyes.
- Available in convenient sets with the most common Metric and SAE Standard sizes.
- Each tip includes color coded and labeled MIP Wrench Wrap for easy identification.
- Hex tips provide a very precise and snug fit in the screws.
- Very durable hex tips that I am betting will outlast and win nearly any R/C screw that threatens to challenge them.
- Each size within the sets, additional sizes, and ball end tips are also available individually as well.
- Wrench Wrap stickers don’t stick well to the power tip shanks, and can be a little tricky to hold in place while putting on the clear shrink. Note: Once heat shrinked in place, the lack of stickiness doesn’t matter, as they hold in place very well.
The final word on the MIP Speed Tips is that I set out to find a set of tips for my power driver that could withstand that constant abuse that I seem to put on tools. MIP has once again delivered, as I am extremely satisfied in the performance, the fit, the durability, and the overall purchase. While they may cost a bit more than some other options on the market, as you are scratching your head trying to figure out how to fix your broken tip or replace that screw your hex driver didn’t fit and stripped out, I’ll be at my pit table wrenching with a smile as it doesn’t seem those problems will be an issue with my MIP Speed Tips.