• Tue. May 28th, 2024
prop making hints and tips and tools australia

Prop Makers / Nerf Modders workshop equipment essentials!

A list for my fellow Nerf modders / makers

I get asked quite often what things I use in my prop making / Nerf modding grotto / workshop. I figured I’d put the main tools in a list for people looking at starting their own work area and not sure what prop making or Nerf modding essentials might be needed. I’ve got a few things that might be classed as expensive ($300+), but for the most part I use cheap tools to get me where I need to be, so this list should – hopefully – help out people wanting to begin their prop making quest.

Please note, as I live in Australia, most of these items are Australian brands, though you will no doubt be able to find similar items elsewhere in the world and probably cheaper. I’ll try and cover all the things I find ‘essential’ when I’m working on a project and also cover how they’re used. I’ll also add links to where you can get them, though for the most part it’s Bunnings and Masters.

Right let’s get to it!

Prop Makers / Nerf Modders Workshop essentials List
The Basic Luxury items:

Computer / iPad / Other screened device

When prop making you will use images as a guide when trying to get the feel of a particular prop. For this reason an iPad or old computer is essential in your workshop area.

I’ve got a 1st gen iPad that is covered in paint and glue because it sits on my workshop desk. If you favor a laptop, remember to get it a keyboard cover so debris doesn’t end up inside it! This saves you printing out images and thus costing you ink, though printing schematics is also a help, assuming you have room to put them up.


One of the first ‘big’ items I bought was my trusty scroll saw. I think it cost around $140, though cheaper in the states.

The scroll saw is great for cutting out thin timbers / mdf and even plastic. It won’t do more heavy duty stuff, but for a beginner this is a must! The only thing you’ll really need to replace on this baby are the blades, upside they’re cheap and simple to replace.

Link at Bunnings for those interested.

Dremel / Rotary Tool

Another luxury item in the beginner’s prop making workshop is the trusty rotary tool. I have a high end Dremel and a couple of el cheapo rotary tools for less strenuous jobs (Sontax brand).

The cool thing is, the cheap ones usually come with a lot of heads (sanding wheels, cutting discs, grinding heads etc.) and you can use these in the Dremel also. Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a cheap rotary tool set, bin the tool and keep the heads.

Link at Bunnings for those interested.

Bluetooth Speaker / Music!

Generally speaking you’re not going to sit and watch TV whilst working, because you’ll be paying too much attention to what you’re doing. Therefore music is a great fallback.

I got a great speaker from mobilezap called the Kitsound Hive Bluetooth Wireless speaker and it is awesome because it’s loud enough to be heard even over tools. Streams from my phone no problem.

Never underestimate the power of music or a good podcast when you’ve got a long arduous prop commission to work on, sound system of some kind is a definite must and of the multitude of bluetooth speakers I’ve had, this is the best so far.


Prop Makers / Nerf Modders Workshop essentials List
The Basic Tools:

Small file set

Big files are great for large timber / mdf props, but for small fiddly props, plastic, resin etc. you will need a small file set. Mine cost around $15 and came with a multitude of file types (round,half round, flat, square, equalling, triangular, oval, crossing, barrette and knife files).

You will find this little set uber-useful, great for making small holes larger, shaving off precise detail and generally getting better edging.

Link at Bunnings for those interested.

Small screwdriver set

If you are going to be taking apart Nerf guns, you’re going to need screwdrivers. I chose solid cheap screwdrivers as the shank (long bit between the grip and end) tends to be longer than those push in head types. Most toy blasters have screws that are in a fairly deep hole, so keep that in mind when purchasing your set. A cheap little set like this costs about $13 and you will use it a lot. Pro-tip ALWAYS put them back in the pack when finished and you’ll always know where they are.

Link at Bunnings for those interested.

Honorable mentions:
Sandpaper (you won’t get far without a few rolls!), Masking tape (a good one, not a cheap one!), Paints (enamels and acrylics up to your eyes, always replace lids!), Packaging Tape (great for using as a vice on weird shaped objects that need gluing together), Stanley Knives / Box-cutters (get a whole pack of these, you will need them at some point!), Pens & Paper (seems silly but you can’t beat a hard-copy of a quick idea that pops into your head!), Pencils (great for marking out measurements on wood, foam, plastic etc.), Plastic Cups (cheap party cups, great for a multitude of things, painting, resins, mixing, water etc.).

I’ll add to this post in the coming days when I see things I think are important enough to add, for now, that’s your lot!

Till next time people… what do we say?! ….

Originally written for GirlyGamer.com.au home blog of Nerfenstein / GirlyGamer / BoardGameGran. Catch up with me on my Facebook page, or if you Tweet… there’s always Twitter and guess what, I actually reply!

GirlyGamer / Board Game Gran

Nonna who loves her family, travel, board games, video games, VR and all things geeky (oh and some terrible reality TV.. don't judge lol).

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