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Old 06-14-2017, 07:43 AM
Auburntsts's Avatar
Auburntsts Auburntsts is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dumfries, VA
Posts: 2,510

As the others have stated , customization is your friend. I bought my base tool kit from ATS (the only reason was they had a sale going on at the time) and augmented it with purchases from almost all of the usual suspects: Cleaveland, Avery (no longer in business), ATS, The Yard Store, etc.

I only deleted 2 things from the base kit: the hand squeezer and the C-Frame dimpler. Things I added (not all inclusive): DRDT-2 Dimpler, Cleaveland Main Squeeze, Pneumatic Squeezer, tungsten bucking bar, additional 3/32 clecos, additional microstops, lots more #30 and #40 bits.

Other tools: 9" band saw, drill press, bench grinder, shop vac, mechanics tool set (Ratchets, sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc), NOTE: I already had all of this ****

I started my project with a pneumatic drill but finished with a battery powered one. The pneumatic is light weight and small, but honestly the whole project can be done with a good battery powered drill from a hardware store/Wal-mart (I like the Ryobi One+ family of battery powered tools-- get 2 batteries and you'll never be have a power issue).

For electrical work I bought pretty much everything from SteinAir.
Todd Stovall
RV-10 N728TT - Flying!

Last edited by Auburntsts : 06-15-2017 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 06-14-2017, 07:46 AM
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bkervaski bkervaski is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Posts: 656

9" band saw, drill press, bench grinder, shop vac
.. I'll add that you don't have to buy top of the line here .. Ryobi (Home Depot) makes a good band saw, drill press, and bench grinder. All of which I've found indispensable and are better quality than the harbor freight variants.
#140376 RV-14A QB IO-390 Thunderbolt
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Old 06-14-2017, 08:36 AM
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BrianDC BrianDC is offline
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 87

Originally Posted by bkervaski View Post
.. I'll add that you don't have to buy top of the line here .. Ryobi (Home Depot) makes a good band saw, drill press, and bench grinder. All of which I've found indispensable and are better quality than the harbor freight variants.
This. I'm still only working on the Emp, and didn't have any of these power tools day one. I slowly purchased the Ryobi versions but Harbor Freight would have been just as good. (Just make sure you replace the blade in the band saw with one designed for metal!)

Actually mounted all four on a small rolling cabinet that I can move out of the way. Just like others have said, you don't "need" these extra tools and could do it with with hand files, hacksaws. These tools just make life easier / produce better results.

I'll put out there that I should have just purchased one of the kits vs going the e-bay / VAF classified route. Maybe I saved a few $$'s but I also have some tools that I really don't need.
Brian Lester
RV10 - #41778
Empennage - Done (for now)
Wings - in progress
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Old 06-14-2017, 08:49 AM
PilotjohnS PilotjohnS is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 446
Default Tools, what an education

I am using a Makita codless drill and not an air drill. It is quieter and less trouble and adequate.
Most of my tools are from Brown Tools ( an advertiser) with a few specialty tools (DRDT2 and Main Squeeze dimple dies) from Cleveland.
I looked at doing a "tool kit" but the best tools for the least cost was only available as a combo of brown tools and cleveland offerings.
Although i would have saved a few dollars with a "tool kit" i felt I would not have got the best tools.

I started using Harbor Frieght for some of the tools, but most of those are in the trash now. Inthick all I have left from there is a work light ( that was free), a few picks and the primer HVLP gun.

My old Snap On 1/4" drive ratchet set from the 1980's ( got when I was in diapers, almost) is still going strong. Gotta buy high quality tools at the best price.
Thank you
John S

WARNING! Information presented in this post is my opinion. All users of info have sole responsibility for determining accuracy or suitability for their use.

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Old 06-14-2017, 08:49 AM
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flion flion is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Flagstaff, AZ
Posts: 2,466

To mangle a saying, "Too many tools are never enough." I'm always buying more clecos and having at least three cleco pliers is a good idea. Otherwise, they are always on the other side of the longest piece between you. Get a half-dozen or so aluminum yardsticks. I've used them, along with cleco sidegrips, to space bulkheads accurately and so forth. Rules, squares, calipers - none of the kits have them but they are the thing that will be in your hands the most.

Also, start stocking up on electrical tools. Invest in a good soldering station and crimpers, a pro-type wire stripper, crimpers, and flush-cut pliers. Don't use the latter for anything but wire, ever! And get some training; soldering correctly is just as easy as doing it wrong but you need to be sure you know the difference.

The last thing is a good fastener tool set. You want both metric and english, combination wrenches (I like the ratcheting ones but they won't work in tight spaces so get the standard kind, too), sockets in at least three drive types with every kind of extension you can afford (but no magnetic tools), and allen drivers, both hand and socket. You'll find discussions in the forums about good torque wrenches. I'd start with an inch-pound click type and later, for the engine, get a foot-pound version and also a beam type.

Every time you turn around you'll find something in a difficult to reach place and find yourself buying a specialty tool. Crows feet, close quarter ratcheting screwdrivers, 90-degree drills, and so on. Don't worry about not having every possible tool before you need it, ingenuity can get you by some needs and it usually doesn't take long to get the tool you need from our excellent vendors. Also, recognize that some 'needs' are for convenience; I tapered the spar reinforcements in the tail of my -6A using a hacksaw and bringing it down to final with a vixen file ... but it was much easier doing the same for the wing spar using a bandsaw and belt sander (somehow not as satisfying, though). Anyway, the process is fun, so relax and don't worry too much about your tool set at the beginning.
Patrick Kelley - Flagstaff, AZ
RV-6A N156PK - Flying too much to paint
RV-10 14MX(reserved) - Fuselage on gear
EAA Technical Counselor #5357
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Old 06-14-2017, 01:11 PM
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ppilotmike ppilotmike is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 1,750

IMO, you can't go wrong, as long as you order from a decent tool supplier. I got an Isham tool kit and have been happy with my purchase. the only trouble I had was with my pneumatic squeezer adjustable set holder, which was bent. Isham replaced it quickly at no charge. I use my snips and suspect you will too. Get lots of extra silver clecos. Get an pneumatic drill (preferably the Sioux Palm Drill). The standard one in the Isham kit is fine, but the Sioux is better (I have both). A pneumatic cleco runner is a good idea, given that you're building a 10. You will use lots of clecos and a pneumatic runner will save you time and prevent your hands from cramping up using the cleco pliers exclusively. My $0.02.
Mike Rettig
EAA Chapter 301, President
VAF Dues Current: as of 01/15/18
RV-10 (41PX Reserved) Fuselage
F-14 (Pedal Plane - Daughter's Project) "Flying"
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Old 06-14-2017, 09:38 PM
Redline5.9 Redline5.9 is offline
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Onanole, Manitoba
Posts: 11

Well this is awesome guys. Thanks for all the great advice! 👍
Brent Ryz
RV-10 Empennage Build in progress
2017 Dues Paid
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