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Old 12-11-2017, 06:19 PM
n982sx n982sx is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 292

Originally Posted by iamtheari View Post
Same goes with driving all rivets with a 2X gun vs a 3X.
I should qualify my earlier 2X rivet gun recommendation. I do not recommend it for rivets larger than AD3's (the vast majority of rivets are AD3's). I used my 3X gun for AD4 rivets or any AD3 rivets that you set with a 12" offset back rivet set. If you go with only one gun it should be a 3X with a regulator attached to the gun in my opinion. If you're going to slow build, two guns, each for the right purpose, is a worthwhile investment.

I also used a DRDT and am very pleased with the results, if you set it up right the dimples are nice and uniformly crisp. My wife did a lot of the dimpling with it and it was very easy for her to use.
Bob Meyers

Built and Flying RV-14A N626KM SN 140093
Built and Flying Sonex N982SX
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Old 12-11-2017, 06:20 PM
sf3543 sf3543 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 945

Same advice for slow build versus QB.
Get the 3x rivet gun unless you can borrow one for the larger rivets.
You don’t need all the tools right away. Get started with the minimum if you want and get them as you need or want them.
For some items, such as dimple and squeezer dies, I think quality is the way to go, so don’t skimp on them. It will pay off in the long run. You can search the forum for discussions on the best ones. Avery isn’t around any more but I like Cleveland tools, too. That’s just me.
I prefer the battery drills, since they are smaller and lighter than they used to be, but if you decide you need a pneumatic drill you can always get one.
As you progress you will decide what you need and want so sometimes it’s wiser to wait on some items.
Try to meet some builders near you and you can probably get a chance to try out some of the more airplane specific tools before you commit to buying your own. Meeting other builders or joining an active EAA Chapter is about the best thing a new builder can do, in my opinion.

And yes, the RV3 is a challenge, but a lot of fun. Can’t wait to finish!
Good luck and have fun!!
Steve Formhals
A&P, Tech Counselor & Flight Advisor
RV6 (sold)
RV8 (2)(sold)
RV12 (flying)
RV3B (flying)
Legend Cub

Last edited by sf3543 : 12-11-2017 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:31 PM
Bernard Hartnell Bernard Hartnell is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 64
Default If I had it to do over:

Do over; I would invest in an RV builder tool kit offered by a number of tool companies. No reason to scimp as you will end up buying later, waiting on a needed tool and pay additional freight.

Don’t be afraid of harbor freight for band saw, bench grinder for your scotch bright wheel, vice, and lg belt and arbor flat sanding unit. I did not get the sander and cost me very inefficient time with hand sanding but tools. Besides, you’ll become addicted to that Chinese rubber smell there that will keep calling you back for endless little stuff like drill bits, parts drawers etc etc.

Be sure to join an active EAA chapter with several active tech counselors. You will be eternally grateful!!!

If your a builder type, enjoy the journey! If your first and foremost a pilot, think twice and decide if your willing to invest a couple full years and have the perseverance! I’m at the close of the building project but first a pilot. And time is ticking as I grow older (66)! I am 6’3” and 235lbs so the 10&14 were my only options. If I were a “normal pilot”, small and smart, I would have bought a 7 and be flying! But this 14A was my choice and I stuck with ITV thick and thin!
Anyway, whoever reads the this, enjoy your aviation journey! Keep the rubber side down!
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Old 03-10-2018, 07:26 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,800

Lots of good advice above, so here is my 2 cents.

I have three air drills: one that always has a #40 bit, one that always has a #30 bit, and one for everything else.

I have a battery drill and only use it once in a while. Compared to the air tools, it's heavy, bulky and slow.

Two cleco pliers are very handy.

Forget about the rivet gauge. Make your own using the minimum and maximum dimension given in that riveting spec that is on Van's site. It'll be more accurate and handier.

Cleaveland makes the best dimple dies. The drill bits they sent were not nearly as good, but Gen-Av-Hdqrs sells excellent ones.

A pneumatic squeezer is a must. I have three yokes: 4", 1.5" and longeron yoke. These are generally sufficient but once in a while something else would be nice.

Caveat, I'm building an RV-3B which might be more tool-intensive than a -14.

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Old 08-05-2018, 06:53 PM
AlexC AlexC is offline
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Oviedo, FL
Posts: 14
Default new builder - Cleaveland tools are excellent

I realize that I'm posting to a semi-old thread, but I agree with purchasing an RV-14-specific Tool Kit from one of the vendors. It saves a lot of headache when purchasing the initial bolus of tools.

I hemmed and hawed between Aircraft Spruce and Cleaveland Tool for a while, and eventually pulled the trigger and ordered the RV-14 kit from Cleaveland, with a few modifications (e.g. DRDT-2, which is fantastic; both the 3x and 2x rivet guns; and the Sioux drill, which makes holes "like buttah"). Since my initial order, I've been back to Cleaveland for all my subsequent tool purchases - 6 more orders in the last ~month. Why? The customer service is FANTASTIC. I want to give a shout out to Annette, who has not only been excellent in shipping everything in a timely manner (very reasonable shipping costs, too), but she is an absolute pleasure to work with, and even recommended a few tools that I didn't know I needed, but soon found out I did. This is what I imagine customer service was like back in the 50s.

I'm determined to buy all my tools from Cleaveland, not only because their tools are of excellent quality and they have a large number of RV-14-specific tools, but because of folks like Annette.
Alex C.
RV-14A: Empennage mostly finished; Wing kit ordered
Dues paid
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Old 08-05-2018, 09:01 PM
iamtheari iamtheari is offline
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: ND
Posts: 283

As long as my old thread has been revived, I did find that the RV-14-specific toolkit was a huge time saver. It has nearly everything that I have needed, including a few that would be easy to miss in skimming the plans. For example, when you drill the hole to safety-wire the trim tab hinge pin to the elevator rear spar, the plans call for a 1/16" hole. I googled what size drill bit to use for that size hole and the nearest one was a #52. Lo and behold, my kit came with a #52 bit.

I definitely recommend the DRDT-2. I cannot imagine trying to use any other tool to dimple the larger skins such as the tailcone skins, all of which I have done solo with no problems.

That said, the kit did not include a few items that are either required or extremely useful to have. Here are the ones I have had to order from online suppliers so far:

0.311" reamer
3/8" reamer
Boelube paste (for the reamers)
Edge forming tool (the kind built on a small vise grip)
Bucking bar for elevator rear spars
Backrivet plate
Wedge-shaped tungsten bucking bar
RV-14 economy modified 3/32 male dimple die
120-degree #30 countersink cutter
120-degree 1/8" dimple die set
Molex crimping tool
3/16" Clecos
5/32" Clecos

(Odd note: Those larger clecos are called for in the plans. For example, page 26-01 says that special tools for the section include 5/32 clecos. But I am nearly done with section 26 and haven't figured out where to use them yet.)

I do wish that I had a reduced diameter 1/8" female dimple die. It would have saved me from grinding off part of the shoulder of my 1/8" set.
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Old 08-06-2018, 03:44 PM
Jake14 Jake14 is offline
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Seattle
Posts: 219
Default tools..

Lots of great advice, and some is just personal preference, but I'll add my list of "things I learned the hard way"

1. Only used my air drill a couple of times, didn't seem necessary, aluminum's pretty soft; 2 Bosch 12v rechargeable drills worked great.

2. C-frame didn't work well for me, brute force and noisy. Dimpling by slamming with a hammer seemed to cause ripples in the skin when viewed at the right angle. DRDT-2 works great, but use the high-quality spring-back dies.

3. nah

4. 3x only

5. Usual power tools as listed, HF is fine. As far as compressors, the HF and most others are incredibly noisy to where you need hearing protection. I bought this
About as loud as a washing machine; you can carry on a normal conversation next to it.

For priming, I used Stewart Systems Eko-Prime with an air brush instead of a spray gun. Takes about twice as long to paint, but no big deal. No cleanup with Eko-Prime, just toss the air-brush into a bowl of water and it's ready to use again...
RV-14A #140158 flying
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