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Old 05-16-2018, 12:09 PM
12vaitor 12vaitor is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Panama City, FL
Posts: 121


Glad to see another P-3 guy building an RV-12. Although you can never have enought tools, here is the list that I have found most useful in building my 12 and would have liked to known before I started.

Pneumatic drill – 3600 rpm Sioux or equal. You can learn to tease the trigger and use it as a variable speed drill.

90 deg and straight pneumatic die grinders; set up the straight grinder with a 1” Scotchbright 3MW7A1 wheel on a screw-on mandrel and the 90 deg with a 3M 3” Roloc backer and very fine non-woven abrasive disk (blue). I started with a 6” Scotchbright wheel on a bench grinder and quit using it after finding the 1” wheel on a die grinder is faster and easier to use. I went through a dozen 1” wheels for the entire build. Buy a box of 3” disks. This setup makes metal edge finishing a breeze.

“The Main Squeeze Kit” from Cleveland Tool; worth every cent you will pay for it.

#30 and #40 chucking reamers, sometimes the pre-punched holes need a little help to fit a rivet in them.

Pneumatic rivet gun – my HF unit has pull over 14,000 rivets with no problem. Takes a few rivets to get it adjusted right (not retaining the rivet stem after pulling). I also have three manual pullers, two HF units with the nose piece and body ground for close-in angled pulls and one unmodified unit.

Big compressor – I stated with a small 20 gal unit and ended up with an 80 gal/5 hp two-stage. Die grinders use a LOT of air and I can still get the 80 gal unit hot on occasion.

Band Saw, Jig Saw, Drill Press – have them all and only really need them when I am making my own parts from scratch (I build EAB with a lot of mods). A good set of snips will handle most part separations for the Van’s parts.

Cleveland Aircraft Tool, Edge forming tool – not required but adds a nice finished edge to overlapping skins, decide early if you want to do this.

Check the Van’s tools list for the RV-12 in section 3 of the plans, you will need them all at some point.

Enjoy the journey.

John Salak
RV-12 N896HS
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Old 05-16-2018, 01:04 PM
Bevan Bevan is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: BC
Posts: 1,568

Originally Posted by 12vaitor View Post
Dave,#30 and #40 chucking reamers, sometimes the pre-punched holes need a little help to fit a rivet in them.
I disagree. ALL prepunched holes should be reamed (or drilled) to full size. This does three things.

It “cleans” up the hole from the score marks of the punching process. Those score marks can initiate a radial crack.

It helps remove the burr around the hole where the punch exits allowing the layers to sit flat and tight together.

With all the sheets cleco’d together, reaming line-bores the holes of all the layers being riveted together. The rivet will then fit the hole properly and not tend to tip over as much during riveting (in the case of driven rivets). May not apply so much to the RV12 with pulled rivets.

RV7A Flying
O-360-A1F6 (parallel valve) 180HP
Dual P-mags
Precision F.I. with AP purge valve
Vinyl Wrapped Exterior
Grand Rapids EFIS
Located in western Canada

Last edited by Bevan : 05-16-2018 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 05-16-2018, 04:30 PM
redbaron redbaron is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Lucerne,Ca
Posts: 237
Default Tools

I have 3 pnu pullers from harbor freight that work great one set to pull #40s and one to pull #30. Also use their sprayer for priming. used their taper reamer.
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Old 05-16-2018, 07:47 PM
rv9builder rv9builder is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Irvine, CA
Posts: 716

Originally Posted by 12vaitor View Post
#30 and #40 chucking reamers, sometimes the pre-punched holes need a little help to fit a rivet in them.
I've also used a reamer for about 95% of the holes that will receive an LP4-3 rivet. The reamer barely takes away any metal, but it's just enough to make a difference. I've found that AN-470 rivets will fit in the same pre-punched holes just fine without the use of a reamer.
RV-12iS Fuselage
RV-9A Project: Sold

VAF donation made for 2018
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:22 PM
rgmwa rgmwa is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 1,606

Get a couple of microstop countersink cages so you only need to set up #30 and #40 cutters at the right depth once.
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:19 PM
JwWright57 JwWright57 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 78

+1 on the reamers they are a great tool

I also got the lightweight air hose, a real wrist saver with the pneumatic puller

a bunch of the little buffing wheels (you can cut them into pieces and use on a Dremel 401 Mandrel)

Avery hole deburrer - you're going to deburr a million holes get a good one

and a little bicycle torque wrench and a good inch/pds torque wrench (you'll use them for almost every screw and bolt)
Neiko 03727A 1/4-Inch Drive Beam Style Torque Wrench | 0-80 in/lb 9 Nm
Capri Tools 31200 20-150 Inch Pound Industrial Torque Wrench, 1/4" Drive, Matte

a few awls to align holes

and a lot of other stuffff.....

You're going to need electrical tools like crimpers but you can wait on that a little

And of course primer (lol just search for that on the forum) and a spray gun. I found a little detail gun that works pretty good.

PowRyte Elite 4.2 Oz Composite Mini HVLP Gravity Feed Air Spray Gun - 0.8mm Nozzle
Jeff Wright, Charlotte NC
Rv-12 started!
Tail 99% done
Wings 99% done
Waiting for fuse kit, should be here in a few weeks!!
Dues paid 2019
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:06 PM
drtgraves drtgraves is offline
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Gallatin TN
Posts: 20

Annette at Cleveland is great! The Numatx is sweet too! I picked up a bandsaw and drill press used, cheap, locally on craigslist
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:22 PM
rongawer rongawer is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Brentwood, CA
Posts: 362

While I like Cleaveland Tools, I want to put a plug in for Isham has excellent customer support and will work with you to put together any package of tools you may want. He has specific tool packages for the 12. Don’t forget clecos. You really only need #40 and #30 clecos, but I’d get about 150 #30’s (think wings) and 50 #40’s.
Ron Gawer

- RV10, N1530G (reserved). Empennage in progress.
- RV12, N975G, "The Commuter"
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Old 05-24-2018, 09:43 PM
DaveWelch DaveWelch is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 329
Default Clecoes

As I recall, the Kit Assembly Instructions (KAI) has a Table of recommended tools and supplies in Chapter 5 I think.

Along with the regular-style clecoes, the Cleveland Kit included some clecoes with sideways clamping jaws. 4 each with long jaws and short jaws. I found them useful when an extra set of hands weren’t handy sometimes.
RV12 N951DZ
First Flight 9/23/16!
No paint yet. Working on a scheme with John Deere colors or accents.
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