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Old 12-08-2017, 04:30 PM
coffeeguy coffeeguy is offline
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Lake in the Hills, IL
Posts: 114

Welcome to the fun.
1. Don't use my air drill much. I have a battery drill with two batteries that I use almost exclusively. I'll sometimes use the air drill or my floor drill press, but not often.

2. I use a DRDT and like it a lot. You can find them here when people are done building or you can buy a new one.

3. wait

4. I use a 3x gun with a small regulator on the input that allows me to regulate the pressure according to the rivet that I'm setting.

5. bench drill press, occasionally a small bench sander, large vise, Harbor Freight buffer/polisher with a 3m deburring wheel. I have a large air compressor in the garage with a hose reel attached to my bench. I plumbed a rapidaire line downstairs to the basement. Used v-style high flow for all of my couplings. I also used the lightweight hose from Cleaveland, one in the garage and one in the basement.

Use Stewarts primer, it's water borne, so I occasionally shoot it in my gun or just grab a foam brush for those small parts.

6. I use a water bottle for my AN426AD3-3.5 rivets. The rest are in drawer organizers.
Jeff Dingbaum
RV-14A empennage, wings
Cherokee 180
2018 dues paid
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Old 12-08-2017, 06:20 PM
flytoboat's Avatar
flytoboat flytoboat is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Collinsville, IL
Posts: 618

When I was building my 7A, I used Stewart Systems primer. It needs a couple days to harden completely, but is very durable. It is a water based primer/sealer and therefore non-flammable and could be used safely in my basement with gas furnace and H2O heater. Easy cleanup with water. That said, if I was building today I would only prime the non alclad parts. YMMV. Just another option that may work for you.
Good luck with your build.
VAF #1100, EAA864
-6A bought flying
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Old 12-08-2017, 06:39 PM
tyconnell tyconnell is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Atlanta, GA -> Keller, TX
Posts: 154
Default My 2 cents

The tungsten bucking bar cannot be over recommended. Attach a strap to your wrist and the bar so you don’t drop it inside a structure.

I have both a hand squeezer and a pneumatic. I use both. I prefer the the hand squeezer for the smaller (-3 diameter rivets) and the pneumatic for bigger ones.

A 30”x30” table on casters has been a recent addition that’s been very helpful. Bandsaw, stationary belt sander / disc sander, and bench grinder with scotch brite wheel on 3 of corners. Move it / spin it to where you want.

The DRDT2 is also really nice.
Ty Connell
N997TL reserved
RV-9(A?) empennage in progress

Last edited by tyconnell : 12-08-2017 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 12-08-2017, 07:15 PM
azflyer21 azflyer21 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Scottsdale AZ
Posts: 155

Just started my 14a build, have build a Zenith 750 2.5 years ago. I did buy my extra tools from Cleaveland and customized the kit. My opinion:
  • 20v cordless drill worked fine on last build and is working fine now. Not being tied to a compressor is nice.
  • I bought the DRDT-2 and so far it works great.
  • 3x gun is also very nice and should be sufficient
  • Grinder, band saw are both from Harbor Freight. Drill press purchased on Amazon
  • Go with the pneumatic squeezer, this is an amazing tool that can be used for dimpling and squeezing rivtes.
  • You will continuously buy other tools that are needed, but nothing wrong with that!
Kevin Lippert
Zenith 750 completed 2016 -

N1402 reserved
RV-14a Empennage Done
QB Wing QB Fuse inprogress
Build Log
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Old 12-08-2017, 11:30 PM
n982sx n982sx is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 294

Lots of good comments but...

While I agree a good 3x rivet gun can be used successfully, I used a 2x gun for all of the 3-x rivets which is probably 90+% of the airplane.

Lower pressure on a 3x gun - while controllable - is not the same as standard pressure on a 2x gun. Owning both, I much prefer the 2x gun. I would borrow or buy a used 3x for the bigger and much fewer rivets.
Bob Meyers

Built and Flying RV-14A N626KM SN 140093
Built and Flying Sonex N982SX
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:18 AM
salto salto is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Wee Waa Australia
Posts: 273

Agree with Bob, the 2x has all the grunt you need. The only rivets that take a fair bit of power are the large rivets that fill the tooling holes in the fuel tank ribs. You only have to swell those so they fill the hole securely. They are not structural.
Settings I've been using : 25 psi for the - 3, 45psi for - 4 winding up to 40psi & 60psi respectively with extensions fitted.
Kit 140241
Tail Feathers done
Fuselage kit completed.
wings almost complete.
Flaps and ailerons done.
Canopy next. Phew!
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:45 AM
iamtheari iamtheari is offline
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: ND
Posts: 298

Thanks for all the advice. How often is the band saw used? They range in price from $100 to $10,000 and I don’t want to over- or under-buy. I can borrow a drill press, which will help.

I’ll start shopping elsewhere for used DRDT-2’s and pneumatic squeezers. They’re expensive new but they do sound worthwhile to have from the comments here.

Last edited by rv7boy : 12-09-2017 at 11:09 PM. Reason: Rules
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:03 AM
Nova RV Nova RV is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Leesburg, VA
Posts: 327

I have a $129 Skil bandsaw from Lowes and it works fine for the price. Get a couple metal cutting blades for it and put one on day 1- you will go through a few. There are a few pieces you need to fabricate during the build that you really need a band saw. It will never cut as accurately as a $2000 saw but just cut a little big and use the scotchbrite wheel to finish it up.
Chris Moon

Leesburg, VA
RV-14A kit # 140243 (flying as of 11/18)
VAF 2018 and 2019 paid
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:21 AM
control control is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 659

A cheap band saw will be good enough.

A Pneumatic Squeezer is the first "luxury" tool to buy, it will definetly improve riveting quality for a normal first time builder!

As others have said, buy at least one tungsten bucking bar, it is a tool you will use more than 8000 times so it is not the tool to be frugal about...
RV-14 kit #140138
I have entered the 90% done, 90% left to do zone
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:59 AM
Billythekid Billythekid is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: South California
Posts: 244
Default tools

for what its worth go to estate sales for tools. you never know what you will find... vice 10 bucks, files 50 cents. stuff like that. and youtube is a great resource and so is google. my band saw was 60 bucks and my drill press was 80 bucks. its all part of the journey. go and good luck
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