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View Poll Results: Which RV Sheet Metal Tool Kit is Best for a New RV-7 Builder?
Avery Tools (e.g. RV Builders Tool Kit) 7 24.14%
Brown Tool (e.g. Deluxe RV Aircraft Tool Kit) 1 3.45%
Cleaveland Tools (e.g Complete Airframe Package) 8 27.59%
Isham (e.g. RV Tool Kit) 12 41.38%
Yard 1 3.45%
Other (Not listed) 2 6.90%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 29. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-07-2011, 09:19 PM
jpurban jpurban is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 33
Default Best Tool Kit for a Newbie?

I just purchased a second hand RV-7 tail kit and now I need to fill up the woodworking shop with some sheet metal tools.

I've been thinking that the kits from the major suppliers are probably the best way to get started, but I'm have to admit I'm having trouble determining which kit is best. So, I figured I'd ask the VAF community for help.

Please let me know what you kit you think is best for an RV-7, or which one you bought.

Appreciate the help...
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:45 PM
sportpilot's Avatar
sportpilot sportpilot is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Waycross, Ga.
Posts: 243
Default My personal view

Your going to use a wide variety of tools over this process. I dont know If a kit per se can fill every need and is worth the cost. I just started with a basic supply of known tools and added on as needed when needed. My list of start up essentials is this:
Air drill and drill bits (you dont really need a reversible), rivet gun and common sets, the bucking bar set, sqeezer, sqeezer sets, counter sinks and stop driver, deburring tool, scotch brite, drill press, if you can afford it get an angle drill, jig saw, die grinder, pop rivet, marking and measuring, set of sae wrenchs and sockets, duplicate of 3/8, 7/16, tin snips left right and straight, varible screw drivers, cordless drill for drilling and use as a screw gun, bench grinder, table top vise, some large size drill bits 1/2, 7/16, 9/16, this will get you well along the way at minimal cost.
If you want a cheap air compressor, purchase 2 $99.00 pancakes that push 5cfm@90psi and hook them up together with a pvc manifold or dircet, this will pump 10cfm@90psi at hundreds $$ less than a big one.
For work table I just make 2 saw horses and lay 3 2X6X8ft on them and a piece of 5/8 4X8 OSB. build a lower shelf between the horses 2X8ft.
Of course, you can spend a fortune on tools if it suits you, or try to save $, either way its a gratifying experience to build a Vans RV. good luck and have fun.
Claude Stokes (sportpilot)
Finished Building an RV-10 and a Titan Tornado 2
RV10 approaching 150 hours Vans kit 40418
See Pictures of the RV10 here.
Waycross, Ga. Airport KAYS
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:55 AM
Dick3310 Dick3310 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Dallas
Posts: 16
Default Tool Kit

I was very happy with the tools from Isham. He was also very helpful about questions afterwards. Sometimes it is not obvious to a newbie how to use a particular tool.

I would suggest poping for a pneumatic squeezer and a DRDT dimpling frame. They are both expensive but tremendous productivity tools. They can be resold at the end of the project and recoup a large percentage of the purchase price.

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Old 03-08-2011, 07:02 AM
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N941WR N941WR is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 11,326

Any of the tool kits are a good starting place. I used an Avery’s squeezer and a few of their yokes and ton of other tools. You will buy a LOT of additional tools the project moves along.

Just remember, if you find yourself saying, “I don’t have the right tool but can make such-and-such work,” stop right there and order the correct tool. Otherwise you WILL bugger up the part you are working on and will have to order a replacement part and the correct tool.

BTW, I bought my starter kit from USTool. The basic tool kit is OK but their rivet squeezer is junk. Their 3X rivet gun is very good, with excellent trigger feel. Regardless of which kit you buy, you will need a LOT more clecos, an air swivel (Put it on the end of your hose, not on each tool), and bunch more things.

As for the great rivet squeezer debate, I would stick with the Avery's hand squeezer and spend the extra cash on a 2X rivet gun in addition to the 3X gun. The 2X gun is light is perfect for riveting skins to ribs and bulkheads. The 3X gun is good for everything else. However, if I was only going to buy one gun, it would be the 3X.
Bill R.
RV-9 (Yes, it's a dragon tail)
O-360 w/ dual P-mags
Build the plane you want, not the plane others want you to build!
SC86 - Easley, SC

Last edited by N941WR : 03-08-2011 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:00 PM
rjcthree's Avatar
rjcthree rjcthree is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Bay Village, OH
Posts: 719
Default Same as Bill

I bought the USTool kit, the 3x gun is great, the drill adequate (a little heavy, the souix is much lighter, but you pay for it), and the squeezer junk - like 50 rivets total junk. It MAY make a good dedicated dimpler, which in retrospect, I wish I had had. I currently use the Tatco.

For some tools, cheap work. You'll need a right angle drill, but not much, buy the $30 HF one (with the jacobs chuck). Most everybody's bucking bars are the same. Buy some offset bars from Avery for 470's, sometimes it's the only way. Buy a good set of dimplers, and on cheapo set - the cheapo set you'll need to carve up to dimple the ears of platenuts.

As for power tools, a good rechargable keyless chuck drill is required (unibit spinner). I have a pneu squeezer, and I don't get the attraction.

Two things would have really speeded my build: duplicate tools (two squeezers, for instance) and better shop discipline (put it back where it belong). I would not let anybody see my shop without an hour's warning. I also invested about halfway through the build on a tungsten bucking bar - and my quality level of riveting went WAY up, reducing the drill-outs by 95%. Maybe it was all in my head . . .

Buy from a couple advirtisers here with confidence. Cleaveland, Avery(my go-to) are my tool sources.
Rick 90432
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