# Building with minimal tools

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by Little Scrapper, Aug 25, 2017.

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1. Aug 25, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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This morning I was working on the Cassutt at the shop and forgot to lock the front door. A customer walked in and started chatting. I live in a small enough town where there's quite a few locals who know what I'm doing, they like to stop and "check up" so to speak. It occurred to me there's an overwhelming amount of people who say they'd love to build things like this but don't have a shop or tools.

When he left I thought, gosh darn it, almost everything I do I do is with hand tools or crap I get and rebuild. Many projects can get done in a incredibly small spot. You don't need a shop.

I'm working on my stick and taking photos of my progress for my Facebook group and decided to gather all the tools I used for my stick.

It's amazing how much fun you can have with basic hand tools, there's just no excuse for anyone not building. Money, space and tools are just not an excuse.

Anyone reading this who hasn't started building but really wants to can start today for less than a hundred dollars in material. You could spend a year or two just building small parts using nothing but hand tools and some sheet & tubing.

I took about 30 photos but here's just a couple showing what hand tools can do. There's just no excuse, start today!!!!!

Putting ends caps on torque tube. Every tube and fabric airplane has something similar to the attached photos. It's all done with hand tools. And it's fun.

You can also cut with a $5 hack saw. Bending parts can be done on a side of a small bench using a homemade radius block, clamp and a hammer. Hold with basic clamps. Everything is done with hand tools. You literally don't have a valid excuse to not start. Go to rummage sales, antique shops, relatives, friends, eBay, Craigslist and just get the minimum. Working with minimal tools is both fun and challenging, that's why we do it. Just start. Stop reading threads and just pick something and start! 2. Aug 25, 2017 ### TFF ### TFF #### Well-Known Member Joined: Apr 28, 2010 Messages: 11,553 Likes Received: 3,237 Location: Memphis, TN It's one reason I am such a fan of 4130 fuselages and wood wings. The only "special tool" is the welder, and if following the trend, it will be OA; a cheap but versatile tool for what it does. Your porta band is a luxury but not exorbitant. Your die grinder can be a file but then still not too expensive to not get one. My contractors table saw did great on my friend's spars and building ribs out of wood could not be easier. 3. Aug 25, 2017 ### Little Scrapper ### Little Scrapper #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Jan 3, 2014 Messages: 5,352 Likes Received: 3,277 Location: Wisconsin It would be cool to build one using zero power tools. A sharp hack saw with ideal tension and reasonable quality cuts through 4130 like butter. 4. Aug 25, 2017 ### TFF ### TFF #### Well-Known Member Joined: Apr 28, 2010 Messages: 11,553 Likes Received: 3,237 Location: Memphis, TN Good hacksaw and some good files will go a long way for what?$30 in tools. Decent vice would not hurt. It is about entertainment and achievement more than speed.

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5. Aug 25, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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I took my mom to a tractor/steam show two weeks ago. When my dad was alive they would always go because he collected tractors. The swap meets at these places have every tool imaginable for pretty cheap because it's a pretty cheap bunch of guys. Anyhow, in one booth alone a guy had no less than a hundred old vices, and from big names too. Hand turned grinders, literally hand turned, maybe a few hundred for sale. Everything you need to build a airplane was at that show for pennies on the dollar.

There's just no excuse not to build.

If my 67 year old mom gets excited about finding cool old tools at tractor shows so can these young "would be" airplane builders.

6. Aug 25, 2017

### Dana

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I agree... to a point. I've made an awful lot of things using nothing but a hacksaw, file, and drill and often you don't need anything more, but it sure can be nice to have more sophisticated tools. The landing gear I just made... could've done it with simple tools, but it was a lot faster and easier to set the parts on the mill and turn the cranks.

For woodworking, I'm more likely to use simple hand tools.

Dana

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7. Aug 25, 2017

### TerryM76

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Nice welds.......what are you using as filler rod?

Terry

8. Aug 25, 2017

### Tom Nalevanko

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Nice rundown on tools. I believe that I can walk into someone's shop/project and tell if they will ever finish after 15-30 minutes of conversation. I always make a mental bet and have not been wrong yet. Too clean tools are one giveaway; and lack of progress is another. I once visited a Stallion builder that took 6 months to remove the peel ply from his kits (he skinned his knuckles); took me a good afternoon and I am self-admittedly slow.

It terms of hand tools, I often see builders using too large tools. It is better to struggle up than to struggle down (as one will be likely to damage something). And then there are the real pros who only use air tools; something to be said for this. At my hangar I mostly only use air tools but at home (where I have a small compressor) I mostly use battery powered tools. Whatever works...

Blue skies,

Tom

9. Aug 25, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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No filler rod on end caps. I just made them .020" oversize (guess) and melt them in. For consistency I weave with a metronome app on my phone hooked to my Bluetooth Marshall amp and took my time. About 300 beats per minute set at 53 amps. Material is .049".

On the stems hooked to the torque tube I used 1/16" - 70S2 . I have 80s2 but I'm not a fan of it on 4130. Personal preference I guess. Usually I O/A weld but felt in the mood to TIG a little. I prefer O/A welding over TIG any day of the week.

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10. Aug 25, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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Here's a screen shot of my metronome app. Free.

11. Aug 25, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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You're experienced though, in both time and projects. For the guy who's done nothing and think they need all this stuff just to start I guess that's where I'm going with this. Over time tools grow in quantity.

12. Aug 25, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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Terry, here's a close up. Just melting the edge in with no filler. You can see as I came around the bottom curve I didn't ha e the right torch angle, the most common problem with TIG. This thing is pretty tiny, 7/8" diameter. When I smoothed it out it was ok but by welding standards it was a subpar move. I'm way way way out of practice.

13. Aug 25, 2017

### Raceair

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I Gotta have a belt sander.......I have two, one at either end of the shop........

14. Aug 25, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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Anyhow. We need to get more people to just start building regardless of tools. The old school guys knew this, Steve Wittman used a lot of hand tools!!

15. Aug 25, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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Ed.

Yeah, agree. My 12" disc sander was homemade (not by me) usually they are under \$50.

16. Aug 26, 2017

### CameronB

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17. Aug 26, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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It's a closed group. So, in the search bar type in "Little Scrapper Cassutt Airplane". Be sure to search in groups.

18. Aug 26, 2017

### Rockiedog2

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JB built a Bakeng Duce, a Wagabond and a Wag copy of the PA14(forgot the name for the moment) with a hacksaw. I built an Acrosport 2, a Pitts and a Legal Eagle with a hacksaw. The tubing was nothin to cut. All those biplane flat fittings took a while...cut em all outa flat plate, no straps.

edit. remembered the name. Sportsman

will somebody convert that link to a pic.
I'm not there yet but gettin better

Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
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19. Aug 26, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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That's what I'm doing this very second Joe, except I'm cheating. Haha.

20. Aug 26, 2017

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