What tools do you use most?

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wally

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2004
Messages
926
Location
southwest TN.
I was sitting on a plastic milk crate today working on my cowl parts and was thinking about what tools I might have that would make the job easier. I couldn't think of any. I wanted to trim and fit slowly so I didn't go too far and have to make another of what I was making.

That got me thinking about what tools I or anyone really needed to build an airplane.

So this is a short list of what tools I use most.

A small 2ft by 2ft stand with a 4" vise and 6" grinder on it. I can move it close to where I am working.

A couple of hammers, including a plastic face one.

Hack saw.

Files: a 12" mill file for straightening snipped sheet metal edges and lots of other shaping jobs, a couple of rat-tail files and a chain-saw blade sharpening file. The chain-saw file is nice for small inside curves. It is smooth cut and they come in a couple of sizes.

LH aircraft snips, (red handle) and rh?? green handle offset snips. I could not get along without my offset snips.

I use an X-acto knife w/#11 blade a lot for trimming stuff and even for enlarging or "adjusting" holes in aluminum.

3/8 electric drill and a bunch of bits and a couple of 100 degree countersinks and a rotary file cutter.

oxy-acetylene torch set from Harbor Freight. The bottles cost over twice as much as the torch but I can weld 4230 tubing, yea! Building my engine mount myself saved enough to pay for it.

Small air compressor.

A $20.00 spray gun also from Harbor Freight.

$6.00 muffler hammer that I use as a rivet gun!!! Hey, it works. I was surprised that the .401 dia rivet sets fit it just fine. If I was building a Vans RV-something, I would for sure get a real 2X rivet gun tho.

some screwdrivers and wrenches.

I am lucky that where I work we have a bench roll to curve the sheets for my cowl and very luck our EAA chapter has a 10ft bending brake for the rare times I need to make long bends.

Scrap wood for backup when drilling parts and for clamping aluminum between to make shorter bends in metal.

Poster board, masking tape, and scissors for making paper patterns that I then trace on aluminum.

And that is about it. Sure there a LOT of other tools I could have but so far I have been doing just fine with this.

So don't think you need a 30x30 hangar and a Snap-On truck full of tools and equipment to build an airplane. Start little and add just what you need to do a job.
 

cgwendling

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
Messages
86
Location
Grenora, ND
To build my basic airframe I have used very few tools.
Table saw
power mitre saw, hand mitre saw
block plane
sharp chisels
sand paper, sanders
router
drill, bits
clamps, over 100:rolleyes:
plastic spoons and cups (to mix epoxy)
stapler

These are the ones that I use in just about every stage of the airframe. There will be a few rivits, bolts, cloth, wiring, fuel system and misc that I will use other tools on but not very much.
 

Craig

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
543
Location
Jupiter, Florida
Best Tool

The best tool I can think of would be a replacement for your milk crate.

That thing will give you waffle butt, and limit your thinking time.

Get a comfortable shop chair, one that you can sit in and ponder your next move, or how to complete the one that you just started. A small cooler to hold some tea or lemonade also helps.

Having said that, I think one of my most-used tools are my measuring tools - 25' tape, 18" steel ruler - flexible - and little 6" steel ruler. And a good fine-point Sharpie pen that marks on just about anything (NOTE: Do NOT use on fabric!!! - that is what pencils are for!).
 

Sonnyj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2005
Messages
135
Location
Rosman NC USA
new nose gaer

Hi All
Well building or rebuilding ( in my case ) a single seat gyro copter is in my humble opinion is much less daunting than any fixed wing I can think of whitch makes me very envious of you folks who have undertakin such projects. Most guys just go out and buy gyro parts and bolt them on and go flyin in their flying lawnchair. But I am a little more hands on than that. I use my drill\mill, metal lath and upright band saw the most, along with the micrometers and rules and hand tools.I also have a milk crate but have ducktaped a cusion to it "I hate waffle butt".:D
It's just relaxing to setup and make somthing out in the shop and getaway from the hassles of the day job.
Happy hamerin guys
Sonny
 

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ZENO

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
56
Location
New England
most helpful tools

I have an old Sears jig saw that was made out of stamped sheet metal. It uses these little 3 inch blades and makes as thin a kerf as I've ever seen. I wouldn't part with it or replace it for anything. The up/down jig movement is very little which makes it so accurate.

It's my secret weapon for rib parts. The Baby Lakes has 28 ribs and most of them have 57 parts each. I'm doing my 3rd set of wings now.

Also, I can do just about anything with my table saw.
 

ZENO

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
56
Location
New England
most helpful tools

I have an old Sears jig saw that was made out of stamped sheet metal. It uses these little 3 inch blades and makes as thin a kerf as I've ever seen. I wouldn't part with it or replace it for anything. The up/down jig movement is very little which makes it so accurate.

It's my secret weapon for rib parts. The Baby Lakes has 28 ribs and most of them have 57 parts each. I'm doing my 3rd set of wings now.

Also, I can do just about anything with my table saw.

:D
 

ZENO

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
56
Location
New England
The disc on my belt disc sander is great for forming aluminum parts. I use a scrap of 1/16 ply for the aluminum to rest on so the shavings and table/rest don't scratch the piece. I use a small drum sander on my drill press for inside curves. What a beautiful and accurate job it does.

I also have one of those small roll around stools with a shelf on it.

I've built cars and motorcycles and in comparison you need almost no tools at all to build airplanes. What a great hobby.


ZENO :ban:
 

gahan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2004
Messages
204
Location
three rivers mi..
Iv'e accumulated many tools since my youth but every thing I've needed to build my max yould fit in 2 shoe boxes, a few things I've found in yard sales have proven very usefull , Old table saw with table extension, NO SAW JUST TABLE, easy to clamp to farily large.
small drill press that excepts your hand drill also dremmell attachment found both at yard sales over past 3 years About $5, the Jig saw mentioned above is truley the most productive tool you can have, place upside down in vise clamp lightly,Real lightly,turn bottom plate around for small slot to front wala.
Small Riobie belt and disk sander to finisn to length and match angles 3 or 4 drill bits if you don't drop the drill you'll never need to replacement bit.
 
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