Ahh tools – All sorts of tools, some more essential than others. Here’s what I’ve got for tools for this project:
I’m using the plans for work tables from EAA Chapter 1000. While they do involve a bit of effort to build, they turn out rock solid. I added 6 more 2×4′s to the parts list and built a third 2′ x 4′ table with the “extra” plywood from the longer tables. I’m also planning a smaller, single purpose tables for the DRDT-2 dimpler. I’m planning to setup the dimpler table to put the anvil slightly above the level of the larger work tables. This should help make it a little bit easier to work with larger skins. I currently have the tables set on furniture sliders so they can be pushed around the shop easily.
While it’s certainly possible to build with a smaller air compressor, a large compressor will run for shorter intervals with more time between runs. This contributes to a quieter shop, as well as being able to work later into the evening without disturbing neighbors. Since I didn’t already have a compressor, I chose a larger 60 gallon upright compressor from Big Orange Aircraft Supply. While not exactly quiet, it doesn’t seem as noisy as some other compressors I’ve worked around. I am planning to have some air system components dedicated explicitly to painting. Since paint is very susceptible to any contamination, the plan is to have a hose dedicated to painting, as well as filter & regulator.
I got a small bench top drill press. This particular drill press is a 12 speed model and will get down to 250RPM, which should be slow enough to work with fly cutters easily enough. I also got a 6″ grinder and tool stands for the grinder and drill press from Harbor Freight.
In order to organize small parts and fasteners, I picked up storage boxes from Harbor Freight. There are similar bins that have rearrangeable separators, however, one of the partitions being accidentally pulled would cause a lot of work in resorting small parts. The small bins in these storage boxes are removable to allow bringing the parts currently being used right to the work area without taking them out of the bin.
While more expensive, I chose the DRDT-2 Dimpler from Experimental Aero over the more common c-frame bench top riveters.
Deluxe RV Toolkit
In order to supply the bulk of the tools needed for the build process, I bought the Deluxe RV Aircraft Tool Kit from Brown Tool. After looking through several of the tool kits from various companies, this kit seems to be the best overall value. I did customize the kit to remove the c-frame riveter, upgrade the drill, and upgrade the manual squeezer to a pneumatic squeezer. I do plan to make a few additional purchases to round out a couple areas, but overall, I’m pretty happy with the contents and quality of this kit.
I plan to post additional information on particularly useful tools and with tips on usage as I work through the project.