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Old 05-07-2021, 09:29 AM
skipswift skipswift is offline
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Draper, UT
Posts: 17
Default Ordering tools and Stewart Systems/Ekoprime

After sitting on my emp kit for 18 months, it's time to start building.

I have the Planetools RV tool kit (, but I am hoping you can advise as to other tools I'll need to pick up so I don't get started on my build and find I need to wait for additional tools.

Additional drill bits? Is there a set you'd recommend?
Reamers? Sizes?
Anything else?

Age old question -- I've also gone back and forth between AZKO and Stewart Systems Ekoprime and I've read all of the treads on VAF about each. Leaning towards Ekoprime. Any new thinking?

Very much appreciate the guidance.

Thank you.
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Old 05-07-2021, 09:43 AM
stigaro stigaro is offline
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 41

Can't really comment on the tools. I found that I've simply purchased other items as needed. I'd rather figure out that I really need a tool rather than have it languish in my toolbox unused.

As for primer, I have no experience with Akzo, but have primed using EkoPrime. My experience has been good. It is relatively tough once set up and likely more than tough enough for internal use. It is relatively easy to spray, but have found that it dries very quickly in warm temperatures and will tend to leave a slight texture. I deemed it acceptable given that it is so easy to use and clean up. I find that I can spray parts basically as required as it takes just a few minutes to get set up for spraying. I used Smoke Grey, but I think if I was doing it again, I'd use a darker color. The light grey looks great, but it is difficult to assess coverage since it's so close to the color of the scuffed aluminum. As a result, I think I tended to go too light and didn't notice until it was dried. I'll likely switch to Ekopoxy for the cockpit and firewall forward as it should be more durable than Ekoprime.
Empennage - 95% complete
SB Wings - ordered
2021 Dues paid
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Old 05-07-2021, 10:01 AM
wirejock's Avatar
wirejock wirejock is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 4,543
Default Drill bits

I have Harbor Fright bit set. Mostly use numerical but occasionally grab the alpha buts when drilling something that dulls bits.
I always finish with a reamer.
Common sizes
40, 30, 19, 12, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16 covers most.
Vans calls out an oddball for gear legs. .311"
Larry Larson
Estes Park, CO
wirejock at yahoo dot com
Donated 01/01/2021, plus a little extra.
RV-7A #73391, N511RV reserved (2,000+ hours)
Empennage, wings, fuse, finishing kit, now FWF
I cannot be, nor will I be, held responsible if you try to do the same things I do and it does not work and/or causes you loss, injury, or even death in the process.
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Old 05-07-2021, 10:40 AM
ScottK ScottK is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SLC, UT
Posts: 45

I also got the PlaneTools kit. There's some stuff in it I'm not sure I'll need with how the kits are made these days (the bigger rivet sets) but it's pretty good. I find that the 6" bits are useful (sometimes required, along with 12" bits) but I bought jobber-length (short) bits that work better a lot of the time.

I prefer using 3/32" and 1/8" bits for drilling out bad rivets, being a hair under #40/#30 they're big enough to do the job but a little less prone to overdrilling the hole if I'm off center.

I also bought #30 and #40 straight-flute reamers from Cleaveland, I feel they make fewer burrs when cleaning up holes.

I got two mushroom sets, one rubber-shrouded and one plain, both are useful. An extra rivet gun shank with the 3/16" hole lets you use your squeezer dies in the gun. The zero-flute style hex-shank deburring bit, in a cheap electric screwdriver - I'm a fan, much prefer this over the bent-screwdriver type.

Harbor Freight has a numbered drill set (#60 to #1) and a set that goes 1/16" to 1/2" by 64ths - both cheap and useful, if not real high on the "being straight" scale. And get a 0.001" caliper, there's always something you need to measure finely.

Primers? I'm as lost as you. The two-part spray gun stuff is above my pay grade, I'm in the "mating surfaces only" and "rattle can" camps. So far I tried PTI and Duplicolor (ZnCrO4), not super impressed with either. Thought I'd get a can of Napa 7220 to try later.

Word of warning, the PlaneTools kit comes with two #40 countersink cutters - one is a 100-degree bit meant for countersinking AN426 rivets, the other is a 90-degree bit meant for the deburring tool. Do not use the 90-degree bit for cutting countersinks, I hear that gets expensive fast.
Scott K
KU42 / RV-9A [Tail]

Last edited by ScottK : 05-07-2021 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 05-07-2021, 10:48 AM
rapid_ascent rapid_ascent is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Dublin, CA
Posts: 1,517

I'll chime in on the primer.

I started with Ekoprime for my empennage. I decided I really didn't like it. I used white and it easily got scuffed and dirty. I then switched to Akzo. Yes it is slightly more difficult to prep but it is easy to spray and it is tough as nails. Not trying to rekindle the primer wars but this is my experience. There is Ekopoxy but I have not tried that.

For Akzo the cleanup is pretty easy. Buy a gallon of lacquer thinner from HD aircraft supply and some Nirile gloves from Harbor Freight and you will be set. Also you need paint filters and the ones from HF seem to work fine. Buy a box and you'll have plenty.

I have also sprayed some SEM rattle can primer. I would say that SEM is better than Ekoprime too.

If there was a way to redo my empennage I would do it, but there isn't so I'll have to live with the Ekopoxy primer. I guess that will give you my opinion.
Ray Tonks
2020 Donation Paid
Titan IOX-370, Dual PMAGs, 9.6:1 Pistons, FM-150
RV-7 Fuselage in progress
* Cabin Interior - In progress
RV-7 SB Wings
* Both Wings fully skinned
* Fuel Tanks Complete - No leaks finally
* Ailerons Complete
* Flaps Complete
RV-7 Empennage - Complete (a little fiberglass work left)
Vans Training Kit # 2 - Complete
RV-7 Preview Plans
Vans Training Kit #1 - Complete
EAA Sheet Metal Class - Complete
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Old 05-07-2021, 10:52 AM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 4,879

I've never used the EkoPrime but I use the EkoPoxy. EkoPoxy is quite durable and sprays easily. I like it.

I use it in areas that get wear. But the airframe generally has been primed with SEM or zinc chromate or zinc phosphate. Note though that I live in a dry climate.

I have heard that the water-based Stewart products can rust bare steel. I've never tried to use EkoPoxy on steel so can't comment. Before I discovered EkoPoxy I had someone spray Azko on my landing gear legs and that has proven to be durable too.

I sprayed the roll bar, a steel weldment on my plane, with Eastwood's epoxy primer. This is a two-part epoxy primer that comes in a rattlecan. It's good for 48 hours upon initiation. It sprays quite well.

RV-3B, now setting up the cockpit
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Old 05-07-2021, 10:58 AM
skipswift skipswift is offline
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Draper, UT
Posts: 17

Thanks everyone. Great info.

Interestingly enough, it looks like the cobalt bits at Harbor Freight are the same as sold by Aircraft Spruce.

Two additional primer questions:
- If applied similarly, any idea which is heavier, AZKO or Ekoprime?
- Any idea how much primer is needed for the RV 10 emp kit?

Thanks again.
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Old 05-07-2021, 11:38 AM
mlwynn mlwynn is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: San Ramon, CA
Posts: 410
Default Primers

I used Azko on my RV8 build. The stuff is seriously toxic so you will need a fresh air respirator. I went very overboard: etched with phosphoric acid, conversion coated and then the primer. It is tough as nails but that is a lot of steps.
Michael Wynn
RV8 Flying
RV 10 Starting
Livermore, CA
2021 Dues Paid
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Old 05-08-2021, 12:05 PM
skipswift skipswift is offline
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Draper, UT
Posts: 17

I'm now leaning towards Azko -- scuff with maroon Scotchbrite pads, clean with acetone, and spay. But Larry recommended Kirker Enduro Prime at one point, so I'm looking in to that as well.
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Old 05-08-2021, 12:37 PM
alumley alumley is offline
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Ontario
Posts: 4

I use prekote and AKZO for primer. It's a lot of work but the results are very good.

I also bought the PlaneTools kit. One issue I had was that of the supplied dimple dies, only the #40 and #30 sizes are springback. I found this out when I dimpled some larger holes and had sub-par dimples. I ended up ordering a whole new dimple die kit from Cleaveland that immediately fixed the issue...

Ontario, Canada

Building an RV-10
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