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Old 05-24-2021, 10:57 AM
RV701775 RV701775 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 81
Default Pneumatic Squeezer

I just wanted to ask a general question regarding a pneumatic squeezer. I currently have the Cleaveland Main Squeeze hand squeezer, but I still have trouble getting a nice chop head with -4 rivets. It is challenging to hold the squeezer square with the rivet while applying force manually. Do people with pneumatic squeezers find that they get a better result than a hand squeezer and is it less prone to error and poorly set rivets? I guess what I am asking is it worth $700 bucks?

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Old 05-24-2021, 11:11 AM
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scrollF4 scrollF4 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Flower Mound, TX
Posts: 1,597

To me? YES! I consistently got better quality rivets, whether they be #3 or #4, domed or flush. My pneumatic squeezer was my top-preferred tool and method for riveting.

Isham sells their squeezer for $599, with excellent service after the sale.

I never once used a hand squeezer on KELLI GIRL.

Sid "Scroll" Mayeux, Col, USAF (ret)
52F NW Regional/Aero Valley Airport, Roanoke TX (home of DR's Van Cave)
"KELLI GIRL" N260KM RV-7A tipper
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Old 05-24-2021, 11:17 AM
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9GT 9GT is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Southern Michigan
Posts: 2,128

I had the Main Squeeze and quickly abandoned it in favor of the pneumatic squeezer. Waste of money IMHO, however some builders really like them.
David C.
Howell, MI
RV-10: #41686 Under Construction
RV-9A: #90949 Under Construction
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Old 05-24-2021, 11:57 AM
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jrock836 jrock836 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Burleson, Texas
Posts: 300

I used an pneumatic alligator squeezer for the first time this past weekend and was amazed at how easy it was to use. If I were going to build an entire airplane I would definitely have to add one to my collection of tools.
Van's RV-12 #120566 - ELSA - N49DD
Spinks Airport, KFWS, Fort Worth, TEXAS!

Pvt Pilot since '79! / USNR - MA2
Retired LEO / PADI MSDT / SDI OW Instructor
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Old 05-24-2021, 12:51 PM
skelrad skelrad is online now
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Redmond, WA
Posts: 181

I'm new to the game and just working on the practice kit. Of course I'm trying every riveting/dimpling method just to learn, but it took me 1 rivet with the Cleaveland pneumatic squeezer to decide it's worth the money. Set it right, and there just isn't any skill required to get a good rivet. My bucking technique...well, that is a different story.
RV-9A: Empennage
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Old 05-24-2021, 12:54 PM
rapid_ascent rapid_ascent is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Dublin, CA
Posts: 1,517

I use my pneumatic squeezer for almost all #4 rivets. I have a Main Squeeze and personally I don't like it. The pneumatic squeezer does have a learning curve since it is not as controllable as a manual hand squeezer. I use my Tatco squeezer for most #3 rivets if there are just a few to do. For larger groups I use the pneumatic squeezer.

Also, I use the longeron yoke as the default yoke. If it doesn't fit or I need a longer reach I swap the yoke.
Ray Tonks
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Old 05-24-2021, 02:30 PM
coffeeguy coffeeguy is offline
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Lake in the Hills, IL
Posts: 201

Remember, you aren't really "buying" the tool, but renting it. You will be able to sell it when you are finished and the delta to what you paid for it is the cost of the rental. Granted, your cash outlay is 100% right away and you won't get your money until you sell (if you ever do). I have a pneumatic and it's indispensable to me.
Jeff Dingbaum
RV-14A empennage, wings, fuselage
Cherokee 180
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Old 05-24-2021, 03:10 PM
ScottK ScottK is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SLC, UT
Posts: 45

I bought the Isham kit that doesn't even include a manual squeezer. So far (80% through the empennage) I haven't yet found a single rivet I wish I'd had a hand squeezer for. If you can get a yoke around it, you can get the air squeezer on it, and if not you gotta shoot it with the rattle gun anyway. Like all tools it has a learning curve, you can certainly make bad rivets with it (and a long list of other mistakes, seriously, keep your fingers out of there), but I think it's a fine tool and worth the price. You'll always be able to resell it for most of its value later - just read the instructions and do not oil it.
Scott K
KU42 / RV-9A [Tail]
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Old 05-24-2021, 03:24 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 7,567

Originally Posted by ScottK View Post
I bought the Isham kit that doesn't even include a manual squeezer. So far (80% through the empennage)...[/i].
+1. I did all of a -10 QB without a manual squeezer. Take some time to practice feathering the trigger (I too had the Isham one). You should be able to put the rivet under light compression, make certain everything is straight, then compress the rivet. This is especially valuable when access forces you to use the tool ‘backwards’ (moveable ram on the manufactured head).
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Old 05-24-2021, 03:32 PM
Mike Buckler Mike Buckler is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Chatham Ont.
Posts: 45

I eyeteeth the switch down put on a footpedal from day one and never used a hand squeezer once. Go ahead and purchase the squeezer and you won’t be disappointed.
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