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Old 04-04-2020, 09:00 AM
Caribbean10 Caribbean10 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 17
Default So...I'm ready to jump in. But where to start?

Is there a guide somewhere on what you need to get started building an RV-10? I've seen the tool kits from Cleveland and PlaneTools, but I'm not sure which kit is "better" and what I should upgrade/customize in the kits and what I should purchase in addition to the kits. Being that my location is on quarantine right now, and looks like it may continue to be through the end of May, I'll have to order most additional tools (Finer grit sandpaper, etc...) online, so I'm hoping to find a solid starter list of things I'm definitely going to need so I can get ahead. I'm ready to start placing orders on Monday!
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Old 04-04-2020, 09:28 AM
azflyer21 azflyer21 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Scottsdale AZ
Posts: 284

I bought the tool kit from Cleaveland and was very happy with the quality and service. You can substitute/delete from the pre-set kit.

Get the pneumatic squeezer, DRDT2 you will be glad you did.

I would skip the pneumatic drill, I used a B&D 20v cordless drill with 2 batteries and it was plenty powerful and convenient.

I bought my belt sander, bandsaw and bench grinder from Harbor Freight. Drill press was purchased on Amazon. Nothing fancy but enough for my needs.

Trying to plan every possible tool is difficult, you will be making plenty of random purchases during the build.

Enjoy the journey.
Kevin Lippert
RV-14A N1402 Flying 03-2020
Phase 1 Complete 07-12-2020
YouTube Channel
Build Log
Zenith 750 completed 2016 -
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Old 04-04-2020, 09:52 AM
flion's Avatar
flion flion is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Flagstaff, AZ
Posts: 2,709

Personally, I like Aircraft Tool Supply ( now that Avery is gone. Get a kit that doesn't include sockets, dogbones, and screwdrivers. I think either the Journeyman's or RV builder's kits would be good. Order (first!) a practice kit from Van's. You'll also want additional tools: bench grinder and drill press, compressor. Sockets, click-type torque wrench (in inch-pounds; the bigger ones you may want later for engine work), allen, phillps, slot drivers, and so on, can be sourced wherever you like. Mine are all Craftsman, others like Snap-on, but cheap will cost you in the long run. Other tools will occur to you as you build or are luxuries. I like a cut-off wheel and a band saw. A retiring A&P gave me a bending brake/shear. Extra cleco pliers (they are always on the other side of the project when you look for them - Murphy's Law Section 15.4.b). And storage. Lots of bins for small parts, shelves for big ones, cabinets for your tools, and rolling shelving (restaurant style) to have near your project. I also went to the nearby university and got an electronics workstation for my soldering gear and crimping tools plus a desk where I keep paperwork and a laptop with the plans. More recently, I got a filing cabinet to help store papers. I would also suggest getting the Vans Lightbox kit; it's more good practice and will dress up your shop space. Oh, and there are all the mundane things that we always forget: brooms, mops, degreaser, shop towels, fire extinguisher, and a good first aid kit.

Seem like a lot? You can start with the basics and add on as you progress. I built the tail kit of my RV-6A with little more than the Avery starter kit, Sears portable compressor, a hobby drill press, and tools I already had for working on cars. That was in '94. I set up my current hangar/shop in '15. So if it takes 20 years to accumulate, you'll understand there is no rush.

Oh, and clecos. Too many are never enough. My collection has quadrupled over the years (some are reserved only for fiberglass work).
Patrick Kelley - Flagstaff, AZ
RV-6A N156PK - Flying too much to paint
RV-10 14MX(reserved) - Fuselage on gear
EAA Technical Counselor #5357

Last edited by flion : 04-04-2020 at 09:55 AM. Reason: Forgot to mention clecos
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Old 04-04-2020, 09:54 AM
Caribbean10 Caribbean10 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 17

Thanks for the input! Luckily I already have a huge amount of tools because I'm constantly working on our vehicles / tinkering for fun. There are a few things in your list I don't have though, so I'll get those on order as well.
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Old 04-04-2020, 10:16 AM
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BobbyLucas BobbyLucas is offline
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Belleville, MI
Posts: 347
Default Pneumatic Squeezer Counterpoint

Personally I would skip the traditional* pneumatic squeezer, but like most other things, some people love them, some don't.

My experience was that it was very expensive, very heavy, and quite awkward. I couldn't get the thing to squeeze a rivet straight to save my life. And don't think that you'll just try it out and then return it if you don't like it, at least not to Aircraft Spruce if you're honest and tell them you tried it.

I ended up going with the Cleaveland Main Squeeze and absolutely love it. Again some love it, some don't, so ymmv. (Down side is that it is 'officially' limited to 1/8" rivets max, although I squeezed a few 5/32s with no issue whatsoever. I may have damaged mine a little trying to dimple nutplates, not sure; it still works fine, it's just not as smooth as it was)

*The Numatx pneumatic squeezer looks very promising and starting over I would probably give that go. Looks very light and it's foot-pedal operated, one-handed operation.

(Side note, the DRDT2 was awesome.)
Bobby Steinmetz
Van Buren TWP, MI
Student Pilot, Mechanical Engineer, Donating Member
RV-12iS #121228
  • My opinions are JUST my opinions, not facts
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Last edited by BobbyLucas : 04-04-2020 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 04-04-2020, 10:43 AM
wirejock's Avatar
wirejock wirejock is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 4,830
Default Basic Builder Log

Check out my blog for Favorite Links. Download the Basic Builder Log
One tab is every tool I've purchased for my build. It may help.
Personally I'm a C-frame, rivet gun, tungsten bar kinda guy. Buy the practice kits and pound some rivets. You'll figure out what tools you want.
Larry Larson
Estes Park, CO
wirejock at yahoo dot com
Donated 12/01/2021, plus a little extra.
RV-7A #73391, N511RV reserved (3,000+ hours)
Empennage, wings, fuse, finishing kit done. Working 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 04-04-2020, 10:46 AM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is online now
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 4,738

Originally Posted by wirejock View Post
Check out my blog for Favorite Links. Download the Basic Builder Log
One tab is every tool I've purchased for my build. It may help.
Personally I'm a C-frame, rivet gun, tungsten bar kinda guy. Buy the practice kits and pound some rivets. You'll figure out what tools you want.
Lots of good ideas in this thread. I side with this one, mostly. I'd get a manual squeezer and a basic tool set as described above. Then add as necessary. You don't need a lot of specialized stuff for the tail...
Kyle Boatright
Marietta, GA
2001 RV-6 N46KB
2019(?) RV-10
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Old 04-04-2020, 11:04 AM
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climberrn climberrn is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Carson City, NV
Posts: 641

My tool set from Plane Tools (Isham) was great quality. The pneumatic drill and pneumatic squeezer were very helpful for me. I was always disappointed when I had rivets that I had to shoot with the gun. On a line of rivets, the squeezer ones always came out perfect. There are many opinions out here and almost all of them are great. You can’t go wrong with ordering a kit from a major supplier, and a couple of practice kits and get started.

You will always find things you like along the way and can upgrade, or sell off others. Quality tools sell close to the purchase price here so there is little loss trying something and changing your mind. As for the main squeeze, my hangar mate has one and I recently tried it. I said to myself I can’t believe people actually use these things after being comfortable with the pneumatic ones. Everything takes getting used to and learning how to use it. I have heard there are different quality of squeezers out there.

One of the most important things to start is after you set a few rivets, and try out the different methods, have an EXPERIENCED builder or two come by and offer their opinion. Just because they are a builder, doesn’t make them an expert. Get a few opinions. Learning proper techniques early will go a long way.

Now, ask about primers and let’s really get this conversation going!!!

Just noticed you are in PR. If finances allow, you may want to start with a larger kit since shipping will be longer and some things may be difficult to find locally. I can’t see much need for fine sandpaper that was mentioned until you are finishing fiberglass. It’s cheap, so no harm getting it. Scotchbrite pads are the choice for most deburring.

RV-7A at CXP

Last edited by climberrn : 04-04-2020 at 11:09 AM. Reason: Changes
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Old 04-04-2020, 11:14 AM
Caribbean10 Caribbean10 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 17

Lots of good advice here, thanks everyone. I definitely want to start with a mostly all-inclusive kit for the location issues mentioned by Joel. Shipping to here is EXPENSIVE. Isham quoted me $750 shipping for the RV tool kit. That stings. I definitely want to try to get a bulk of the tools in one shipment just to save shipping cost and minimize downtime waiting for things to arrive.
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Old 04-04-2020, 12:34 PM
andrewtac andrewtac is offline
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Friendswood TX
Posts: 315

It took a little practice, but I prefer the pneumatic squeezer to hand most of the time. Control is what I had to learn, and there are still some places I cannot control it 100%, so I hand squeeze. But for repetitive quality rivets I find it is the best for me, and is the fastest way as well to set rivets.
Mark Andrew Tacquard

RV8 N189DK
RV10 in progress
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