Saturday, September 29, 2007

RV Aircraft Tool Kit Options

Many RV Aircraft Builder's ask what optional tools are needed to build their airplane. The basic RV Tool Kit includes everything needed. There are some tool kit options that some builders elect to purchase.

Additional squeezer yokes in the Longeron style and 4-inch thin nose (no-hole) yoke will get into more places than only the standard 3-inch yoke. About 20% of builders purchase these additional yokes. Without them the builder can always use the rivet gun and bucking bar for those rivets.

Angle drills that use 1/4-28 threaded drill bits are purchased by about 10% of builders. This drill will get into spaces as small as 2-inches. As an alternative, use the 12-inch extended drill bits and come in from the other side to drill the hole.

RV Quick Build kits require less clecos than the full build kit. About 20% of the builders build the quick build and opt for the reduced number of clecos.

The best way to determine your options is to decide if you want to use the rivet gun and bucking bar more and come up with some other methods to make a few holes by using the extended drill bits.

Good Luck on your RV airplane!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

RV Tool Kit Detail Components

RV tool kits have several options depending upon the RV aircraft model being built and whether the airplane is a quick build or a "slow" build kit.

The basic kit includes the pneumatic squeezer and DRDT-2 dimpler which are considered must have tools.

In the options a builder may select the quick build option which deletes one-half of the clecos.

The RV-10 airplane option adds clecos, a special RV-10 bucking bar and additional squeezer and dimpler die sets.

In the area of air drills a builder may select between the standard 2700 RPM pistol drill or upgrade to a Sioux 1412 3600 RPM palm drill. Another drill that is optional is the 1/4-28 threaded angle drill. This unit is designed to fit in tight areas -- about 2-inches is enough room to drill with the angle drill.

The rivet gun has optional sizes. The 3X is by far the best choice for the RV beginning builder. The 2X gun hits too fast and is too hard to control. The slower blows-per-minute of the 3X rivet gun allows the builder much better control when riveting.

A great way to decide on which options you will need is by talking to other builders or discussing this on the forum at With many user groups for RV aircraft builders you will find many suggestions for your own unique configuration of your RV tool kit.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Cogsdill Deburring Tools

Many RV builders ask about the Cogsdill Deburring Tools for 3/32 and 1/8 inch rivet holes in their airplane projects. The RV tool kit does not include these deburring tools. The reason for this is that the rivet holes can be easily over-deburred with these tools. This causes the cleco temporary fasteners not to hold after the rivet hole is countersunk. For a better explanation of this issue see the link in the title of this writing.

Most RV tool kits are based on Van's Aircraft recommendations. Van's often over-emphasizes the deburring of holes on the RV airplanes. The fact is that unless you are building a pressurized aircraft you do not need to worry about having perfect rivet holes. A hole drilled with the appropriate aircraft drill bit and wiped off to remove any burrs is adequate.

Deburring does not mean having round and smooth holes, only removing burrs -- if you do not understand what a burr is, consider it a hang-nail inside of the rivet hole. If you don't have any of these "hang nails" then don't deburr. Your airplane will look highly professional and you will be glad your clecos all held in place after you dimpled your parts.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Performance of Sioux Air Tool Products

We have handled Sioux air tools for several years now. The most popular is the Sioux 1412 palm air drill. About 20-percent of RV aircraft builders purchase this drill. Over the past 3-years there have been two drills, that we are aware of, returned to Sioux Service Centers for warranty work. One drill had a defective body casting. The second has a leak when the drill is off.

Sioux rivet guns are a different story. In the past 3-years we have had very few satisfied customers. The Sioux rivet gun seems to always leak air when connected to an air supply. The Service Centers and the Sioux factory have been unable (or unwilling) to correct these defective rivet guns. We stopped carrying the Sioux rivet gun because the lower cost import rivet gun is just as impressive for riveting and has very few problems. About the only thing I can say that is positive about the Sioux rivet gun is that it has a nice red powder coat finish.

When you purchase air tools for your project you may want to do some research to make sure you are getting a good durable product.

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Hole Marking Tools Save Time & Money

The TracerMarker is a unique new design that replaces traditional aircraft tool hole locating methods. A big advantage is that these new markers eliminate the need to design and develop special locating tools. This saves the cost of design and manufacturing of shop aids to build tools for modification and maintenance applications.

The TracerMarker sticks to the existing part locating holes, the new part is placed on top and the markers stick to the new part. A slight tap with a hammer marks the center of each hole for drilling.

Another big advantage over traditional hole locating tools is that the TracerMarker does not require any additional space for the mechanic to mark the holes. If the actual part will fit in the space it is a simple task to place the TracerMarkers into position and place the new part over the markers for an exact fit.

This tool will soon become a roto-bin item in most major manufacturing, modification and repair centers of jet aircraft. It is being used by the military in modifications and maintenance of aircraft. The TracerMarker has proven its worth in many general aviation and commercial aircraft repair and modification applications.

The next time you need aircraft tools to locate holes in a part or assembly try the TracerMarker. You will be very pleased with the accuracy and will benefit from the cost savings in time and money.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Builder Support for Van's RV Aircraft

Probably the best resource for building an RV aircraft is The forums are great for folks just thinking about building or for those in any stage of aircraft construction. Every model, every part and every step of each building process is well documented. This is the place to ask questions and get answers from those who have "been there and done that." The same is true for deciding which aircraft tool kit you want to purchase. Make sure to search for "isham" to get the posts on the Isham Inc. RV tool kit from

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Isham Inc. Blog

I need to be more disciplined about writing to the blog. This can be a great tool to discuss and explain technical aspects of aircraft tools. In the past we have included many of the steps for using tools on the Van's RV aircraft build and assembly processes. We have answered many questions and shared ideas on how to use our tools and which tools work the best for specific applications. We will try to do a better job in keeping this blog up to date in the future.