Old Dog, New Trick

I've been working on airplanes for a long time, and some things I do a certain way because I have always done them a certain way. Deburring for instance - I can't begin to think of how many tens of thousands of holes I have deburred (both sides!) on countless airplanes. Drill, debur, repeat... the mantra of the metal airplane builder. I have almost always used a hand-crank deburring tool with two or three flutes for the job, and I can do it while watching TV or (probably) in my sleep. One and a half turns, then on to the next hole, endlessly.

Well recently, while staring at the endless wing span and a huge number of holes on our Xenos motor glider wing, a neighbor stopped by and silently handed me his little power screwdriver with a "no flute" tool. "Give this a try", and after a moment's pause he added "you'll thank me for it!" Now I have used a fluted tool screwed into a a suicide mandrel and chucked up in a drill motor before - but it was grabby and of course the drill was heavy. Sometimes, when the wrist was sore form all the twisting, I just made that work. And I had heard of the no-flute design before (it has a diagonal hole drilled through the end of the bit, and cuts with the edge of that hole), but hadn't tired one.

Well I'll be... you CAN teach an old dog a new trick! The power screwdriver is light enough to hold in a variety of ways, and the little deburring bit is fantastic. No tendency to grab in the hole, and it leaves a nice clean edge without trying to countersink anything. I liked it well enough after one session that I ordered two of the bits from Cleaveland tools, and two of the power screwdrivers from an online retailer that could get them delivered in a day. Why two? Well, there's a whole lot of Xenos wing to cover, and the time goes faster when you have a partner.

Paul Dye

Paul Dye, Kitplanes® Editor in Chief, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the space shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen, and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and a Subsonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor, and Flight Advisor, as well as a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

8 Replies to “Old Dog, New Trick”

  1. I'd be kind of surprised if you didn't wear out the switch on the power screwdriver doing a motor glider Wing or two.

  2. Paul, could you provide the part number for that demurring tool? I followed the link in your article and could not find a bit that looked like the picture in the article.
    Thanks
    Ed

  3. Have you tried the
    E-Z BURR - HSS SERIES from ACS.
    They are a little expensive but if you have a couple of wings or whole metal aircraft you will save hours of labor and sore hands.

  4. I have one of Mike's deburring tools and recommend it highly. It is typical of the quality tools carries and you do mot have to worry about the flutes grabbing and drilling and accidental hole in your nearly finished wing skin in a fraction of a second.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.