Nope, it's not just for pilots - sometimes, a mechanic or builder just needs to stick a nut on the end of a screwdriver blade to hold it in a place that their fingers just won't go. Continue reading "Hey Ridley..."
The job was to remove and replace a cotter pin (in order to remove and replace a clevis pin) in the nose-wheel well of the Subsonex. A simple task--all I needed was a pair of needle nosed pliers. Except that I'd done such a neat job of putting that pin in (on the workbench, before the assembly was installed), I needed a dental pick to pry the edge up. Then, of course, the needle nose wouldn't grip, so I needed a pair of dikes. That finally got it out - but of course, getting each new tool required climbing up from the floor and going to the tool box. Continue reading "It Starts With One Pair of Pliers"
One of the curses of modern CAD technology is that designers can draw something up, then have the computer dimension it for them on the drawing - very, very precisely. In the case of the drawings I am using on my current project, the drawings tend to dimension to the nearest 1/64th of an inch if you find a line of rivets that has essentially been evenly spaced between two end points, you'll find it a bit tedious to measure each hole's location in 64ths of an inch from an end point. Continue reading "Easy Hole Spacing"
It could be happening right now, while you're safely at your desk or on your couch. It happens quietly, when your guard is down. Some say it is magical, others say...demonic. What am I talking about? Migrating tools! They are stealthy, these wrenches, drills and rivet guns. You place them in your toolbox, right where they belong - and the next thing you know - there they are, right back out in the open. The phenomena is unexplained, very much like the fact that a box of clecos placed in a closet will slowly disappear... but the population of coat hangers will increase... coincidence? I think not! Continue reading "Tool Migration"
How many times have you been working in the depths of your aircraft's fuselage, a flashlight in your mouth, and a work light burning a hole in your trousers (and not providing any light while it was doing it) and wished for better lighting? I have been a cave explorer on and off throughout my life, and I'll tel you what - it was just a good preparation for working in a light airplane's fuselage! Continue reading "Light it Up!"
It's no joke folks - if you want to do a big job, you need some big tools. Most metal airplane builders are familiar with squeezer yokes - heavy steel shapes that attach to either a pneumatic cylinder or a hand squeezer to squeeze rivets and dimple sheet metal. Really big ones might handle a depth of about four inches. But for some jobs, you need to reach really far inside the sheet from the edge, and for this, most folks use a C-frame dimpler that you hit with a hammer. Continue reading "Now THAT'S a Squeezer Yoke!"