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!"
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. Continue reading "Old Dog, New Trick"
AirVenture is long over, but we're still digging out from the information deluge the show provides. A good example is the Aerocreeper, an adjustable height design that looks perfect for those "too short to kneel, too tall to sit up" jobs under our airplanes. We saw it while running through one of the display hangars and couldn't resist a quick peek. Continue reading "Aerocreeper"
There comes a time when you realize that your assortment of aircraft hardware has reached a point where you have to hunt and peck your way through every drawer to find what you want - when the shear variety of nuts, bolts, rivets, and what-nots have exceeded your personal memory capacity, and it takes longer to hunt something down that it does to figure out what you're looking for. When you reach that point, its time to make some labels! Continue reading "Necessary Tedium"