My wife and I attended the rudder workshop this last February and began our CH-650 project.  Prior to attending the workshop, we were in general agreement about using the lower cost hand riveter and a basic drill, but after the workshop we felt a bit spoiled by the ease of the pneumatic equipment.  Newlyweds, we don't have access to an assorted tool supply of drills and air compressors; however, we see these as worthy investments for other projects in our lives.

Anyway, my question is whether or not you would recommend the use of pneumatic equipment to make cleaner more consistent rivets and if so which air compressors would you also recommend?  I'm sure the project wouldn't need any more than a 5 CFM 20 gallon air compressor?  If we go with an electric drill instead, which models would you recommend?  Can an electric drill achieve enough RPM to not make a mess of the metal?

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All excellent, intelligent, experienced replies. I finally settled on a Dewalt 3/8" drill ( D21001, believe model #), as I liked the 2450 RPM's, 110, vs. the other chorldess prev. plugged in. Yellow, Home Depot, or perhaps other outlets. If you live -shop in Rapid, Menard's is big on the E. side. BTW, if you haven't picked up a pneumatic, I've a JET, NIB, JSG-0810, quick release air valve for $75.Maverick_4003@yahoo.com. Hangar space limited - tight in your region per interesting where you plan on access when completed.

I bought a Craftsman air compressor (about $400) and one of the good Sioux air drills.  A good air compressor is very handy to have around for a lot of other stuff as well...

But most of my airplane drilling was done with an 18v Makita cordless drill.  I bought a "tool pack" that included the drill, a flashlight (which I use all the time), and a "hammer drill" which I rarely use. 

For pulling the rivets, I started with a pneumatic riveter, then went to a hydraulic one, but I was not satisfied with the quality of the set rivets using either of those tools.  I went back to the hand riveter and never looked back.

I hand-riveted both wings and the entire fuselage, and then polished my airplane.  Very happy with the results.

- Pat

Patrick, there is a lot of great advise here on the tool your seaking. However, there will probably not be a day go by that you don't cut yourself on the edges of the alum. I recomend a good pair of work gloves that are thin enough to still have the feel of the tools and to be able to pick up those small items. They dont have to be leather. I use a thin pair of what feels like a ruberized material. I don't know the brand but they worked great. If no gloves, a large box of band aids will work.    Alan

Hahaha!  I'll be sure to pick up a few pair.  I remember the metal was very sharp at the workshop until we deburred the edges.

Here's my 2 cents.

On air compressors - My old house and garage is limited to only 15 amp circuits, so I looked a long time for compressors that will pump out the CFMs but not blow the breakers.  I finally settled on a California Air Tools, 15 Gal, 2HP compressor.  It is oil less and pumps out >5 CFM but is VERY QUIET.  It also has an unloading valve to reduce peak amps during startup.  It's kind of expensive (but still cheaper than industrial units I've seen) but can be ordered through Home Depot.

My only disappointment so far is the Dewalt cordless drill I got.  It got it because it has the highest speed I could find.  The problem I have occurs because of the drill brake that stops the drill when you let go of the trigger.  After a few pulls of the trigger, the chuck comes loose and the drill bit falls out.  So I got the pneumatic one when I went to the Zenith open house.

Other than that, everything else seems to be personal choice.

Good Luck and Have Fun.

Pat:  Do not use a hand drill with a battery attached.  Use an air drill, a palm drill as you wish, after 70000 holes you will be thanking me.

Most of the aircraft tool suppliers get their stuff from florida. the drill as well.

Please Pm me if you require more info.

Jon

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