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Kit Building: Cool Tools

Pssssst ...  About Tools

You don't need a lot of tools to build a Challenger (most of them get built with a portable electric drill and a hand riveter) but, your spouse does not need to know this.  Some of us just like tools, and since most airplanes require a ton of tools to build, there is this thing called " general expectations" that you may wish to use to your advantage!  i.e. any airplane project is a good excuse to buy tools, even if most Challengers get built with a few household tools!

About this Page

I have a lot of tools.  I love tools, and I am always looking for great quality tools - I'm even happier when they're affordable!  This page is not here to start any debates.  From time to time, I'll post stuff here that I feel is helpful to Challenger builders.  This page is pretty rough at present, but building new sections on this site appeases my computing habit on nights when I don't feel like building my airplane. 

Jim Kayer's Trunions

With the benefit of other Challenger Builders, more ideas are starting to come for this page.  We met Jim Kayer and his wife from Orillia, Ontario over dinner at Montebello 2009.  He's been kind enough to provide sketches, a bill-of-materials and several photos of some really nice Trunions that he made to hold his Challenger's wings for covering and painting.  They are made from 2 X 2’s and ¼ inch plywood; light and quite rigid.  They are designed so that each trunnion uses one 4 X 4 sheet of plywood. Jim was kind enough to send the photos along in "giant scale", so while we've shrunk them here to speed page refresh, if you want to build a set just drop us a note and we'll beam you the big ones.

 

 

Princess Auto

I just haven't got enough good things to say about this outfit.  They have good quality stuff at very reasonable prices - especially when they are on sale - and that is almost always.

As far as service goes, they are, in my experience, just awesome.  I bought a large light industrial compressor there over two years ago.  The other morning, I went to my shop to find a fair bit of smoke.  Something was wrong with the compressor and it wasn't shutting off.  I unplugged it and disassembled the compressor head.  Something had let loose in a cylinder (a very rare thing I think) and put a hole in piston, effectively wrecking the air tightness of the compressor head.

I took the compressor head back to PA, hoping I might get a core rebate on a new head.  I had no bill.  "More than two years ago", I said when they asked when I bought it.   No problem - they said and fetched me a new one off the shelf.  Mine went off to their PowerFist Centre for diagnostic analysis.  That is service, and I doubt I'd have gotten similar treatment anywhere else. 

I know of quite a few Challengers that have received really nice, high quality paint jobs with a set of HVLP guns from Princess Auto that were less than $100.

Lee Valley Tools

Another favorite haunt of mine.  Definitely the place to go for paint brushes for fabric, and they have some of the absolutely best tools made.  A great place for gardening gadgets also if you happen to have a green thumb.  I prefer to look at other people's gardens from the comfort of my Challenger, but to each his own.
Prices shown are what they were when we saw or bought the item - they may have changed since.
What Why Where
Tilt Box™ Digital Inclinometer - $42.50!

Tilt Box™ Digital Inclinometer for Tool Setting - Woodworking

A WAY COOL way to measure relative angles on surfaces on airplanes - even if they aren't level.   i.e. you put this on a wing.  zero the angle, then place it on an aileron, and voila, you know your deflection to .05 of a degree, and 0.2 degree accuracy.

Really nice and compact, and has rare earth magnets to hold to a saw blade, billing vice, etc.

 

Lee Valley
Safety Wire Pliers for $9.95!  These just showed up last week. They make installing safety wire on critical places like prop and fuel lines a whole lot easier.  As far as I can tell, they are identical to the ones I'm used to paying $40 for at airplane stores. Princess Auto
8177958
CROSS SOCKET WRENCH
$ 2.44 (Sale)

• Socket sizes: 3/8", 7/16", 1/2", 9/16"
• Carbon steel

Weight: 0.58 lbs

Coolest thing I ever saw.  Fits most bolts on a Challenger!  Look at the size and weight - you can carry one in your plane! Princess Auto
8083297
INFRARED COMPACT THERMOMETER
$ 24.99 (Sale)

• Measurement range: -33°C to 220°C
• Accuracy: +/- 2 degrees
• Automatic power off: 15 seconds
• Distance to spot ratio 1:1
• Batteries included
• Other functions: clock, stop watch, room thermometer

SORRY, NO RAINCHECKS
Weight: 0.14 lbs

A very handy thing for calibrating the temperature on your iron BEFORE you start shrinking fabric. Princess Auto
Spring-Loaded Punches - Woodworking

 

3 for $19.20.  Knowing Lee Valley, they will be of high quality.  Lee Valley
Disposable Natural-Bristle Brushes - Woodworking Disposable Natural-Bristle Brushes.  Great for Poly Brush.

30 for $14.95.  They're identical to the ones at the airplane parts store that are $5.00 EACH!

Lee Valley
 

The Fine Print - Caution

Ideas, illustrations and photos are the author's own work and are for information only.  
Builders of Challengers should always follow the Quad City manual.

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