I had previously admonished the use of Tool-Truck vendors.
I had remarked:
As a student or just starting out, do not buy the ‘best’ tool that can be had nor anything from some mobile tool [truck] purveyor.
Instead, buy the cheapest thing you can find that meets the actual needs you have right now. Not needs you think you’re going to have in the future. Learn to use it appropriately. Care for it. When it breaks or wears out, if repair isn’t plausible, then look for the best tool that in your learned and gained experience will meet your specific needs.
I’d have thought that there would be many plausible inexpensive options. Sure, the list specified “Genius Tools” and a specific product number. One could go over to the site and read all about it, but also see that it said “Out of stock” and to call some specific telephone number.
Okay, so let’s see where else we can find something comparable in the $35 – $50 range. Sure, metric sets were available.
Yet virtually nothing in US-aviation is metric. SAE only.
Oh, look — here’s a 3/8″ drive set of 12-point universal SAE sockets. Might be helpful. Maybe. But they’ll be taller and may not fit into tight space.
The list does specify 1/4″ drive… and as time progressed, it seems that they were extraordinarily rare. And over the months that I had waited and tried repeatedly, I wasn’t getting any response from Genius Tools.
I said I wouldn’t do it… but, let’s go look at Snap-On… hmm… $296. And Mac Tools? $310.
That’s more expensive than the $40 that Genius Tools had promoted the product at. About $263 more! But it’s becoming increasingly evident that it was extraordinarily unlikely — bordering on myth.
What’s Your Value?
Then there’s the question of how much one’s time is worth. How much has it cost in the perhaps 40 hours that I’d expended to save that $263?
It seems I’ve already spent about $263 of my time in tracking down something cheaper. Do the math and it works out to $6.58 per hour.
Looks that the Mac Tools offering is less expensive and includes a 11/32″ socket as well, so, ready to drop coin on it… son of a…
Awaiting a response from Mac Tools, or I’ll ring them when I’m done with chores.
Update: I looked over the Genius Tools page this morning while hammering out this post. On their product page, they now include a promising Add to Cart button. Quite a step up from the previously-used “Out of stock, call this number” note. So, I eagerly click it and…
I see what you did there. No doubt you were getting inundated with calls looking to purchase it, but instead you’ve removed the contact number to request it.
Obviously, we’ll only have just begun the third quarter when we return from spring break in a week or so. But, as we received several weeks ago the tools list for the fourth and fifth quarters, it’s something to start preparing for over the term… oh, and you have the summer quarter to prepare for it as well.
Here’s the list with a few links to specific recommendations and suitable alternatives.
Required Tools for Airframe II
ARCFT 235, 236, 237, 238
All of these tools are required by the second week of Airframe II Quarter! Students starting out of sequence must have all tools from General and Airframe I lists also! As always, consult your instructor for clarification if you are unclear about a tool description.
As we’ve done this a few times, I’m just going to provide some links to the search results for plausible vendors that we’d used before: Amazon, Harbor Freight, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and the recommended vendor if one was given.
I’m not seeking out the various tool suppliers that may have been mentioned by the instructors because many may not (or don’t) have a search mechanism, a web presence, or both. You can certainly have a look at them and consider your own value of the time you spend on it.
Snap Ring Plier set (ATS E100-022 or equal). 1 set
You’ll need snap ring pliers to both expand snap rings and compress.
1/4″ 12 Point universal joint socket set 5/16″ through 9/16″ (Genius US-206S or equal). 1 set
These sockets are rather difficult to track down. You can find them in several places, but they’re quite expensive — $220-ish. I think it’s quite unreasonable. Genius Tools has them listed for about $40 for the specific recommended item number. But they’re back ordered. Honestly, I’d rather pick them up for $40 than nearly six times as much.
All these tools are required by the second week Powerplant Quarter! Students starting out of sequence must have all tools from general and airframe list also! As always, consult your instructor for clarification if you are unclear about a tool description.
**Note: Some students may be starting the program out of typical sequence order, if they have not had a specific General Class that they would have made one of the required tools consult the Powerplant instructor prior to starting the Powerplant Quarter for guidance. For students who do complete these projects during General take care to assemble them to the highest quality, to prevent having to open purchase them due to inaccuracy.
We were reminded today that the third quarter in the program begins in about 8 weeks (7 weeks by the time I post this). We were also reminded that we need to get onto ordering tools for our next portion of classwork labs sooner rather than later. Very probably, none of the tools will be available locally.
Fair warning: this is, so far, the most expensive combination of tools to be obtained — and the majority of cost is likely within the first two or three items. Yes, really. Even considering what I’d said before about not needing to buy the most expensive/best/tool-truck-brand tool that can be found.
So… the list is below along with some of the sources I’ve found.
Lower chest tool box, recommended size 20”x30”x40”, 1 ea
Yep, gone are the days that we’ll just need a few screwdrivers and wrenches. We’ll need a bit more than can be carted around in a semi-portable toolbox. There are loads of options to be had and several that can be obtained new for about $300. There are also a few rather good options from Harbor Freight.
One could write a novel on what is and isn’t a good rolling toolbox to contain one’s tools. But here are some of the variations:
It doesn’t seem there are many options available. Although I admittedly simply don’t know enough about rivet guns other than to say that you absolutely should not buy the cheapest thing you find. I ordered one from Aircraft Tool Supply then received an email a day later cautioning that they’re awaiting delivery, so it’ll be two weeks until they ship.
Not to worry.
Oh, they also have “designer colors” — as long as a designer fancies black, red, blue, or fashionable lime-green… no, wait — they call it jade-green.
Pneumatic. Not battery-powered, nor 1-phase/household current operated. And while it’s very much my opinion, I would discourage any keyed-chuck options unless your goal is ten-thousandths-precision, in which case you wouldn’t be doing the work with a hand-held tool. Also, that key is one more thing to keep track of. And if you misplace it, your drill is effectively a paperweight. I’ve preferred keyless chucks whenever possible.
I’m sensing a trend here: ATS seems to be either the only place that has the needed tools… or it’s the only place that I bothered to look. Save a few dollars and opt for the RG031 kit. It’s quite adequate.
Brass drift (3/8 x 10)
ATS does not have brass drifts. They have center punches and pin punches, but no drifts. Fortunately, yep, Amazon.
You know it has occurred to me that if SCC were to let ATS know what they needed, they could select specific part numbers and students could just order the “SCC 3Q ARCFT Kit”. Sure, people could shop around and find something equal… except as students learning about aviation, it may be that something is thought to be equal, but isn’t.
Babbling rant aside, a set of needle files can be had at ATS:
12 or 16 oz. Ball Peen hammer
ATS does have ball peen hammers. But you can also find them on Amazon or pick one up from one of a local DIYcenters. Just a 12 or 16 oz ball peen.
Hmm, on the heels of the remark about not knowing if something equal, now we’ll consider deburring tools. Can one be found at Lowe’s? Home Depot? And, no doubt, many of them can also be found on Amazon.
Or, since you’re already selecting items from ATS, you could go with the list’s recommendation. Also, they do seem rather comparable in price.
I wonder if the more expensive, super-awesome, high-tech $29 digital option is equal to the $17 GT17.
Hint: no, they’re not equal — one is nearly twice the cost of the other with little functional gain.
Mechanic hook & pick set, 5″ or greater
I honestly didn’t know that such things have a measurement or size classification. So, would these be 5-inch?
Eh, probably not. But we can probably go pick one from the assorted shops.
4″ C-Clamps, 2 ea
And you thought those C-clamps in your great-granddad’s toolbox were outdated and old-fashioned. Hardly. You can easily find several options across the interwebz. Caution: it seems that the assorted tool purveyors are including their own recommendations: “Here are some locking C-clamps and C-clamp pliers… they’re more better!”
No, thanks, just the old-style C-shaped clamp with the single, threaded screw.
#40 drill bit, 10 ea
Hmm… ten of them? I was wondering why we were going to need ten of them… if only somebody offered them in packs of two or three… wait… they really do readily offer #40’s in bulk packs?
This is the second of the cheapest items you’ll need.
Extension cord, 25′ outdoor quality, 1 ea
You know, having lived The RV life, I have several heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords that I can retask for the hangar.
Do not buy the cheapest, and absolutely do not buy anything listed at “16/3 Heavy Duty Outdoor” — its description rather underscores that it’s inadequacy.
12/3 will work and you can find them at Lowe’s, HF, Amazon, and HD. Going larger to 10/3 would, while suitable, have diminishing returns. It would be more expensive than is necessary and wrangling the additional bulk will be problematic.
I don’t have a clue about anything involving welding apart from comprehending that soldering!=brazing!=welding. But I’ll go out on a limb here and say that having a super-awesome, instantly dimming, LCD helmet is not what you’ll want. When you’re learning to weld, it’s the wrong time to have the auto-dimming battery fail. Also: unless you selected a rolly-toolbox with a suitable space, you won’t be able to store it in there.
So, just goggles.
Oh, and ensure that they’re #5 shades.
Yes, you could check with Lincoln Electric or Eastwood and perhaps they have something that might work. I’m somewhat lazy and tend to go to the places that have worked well enough for me in the past: Lowe’s and HD are questionable, but oddly, HF, and, surprise, Amazon, have options.
So, everything else welding-related on the list is very much in the realm of “I haven’t a clue”. 🤷 But these might work.
It doesn’t seem that vendors clearly state in some titles whether they’re E6013 or E7014, or vice-versa. So, click through and read the product description.
Paint gun (HVLP-recommend 20oz. reservoir)*, 1 ea
Disclaimer: I do have extremely-particular taste and preference in painting equipment. I painted houses and businesses professionally for several years before I was in Computer Science.
I hear from good authority (a student who graduated last term) that there was only cause to use the cup-gun (HVLP sprayer) for like one project.
If there’s only one painting project, it absolutely doesn’t justify the cost of a Wagner Spraytech HVLP or even a Spray Max (both nice) or a Graco 7.0 3-stage turbine HVLP (very nice) but neither one suitable. Nor the pneumatic Graco Edge II or the aviation-specific Graco AirPro.
Oh, and while you’re searching around for HVLPs, you’ll no doubt see ads and sales pitches directing you (insisting? demanding?) to buy burp-guns. Don’t. It’s a trap.
Just a super-basic, gravity-fed or cup-gun pneumatic sprayer.
Paint respirator (ProTech B242 or equal), 1 ea
Okay, this is an odd one — there doesn’t seem to be a “ProTech B242” respirator to be found. And I’m unfamiliar with the name
Well, there is a “ProTech”, but it’s not likely what we’ll need. The ProTech you’ll find online is one of those tactical-related vendors.
I don’t know if SCC requires a PPV respirator (doubt it, but for those with beards, it may be appropriate eventually) so something like a basic 3M painting respirator (Lowe’s, Home Depot) may work fine. Generally, cartridges in a painting respirators need to be replaced every day or so under regular use.
That’s about it. So far.
From what I’ve calculated, this is indeed the most expensive tool list of the lot.
Apart from the toolbox, which I already have, the greatest expenses, in order, were: the rivet gun, the drill, the drill bits, and the Cleco kit. Most other items were within the range of $2 to $20.
*Per the tools list: “New tools may say they include an air hose fitting but it will not come with Lincoln Long fittings, nor will air hoses.”