Tool Truck Vendors, Part II

I had posted previously about the second consideration for tool truck vendors — Mac Tools in this case. I need a set of 12-point, universal, SAE sockets for a Powerplant course I’ll be starting next term.

I had noticed that Mac Tools had updated their inventory* and indicated that they were taking orders for those sockets. So I ordered them.

I received an instant (automated) order confirmation.

Then nothing.

Days passed. The days turned into weeks. Heard nothing. No tracking number. No charge to my card. Nothing.

So I contacted Mac Tools and ensured that it was canceled so I could resume my search.

Then I returned to Genius Tools and noted that its site, too (at the time), definitely indicated it was in stock. Click. Purchase. Confirm. Multiple automatic emails (order confirmation and such). Charge to my card.

And it arrived in a few days.

**sigh**

*Mac Tools, when acknowledging the request to cancel the order, said, “SMU72TRA is still on back order…” Wait. What? You said it was out of stock, so I postponed. Then you said it was in stock. So I ordered. Now it’s out of stock? Hmmm… something fishy in their application of web technologies.

Safety Third?

Ideas first

Tools second

Safety third

I’ve started learning [Ideas first] about oxyacetylene welding [Tools second] and the moment I walked into the welding lab, this caught my eye…

Let’s just put this gas-can right here.

Flames. Acetylene gas. Oxygen. And a plastic gasoline can at the oxy-acetylene welding station.

Safety third.

I can’t help but wonder if this is an education tool to see who sees it and reacts to it.

Tool-Truck Vendors…

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.

2020-09-02 – AMT Tools List

Fast forward a bit and I had posted another portion of the tools list that was rather expensive, and then another bit that would eventually be required for the Powerplant program. Some stuff was easy to come by. But a few other things, not so much.

Those pesky 1/4″ drive, universal/flex 12-point SAE sockets. [Insert satto voce annoyance mumbling here]

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.

So, here are the options:

Mac Tools

7-pc. 1/4″ drive SAE Universal Socket Set – 12-PT – 1/4, 5/16, 11/32, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16: $295.99

Snap On

6 pc 1/4″ Drive 12-Point SAE Flank Drive® Shallow Universal Socket Set – 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16: $309

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.

Tools Needed for Airframe II and Powerplant

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.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s | Aircraft Tool

6″ Needle nose pliers. 1 ea.

You can often find pliers in sets including needle-nose, common slip-joint pliers, and water pump/water line pliers.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

Cotter pin puller. 1 ea. 𝌗

Wait — you can often find O-ring removal tools and picks in combinations that are highly effective multi-taskers.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

Magnetic parts retriever. 1 ea.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

8″ Slip joint (water pump) pliers. 1 ea.

I’ll bet there’s a set on the various results pages that has both the water pump pliers and the needle nose.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

O-ring removal tool set. 1 set

Oh, look — O-ring removal tools… didn’t I mention that there are combinations of multi-taskers to be had?

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

Tire valve core and stem remover. 1 ea.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

3/8″ to 1/4″ Socket drive adapter. 1 ea.

Often, you’ll get directed toward tools that are adapters for power drills or (worse) impact drivers. Don’t! Just regular old 1/4″ to 3/8″ socket adapters.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

1/4″ to 3/8″ Socket drive adapter. 1 ea.

Same position as above — but in this case, it’s a 1/4″-drive whereas it was a 3/8″ drive above.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

1/4″ Drive Speed Handle (Yardstore #14208 or equivalent). 1 ea.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s | Yardstore

1/4″ #2 Phillips bits for bit holder. 2 ea.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

3/8″ Drive 12 point socket set 3/8″ though 7/8″. 1 set

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

3/8″ Drive 6″ extension. 1 ea.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

1/4″ 12 Point socket set 1/4″ through 9/16″. 1 ea.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

1/4″ 6 Point socket set 1/4″ through 9/16″ 1 ea.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

1/4″ Drive ratchet. 1 ea.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

1/4″ Drive extension set, 2″, 4″ and 6″. 1 set

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s

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.

Amazon #1, Amazon #2 | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s | Genius Tools

1/4″ Bit Holder 1/4″ Drive (Yardstore #56110 or equivalent). 1 ea.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s | Yardstore

But wait… there’s more!

Required Tools for Powerplant

ARCFT 245, 246, 247, 248, 255, 256, 257, 258

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.

Slick mag timing lock tool (Aircraft Spruce PN # T118 or equal), 1 ea.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s | Aircraft Spruce

Slick mag E-Gap tool (Aircraft Spruce PN # T150 or equivalent) Students may make in Gen A as extra project, 1 ea.

While this tool and the timing lock tool above are rather inexpensive, there will be another $12 for ultra-basic shipping. What one might plan as a $30 purchase will actually be about $42.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s | Aircraft Spruce

Eng. Cable Sling **Note. All students will make this item in Gen A. 1 ea.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s | Just kidding, you should already have it. If you don’t or haven’t made one, check with your instructor and see about fabricating it.

Magneto Timing Light **Note (Aircraft Spruce #12-16901 or equivalent) Students should make this item in Gen B.

Amazon | Harbor Freight | Home Depot | Lowe’s | Aircraft Spruce

**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.