Ahead, yet Behind

There are another two or three days of class yet and as of 9:00 this morning, I’ve completed all labs for this term. I’m ahead. That’s good.

So what do I do with the extra time on me hands?

Put my feet up and chill?

Help everyone else out?

Or instead tackle the missed projects from last term that I was behind on. Yeah, I should address the missed projects.

OMG MOAR TOOLZ!

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:

3X rivet gun kit, ATS-3XPK or equal*, 1 kit

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.

Air drill 1/4 – 3/8 chuck*, 1 ea

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.

Lincoln Long air fittings or adapters for all air tools), as needed

Okay, you’ll need to order one female end for one end of your air hose and male ends for every other pneumatic tool in your kit. You aren’t going to just use your regular pneumatic tools in the shop.

That said, it’s just 1/4 inch NPT, so you can rapidly assemble an adapter making your own shop air compatible with the Lincoln Long style connectors.

Aviation Snips, set of 3, ATS 865-3 or MKR or equal, 1 set

Fiskar’s scissors, they aren’t.

There’s a reason that they’re aviation snips and why there are three different kinds. When you cut metal, you’ll need to have left, right, or straight-cut of material depending on needs.

25’ Air hose*, 1 ea

You may want one of those coiled/recoil type hoses, but don’t. They’ll become a trip-hazard for anything except the smallest of crafty spaces with one person to step over it.

Also, avoid the “combination” sets or kits that have extra pneumatic fittings, gauges, nozzles, inflators,

Just a regular heavy-duty hose.

Oh, and if it comes with fittings (many will) then you’ll need to swap out its fittings with the L-fittings above.

Cleco kit, clecos & pliers, ATS CL50K or equal, 1 ea

The CL50K kit comes with 12 or 13-each of commonly-used Clecos. Totally sufficient for our needs.

#1 – #60 Numbered Drill bit set, 1 set

Fortunately, ATS has a numbered-bit set here. You might be able to find a cheaper/more-readily-available option if you shop around.

1/8″ – 1/2″ Fractional Drill bit set, 1 set

ATS also has a fractional set of bits that seem to fit our needs as well. Includes 1/16″ to 1/2″ in 1/64″ increments.

Rivet gauge set, ATS AE-1007 or RG031 or equal

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.

Needle file set, ATS S475 or equal

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 DIY centers. Just a 12 or 16 oz ball peen.

Debur tool, ATS SVBHD or equal

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.

Center punch

It’s just going to be a tool to dimple metal to mark a center point for drilling. You could go with a lower-tech two-hand solution. Or a higher-tech one-hand tool.

3/32″ pin punch

Yeah, we can get this one…

1/8″ pin punch

Or even better, get two of them together. ATS. HD. Lowe’s. Amazon. Even HF.

Protractor, ATS GT17 or equal

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?

#40 drill stop, ATS DS-40 or equal, 1 ea

This is, quite possibly, the cheapest item you’ll need to buy for the program. Don’t bother with the woodworking type drill stops.

#30 Drill bit, 10 ea

[Clicks the dropdown menu] Huh… and #30s as well.

#30 drill stop, ATS DS-30 or equal, 1 ea

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.

#2 Phillips stubby screwdriver, 1 ea

Stubby straight screwdriver, 1 ea

I already have some to re-task into aviation, but these can be found via the usual suspects.

#2 Phillips offset screwdriver, 1 ea

There’s the old-style fixed offset screwdrivers:

Or, for a few dollars more, consider a mini ratcheting angle-driver solution:

It may be more suitable and much more of a multitasker.

Pliers, common, 1 ea

Regular, old, everyday pliers.

Hmm… by “common” I wonder if they mean slip-joint pliers? Eh, here are a few.

Welding goggles (gas, #5 lens), 1 ea, Recommend safety glass style for non-prescription users

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.

Welding gloves (light duty for oxy-acetylene or MIG), 1 pr.

Welding tip cleaner, 1 ea

1/16 Gas welding rod, 1 lb.

1/16 Arc welding electrode (E6013 or E7014)

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.

But picking up an extremely inexpensive siphon-feed, pneumatic, HVLP cup-gun would work well.

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.”

Uh, no, it isn’t.

Spotted on one of the hand-outs that was dispersed last week:

I’m starting to think I’ve had (another) stroke.

It reads: “Is this true or false? Relative to ultrasonic testing, air is considered a good conductor and for this reason ultrasound will carry long distances in air.”

First, “relative to ultrasonic testing”? Not sure what that might mean.

Second, no, air is a rather horrible conductor of ultrasonic sound energy.

It reads as “TRUE – Relative to ultrasonic testing, air is considered a good conductor for this reason ultrasound will carry long distances in air.”

Uh… no, it isn’t and, no, it won’t. Air (of any kind or density) is an absolutely horrible sound transmission medium.

Funny(ish) of the Moment

Occasionally, one of the instructors, who jokingly refers to “National Aviation Parts Association” every now and again references another locally-owned proprietor and I have a bit of difficulty discerning the seriousness of the remark…

Why so?

Because what he says isn’t necessarily what I hear.

It’s called “House of Hose“. Yep, it’s a legitimate business.

But what I hear is “House of Ho’s”. Run by some friendly chap named, Upgrayedd.

Late Additions to the SCC Tools List?

Having a read over the SCC AMT Student Handbook and there are a few late additions that will be required — a few that are for me anyway.

First: We’ll need to provide our own coveralls. I’m sure the apron and the Workman Utilikilt that I use when woodworking wouldn’t be at all appropriate. One of those details that slipped through the cracks, so be sure to venture out to a local purveyor or click around on Amazon to select some coveralls. Probably best to have two.

Second: and this one is slightly more annoying for me, the Student Handbook says, “Students will be required to have locking toolboxes” (§19, “Tools, Books and Lockers”, p13).

I’m not sure if maybe I missed that locking part during orientation. While both of the larger rolling tool cabinets that I’ve had in my shop for some time are locking, we’re not storing rolling cabinets in the hangar yet*.

The problem is that the toolbag I had retasked for AMT isn’t lockable. It’s an open-top toolbag. So, I’ll need to track down a locking toolbox or even pick one up from a local DIY center.

*I get the impression that we’re only storing rolling carts in the hangar after the first or second term. But it occurs to me, with the books and other materials we’ll have, that it would be make sense to have rolling tool cart storage sooner rather than later.