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Required Tools and Tool Suppliers

Many pilots and prospective airplane builders are unfamiliar with the construction methods and used in building metal airplanes. This is strange in a way because the vast majority of the airplanes built in the last fifty years are made of riveted aluminum. While riveting may initially seem a mystery, it is really very simple.

Handling and doing quality work is not difficult. Some practice always helps, so a bundle of trimmings is included in the kit, along with enough extra rivets that the new builder can rivet away and convince him or herself that it isn’t all that hard. Remember, the reason there are so many riveted aluminum airplanes in the world is that ordinary people in ordinary circumstances can do an acceptable (or better) job.

Practice Projects available from Van’s Aircraft

Buying Tools

While Van’s stocks a few tools as a convenience to our customers (available through our web store), we are not tool sales specialists. We’ve included a list of recommended tools used for the construction of an RV. For the RV-12 please refer to RV-12 plans Section 3 for a complete tool list. We also suggest you speak with other builders and consult with some of the companies that specialize in RV aircraft tools, including Cleaveland Aircraft Tools and Isham/Planetools in the United States — companies where you can speak with RV builders that have unique, real-world experience building the same type of aircraft you’ll be working on. Some companies have put together packages of tools recommended specifically for RV building. You should plan on spending $1500 or more for a complete set of tools. We’ve provided a partial listing of suppliers that can provide expert information and advice.

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