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Tips Galore!

From Bits and Pieces Newsletter, October 2014

By Ian Brown, Editor – Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

Charlie Becker, EAA Homebuilt Community manager and frequent contributor to Sport Aviation, mentioned the idea of protecting the hole you are drilling from the drill chuck moving too close to the surface and marking your precious project. If you don’t remember it, it was in the February 2014 issue. He suggested a very nice idea of using a short piece of black rubber hose which you compress sideways and then drill through, leaving it on the drill bit. There is also a commercial version available, but it looks like it actually takes longer to install.

Having noticed the same problem, and needing to protect the surface not only from impact but also from grinding in the swarf at the hole, I looked around my workshop for something that would approximate the commercial version, more or less dome shaped, that would slip over most drills and found the ideal item in my plumbing supplies. As you will see in the photo, a conical rubber washer does just fine. You just need to position it on the drill as you approach the hole, if the drill bit diameter is smaller than the hole in the washer. Turning a negative to an advantage, the loose washer will not grind the swarf into the surface as much as one fixed on the drill bit, and in fact it seems to sweep the shavings away fairly gently.


Drill protector and chuck key on a string

Less than ideal is my solution for that always misplaced drill chuck key. I tied it to the drill with a piece of cord. It works. I’ve never lost it, but it’s a bit of a pain to have to keep it clear of the job being drilled. Does anyone out there have a snazzier solution? Suggestions welcome. If you have a tip that you’re happy with, why not share it with our readers?


Why not bag that smelly fuel tester?

Passengers might not appreciate the smell of avgas when you stow your fuel tester back in your aircraft. How about just putting it into a plastic baggie? It’s inexpensive and it works.

That same issue of Sport Aviation had another idea, this time for storing clecos, using vinegar jugs (or Javex jugs) with a hole cut in the side. They look like they work great. How do you store your clecos? Let us know, and tell us why you think your solution works well.

Finally, a friend made a gift of one of those leather tool belts - you know, the kind that carpenters and such use. Mine hung on the wall for a couple of years, but I began to use it recently when drilling and clecoing, and to my surprise it was really useful. You can keep clecos in one pocket, drill bits and pin punches in another, and even the odd screwdriver in another. Just make sure the pockets are all empty before you stow the tool belt. It took me weeks to find a missing pin punch! 

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