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Thread: Which air drill to buy?

  1. #1
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    Which air drill to buy?

    I have to drill out some rivets without damaging the parts. I was going to use my right angle air drill, but it is fixed speed, 1800RPM & it isn't working very well. All of my electric drills are too big to be able to control well enough for this project.

    I'm wondering what variable speed reversing air drill you guys would recommend. I want something that works well & is easy to control the speed but I don't want to spend a fortune.

    I am seeing a very wide range of prices - this one at spruce is a good price, but I'm wondering what the quality is like.

    http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalo...es/ATS6104.php

  2. #2

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    The ATS tools hat I have used have been of good quality . I have not used their air drills so I cannot speak directly to those.

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    Mike if you have a lot of rivets to remove, invest in a rivet removal tool. Puts the drill right in the middle and sets to the proper depth. You can use your electric drill, drill out 100's of rivets per hr and not oversize a single hole. Buy one for ~$50.

  4. #4
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    I quit counting, but there are probably a couple hundred - I have to take apart a 172N gear box, I need the gear leg fittings & I want to save the sheetmetal for the club's 172M.

    The smallest non-battery electric drill I have is a 3/8 Craftsman that is pretty big by today's standards. (dont want to use the Milwaukee battery drill for this as one battery is weak & they are expensive) I originally thought I would use my drill press but holding the big chunk cut out of the fuselage in the proper position for each rivet would be challenging.

    Would the rivet removal tool work sort of like the guide/depth gauge on my Milwaukee hammer drill & attach to the drill above the chuck?

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  6. #6
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    That looks like it would make things easier, thanks.

  7. #7
    Max Torque's Avatar
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    This is the air drill to get - http://www.yardstore.com/browse.cfm/4,3990.html

    They also have a reversible model.

    Tom
    "You have to be alive to spend it..."

  8. #8
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    I have read good things about Sioux. I'm just not sure if I will use it enough (once this immediate project is done) to justify spending that much.

    If I was building a sheetmetal aircraft it would be easier to justify spending that much, but since I'm building tube & fabric I don't know.

  9. #9
    Max Torque's Avatar
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    The Sioux is my favorite air drill (I have several brands) - small and light with good trigger control. If you're not going to be taking out that many rivets, then pretty much any drill will do, but I recommend you get yourself a rivet removal tool - http://www.yardstore.com/browse.cfm/4,4332.html . With it, pretty much any drill will work and it'll center the bit on the rivet. It'll set the depth too. I use a small light varible speed lithium-ion cordless drill lots for removing rivets, so what you have should work fine.
    Last edited by Max Torque; 06-23-2012 at 11:51 AM.
    "You have to be alive to spend it..."

  10. #10
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    I'm going to get one of the rivet removal tools - using it, can you get by with a constant speed (1800 rpm) air drill or would you still want a variable speed drill?

    One of the batteries is pretty much gone in my Milwaukee battery drill & it is the lightest variable speed drill I have. My good corded electric drills are all pretty big.

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