Tools and Comments

These obviously aren't all the tools I have used so far, just a few worth mentioning. This being the net, the opinions below may not be worth any more than you paid for them.

1" Belt/6" Disk Sander--
Even after the rotten deal I got from Grizzly on the drill press, I went and bought a little sander from them. I'm glad I did, it is wonderful. I've mounted it on the best tool stand ever made, the pedestal from a dead Jet drill press. I can crank it up and down to use it while sitting or standing, and since it is made to support a heavy drill press it ain't goin anywhere. Here is a picture of my sander which I stole from Grizzly's website.
Cheesy Little Metal Brake--
I bought one of those $30 metal brakes from Northern Hydraulics, figuring it would be okay for all of the little 2024t3 angles for the Bearhawk ribs, and not take up much space when not in use. It was a dismal failure at first, but at the suggestion of Russ from the Bearhawk list, I made a few modifications. You can read his original message, and look at pictures of my brake if you like. I did two things differently; instead of using bolts I went to the trouble of using guide pins (firmly superglued in place)and I used a steel rather than aluminum angle.
Drill Press--
You need a drill press. I bought a bench model from Grizzly Imports, who are supposed to have good tools at good prices. My press turned out to be a total piece of shit. I spent an entire evening disassembling, cleaning, lubricating, and adjusting the insides of the press in order to make it operate more smoothly. Now it seems to do an okay job, but for how long? Just to muddy the waters, a metal cutting bandsaw was ordered from Grizzly at the same time which has turned out to be a very good tool, especially considering the price ($200). The drill press is Chinese, while the bandsaw is Taiwanese. Draw your own conclusions....
Scotchbrite wheels--
Scotchbrite wheels are used to deburr and polish sheetmetal edges prior to forming. The (laborious) alternative is to use a hand duburring tool and fine grit emery cloth. I bought a 6" wheel from Avery Tools and mounted it on my Baldor buffing motor. I also bought some 1" wheels that I run in my drill press at high speed to get the insides of lightening holes. Real time savers!
PROSNIPS--
A great set of offset metal snips I bought from Avery. I've been cutting out all of my thin aluminum parts with hand snips so far, with little difficulty.
Mechanix gloves--
These gloves are great for hand forming aluminum, they are thin enough to allow an excellent feel for the work, and still manage to keep the edges from digging into your hands too badly. I think I got mine from Northern Hydraulics.
Malco hole cutter--
This is the best tool for cutting the oval shaped lightening holes in the center and tip ribs directly in front of the rear spar. Accept no imitations!
Hole flanging tool--
This is about the ONLY item from Avery which I have been unhappy with. It can't make the 3/8" flange required by the majority of the holes, but I knew this before I ordered it. It would be just the thing for holes requiring 1/4" flanges, but if you flange just a little too far the nuts holding the rollers will SCRATCH THE ALUMINUM. I do NOT recommend this tool.

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