Tool and Supplies Required for Construction of a BD-5 Aircraft

The majority of the tools needed to build a BD-5 from a kit can be obtained at local hardware stores. Sears carries most of these items in their Craftsman line of tools, and certainly their warranty is hard to beat. Those items marked with an asterisk (*) will have to be ordered from a specialist in aviation or machine shop/sheet metal tools. Items marked with a chevron (») are tools that I've added to the list. I managed to obtain just about everything from the Craftsman line. You'll also need a supply of hardwood material to build the various form blocks and jigs (mostly 3/4" good quality plywood). As I build my aircraft I will add the list of tools that I buy to aid in construction. Don't forget that you will need an adequate working area, at least 15' by 20' (the plans suggest 10' by 20' as the minimum working area but I feel this is too small of an area to work comfortably unless you have plenty of places to hang work in progress from the ceiling). Remember as well that to attach the wings you will need an area with up to 30' of clear space, depending on the wingspan of your aircraft. Supplies are listed at the bottom of this page, I will add to that list as well as I continue with construction.

Don't forget to locate a supplier for sheet metal. I ran out of 0.032 in July 97 and had to wait two weeks for another shipment to arrive at my local supplier.

If you have already built -- or have participated in the construction of -- a BD-5 and would like to add to this list of required and optional tools and supplies, please send me an e-mail with your comments, I will be more than happy to add them to this page.

Plumb Bobs (recommend 4 in 5 oz. weight)
Hacksaw (with various metal cutting blades)
Center Punch
8 oz. Plastic Tip Hammer
Medium Weight Ball Peen Hammer
Adjustable Wrench (2 or more, various sizes)
Small Set of Open, Box-End and Socket Wrenches
Medium of Heavy Duty Electric Drill with 21-Piece (1/16 to 3/8 inch by 64th's of an inch) Set of Drill Bits, as well as 4 each of #40, #39, #28 and #19 Drill Bits (a battery-operated low-speed drill is a must)
At Least Three Common (Flat Tip) and Three Phillips-Head Screwdrivers of Assorted Sizes
One Dozen 4-Inch C-Clamps
* 100 and 120 Degree "Suicide" Countersink Bits (preferably zero-flute)
One Flat Medium and One Flat Fine File
Wire Cutters
Machinist's Bench Vise (3.5 to 4.5 inch jaw size)
Work Bench/Table (at least 6 feet long and 3 feet wide)
Blind Rivet Gun with Various Shank Size Adapters
* Rivet Squeezer and Squeezer Set for solid rivets (3" throat and a second flat die for double-countersunk rivets, for the few conventional rivets that are required in some places such as the cockpit upper edge doublers, tail edge closure, etc.)
* Rivet cutting/trimming tool, to trim solid rivets to size if necessary
Tube Cutter (1/2 inch capacity)
* Tube Flaring Tool (37 degree flare, not the standard 45 degree flaring tool used in plumbing applications)
* Cleco Pliers
* 100 #40 (3/32") and 100 #30 (1/8") Cleco Sheet Holders., as well as some Cleco clamps
* Nicopress Sleeve Squeeze Tool (the squeeze bolt type is just as good as the more expensive versions) and a Sleeve Go-NoGo tool
One Cylindrical and One Tree-Radius Rotary Cutter
Tinner's Snip (large straight edge metal cutting snips)
10 Ft. Metal Rule (measuring tape, not a 10 ft. machinist's rule)
» 6" Machinist's Rule (16th's, 32nd's, 64th's and 100th's of an inch)
* Dimpling Dies (the squeeze type used with a nail) - it is also nice to have the modified visegrip with the dies welded to the tips
1.75 and 2 Inch Hole Saw (for cutting metal, for use with drill)
» Protractor
» Calipers (with inside/outside measurement capability, vernier preferred)
» Inspection Mirror(s) (small size with short to medium length handles)

Optional Tools

Sabre Saw (same as portable Jig Saw) with Metal Cutting Blades (16 tpi or more)
Automatic Center Punch
Variable Speed Bench-Mount Drill Press
* Additional #30 and #40 Cleco Sheet Holders (you'll need a total of 150, in the two most common sizes, these go fast and furious when you're putting together parts)
* Cleco Sheet Clamps
Additional C-Clamps, from 1 to 3 inches, and a half dozen of the rubber-tipped, spring-loaded clamps that look like battery jumper cable terminal post clamps
* Automatic Stop Countersink (also known as Microstop Countersink tool) with the following cutter bits: 100 degree #40, 30, 28, 19, 12 and 120 degree #30.
Set of Aviation Snips (Right, Straight, Left hand cutting)
Assortment of Flat, Half-Round and Round Files
Vise-Grip Pliers
Torque Wrench
Power Hacksaw
Cutoff Saw
Table Saw with Non-Ferrous Metal Cutting Blade
Variable Speed Band Saw
* Small Table Shear (for cutting lengths of sheet metal)
* Small Table Brake (for bending lengths of sheet metal)
* Aircraft Inspection Hole Cutter (6" max diameter, used with a regular drill, Hint: Buy the standard Cessna inspection hole kits and save yourself lots of work building the cover, doubler, etc.)
* Nibbling Tool (This one is a must-have, it allows you to make cuts inside a metal piece, such as a hole for the prop shaft, etc., by drilling a hole in the piece, inserting the tool and "nibbling" little pieces of metal to cut the shape you want. Very, very useful.)
Dremel tool (variable speed!) with tool assortment (Useful for the same things as the nibbling tool as well as other jobs with small pieces of the aircraft.)
* Fluting pliers (a standard set of pliers to which molded plastic fluting dies have been attached to the ends, to make flutes on aluminum parts, saves a lot of time and work)
Supply of 3/4" Plywood for Constructing Form Blocks (two form blocks are required for each of the parts built in this manner -- I would suggest you purchase two large sheets)
Additional Hardwood to Construct Jigs/Wing Rack (to store wings while you work on something else) and Other Miscellaneous Items
Supply of Finishing Nails (1", a small box will do)
* Pro-Seal (Available from BD Micro, Aircraft Spruce and other suppliers, used to seal all metal seams on the aircraft structure), or PRC (a similar type of sealant adhesive mostly used for fuel tanks, type B-2 or B-1/2, in pint kits, check the expiration date, PRC has a shelf life of 6-9 months and only buy a pint at a time)
MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone), a very strong solvent used to clean aluminum parts before riveting to bond the seams together -- strong stuff, make sure you protect your hands with gloves, avoid contact with skin or eyes and provide for plenty of ventilation. You will need several gallons of this over time, buy it in qt or gal cans.
Heavy-Duty Rubber Gloves (see above)
One Pad Large Parchment Tracing Paper (you'll probably use 50 sheets or more of this -- the larger the sheets, the better)
Supply of #2 Pencils (Do not make marks in aluminum with pencils)
Pencil Sharpener
Scotch Tape w/Desktop Dispenser (comes handy when tracing parts from the plans or cutting parts from the tracings)
Duct Tape, 2- or 3-Inch (for holding parts in place while checking for alignment, when you can't use cleco clamps or C-clamps, e.g. FU41-42; I previously recommended against high-adhesive tapes, now I know that the adhesive can be easily removed with MEK or Goo-Gone)
Nylon Scrubbing Pads (for preparing metal seams prior to sealing with PRC or Pro-Seal)
Aircraft detergent, AlumiPrep, Alodyne and Zinc Chromate or Epoxy Primer for treatment and protection from corrosion of aluminum surfaces that are finished and may not be touched for a while (See construction updates, Aug 23 96 entry)
Parts Bin, 60 or more small drawers, another with a few large drawers, and some small labels, to organize the many dozens of envelopes with small parts that come with the kit, as well as store all the rivets (hence the large drawers).
Last Update: 12/22/97
Web Author: Juan Jimenez
Copyright ©1997 by Juan Jiménez - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED