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Old 02-01-2008, 08:06 PM   #1
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Air-Powered Tools - Where to begin?

Faced with the prospect of shooting hundreds of 1/8 rivets back into my deconstructed bath, dozens of wide-flange rivets back into my removed bellypan, and a number of Olympics and/or bucks into my lower panels, I have recently acquired a very nice Makita MAC2400 air compressor. This 80 pound wonder is a serious notch above most of the "pancake" compressors out there so I think it can handle a bit more jam than the cheapie units. (I guess its more than appropriate that I would enter the world of 'air' tools working on an AIRstream ;-) Having used 'regular' 110 power tools for over 30 years, I'm quite familiar with their operation and upkeep, but this air-tool thing is going to be a maiden voyage for me...

Appropriately, "Aerowood" has advised me on the buck-rivet needs: 3X gun, 5/8" rivet set, etc. so I think I know what I need there. To this will be added a 'value priced' pneumatic riveter (probably Harbor Freight) for all the 1/8" pop and Olympic stuff. So what else should I be adding to my air-powered wish list? I'm thinking of stuff like a basic drill (for pulling off those wheels at Indy 500 speeds?) and maybe a brad nailer or stapler for industrial strength cabinet repairs or framing and wood work...

Any recommendations from the gear-heads appreciated!
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:43 PM   #2
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One of these
National Tool Warehouse - 1/4Ē Mini Air Drill
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:44 PM   #3
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my experience - for the AS-get a tool to fill your tires & a small brad nail gun.
I have done almost everything by hand on ours...

I used our tank compressor to restore 3 houses so we were using big framing tools...
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:57 PM   #4
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Hmmm....Are you set on an air dril, and air rivet gun? I only mention this because there are some places you may have trouble getting the air hose into. Oh, you need an air hose....
Anyway, you can get a good 3/8" cordless drill with a hand-operated chuck. even if you get an air drill, you should get one with a hand-operated chuck. if I had a dollar for all the chuck keys I have lost, I wouldn' have to work for the rest of the month.
Something else to look at in the air tool line, is an air saw.
There is also the air-powered buffer, the air gun for removing and installing nuts and bolts, and an air ratchet for zipping smaller nuts and bolts on and off.
There is the air powered die grinder, and air powered cutoff wheel.
You will find all these tools useful, some more than others.
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:58 PM   #5
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Rivet Air Tools

Quote:
Originally Posted by fotochop
I'm thinking of stuff like a basic drill (for pulling off those wheels at Indy 500 speeds?).

Any recommendations from the gear-heads appreciated!
Air tools are great, but one slight correction. Drills are for making holes. For those quick pit stops, or anything that needs any power, you need an impact wrench. For example AT650, Impact Wrench, Air, Super Duty, Aluminum/Composite Housing, 1/2" Drive (100-450 ft. lb.).

Ok I only wish I had one that good. I made my living with an off brand that still works fine today. I have torn down a Dodge 360 using a Craftsman portable compressor and one of those air tanks for inflating flats as a reserve tank. I would let the pressure build up, take off a couple of head bolts, take a couple of minutes break to allow the pressure to come back up, and repeat. You will be amazed what you can accomplish with one of these. Ever cranked in lag screws by hand? Think pull a trigger like a cordless drill.
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:29 PM   #6
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This one is not air but I am sure right angles are available.
Once I got one it is my favorite; especially working on the interior.

Milwaukee 0370-20 3/8" Close Quarter Angle Drill

We could talk "tools" for days!

martin.
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:42 PM   #7
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Being a fellow 'southerner', get a good water seperator. Without one, paint spraying is impossible in our high humidity and after an hour or so of use, your compressor will be spitting enough water through the pneumatic tools they will puke some really gross stuff out their exhaust .

Oh, keep the tank drained or it will rust out from the inside (my job for tomorrow...fix hole in tank)
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:58 PM   #8
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Rick'

If you have an air drill and riveter your work will go ten times faster, thatís for sure.

I assembled a T out of brass fitting as shown here.

Attachment 53550

This way you can drill and rivet without having to plug and unplug the air line constantly.

The close quarters drill that Martin suggests is something that Iíve not seen before but it looks like it would be a really great asset.

Bonne chance.

Sergei
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
Rick'

If you have an air drill and riveter your work will go ten times faster, ...
Sergei
The AP at the airport where I grew up, called an airdrill a rotary punch. That's about the best description for the sound of one drilling out rivits, in less than a second.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:26 PM   #10
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I couldn't have rebuilt my tradewind without my handy air shears. I work with mostly pneumatic tools, and tools I used most were the 3X rivet set, the pneumatic pop rivet puller, the air shears, air drill, die grinder, brad nailer, stapler, paint sprayer, impact wrench, and rachet. In that order.
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:43 PM   #11
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If you purchase an impact make sure you get impact sockets as well. They are far stronger than standard sockets. Make sure you buy a gun with enough torque to take off tight lug nuts, etc. Some of the cheapies are not good for much. I'm not sure how they rate them.

By the way, what I did was to hit an auction of mechanics tools. A shop was closing, so the tools were used, but well maintained, and were very high quality. I got a swack of tools for a fraction of the cost and they have lasted me a long time.

Barry
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safari57
If you purchase an impact make sure you get impact sockets as well. They are far stronger than standard sockets. Make sure you buy a gun with enough torque to take off tight lug nuts, etc. Some of the cheapies are not good for much. I'm not sure how they rate them.

Barry
They are measured in lb/ft of torque, and air consumption, @90psig.
One "know it all" I worked with used regular chrome plated sockets with his air gun, and one day the chrome started peeling off a socket. he didn't see it, and the chrome sliced his palm to hamburger in about a second.
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:51 AM   #13
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As you people have most likely picked up by now, in my occupation only air tools can be used without any restrictions as to where they can be used on the airframe, so all of my powered tools at work are air powered. I am very biased on air tools and I wish I had enough money to have a complete set at home to, so I am constantly dragging them back and forth. I like the weight of air tools and the reduction in size over their electric counterparts. I do not care to have keyless chucks on any of my drills except my cordless because of their large size and inability to fit in close quarter applications. They also have a tendency to not fully tighten.
Air tools also have a much broader selection to chose from but do have the disadvantage of having to be supplied with a constant supply of compressed air. Not a problem at home but is challenging elsewhere without some creative thought and ingenuity. I have a man portable 7.5 hp diesel compressor at work that I can take to remote locations and it runs well on Jet A with a little oil mixed in. I have also used high pressure nitrogen bottles for an air source and they work well and will last for some time also.
So for me it is pneumatic all the way.
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Old 02-02-2008, 10:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by empresley
This one is not air but I am sure right angles are available.

martin.
A 90 degree air drill is available, for about 4x the cost of a straight drill.
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