I'm starting the AME-M program at SAIT this fall. I'm getting ready to buy my toolkit here and I was hoping you all could share some wisdom with me.
First off, has anyone had any experience with the SAIT program or graduates? Is it regarded as a solid program?
I have the opportunity to buy all the required tools from either Mac or Snap On for about 50% off. Is this worth it? It would run me about 1000$ after the discount.
I've been looking at Mastercraft from Canadian Tire and they have some great sales, will I regret going with them instead of a higher quality brand to start with? I've noticed that in some cases I can buy tool sets from CT for a similar price as individual tools from Mac or Snap On, I know you get what you pay for but am I really going to need the best of the best tools just getting started in school? I can always buy better tools as I need them right?
http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/maste ... 8vpJ7EfzdS
Is this set worth it? It looks like a great deal on sale but I'm worried I'll end up with a massive set of tools I never use.
That's all I've got for now, I'm sure I'll think up a few more questions in time.
Snap-On tools -
A decent brand (possibly but not necessarily Snap-On or Mac)-
1/4" deep and shallow
Pliers (sidecutters, longnose,
Princess Auto (or CT)-
Hammer (soft blow and ball peen)
12" & 6" Rule
3/8" shallow sockets
1/2" ratchet & sockets
As your cheaper tools wear out, replace them with the best quality you can afford.
Contrary to popular belief, Snap-On don't always make the best tools.
high quality can make a difference, with the higher
torque you may encounter.
But you are unlikely to ever apply 200 ft-lbs of
torque to a tiny AN-3 bolt, for example.
For the smaller sizes, I like the stubby wrenches -
they fit into tight spaces better. Lots of people
like the gear wrenches, too.
Also, I like to keep a supply of cheap wrenches
around, that I can cut & bend to fit into a specific
place. I'd cry if I did that to a snap-on. I have a
tray full of cut-down wrenches for specific jobs.
Same thing with sockets. You need regular and
deep, but a lot of my sockets are cut-down - tapered
to fit into tight spots. Again, you wouldn't want
to do that to a snap-on.
Learn to make/modify your own tools. Here's a
very simple tool I designed and built, which makes
Lyc SI1425A go very quickly:
Here's a 2A constant-current charger I built, which
is golden for bringing back a discharged 24V battery,
that an expensive "smart" (constant voltage) charger
Custom tools like this aren't expensive, and they
don't take much time to make. But they can allow
you do to quickly do things that no one else can.
PS That charger, and a cheap G7200 from Canadian
Tire, is an awesome combination: www.geniuschargers.com/G7200
get the job then buy the tools, the guys on the floor will help you with the selection
if you end up in a all piston shop fine but if you go to a large turbine shop with el and avionics staff you'll very seldom get into wiring issues.
if you buy a nice snap on SAE kit but never go into aviation and have a Honda, well you see what I'm getting at.
My suggestion is don't even worry about your basic tool kit if SAIT is providing all the tools that you need. Buy your tools 2 months prior to graduation.
As for Snap-On tools. A lot of them are way over priced, but there are a few Snap-On tools that are worth to get. Their wrench sets are pretty good.
-Gear wrenches (ratcheting wrenches) just get it from Canadian Tire. Good price, lasts a long time and just like all Snap-On tools...it is lifetime warranty.
-Ratcheting screwdriver---> Buy Snap-On or MAC they're both pretty good. I have both. I like the Snap-On better cause the shaft is removable. I can put in a longer extension shaft if I have to.
-Angle wrenches---> Buy Snap-On. I believe they're the only company that got the angles right. Angle wrenches are expensive. A 7 piece angle wrench set is almost 300 bucks.
-Regular wrenches---> Snap-On and MAC both are good, but I recommend just buying Mastercraft wrenches. Cheaper and they get the job done. Unless you're going for the thin-wall wrenches...then Snap-On will be the better choice.
-Socket sets---> Mastercraft sets will get the job done also.
-As for pliers/cutters---> Brands I suggest are Channel-Lock, Snap-On, MAC, and Knipex. I believe the Snap-On and MAC people carry Knipex pliers. So you might want to compare prices.
My recommendation is (as people have already said above): Go for Mastercraft tools first. As they're affordable. Plus you're new in the industry, but once you know that you'll be sure staying in the industry for awhile and know what you're doing.....sure, go ahead and invest in the more expensive brands.
Don't cheap out on the screwdrivers and pliers though and don't cheap out on your lockwire pliers. (Get your lockwire pliers from MAC or Snap-On....again compare the price)
Of course I'm biased, but the Snap-On industrial brands tools have the same quality and warranty as the name brand side of the house, and are significantly cheaper; but some guys just like having the name. Canadian Tire tools will save you a load of cash, but when it comes to ratcheting tools Snap-On, Williams (Snap-On's Industrial brand), Wera etc., all provide a very fine system that you will likely want in the future after you end up working in tight spots. Knipex are a must have AFTER you get going, but I would recommend getting them from a Knipex distributor vs paying more through Snap-On.
If you are going to buy sheet metal tools, and need a rivet gun, drills etc.; a Taylor 3X, and a Sioux 1410 would be the best way to start. Both are great products that will keep your costs down, and unless you are assembling new wings all day, the Taylor will last you forever. On a side note, do your structures friends a favour and DO NOT buy a 4X rivet gun because you want to be able to install -8 rivets too, you'll end up smashing those little -3 rivets into a .020" skin with it for 99% of your work. Get yourself a 3X and borrow the 4X when the (rare) situation comes to use it.
If you've got any questions on tools I'm always here to help.
VM Aerospace Ltd.
As mentioned, it's good to wait but you can pick up a few of the really basic things as you go throughout the year.
This thread also has a lot of information regarding tools etc.
They have given me a required list of tools I need for the course, that's where I'm getting the 1000$ figure for buying a full snap on or Mac kit. They've also included full lists and prices from both snap on and Mac. They each come to about 2000$ with a 50% student discount. It looks like a great deal to me, but if I don't need a full kit of top of the line tools right away I could really use some of that money for living expenses.
I've seen in a few people on the site suggesting starting with a cheaper set of tools and replacing them with better tools as they wear out so I'm only spending big money on the important bits. Aside from the tools that most of you are suggesting I go big on right away I think I'll go with Mastercraft for the rest, at least until I don't have to throw all my money at school.
Any thoughts on that?
VM Aerospace Ltd.
Lots of good advise given above. I'll differ on one specific mentioned: Buy the $45 Snap on picks.. there are no others even close in having the right metal temper. CT/Princess auto etc. versions will be on a short trip through your tool bag to the garbage along with your initial $10 "investment".
Lots of good tool acquisition advice in this previous thread as well:
As previously mentioned, you pretty much can't lose, buying the essentials from Snap On with your school discount.
As for tools... I went to Canadore and we had a minimum tool requirement as well. I bought most of the stuff at Canadian Tire and Sears. There was a tool fair early on in the semester where you could fill out and order form and get things you wanted. Maybe SAIT will have something similar? In your first practical classes it's unlikely you'll need things like lockwire pliers (our instructor in first semester wouldn't even allow us to use them even if we had them).
As people before have said, a good ratcheting screwdriver is a must. I've had mine 7 years now and it's been through lots of abuse and it's working as good as it did on day 1. I almost wish it would break so I could justify getting a new one... on that note, consider getting one with a removable shank, I wish I had!
I got all my sockets from Snap On. Was it worth it? I don't think so. As long as you can get 12 point sockets elsewhere, you're probably safe doing so. Exception to this is flex sockets. I'd highly recommend good a good quality set, mine are snap on. Worth their weight in gold. I made it through college without them, but if you can spare the expense, they'll make your life easier.
I have the same gear wrenches I bought in first year from Canadian Tire and combination wrenches from the same. After graduating I bought Snap On offset wrenches, nice and slim and very useful, but wouldn't say they're a necessity for college. I also eventually picked up a set at Princess Auto, you know, just 'cause. You can never have too many tools!
Do you have a link to the list that you could post? I'd suggest, as I think most here are, getting the bare minimum, and building up from there as you need things. I have tools I bought because they were on the mandatory list that I didn't use in college, nor have I used them afterwards. Chances are if you don't have something, someone in your class will have the tool you need, and most people will let you borrow something, once - then you go buy it for yourself before the next class/shift.
Finally (sorry again, really didn't mean to go on for so long) take a look at Brown Tools http://www.browntool.com/ and Chad's Toolbox http://chadstoolbox.com/, they have good tools and good prices. Chad's Toolbox is great if you want Knipex pliers or cutters. I haven't seen any side cutters that come close to rivaling Knipex. Don't know if you're anywhere near the US border, if you do then you can use one of the many services that lets you have things shipped to a post box there since shipping is normally much cheaper to a US address. If you have any questions I'd be happy to help, feel free to pm me.
Don't buy if you're not yet in the industry. (Unless your school requires you to)
Some companies (like the one I started at) only required me to have screwdrivers. The rest was for them to provide.
Don't buy a toolbox/chest/cabinet that is worth a fortune. (It's better to spend money on tools first).
Craftsman, Mastercraft, Husky, Kobalt, Gear wrench and other non-tool truck brands are okay for starters.
Buy a 250 lumen flashlight. Most of them have 2 brightness settings low and high. they are good enough for line maintenance and hangar.
Wera and Klein tools are not automotive brands but the Wera screwdrivers are great for the price. The Klein cutters are well made.
Get a snap on ratcheting screwdriver. (If you lose the bits its okay, as long as they are not in any part of the aircraft. Wera
screwdriver bits are better in my opinion).
Things you may want to get from Snap-On (in my opinion, don't take it personally)
-shallow sockets (flex sockets are slimmer and can get to tight spots)
-ballpeen and softface hammers (I've had bad experience with cheap ones)
- 1/4 drive ratchets
Knipex plier wrenches are good to have, but compare prices for better deals.
Some good buys (some bear repeating):
-the 4 way angle head wrenches are a lifesaver for hard to reach hydraulic lines
-universal sockets for engine work and awkwardly placed fasteners
-3/8" drive speed handle w/ knob
-808ACP cutters are the cat's ass for lockwire and smaller cotter pins
-the picks and hooks are pretty good
Also definitely check out NAPA. UltraPro is one of the few brands that make relatively cheap 12-point sockets. I believe they stock GearWrench as well.
Put simply though, everything that MrElm said plus a 1/4" drive ratchet, and then whatever you can afford. It'll be the cheapest you'll ever be able to buy Snap-On.
My school provided us with a tool kit, so I left the big tool purchases till I had a bit more income.
I ran for years with a Mastercraft Maximum 255 piece set. Still do really. Comes with both 6 and 12 point. The wrenches included in that kit were junk, but the good Maximum wrench sets go on sale almost every month. Still use thode wrenches today. You can bring em into any Canadian tire and they'll swap em out on the spot (had chrome coming off a couple of em). Ya, lots of the metric bits you get with those kits is extraneous but you'll use it keeping that beater around for the next 10+ years (unless you're a BCIT grad and somehow drive Audi's and Beemers around).
I did buy the Snap-On offsets, Snap-on 1/4 drive ratchet and 12 point socket (deep and shallow) sets right out of school. Of course the famous snap-on orange ratcheting screwdriver too. Couple thinks like good snips and plyers I would buy piece-meal as finances would allow. Your fellow AMEs once you start work somewhere will usually have a junker toolbox to sell so you can usually get a good deal on that.
On your weekends keep an eye out for estate and garage sales. Lots of ol' grandpas out there (well...no longer out there) with some pretty old tools (lots of em snap on) that you can exchange for new right at the truck . Anyone seen a 9/32 drive ratchet set? Haha
I probably spent only around 500-600 bucks for tools (and another 250 bucks for used Craftsman tool cabinet) after school. Once apprenticeship was done, I was able to start splurging on some fancy pliers and other bits.
But honestly for expediency and less trouble in your case I would probably just grab the Mac set through your school.
Right out of school I bought a box equivalent to master craft maximum 48 inch. It held all of my tools but after a year the drawer detents were soft and would come open rolling to box around d the floor... That was no good so I bought a giant snap on monstrosity. I've been told time and time again its overkill... But you never hear me bitch about my toolbox.
As far as hand tools. You want snap on duck bills... I have yet to find a suitable cheaper replacement.
I watch apprentices roll through the industry wasting a shitload of cash buying tools for the short term. You're going to be using these things every day so why not buy the best you can?
For me, having nice tools is a happy bonus. I don't have a tool in my box I hate using because it is barely adequate, every one is a joy to use and they are treated like the crown jewels. There is nothing worse that. Fighting a job because your tool is barely adequate.
So. My hit list goes something like this.
Snap on ratcheting screwdriver (old style with fixed length bit holder)
Ultra pro 12 point sockets
Master craft 6 points 1/⁴ through 1/²
Snap on ratchets
Master craft wrench sets
Snap on twisters and duck bills
Snap on cabinet screwdrivers
Snap on angle wrenches
Snap on short wrenches (these are the size between stubby and regular. Only snap on makes them)
Weller portasol soldering iron. And Weller soldering station
Milwaukee m12 cordless tools (drill with metal ., angle drill, cut off tool and impact)
Personal set of cobalt drill bits (don't lend these out)
Screw extractors, master craft
Screwdriver set, jet with acetate handles
Jet micro screwdriver set
Snap on inspection mirror and magnet
Snap on 1/⁴ inch extensions
Snap on pliers
Then of course the box. I just went and got the biggest krl they had available at the time but realistically a classic 96 would work well. You probably will just want a roll cab... Towers don't fit under low wings.
I've built on that over the years and have a pretty full 72 inch master series with enough tools to support a small amo... But the basics are the see set I've had since I've started.
My father in law retired last year and sold all his tools but kept the toolbox for me. He made a reinforced frame with oversized wheels for it to sit in and I want it bad. Only problem is it's in Ontario and I'm in BC. Anyone know a way to move an empty 200 lb toolbox across the country without spending half the cost of the box?
Strapped to a skid with something protecting at least the corners, it will likely survive the trip OK. They’ll want dimensions and at least a rough estimate of weight when you call them.
https://www.canadianfreightways.com/ahramin wrote:Anyone know a way to move an empty 200 lb toolbox across the country without spending half the cost of the box?
Have used these guys lots of time. Tell 'em ya work for Jazz or AC and need to move your toolbox and you'll get a little discount.
Go find an AME who has travelled considerably or does lots of Line Maint. They will have a great method of what is the basic tools they take to do maintenance while away from main base or if working the ramp. Their tool choices will all vary somewhat but will contain enough tools to do a basic 100 HR inspection and they will have played with what suits them for boxes and storage methods. Also their "away" kits are a basic starter kit for any AME coming out of school.
Tool Choices: This is a touchy subject, mechanics are very Brand Loyal but also finicky on which tools suit their purposes. Craftsman, Mastercraft, Snap-On, MAC etc etc, Buy tools that are good quality as you will likely be keeping them long term. Yes expensive to begin but these tools are what get us paid and allow us to buy better things!!! Come to work with tools you know will support the general tasks you will be assigned. You are not expected to run out and buy $$$$$ tools but your expected to have the basic tools suggested in school. Be aware also that companies are now requiring your tools to be accountable for their wareabouts so have them organized and a tool list provided.