Cleaveland Aircraft Tool located in Boone, Iowa has become one of the most reputable suppliers of tools needed in the construction of Van's RV experimental aircraft. The company is owned and operated by the Lauritsen family with experience and expertise in building RV's and the tools needed to do a great job.
Buzz completed N50036 in 1989. The red and white RV4 received the Grand Champion trophy at Oshkosh in 1989 and the Wright Brothers Award at the Dayton Air and Trade Show the following year. (See article in Sport Aviation October 89.)
DJ, Buzz`s wife, was very involved in the construction of their RV project. DJ was the self-appointed quality control person during construction. Not surprising since at this time she was also working toward a degree in industrial engineering at Iowa State University. According to Buzz, "IE type people tend to look over your shoulder ALL THE TIME and they have even been known to mumble disparaging comments about some tiny little flaw in one's work." She took a special interest in finishing the interior which featured leather seats. DJ also had some very pointed suggestions to make concerning the painting and trim work.
Supplying seats and canopy covers for RV's soon turned into a business for DJ.
The importance of using high quality tools for aircraft sheet metal work had become apparent to Buzz during the RV project. "The kit proved to be very buildable; however, finding good quality tools was a problem." Buzz was most concerned with dimple dies noting their significant impact on the overall finish of the plane. "The dies on the market in 1986 simply were not designed properly and did not meet our standards for quality."
The quest for the "perfect dimple die" took 18 months and required learning new skills in CNC programming and machining. Basic machine shop practices were familiar to Buzz. He had built up a quite complete machine shop over the past 20 years and had access to the technical knowledge needed to produce the quality tools he had in mind.
Buzz's son, Mike, had a strong background in electronics. Working with the CNC lathe proved to be a very practical application for the computer engineering courses he had been taking at Iowa State University. Mike was the perfect partner to implement the linking of machining and computer technology.
In 1992, with a handful of exceptional 3/32 dimple dies, Buzz, Mike, and DJ started Cleaveland Aircraft Tool & Material.
Mike took charge of the daily operations of Cleaveland Aircraft Tool including overseeing the development and manufacturing of a complete line of stainless dimple dies, squeezer sets, back rivet sets, industry leading hand squeezer, and a C-Frame tool which incorporates the desirable features of similar tools with the original C-frame tool Buzz used on his RV4 skins.
Our tool catalog contains hand and pneumatic squeezers, rivet guns, pneumatic drills, cutting, deburring, finishing and other related tools for building and maintaining metal aircraft. Orders received by mail, phone, fax or E-mail are usually shipped the same day. We are open weekdays from 9:00AM to 5:00PM central. Phone 1-800-368-1822 with orders or 1-515-432-6794 for information.