Rubber Protection – Cleco Caps And Plier Grips

I did a couple side projects this week, in support of my airplane building efforts. First thing I worked on was making a bunch of Cleco rubber caps / boots. You can buy them for $0.30 to $0.50 each, which will add-up quite quickly when you’re talking about a lot of Clecos! No thanks. Following the ideas from other builders on VAF, I made my own. I bought rubber caps from McMaster ($4/100 caps) and a cheap leather hole punch tool. It took a little practice to figure out how to get the hole to punch dead-center (or at least close enough to it). After some trial and error I got it down. I initially tried to size the hole as close as possible to the respective Cleco size, but later ended up making holes to the largest size available. The reason is, if you make the smallest hole possible, the excess rubber on the tip of the cap is not flat, nor is it a uniform thickness. This unevenness will cause the Cleco to seat crooked by some amount. I found by making the hole bigger, I removed much more of this uneven rubber and the Clecos tended to sit more normal to the surface.

The other quick project I did was to Plasti Dip the handle of my cleco pliers. My handle was just bare metal, so I wanted to add some grip and a little protection should the handle hit the aluminum skins or anything else. Three coats seem to do it. I’ve known about this stuff forever, but have never actually used it. Turned out to be really easy and does a nice job.

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