Cleco Fastener Tool
By: Bud Connolly

Cleco Fastener Pliers

The first two photos are of Cleco fasteners (Below) and pliers (Left) that are needed to compress the fasteners for installation. The Cleco is of great help in holding parts together prior to putting in a rivet. They actually take the place of a rivet temporarily. This allows you to drill the rivet hole, install a Cleco in the hole to hold the parts together, and then drill another hole without the part moving on you. You can see a bunch of Clecos installed in the pictures of the wing frame sitting on the saw horses in the Kit Building Project on the "Preparation & Building Area" web page.

Clecos are available in 4 different common sizes, to fit the holes being drilled for the rivet, 3/32", 1/8", 5/32", and 3/16". The two sizes we need are 1/8" and 3/16". The size is color coded, with 1/8" being a copper color, and 3/16" being a brass color.

They sell for 43 cents each with a quantity discount. 50 Clecos are 20% discount, and 100 Clecos are 25% discount. You will want at least 50 of the 1/8" size. I got 100 of those and used most of them at one time on the wing rib installation. You will also want about 15 of the 3/16" size which are used during setup of the tail hinges and a few other places that use the large 3/16" aluminum rivets.

You can get them from Aircraft Spruce. Just look up Cleco on their Index page and you will see both the fasteners and the pliers. The pliers sell for only $5.60 and you have to have them to install the fasteners. Without the special pliers the fasteners would be almost useless.

Cleco Fasteners

Compressing the Cleco fasteners.

Picture #5 is showing a compressed Cleco. You will note that when the pliers compress the Cleco the shaft end pokes out. While holding the Cleco compressed you insert that shaft, which is 1/8" in this case, into the drilled 1/8" hole. The shaft will go through the part and into the drilled hole. Then as you release the pressure on the Cleco the shaft will retract and expand at the same time. This will draw the part tightly up against the frame, acting like a temporary rivet. The spring inside the Cleco is fairly strong and does a great job. It's because of the spring strength that you need the special plier tool and can't just substitute ordinary household type plier for this, and you definitely can't compress them with just your fingers.

Bud Connolly