Tools


This is a Lincoln 100 Mig welder. It's only a couple steps up on the ladder and about the lowest level welder you would want. It operates on 110 power which is nice sometimes if you don't have 220 handy. I'm still pretty pleased with it's performance on the chassis and the price was right. The only troble I've had with it is the wire feed acts up from time to time and has to be fooled with.
You do want the gas setup though.

I have a oxyacetaline rig as well and I may use it to weld the chassis when I'm ready.
These are my main fabricating tools.
A Rayobi abrasive cut off saw. The price was good and it's done the work. A bit noisy and dusty but I do the cutting work out in the alley back of my shop most of the time. The weather permitts that pretty much all year round in Houston.
One of those power band saws would be good if you had to work indoors most of the time, quieter and less dust but more expensive and a bigger footprint.
The bench sander is from Harbor Freight,
$99 on sale. One of my best buys. Great tool for dressing and fitting the ends of tubes quickly.
The grinder is also from Harbor Freight and a great buy for only $15 on sale.
I have 3 of them and keep different tools in each. Less wear on each machine and no changing tools back and forth.
I keep a cut off wheel in one , a grinder wheel in one, and a sanding wheel in the last one. I've had two of them for 4 years and a lot of use. If it breaks throw it away buy, a new one.
For 15 bucks you can't beat them.
This is a conduit bender I picked up from Wholesale Tools for about $60.
The 1" die had to be ground out a bit with a sander so the tubing would fit all the way down, took about 30 min. It bends a 5" radius which is just right for our purpose and did a supurb job on my chassis parts.
The tool comes with 1", 3/4", and 1/2" dies.
I have a retired machinest who works fairly cheaply so I had him make me this die and support parts to bend 1" square tubing. Cost me about $60.
This is the first bend I've made with it.
As you see the inside wrinkled a bit and the outside went concave more than I wanted. But still this is a 90 degree bend.
I'm going to have a new one made. It will be 1" deep instead of 3/4" to support the walls better. I think the bottom of the cut needs to have a ridge in the center to concave the inside of the bend and eliminate the wrinkles?????
I do think it will work though. 
I want to do some furniture work with it. I didn't really need square bends for the seven chassis.

Another Harbor Freight tool I have.
It's a fishmouth cutter for round tubing
cost about $59 and I've seen the same thing for over $200. It has worked very well for me.
I used it to make the A-arms for a start along with several other projects.
It was another good buy.
This is one of the bends on the rear corner of my chassis. You can't get much better than that.

One inch 16 guage tubing is pretty stiff and hard to bend so going much under 5" radius would be difficult with this machine. Still I see no reason why you couldn't make bigger dies using a wood center with metal sides so other bends could be made. I intend to try to makd a die to bend the 14" radius curve over the rear fender soon.
I've had this gas rig all along but I just got a cart built for it, and I'm still not finished with it. The torch over the tool box is a Meco Torch from the Tin Man.
It won't cut but it is great for brazing and braze welding with Nickel\Bronze rod. It's very light weight and easy to use.
Another Harbor freight purchase. This is a scissor type shear for cutting sheet metal. It did a really good job on my 16 gauge hardened aluminum sheet goods, for the floor and bulkhead.
It cuts mostly in a straight line though, allowing only a slight curve. There are other cutters for curves which I may have to buy later.
I 've started my aluminum body work this week and I'm finding that it would be much easier if I had a bending brake. I've also discovered that they are very expensive and I'm not sure I would use one enough to invest that much.
Soooo
I've been looking at plans to build one maybe.
A guy on the Locost USA forum mentioned that buying 1/4 " angle iron, and all the other stuff, including a bench to mount it to cost about as much as a cheap brake. Another guy mentioned that for aluminum it was probably over kill to use 1/4" angle. so I got to thinking, ..................always dangerous,  maybe it doesn't have to be all that strong, for soft aluminum.
I went out into my wood working shop and started looking around for materials.


I located a pecan board in the scrap pile. Pecan is a very hard, dense wood, and suitable for this work.
A softer wood may not work.
Going by pictures of simple brakes I cut these three boards and jointed the edges.
Of course as a furniture builder I have all the tools necessary but I did only use my table saw and the jointer, ( the jointer was probably unnecessary.),  my drill and screw gun.
I got a piece of piano hinge and found some #6 by 3/4" screws so they would get a good bite in the pecan. The hinges come with #4 by 1/2" screws that I though too small. I had to recounter sink the holes in the hinge to use the bigger screws though. I also pre drillde the holes in the pecan, remember it's very hard to get screws into.
I screwed the piano hinge to both boards and mounted the base board to my bench, I only used two screws. I'm experimenting, remember. The piano hinge barrel should be mounted flush to the top of the boards. the angled board is loose to be clamped down on top of the aluminum sheet.
Testing it the first time with a piece of scrap clamped into the brake. I set the angled piece just back of the hinge by the thickness of the aluminum, aprox. Then I just pushed the front board up by hand and made the bend. It needs handles but it wasn't all that hard by hand with .05 thickness soft aluminum.
I cut the angle board to about 40 degrees and left about 1/16" uncut at the tip to make it stronger.

Here's the result of an 10" long bend. My angled piece remained undamaged and the bend is very tight. I made the break 24" long because that's what I needed right now.
( I would make it at least 30" now that I have used it though.)  For only a few bucks a few of these could be made specific lengths to do a box even. On a longer one, one might have to brace the center down from a ceiling beam or make a frame to go over the brake so you could brace down from that.
This worked way better than I expected.
I doube it would work as well for steel but it just might on thin sheet.
I'm only out $7 for the hinge and maybe $10 for a piece of pecan or hickory, very similar woods sold in the same ben.
It would be hard to beat that for the results.
My newest tool. I will make a table for it real soon and get more pitures.
I got the damage from shipping all repaired and built a table and cabinet to put it on. I made the pulls as well. The lathe works great now. It's a South Bend 1938 model 415 9" workshop lathe.
New tool boxes I built to fit into and old work bench base. I made the pulls too.
Wanted one for ages and finely got a plasma cutter. This thing works so well.