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lets talk metalwork


NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
Port Orchard, WA
working on the idea of making the brackets for the d44, but dont have the right tools. so far i have the following needs:

Grinder - 4.25 hand held grinder (have a bench grinder)
Hub tool (d44 style)

I have:
asorted drills and drill bits (variable speed)
bench vise
bigger and smaller BFH's
MAPP and Propane torches for heating and "bending"
Compressor and impact, ratchet, and air chisle
basic mechanics tools (ratchets, screwdrivers, sockets, breaker bars, snap ring pliers, bla bla bla)

i know that to shape and cut .188 and .25 i need a plasma cutter, but that isnt in the budget.
would sitting there with a grinder be a waste of my time?

all of this junk will be welded by a professional welder friend of mine who has all the cool 100% duty cycle 220 volt mig, tig, and arc welders...

i am really getting in over my head (most likely) and am going to keep getting in till i cant get out...

any cool ideas or peer preasure would be great!
I've built hundreds of brackets, gussets, parts and pieces out of .188 and .25 without a plasma cutter. Never used one and probably never will.

Sawzall, hacksaw, angle grinder and occasionally acetylene torch to cut out a large part, like a skid plate. Most parts are made from mild steel which you can beat around pretty good with a BFH. Add the torch as required.

Welding on the suspension parts is better left to your expert buddy.
A die-grinder with a cut-off wheel arbor and one cylindrical carbide bit might be your friend.

Also a electric jigsaw with metal blades might help with circle cutting... certainly easier to control than the sawzall. I :dunno: about 0.250 though...
JeepFreak21 said:
PS - Got any drawings/pictures of what your brackets'll look like?

not yet

thanks for the hep guys
now on the list:

metal blades for my jigsaw
die grinder
4 1/4" hand held grinder

we'll see how it goes...
also, make sure you get a gross of grinder discs, when you get "into" the metal, they realy start to eat up fast.. especially if you get it a little of 90 degrees... If your going to be cutting tubes and such, go for the chop saw... I will be looking into one of these... as far as Plasma cutters, they tend to be a "nicety", unless your into big stuff, but there are always ways around...

this weekend, the sawzall became my best friend (bathroom remodel), the blades can get bent an mangled pretty quick (for all those building exocages out of galvanized pipe), so get many......
My metal working tools:
-chop saw
-circular saw
-angle grinder
-pneumatic die grinder
-pneumatic baby sawzall
-hand drills (1/2" VSR DeWalt & 3/8" close quarters VSR Milwaukee)
-old school Craftsman standup drill press w/ high quality bits and hole saws
-MIG welder
-torch (haven't used it yet, was a nice XMas present from my father in law 2 years ago)
-BF bench vise
-tube notching jig
-lots of workbench space

My tools that I regret buying
-16 ton HF pipe bender
-cheap POS Chinese shop press
-puny HF tabletop drill press
-underpowered HF bench grinder

Tools that I am still looking for:
-stick welder
-tube bender
-power washer
-bigger compressor
-bigger bench grinder
-band saw
Lawn Cher' said:
My tools that I regret buying
-16 ton HF pipe bender
-cheap POS Chinese shop press
-puny HF tabletop drill press
-underpowered HF bench grinder

I'm seeing a trend here.. My $9 angle grinder made it thru 2 leaf springs, and 2 front fenders before it gave up... same thing with the $9 1/2" Drill... caught fire and smoked in my hand... As far as the HF pipe bender, my neighbor has one that he uses to "customize" pre-bent cages (for scca miata's)... that is about the only use I can see for them, a little tweak...

with tools, you get what you pay for, not just in longevity but also in the quality of the end product...
Well, when I bought all my junk I wanted to get the most for my money. I'm upgrading the stuff I use more often. Actually, the HF angle grinder I have has been great, as well as the 8000 lb come-a-long. The refurbished Dewalt chop saw and sawzall have been marginal, as well as the Porter Cable compressor.
Captain Ron said:

how much at HF for one of those 6 laser guided thingys??? LOL

actually the keys to my success have been the oxy-accy torch ( cutting and bending )
soap stone and sharpies
porter cable porta band saw
4.25 grinder with cut off wheels, regular grinding diasc's and an assortment of sanding disc's
lincoln wire feeder ( 120 V ) for tacking and light welding as needed
my fathers big lincoln at his house for the tig and stick i need to do
1/2 drill
full size floor standing drill press
and most of all the reach over vice grips and C clamps and BFH/ MFH

lets not forget patience
oh i almost forgot the tri square, straight edge and tape measurer

i have a few dozen tape measures at my disposal...

i bought a dewalt grinder with 4 metal cutting and 4 grinding discs - we'll see how far that gets me...
im going to avoid buying the sawzall by borrowing one - if i need it - i think the jigsaw, chopsaw, and grinder should be able to cover my bases... ish...

time is of no value to me, so patience is there.

i have a square, plumb bob, and other alignment tools... though i worry about setting the knuckles up perfectly agian after i cut and rotate them - will a magnetic angle finder suffice or should i look for something more accureate?

thanks guys...
i know that this thread is old, but i feel that i can contribute something worthwhile, so...
plasma cutters are nice. if you have the money to buy a good(even more expensive) one. if not, don't waste your money. you can do sooo much more with just a run of the mill decent acetylene (i think that's how it's spelled) torch. plasma cutters are very easy to go thru tips, etc. if you don't know what you're doing. a tig welder would be a better investment. an ac stick welder and a torch is really all you need in that department. i have seen some old timers(lol) who are effin' surgeons with that stuff. a big steel top bench that can be welded on, and a vice on the side are most helpful, as are scrap pipe, angle and sheet mild steel from a junkyard. you can weld your own temp. jigs to the bench, and tack braces on complex assemblies to keep them from pulling while their being welded. the basics take a while to get good at. but until you get good with them, there is not any reason to even touch a mig or plasma machine.
also, a bench grinder, handheld grinder, hydraulic press (can be handmade with a proper bottle jack and good weld operator, so more emphesis on the above), an anvil, a drill press with indexed bits, and basic hand tools are all you need to make pretty much damn near anything from iron/steel
My favorite new one is this,grinds multiple patterns like nothing else.
In the pic there are 2 sets of 4 LCA brackets,all IDENTICAL.
I just started using a bridgeport for things other than drilling holes. very nice.

I have at my disposal a plasma, mill, lathe, press, and press brake that will bend 5/8", but 95% of the time I'm zipping away with a 4.5" angle grinder and a minisledge.
well, might as well help others that come along this way...

i made all the brackets for my front end with the following:

14" metal cutting chop saw
4-1/2" angle grinder
DIE grinder with GOOD metal cutting bit (purchased at a metal suply shop)
jig saw
tape measure
pro-tractor with a pulmb bob
center punch
cordless drill

i outsourced 6 holes in the box and channel for UCA mounts and LCA mounts that were cut with an Oxy torch.

I used a lathe to drill and tap the 1-3/8" sold stock for steering

a friend and his 220v old stick buzz box took care of the welding.

the die grinder and cordless drill saved this project...