Originally Posted by jgrov2
Just looking for some advice on gear to get me started in metal fab. I drive an LN106 hilux and I want to knock up my own bar work being rock sliders and bulbar for winch. I also want to do up the exhaust and intake pipes and later down the track maybe even a tray. I've used stick welder a handful of times ages ago but I am keen to learn and start practising been spending lots of time on welding tips and tricks website
I want to do it myself mainly because I'm on a tight budget and I think it will be cheaper in the long run and for the satisfaction of building it myself
What sort of welder should I be looking for? I'm thinking 190amp gas/gas less mig? I only have single phase power too
What sort of pipe bender should I look for or can I get away without one?
Is there any software that helps design metal fab work?
Any other tools I should be looking for I have the basics and a good drill and angle grinder
Thanks for the help
First off, welcome to one of the best Fabrication forums on the web.
Sounds like you are getting started on the right track.
I would stick with a MIG welder with shielding gas (75%/25% argon/co2 cleaner welds, or 100% co2 cheaper shielding gas that does a good job), 190+/- amps is good. As for brand I would find a name brand that is local to you so that you are sure to be able to get repair parts and consumables.
If you are going to do tube work (bumpers, cage, etc...) then a bender is mostly required. I have no Idea what benders are available where you are so I can't really suggest a brand. Tube software? There is only one choice as far as I am concerned and that is BendTech sold by our own Fabcam right here on the OFN.
Angle grinder or three.
Saw; Abrasive, Dry cold cut, horizontal band saw, or true cold saw (my preference is the Horizontal Band saw).
I would also suggest a tubing notcher of the hole saw type for your tube work.
Hand tools; hammers, files, clamps (lots of clamps), squares, etc...
Welding table of some sort, the bigger the better but a 2 foot x 4 foot is about the minimum that I would bother with.
Don't worry about getting all this to start but it is all stuff that makes this work easier and faster. The welding table is a reasonably good early project, just make sure the top is square and reasonably flat. There is a good welding table thread here on the OFN for Ideas.
As for the tight budget thing, you can possibly save some
money over having others do the work for you but it ain't going to be cheap with the equipment that is needed. However, if you are looking for the satisfaction of doing it yourself then there is really nothing better then getting out in your garage/shop and building from your imagination. Being able to say "I built that!" even if it is only to yourself is worth all the time, effort and money involved in welding and fabrication. There is little else that gives me the kind of satisfaction that I get from creating something where there was nothing before.