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Fabrication 101 Everyone has to start somewhere and for some, theOFN might be that somewhere.


Fabrication 101 Everyone has to start somewhere and for some, theOFN might be that somewhere.

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  #1  
Old 08-05-2017, 06:40 PM
sanpt7777's Avatar
sanpt7777 sanpt7777 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Mexico City
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Essential fab tools?

So I bought a Lincoln PowerMIG 210. It's nice practicing on scrap but I want to start building stuff and what not.

My aim is to become good enough to be able to build off road accessories like bumpers and tyre carriers.

What tools, beside the welder obviously, do you think I should buy? I'm selling my car for this and expect to get around $1000 out of it. I'm worried because it seems a plasma cutter is essential.

I'm doing SMAW only at the moment and really enjoy it, although I do have the spool gun for MIG, but no gas.

What should I buy to do simple fabrication?
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  #2  
Old 08-05-2017, 11:00 PM
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alwaysFlOoReD alwaysFlOoReD is offline
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Location: Red Deer,AB Canada
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I'm not a pro but have been playing with fab for years. I would say the #1 tool is between your ears. Then safety gear. I have all my fingers and can still use them all, but it's not because I was careful....I got very lucky and had only 17 stitches in my fingers when I was using a 4.5" grinder without a guard or leather gloves.
So;
1] eye protection - use safety glasses with UVA/B protection. Without your eyes it's a lot more difficult to use a measuring tape.
2] face protection - an exploding grinding disc can do wonders for your looks. Use this AS WELL as your eye protection. Without face protection, pieces can bounce off your cheeks, rebound off your glasses and end up in your eye. Don't ask me how I know [ two hospital visits ].
3] gloves - leather gloves don't just keep your hands baby butt soft....
4] leather boots - use toe protection at the least, and instep protection is advisable. Also something across the top of the laces helps.
5] natural fiber pants, cotton or wool - yeah, I know shorts are cooler, but believe me, they're not "kool".
6] long sleeve shirt or pull over, cotton or wool - same reasoning as for pants. Plus welding burn hurtz.
7] ear protection - nothing like having a piece of slag down your ear canal to get you dancing. And sometimes it's OK to hear what your wife just said when you get home from work. "Honey, Do you want to go dancing...the horizontal bop...?".
8] breathing protection - use a dust mask at the least.

Also, Brakleen can kill you if it's not evaporated when welding. Galvanized metal gives off a toxic gas when heated.

Last edited by alwaysFlOoReD; 08-05-2017 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 08-06-2017, 04:47 AM
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Punk Steel Punk Steel is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: across the pond on the jewel of the Atlantic.
Posts: 96
that is the best advice, without keeping yourself in one piece all the rest is pointless!

As for actual tools, the one machine that makes life easy is a tube bender.

Decent vice, hammer, grinder, drill or drill press and you have the basis of everything you need. We have a myriad of tools and several benders, but even though we are a full time operation, some tools gather dust for months before they are used again.
a hammer, grinder and vice are used everyday, as is one of the benders.

the very thin cutting discs are great, I assume you have them in the US, and flapwheel abrasive discs are good for smoothing and shaping steel.

Plasma cutter - we have one, rarely use it now, I would save that purchase for later.
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Old 08-07-2017, 12:29 PM
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sanpt7777 sanpt7777 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwaysFlOoReD View Post
I'm not a pro but have been playing with fab for years. I would say the #1 tool is between your ears. Then safety gear. I have all my fingers and can still use them all, but it's not because I was careful....I got very lucky and had only 17 stitches in my fingers when I was using a 4.5" grinder without a guard or leather gloves.
So;
1] eye protection - use safety glasses with UVA/B protection. Without your eyes it's a lot more difficult to use a measuring tape.
2] face protection - an exploding grinding disc can do wonders for your looks. Use this AS WELL as your eye protection. Without face protection, pieces can bounce off your cheeks, rebound off your glasses and end up in your eye. Don't ask me how I know [ two hospital visits ].
3] gloves - leather gloves don't just keep your hands baby butt soft....
4] leather boots - use toe protection at the least, and instep protection is advisable. Also something across the top of the laces helps.
5] natural fiber pants, cotton or wool - yeah, I know shorts are cooler, but believe me, they're not "kool".
6] long sleeve shirt or pull over, cotton or wool - same reasoning as for pants. Plus welding burn hurtz.
7] ear protection - nothing like having a piece of slag down your ear canal to get you dancing. And sometimes it's OK to hear what your wife just said when you get home from work. "Honey, Do you want to go dancing...the horizontal bop...?".
8] breathing protection - use a dust mask at the least.

Also, Brakleen can kill you if it's not evaporated when welding. Galvanized metal gives off a toxic gas when heated.
You know what? I always think about safety when welding but honestly didn't wen doing my list. I have all of that except the overall and boots. I've hear stories of slack in your ear, scary. Also, never thought about breathing protection, I thought welding in a ventilated area was enough. Thank you very much!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Punk Steel View Post
that is the best advice, without keeping yourself in one piece all the rest is pointless!

As for actual tools, the one machine that makes life easy is a tube bender.

Decent vice, hammer, grinder, drill or drill press and you have the basis of everything you need. We have a myriad of tools and several benders, but even though we are a full time operation, some tools gather dust for months before they are used again.
a hammer, grinder and vice are used everyday, as is one of the benders.

the very thin cutting discs are great, I assume you have them in the US, and flapwheel abrasive discs are good for smoothing and shaping steel.

Plasma cutter - we have one, rarely use it now, I would save that purchase for later.
Yes, I really don't think I'll use a plasma that much and my uncle's shop (next to my dad's where I'll be working) has a plasma cutter. I just don't know other ways to make small cuts in 3/16 plate and things like that but I'm assuming I can just get my stuff cut there.

That's a good list man, as of now I only had in my mind the very basic (rule, squaring rule, level, measuring tape, and I will use lots of cardboard for mock ups).

BTW, I'm not in the US, I'm in Mexico. I think I know what discs you're talking about, I did some tube cutting with one. Wears very quickly :/ but cuts fast haha
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  #5  
Old 08-07-2017, 03:08 PM
alwaysFlOoReD's Avatar
alwaysFlOoReD alwaysFlOoReD is offline
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Location: Red Deer,AB Canada
Posts: 686
The cutting discs I use are called "zip" discs. They are about 2mm or IIRC 5/64". They are the ones that most likely to explode if you happen to twist the grinder while cutting.

The reason I had no guard in the previous post is 5" zip discs are cheaper to use than 4.5", but the guard gets in the way. I was using zips to cut a thin sliver of sheetmetal off a hood and the end got wrapped on the disc. It was like a cat-o-nine tails moving at 100 mph. I was very lucky I didn't cut tendons. It was supposed to be one quick cut and the gloves were across the shop. I now take the time to walk across the shop, and have also started to keep extra safety gear at each work station....just in case I get lazy again.
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Old 08-07-2017, 03:28 PM
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TheBandit TheBandit is online now
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I knew a guy who lost his eyesight while he was looking down the side of a cutoff wheel. It caught an edge and exploded right across both eyes. He was not wearing safety glasses or a shield. Could have easily been avoided by wearing the right PPE and appropriately positioning himself out of harms way. We all have safety lapses from time to time, but remember to stop yourself and take the extra time to get the right safety gear before rushing into a job. Examples include eye and face protection, ear protection (how many times have you left the earmuffs/plugs off for a quick cut/grind?), wheel chalks and jack stands (my nephew's best friend died under a car), welding helmet (do you like being blind or arc flashed?), extinguisher nearby, ventilation, etc.

As for the original question about equipment, I'm no professional but I can say I really appreciate shielding gas (CO2/argon mix for mild steel) and having both 0.023 and 0.030 solid wire for doing different thickness of metal. I have found a million uses for a portaband (mount upright in a vise to use a vertical bandsaw for brackets and whatnot), and I often use a chop saw for cutting metal to length. My angle grinder comes out a lot and I use cut off wheel, grinding wheel, and flapper wheels about equally. Step drill bits are great for larger holes in thin metal. A drill that can turn low RPM. A smattering of squares, metal rules, and tape measures, and calipers for layout/measurement. A spring loaded center punch.

In reality the types of jobs you do will slowly sort out what tools you need to buy. Get them as you go and keep your eyes peeled on craigslist and local auctions. Secure your tools so they don't get stolen. Spend some money on cabinets and tool boxes to keep them well organized. Read different build threads to see what kinds of tools others are using that might be handy for the kind of work you do.
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