Project Money Pit

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Project Tools

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Here's my shopping list for the tools I would need to start the tube work on Project MP:

Welder - After using an old arc welder for the past couple of years, I was ready to upgrade to a 220v mig welder.  They are easier to use and you can get better looking results with less effort.  After a lot of research I decided to go with a Millermatic 175.  The main deciding factors were the all metal drive mechanism (Hobart and Lincoln use plastic and that's what broke on my 110v mig) and reputation.  The Millermatic 210 has a higher duty cycle  (60% vs. 30%) but at nearly twice the cost.  Based on the opinions of other who have used both the 175 is a great way to go if you aren't welding all day long.   I bought my Millermatic 175 from Cyberweld , the price was good and with free shipping an a free cart how could I say no?  FedEx got a little rough with the box, the bottom of the unit was dented enough to prevent me from getting the side hatch open.  After dismantling the unit and making repairs I did a little welding before the regulator died, still waiting for Cyberweld to send a new one (been a week since I called). 

Update 8-28-02 Got the new regulator and I love this welder. 

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Tube Bender - I went with a JD2 Model 3 bender.  I purchased direct from JD2 and got the unit as promised in about 4 weeks.  I also got a 1 5/8", 180 degree, 4.5" radius die and a 1", 180 degree, 3" radius die set.  The 1" die will be used to make gussets and racks where the strength of the 1 5/8" tubing is not required.  The bender ships without a mount so you have to fabricate one.  I thought about this for a while waiting for the bender to arrive.  The most common thing I have seen is a single post with a flange top and bottom that can be bolted to the floor. This would be ok at home but I wanted to use it down at my work since we have a large shop.  At the same time I didn't want to have to bolt it in one spot and potentially monopolize the floor space,  The idea I came up with was to somehow attach the bender to the forklift, using the forklift as a giant anchor.  The idea evolved into a pedestal with fork pockets.  This makes the bender highly mobile and to anchor it you just spread the forks, then lower them to the ground.  The materials for the stand cost around $50.

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Here it is after a coat of paint.  You'll notice I added a little bracing and some pegs to mount any extra dies.

Update 8-28-02 Be sure and add a tool/paper/measuring instrument shelf to you mount.  You'll be using a lot of things while bending and it would be nice to not have to have a separate table out of arms reach to keep all that stuff on.

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Tube notcher - After doing some research I went the cheaper route with a notcher from Harbor Freight.  It was $40 vs. $179 from JD2.  As best I can tell the biggest difference is the bushings (bronze vs. roller).  I found a few people who used the Harbor Freight notcher and they were happy with the results so I figured I would try it, worst case I am out $40, best case I saved $139.  Still waiting for this tool, it's backordered.

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