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Tools and Garages This is a place to share about the tools and workspaces used to craft your latest masterpiece.

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  #1  
Old July 5th, 2008, 14:24
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razdrvr razdrvr is offline
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I wanna do my own fabrication

I wanna start doing fab work on my rig. Things like a cage and body protection. My problem is that I've never really done any metal fabrication. I've been looking at benders on trick tools. I can't figure out where to start. What are the minimum tools and supplies that I will need to be successful. What sizes dies and such, what bend radii do I need to get started? What type and size of tubing? What kind of welder should I get. TIA for all of your help.
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  #2  
Old July 5th, 2008, 14:37
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

grinder,sawzall,lots of hrew tube, i used 1.5" 12 gauge, um 110 welder will do u just fine if dont need to weld on axles and such. and if so go with a 220. dont know on tube bender there are lots out there.
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  #3  
Old July 5th, 2008, 15:22
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

so hrew is measured in gauge not wall thickness like dom? is hrew Strong enough?
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  #4  
Old July 5th, 2008, 16:28
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

I see you live in Texas -

you might want to venture over to the RRC forum and see if anyone is doing a build and needs a hand to get your feet wet help someone else, and figure out how to use the tools...

my 'shop' that has gotten me by consists of:
Air Die Grinder with carbide bit
Chop Saw
Sawzall
DeWalt 18V drill
Air compressor to run the die grinder
DeWalt 4.5" angle grinder (cut off discs, grinding discs, and sanding discs)

I borrow a torch when I need to cut a lot of material or make plug weld holes...

I borrow a JD2 (JDSquared) bender when I need to bend tube.

I have a Lincoln Weldpack 3200 HD 110 Mig welder that has done 'okay' on the projects ive used it on.

I think I do 'ok' as a home fabricator - but ive spent a LOT of time with the wrong tool figureing out how to make the right ____________ (cut, bend, weld, hole, shape, contour... etc)...

the hard part is figuring out what the end goal you want is, and how to get there with the tools you have...

As for materials -
for round tube that I need to bend, the bender I borrow only has 2 die sets - 1.25" OD tube with a center line radius of 3.5" and 1.5" OD tube with a CLR of 5.5"

Ive been able to get by with this combonation for a while.

For roll cages, 1.5" OD tube, .120 DOM is good for external, structrual members, 1.75 gets used from time to time on some rigs, but I think the tube OD looks too big for our cars... 1.25" tube is much too small for outside members, but can be good for bumpers, internal members and whatnot...

HREW dents pretty easy, DOM is harder to dent.
.188 wal tube is harder to dent than .120 wal tube...

Tube is generally called out by the OD and the wall thickness...

best of luck!
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  #5  
Old July 5th, 2008, 16:43
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

well to start fabricating you need:
1. a chop saw to cut metal
2. a grinder to prep it
3. A welder to affix said pieces together
4. a sawzall comes in handy for anything
5. a 1/2" chuck drill is a must

you will be amazed at the things you can do with just those tools. My jeep has been built with just those tools! and a borrowed torch.

Now i finally bought a Miller 180 Mig welder and its bad ass!!! I recently purchased a cheap harbor freight pipe bender cuz i am goin to make some rocker protection slider deals and some tube fender protection too. And yep im making this crap out of 1 1/4" sched 40 pipe...
Next on the list of things to buy is a big enough compressor to handle 4cfm at 75 psi to run a plasma cutter. Have not decided what plasma to get yet, might get one of those $250 cheapos on ebay and see how long it lasts. I mean i could buy 4 of those cheap ones for the cost of a Hypertherm 30 amp.

Last edited by _MURDERED OUT_; July 5th, 2008 at 16:47.
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  #6  
Old July 5th, 2008, 17:08
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

Thanks this is the kind of information I was looking for.
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  #7  
Old July 5th, 2008, 20:18
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

l'm looking at getting a Hobart Handler 140. I don't have 220 in my garage. Will the 140 work for me or should I get 220 run to my garage?
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  #8  
Old July 5th, 2008, 21:40
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

You'll be ok with the Hobart, I've made bumpers, sliders, and other misc parts with my Hobart 140, 4.5 Grinder, Dewalt Drill with lots of diffrent bits, Saws all, and flap wheels and cut off wheels. Perfect set up, not at all, but gets the job done. When you get back into town feel free to come use some of my tools to get the hang of it.
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  #9  
Old July 5th, 2008, 21:54
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

Cool, I'll have to take you up on that.
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  #10  
Old July 5th, 2008, 22:29
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

Im goin to have to say "NO" on the hobart if its only a 110v welder. You will be limited on what you can safely weld with it. You really need a 220v welder. Now this is someone speaking from goin from a Lincoln Pro Core 100 to a Millermatic 180 bottle fed mig....
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  #11  
Old July 5th, 2008, 23:05
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

You might as well get a 220v machine. I got a 220 lincoln mig off of ebay new for about $100 more than you'll pay for the 110 machines. I won't beat the point to death but the power's there if you EVER want it. The machines last a long time so you might eventually.

As for other tools,just think of the tasks you'll want to perform. Cutting, welding, bending, metal prep, etc. If you make friends with your local fab shop you can get them to cut or bend stuff for cheap so you can get good prices on materials and get by with just a welder for a while. I use O/A torch, grinder, sawzall mostly and a drill press. I think that helps a lot for accurate drilling. A good punch, soapstone, tape measure, vise, clamps. A compressor is nice too.
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  #12  
Old July 6th, 2008, 09:19
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

Heres what I have to say on the welder subject.

If you can afford a good 220 machine and are willing to wire your garage with 220, go for it it is definatly worth it. But if you just want a welder that can do 90-95% of the jobs a jeeper requires and you can use it anywhere, go that route. I bought a 110 volt welder because I don't have a 220 outlet in my garage and it will do 90% of the welding I need, and when I do need a hotter weld I know of 3 buddies around me who will let me use their bigger machines.

IMO it's just whats fits you the best in the end.
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  #13  
Old July 6th, 2008, 10:22
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

I think I'll go with the 140, if it proves not to be enough then I will just end up with 2 machines. That does not sound like a bad scenario to me.
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  #14  
Old July 6th, 2008, 11:08
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

The 110-volt flux core is better at sheet metal than the higher end stuff, because it won't burn through as easily. I have a little 125 EZ right now and plan to get a stick eventually, but will keep the little one for body panel work.
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  #15  
Old July 6th, 2008, 14:59
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Re: I wanna do my own fabrication

Quote:
Originally Posted by ehall
The 110-volt flux core is better at sheet metal than the higher end stuff, because it won't burn through as easily. I have a little 125 EZ right now and plan to get a stick eventually, but will keep the little one for body panel work.
A good 220 MIG will run circles around a 110 MIG on sheetmetal. Get the 220volt one it's worth the extra money.
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