Hi all. It is no secret that I love tools. So I thought I would write up a quick article on my top ten favorite home metal fabrication tools.
1. My Hobart Mig Welder –
A staple of the Home Metal Fab Shop is the MIG welder. I have had this Hobart Handler 180 since around 2006. This is my go-to tool. MIG welders are easy to use and versatile. They will weld all projects that are ferrous (iron) steel. This machine and process are also known as GMAW Gas Metal Arc Welding.
They have since upgraded the model to a Hobart Handler 190 with SpoolRunner 100. The 190 has more power level options and comes with the Spool Runner 100 which you can load aluminum wire into and weld aluminum! (I really wish mine had this…)
2. My heavy metal welding bench –
I bet this thing weighs over 400lbs with all of the junk I have bolted and stored on it. The advantage of working on a metal bench is that while welding or plasma cutting you can simply hook the ground clamp to the table as long as the project you are working on is on the table or in the vice.
No links to products for this one. I suggest you build your own welding workbench as a practice piece!!
3. My Large 6-Inch Shop Vise –
Speaking of vices, they are also one of my favorite tools. This 6 inch one I use for almost every project is probably older than I am. But with it firmly bolted to my heavy metal work bench I can bend and bang on all kinds of projects without the table or vice moving around.
2. My Metabo 6-Inch Angle Grinder –
This is probably my second most used tool in the garage. This is a larger 6″ wheel grinder that has the horsepower to make quick work of grinding and smoothing metals. However the body is still compact and it isn’t too heavy.
The Metabo grinders do come with a higher price tag but I think it is worth it. The manufacturer date on mine is 2008 and it is still kicking to this day.
5. My 4.5″ grinder
– This is my Black & Decker 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder. Goes to show you that you don’t have to buy the biggest/best/most expensive tools to get projects done. Notice I have a flap disk on this grinder.
I am guessing I have been using this one since 2010. I can’t tell anymore because it is so old and used the stickers have worn off.
6. My combo Everlast 250EX AC DC TIG Stick Pulse Welder –
I bought this off-brand combo unit back in college. I really wanted the capability to do all of the different welding and cutting processes without spending a bunch of money. This Everlast machine has really done well for me over the years. Make sure you take some notes on the settings for when you switch between processes so you can get your settings correct.
NOTE: If you want to TIG weld aluminum you will need an AC/DC TIG not just DC (the DC units are cheaper so pay attention before you buy)
My unit is over 10 years old and they have since quit making it. Here is the equivalent machine that is available today:
7. My Tubing Bender –
More info on my tubing bender here: Tools of the Trade!: Tubing Benders
8. My air compressor –
I didn’t invest in a large air compressor until just a couple of years ago. Knowing now how useful they are, I should have gotten one a long time ago. It could have easily paid for itself in being able to buy cheap air tools instead of expensive battery powered tools. This unit is a 30 Gallon capacity 3 cylinder air compressor that runs off of a 220V plug.
I got lucky and bought this old one from a neighbor. However if I were to buy one today I would buy one like this (vertical to take up less floor space).
9. My Chop Saw –
Though I use it less than I used to since I now have a plasma cutter, the chop saw is another one of the standard fab shop tools that make cutting all kinds of tubing down to length. There are some very affordable chop saws with free shipping available on Amazon.
Same style as mine with a 14″ abrasive blade. Cuts well but is loud and makes a mess.
More expensive (but better) option
These saws (I have heard, haven’t personally used) are legit. It uses slower speed and a metal tooth blade that throws off minimal heat and sparks. Also leaves a nicer finish on the cut edge. More expensive unit but the blade lasts longer between changes.
10. My VISE-GRIP Locking C-Clamps-
Don’t underestimate these welding vice grips. They are handy. There is a reason I keep them right next to the welding table, because I use them almost every time I am working on a project. The C – shape allows you to clamp objects that aren’t flat or are irregular shaped.
Well, that is a quick summary of my top 10 favorite DIY Home Fabrication tools. Of course I have a lot more than ten, but we will have to save the rest for another day.
I enjoyed reading all about your tools in this article! I never would have guessed that your go-to tool was a welder! What kinds of projects do you get done with it? I am interested in getting into welding myself. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the comment Laurel! I am glad you liked the article.
Best thing to do if interested in welding is to either buy a cheap unit or borrow one from a friend and just get started. Don’t expect your first project to be perfect, as with anything it takes practice.
Thanks for the tip to use an air compressor. I agree that it helps you save money on tools. I didn’t realize air tools were cheaper than battery powered tools.
I’m surprised that your shop vise is probably old than you are, but I suppose things were built to last back in the day. It’s good to be able to work on steel fabrication without having to worry about the project moving around. Having a sturdy bench and a good clamp definitely make working with steel a lot easier. Thanks for the article!
Hey great share……
I really loved your post. Great list of tools!! Your article actually depicts that how much you love these tools. I completely agree that if you are looking for a great way to save time and effort during your construction or carpentry project, purchasing an air compressor is the best choice.
Thanks for sharing this post.
Steel fabrication tools seem like an excellent way to to shape metal the way that you want it. I am amazed at all the tools there are that you can use to shape metal effectively. It continually impresses me how many things can be fabricated through the usage of welding.
It’s interesting that you mentioned how you love having a welder. Having a welder is a great tool to create what you need with metal like you mentioned. If you don’t have a welder, outsourcing that work may be one way to get the work done that you need.
Hey, Interesting share….
I must say you have an amazing and a vast collection of metal fabrication tools. Indeed, These tools and equipments can save your unnecessary effort if you are going to indulge yourself in any sort of DIY project. I guess, Using a Plasma cutter is a better option than using a Chop Saw.
Thanks for sharing this post. Keep sharing such interesting stuff.
Hey, Firstly, thanks for sharing amazing list !! I think you have no idea how much useful post published. This list is so marvelous and true and really, also my favorite this home fabrication tools. I enjoyed reading it. This is the best site I’ve seen! Seriously thank you for all this awesomeness!
Thanks for the write ups. You do the kind of projects and repairs that few of us undertake anymore. I am repairing an old jointer planer I inherited a while back. Turns out I need a press to install the new bearings. My wife asked if I knew anyone who has a press. A few minutes thought made me realize that I don’t know anyone who repairs things. Heck, my next door neighbor has an expensive Deere riding mower. I repaired the deck for him last year and this year he again hit a stump and broke the deck. Instead of repairing it or asking me to do it he bought a new Deere riding mower. Amazing.
BTW, I’ll be building a press.
This is some really good information metal fabrication. It is good to know that it would be smart to have a tube bender. That does seem like a useful thing to have when you are working with thicker pieces of metal.
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I found it very useful and informative so thanks for sharing it with us.
These essential tools are very helpful to arrange my garage. Such kinds of information help me more to easy my daily work. Here I am getting a perfect guideline to perform my task successfully. Thanks for your wonderful share.
Thank you so much for sharing your Awesome Article with us.
I am so glad to read your Article. You Described wonderfully safety tips.
It is awesome to have a combo everlast welder. I am highly satisfied by using it for the last three years. It is a versatile welder and highly useful for multiple tasks.