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Most Used Tools
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Powerflite
Posted 2019-08-31 11:59 AM (#586829)
Subject: Most Used Tools



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I had a conversation with a guy about which tools he should purchase, and that got me to thinking about which tools I end up using the most to restore old cars. My initial reaction was a standard socket set, but after thinking about it, those aren't really the tools I use the most. These tools are my top five.

1. Long shaft die grinder. I usually use this with a thin cut-off wheel on it to cut everything - sheet metal, exhaust, linkage, annoyingly rusted bolts, etc. It is also the first tool I grab to clean welds because it cuts so easily. This is by far, my most used tool and I have used it for the last 15 years. It's on it's second cord now, but the recent replacement that I purchased from Harbor Frieght only lasted 2 months before it died under warranty. Apparently, they garbaged down the quality since then.

2. 4.5" angle grinder. I use this with grinding wheels (hard & paper) and wire wheels to strip paint, clean up rusty parts and welds. On it's 2nd cord and tail stock from a scrapped one.

3. Medium sized ball peen hammer. I use this a lot, but not nearly as much as my grinders.

4. Mig welder. The essential body tool & modification tool. The picture is from the internet, but mine is the same, except with a bigger bottle.

5. 1/2" air impact wrench. I have grown not to like air tools as much, but this one remains very useful and saves me a lot of grief.

I guess if I didn't do as much rust repair as I do, that my most used tools would be different. But rust repair seems to follow me around.



(Most Used Tools.jpg)



(Miller 185 Mig.jpg)



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big m
Posted 2019-08-31 12:08 PM (#586832 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Good list, Nathan.

One I would add is an oxy/acetylene torch, for cutting rusted bolts, heating and removing broken bolts or studs, shrinking sheetmetal, brazing and welding when a malleable weld is needed [such as hammer-welding]

---John
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56D500boy
Posted 2019-08-31 12:27 PM (#586834 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: RE: Most Used Tools



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You all might laugh but the tool that I personally use the most (because my car mostly just needs TLC and not major body work), is my compact 28 piece 1/4" drive socket set. I have an Imperial set for the Dodge and a metric set for my 94 Audi V8 wagon (1 of 1 in N.America last time I looked). Inexpensive but great quality. Very useful in tight situations (under the dash, inside doors, interior, exterior trim, badges, etc.)

I have 1/2" and 3/8" socket sets for the big stuff but this little guy does at lot of things for me. Wouldn't be without it.

http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=59940&cat=1,70373,7037...





Edited by 56D500boy 2019-08-31 12:37 PM
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57chizler
Posted 2019-08-31 1:18 PM (#586836 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: RE: Most Used Tools



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If you can call an air compressor a "tool", that's my most used tool.
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Old Ray
Posted 2019-08-31 4:53 PM (#586844 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: RE: Most Used Tools



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.... for those that might just do the littlest bit of fabrication (read MAJOR modifications);

..... a DRILL PRESS !
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Apollo 61
Posted 2019-09-01 2:10 AM (#586871 - in reply to #586844)
Subject: RE: Most Used Tools



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I use my dewalt 1/4 in battery impact the most.

Is a special Chrysler wrench for the oblong bumper bracket bolts at the bracket and frame?
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oldwood
Posted 2019-09-01 4:16 AM (#586874 - in reply to #586871)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools


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I don't leave town without my 1/2 in Snap-on battery impact, floor jack. I can't count the # of people who buy travel trailers and use a scissor jack and a lug wrench.
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1960fury
Posted 2019-09-01 7:16 AM (#586878 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Impossible to answer, like what is the most used body organ. You need them all. If I was forced to pick one, angle grinder would be my answer, or maybe caliper gauge. The tool that saved me the most money is definitily the mig welder, but you can't weld without cutting/cleaning/measuring first... Couldn't life without an air compressor too...
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b5rt
Posted 2019-09-01 8:48 PM (#586903 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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How about the oddball tools you're glad you've got? My first choice would be the transmission/parking brake adjusting wrench. Only needed it twice so far but very handy. Second, after using a butterknife, the window crank removal tool.
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Powerflite
Posted 2019-09-01 8:54 PM (#586904 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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I am using my air compressor less and less. If I were starting out, i would try to get all electric tools. But I still need one for dealing with tires & blowing out stuff. I also figured I would never use my Oxy-Acetylene welder again once I had the Mig, but as John states, having heat on tap is sometimes essential for removing trim screws, brazing leaks, and other things.

Another good oddball tool is an aluminum bottle cap opener from the '90's. I find those are perfect for removing drip rail moldings without damaging them. Took me a while to find the best tool for that.



(Bottle Cap Opener.jpg)



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ABloch
Posted 2019-09-01 9:35 PM (#586908 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: RE: Most Used Tools



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This one gets a lot of use around the shop and on the road.



(fluke.jpg)



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mstrug
Posted 2019-09-02 4:46 AM (#586914 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Drum Remover...



(drumremovermopar1.jpg)



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60 dart
Posted 2019-09-02 5:03 AM (#586915 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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cordless drills --------------------------------------------------------later
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1960fury
Posted 2019-09-02 5:16 AM (#586917 - in reply to #586904)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Powerflite - 2019-09-01 8:54 PM

I am using my air compressor less and less. If I were starting out, i would try to get all electric tools.


It is the opposite for me. I'm using air tools more and more. Can't beat the smaller size, higher RPMs and less weight. The tiny pencil micro grinders outlast dremels and do a better job by far, plus they cost a fraction of a dremel.
Also a compressor is a must for professional rust proofing and painting, or just blowing out/cleaning things.
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Old Ray
Posted 2019-09-02 10:33 AM (#586927 - in reply to #586904)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Powerflite - 2019-09-01 6:54 PM I am using my air compressor less and less. If I were starting out, i would try to get all electric tools.


YES ! After years of listening to the compressor pounding away I have almost completely switched to electric tools. I still trip on the cords instead of the hoses, but it is much easier on these OLD ears.
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57chizler
Posted 2019-09-02 1:05 PM (#586937 - in reply to #586927)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Electrics are fine for short jobs but they get hot with continued use. Pneumatic is just the opposite.
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Powerflite
Posted 2019-09-02 1:33 PM (#586941 - in reply to #586937)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Exactly! Hot is better than cold. With cold, the tool freezes up and won't turn anymore. And it is also much less efficient. Using the electricity directly uses less energy. But as stated, you can't get away from having a compressor entirely.
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57chizler
Posted 2019-09-03 1:29 PM (#586981 - in reply to #586941)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Powerflite - 2019-09-02 10:33 AM

Exactly! Hot is better than cold. With cold, the tool freezes up and won't turn anymore.


Nonsense. Air grinders are used for hours on end and don't stop turning. However, in both cases the tool temperature extremes are uncomfortable to bare hands and require gloves
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Powerflite
Posted 2019-09-03 2:47 PM (#586988 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Nonsense? Tell that to my air grinder. Maybe your pep talk will improve its performance. I've had actual ice coming out of it. Maybe where it isn't very humid, it would work better.
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57burb
Posted 2019-09-03 4:28 PM (#587000 - in reply to #586988)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Electric is the way to go for small repairs and such, but... how ya gonna paint a car with a grinder?!



(20190223_105513.jpg)



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Phatton
Posted 2019-09-03 4:59 PM (#587002 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools


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I use my sandblast cabinet powered by a 7.5 HP air compressor almost every day - wouldn't want to live without it.
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Powerflite
Posted 2019-09-03 9:53 PM (#587013 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: RE: Most Used Tools



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If I had a sandblast cabinet, I would too! That is one tool that I wish I had the space for. I am thinking of forcing my wife's laundry out to the back yard so I can fit more tools in there. Not sure how that will work out. Wish me luck.
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LD3 Greg
Posted 2019-09-04 12:24 AM (#587018 - in reply to #587002)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools


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Phatton - 2019-09-03 4:59 PM

I use my sandblast cabinet powered by a 7.5 HP air compressor almost every day - wouldn't want to live without it.


Absolutely. When I entered my shop the first switch I tripped was the compressor. It was housed in it's own insulated room so the noise is not an issue. We all have our own favourite tools some air and some electric. No big deal!! But, the first thing one must do in designing the "shop" is to make sometimes very expensive steps to dry the air and remove moisture in humid conditions! Moist air and spray painting and sandblasting simply don't work together!!

Greg
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mstrug
Posted 2019-09-04 6:33 AM (#587027 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Cool DIY Air Drier: Forgive Me... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvqO-F_5CB4 Trev is C@@L!
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57burb
Posted 2019-09-04 11:49 AM (#587044 - in reply to #587018)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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I gotta say, the sandblaster is among the most IMPORTANT tools in the shop, but mine really sucks. My buddy made it out of plywood and it is just an all around terrible piece of equipment.

I won't consider another project until I have a high end blaster. I spent entirely too much time clearing the gun, replacing the glass, fiddling with seals (that never sealed) and dealing with weak blasting media. Having now been to a few professional shops and seeing them do in 5 minutes what would have taken me 5 hours, I won't tolerate my crummy blast cabinet anymore.
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57chizler
Posted 2019-09-04 1:14 PM (#587050 - in reply to #586988)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Powerflite - 2019-09-03 11:47 AM

Nonsense? Tell that to my air grinder. Maybe your pep talk will improve its performance. I've had actual ice coming out of it.


You can't have ice without moisture, don't blame the tool for your faulty air delivery service.
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Powerflite
Posted 2019-09-04 2:39 PM (#587058 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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News flash, moisture is everywhere. Even if your line is completely "dry", the moisture content in the air is at equilibrium at that temperature and pressure. Lower the temperature and pressure, and you will get more condensation. If your tool is below freezing level, I can guarantee you will have issues. But the trick is not to let it get that low. One way to do that is to make sure the tool works very efficiently. Typical Harbor Frieght tools use too much air and make the tool colder. It's all a big huge hassle for someone who just wants to get a lot of grinding or sanding done. Once I switched to electric, my electric bill went down and I didn't have to deal with any of the issues with air power. If you love them, then great. But you're not going to convince me to switch back.
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1960fury
Posted 2019-09-04 3:19 PM (#587063 - in reply to #587058)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Powerflite - 2019-09-04 2:39 PM

News flash, moisture is everywhere. Even if your line is completely "dry", the moisture content in the air is at equilibrium at that temperature and pressure. Lower the temperature and pressure, and you will get more condensation. If your tool is below freezing level, I can guarantee you will have issues. But the trick is not to let it get that low. One way to do that is to make sure the tool works very efficiently. Typical Harbor Frieght tools use too much air and make the tool colder. It's all a big huge hassle for someone who just wants to get a lot of grinding or sanding done. Once I switched to electric, my electric bill went down and I didn't have to deal with any of the issues with air power. If you love them, then great. But you're not going to convince me to switch back.


I use cheap air tools, never, never ever had freezing issues. I didn't even know the problem exists. Never had that problem working at a car dealer either, daily non stop use. Together 30+ years.

Edited by 1960fury 2019-09-04 3:21 PM
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57chizler
Posted 2019-09-06 12:57 PM (#587156 - in reply to #587063)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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^^^^^
Same here. I come from the aircraft maintenance field where electric tools are mostly a no-no. Thousands of hours of drilling/grinding and no sign of ice.
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1960fury
Posted 2019-09-06 6:12 PM (#587178 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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My guess is Nathans compressor is missing the moisture trap. Just restored the terrace doors in my house, because they weight a ton I had to leave them in place. With a big and heavy electric sander I couldn't have done it. Also, I do alot porting and build intake manifolds, there is no electric grinder that revs so high like the tiny pencil air grinders and that is so small. Regarding temperature of the tools, it is heat that induces wear. Never had to make a pause when working with air tools, but with electric tools, yet, I killed a couple of dremels and dremel rip offs. I really demand the grinders. My cheap little chinese pencil air grinder outlasted them all, it works still like new after years and countless hours of hard work grinding metal, even though i deliberately do not use the oiler (just oiled it once when new).
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Powerflite
Posted 2019-09-06 9:05 PM (#587187 - in reply to #587178)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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I have a moisture trap, but admittedly it isn't very good. You have to have a long distance of pipe for them to be very effective, other than installing a professional dryer. The tools in question that I had the most issues with were the 1/4" fitting die grinders and higher speed grinders from Harbor Freight. Even if you don't use it a lot to cause it to freeze, it never worked as well as the electric versions in my picture at the beginning of this thread. The electric one has a whole lot more torque. It is quite impossible to stop the cutting blade in motion, but with the air tool, it stops if you put too much pressure on it, and it gets worse and turns slower as it cools down. And being the single tool that I use the most, that's just too annoying to deal with.

What brand/model of pencil die grinder are you using? I assume that it has a 1/8" tool size? I used to use something like that when I did wood carving for fun.

I use my compressor the most to run my plasma cutter. That's really my best reason for having compressed air. The air tools that I don't have issues with and still use are: Impact wrench, air hammer (rarely), and an in-line sander (Hustler brand - a very good sander). I also still use an air powered D/A sander - a piece of crap that works for relatively short amounts of time. I don't have a good electric replacement for the D/A sander yet, but I will be looking for one when I need to use it again. Paint sprayers & air chucks to fill tires are other uses that I can't accomplish without a compressor too, obviously.
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BigBlockMopar
Posted 2019-09-07 4:50 AM (#587196 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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So no-one uses a carlift as their most-used tool?

Battery powered tools are the future. No more cords or airlines to trip over or get in the way.
Also very handy for some quick jobs outdoors. Just bring it and go.
That said, I only have air and corded electric tools in my garage.
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1960fury
Posted 2019-09-07 6:03 AM (#587197 - in reply to #587187)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Powerflite - 2019-09-06 9:05 PM

The electric one has a whole lot more torque. It is quite impossible to stop the cutting blade in motion, but with the air tool, it stops if you put too much pressure on it, and it gets worse and turns slower as it cools down. And being the single tool that I use the most, that's just too annoying to deal with.

What brand/model of pencil die grinder are you using? I assume that it has a 1/8" tool size?


RPM's that is what its all about, do not use force, that is the trick, also at 50K+ RPM it isn't very easy to stop because of the inertia. I use that tiny pencil grinder mostly to grind down welding seams! It is a no-name product, all aluminum, red anodized, looks and performs like a $200+ tool but it was only $15 including shipping in a sturdy box, with lots of extra parts.
Funny thing, I just wanted to start a thread about it, as I made a lot of negative comments about chinese goods, but this one is the excemption.

Recently the air hose where it enters the tool, which is just as flexible as a power cord, started to leak and I thought, since it is a very cheap tool, the fitting is just crimped together. To my surprise even the fiffing is a quality threaded braided hose connection and therefore it was a very easy fix.
Because I was so pleasantly surprised by its performance and quality I bought another one, as a back up, a few month later (I never use the oiler) but up to this day 5 years later, the first one still works like new.



Edited by 1960fury 2019-09-07 9:57 AM
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1960fury
Posted 2019-09-07 9:52 AM (#587203 - in reply to #587197)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Here they are, the back up grinder is obviously a different manufacturer. They look identical, but each part is different, even the knurled speed adjuster. I hope it is just as good.
They were only $15 each including shipping, box and grinding bits and the used one saved me several 100s buying electric grinders, they don't last in my applications.



(grinder1.jpg)



(grinder2.jpg)



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Ray Bell
Posted 2019-09-07 5:01 PM (#587219 - in reply to #587156)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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A few years ago Aldi started selling a range of tools with a common 20-volt battery. We bought a 'line trimmer' and a hedge trimmer and then a leaf blower, which came with two batteries...

But what I thought would be really handy would be an angle grinder. I waited for this to come up, when it did it came in a package including a torch (flashlight), a 10mm drill, a hex-drive 'rattle gun' and a 6" power saw. And two 4ah batteries and a charger. All for $199... who could pass that up?

That angle grinder does get a workout! Mainly with the cutting discs, but sometimes with the grinding disc.
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1960fury
Posted 2019-09-07 7:05 PM (#587224 - in reply to #587203)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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1960fury - 2019-09-07 9:52 AM

Here they are, the back up grinder is obviously a different manufacturer. They look identical, but each part is different, even the knurled speed adjuster. I hope it is just as good.
They were only $15 each including shipping, box and grinding bits and the used one saved me several 100s buying electric grinders, they don't last in my applications.


This is the one (only without grinding bits). "Make offer" sale. If I was living in the US, I'd buy them, as I tend to hoard things I like/need.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lot-Of-4-Central-Pneumatic-Air-Micro-Pencil...

Edited by 1960fury 2019-09-07 7:07 PM
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1960fury
Posted 2019-09-07 7:17 PM (#587225 - in reply to #587196)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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BigBlockMopar - 2019-09-07 4:50 AM



Battery powered tools are the future. No more cords or airlines to trip over or get in the way.



Not sure if that was meant to be a joke Even bigger and heavier than regular electric tools. Plus batteries age and I hate having a battery (full of energy, just like a tank of fuel only scarier) charged when I'm not at home or in the garage, plus you probably need at least one extra set of batteries, if you can't switch the tool to 110/220V. I hate battery toys (cars and tools).
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BigBlockMopar
Posted 2019-09-07 7:21 PM (#587226 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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AliExpress is full of these things (air micro die grinders). You can buy them all day long.


Edited by BigBlockMopar 2019-09-07 7:23 PM
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Powerflite
Posted 2019-09-07 7:22 PM (#587227 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Yeah, I don't like battery power either, but they come in handy when you are at the back lot of a wrecking yard without other kinds of power.

Thanks, Sid. Central Pneumatic is the Harbor Freight brand so I can just pick one up from there. I'll give that little die grinder a try. A small pencil grinder comes in handy at times, especially for working on small things.
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BigBlockMopar
Posted 2019-09-07 7:25 PM (#587228 - in reply to #586829)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Friend of mine runs an American car repairshop and he's totally converted to those cordless battery powered impact wrenches. And that's even when they still have a heavy duty two-stage compressor in the shop.
They use them for everything including removing wheelnuts, headbolts etc.
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1960fury
Posted 2019-09-08 6:35 AM (#587250 - in reply to #587227)
Subject: Re: Most Used Tools



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Powerflite - 2019-09-07 7:22 PM

Yeah, I don't like battery power either, but they come in handy when you are at the back lot of a wrecking yard without other kinds of power.

Thanks, Sid. Central Pneumatic is the Harbor Freight brand so I can just pick one up from there. I'll give that little die grinder a try. A small pencil grinder comes in handy at times, especially for working on small things.


I believe this is the kit I bought. Price has gone up slightly.


https://www.ebay.com/itm/16pcs-High-Speed-Air-Mini-Die-Grinder-Kits-...
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