More Air Tools

Flanger/Punch Tool Pneumatic

New tools are always fun. Below are some tools I’ve acquired over the last few months:

  • Straight punch/flange tool with 3/16″ punch (model 600ST) from Astro Pneumatic Tool Company - purchased on sale for $79.95 from KMS.
  • 1/4″ angle head die grinder (composite body) (model 1240) from Astro Pneumatic Tool Company - purchased on sale for $79.99 from KMS
  • Model AS1001 Professional Series HVLP Spray gun (I may have plugged it already)
  • Cup Brush for Small Grinders SAIT Part Number 06416 - 2 3/4 x .014 cs M10 x 1.25 Knot Wire. This has been an excellent attachment for my electric grinder for removing scale and undercoating.
  • Air In-Line Regulator with pressure gauge - Item # TAIA041 from Pit Bull. I’ve attached this to a whip hose with attachments [Milton S211 1/4 inch coupler kit + a 1/4 coupler] to make a regulator on a quick release.

I’ll try and review these tools as I get a chance to use them. So far I am really enjoying the die grinder, but I’ll see if it lasts before I make any sort of judgement.

posted by @ 11:27 pm


Review: Stitch Welder

Stitch Welder (Welding Rods Not Included)

Stitch Welder (Welding Rods Not Included)
Item Number: 19045

Price: $69.99

Pros: Low cost, functional, no need to buy gas, good manual
Cons: Changing rods, higher temp
Needs: on/off switch, rod holding screw that can be hand tightened

OK, you are on a limited budget and you have to weld some sheetmetal on your project car. What do you do?

The best option? Go out and borrow a 220V MIG welder with continuously variable power control, gas, and perferably a spool gun. Sadly, anyone that has a higher end MIG welder probably guards it with their life and needs it in their shop. However, if you can get ahold of one, this would be the root I’d choose.

You could go out and buy or borrow a low end MIG welder. They can work, however my own experiences have not been good. Unless you can fine-tune the power output of the MIG welder, you can look forward to limited success welding sheetmetal. I burnt holes in a lot of sheet metal using the MIG welders I borrowed, although skill level was obviously a factor in that. Unfortunately, most low end models only have 3-4 fixed power settings, not a continuously variable knob for power. Every shop should have a MIG welder, but before I buy I’m holding out for something I know will work.

But what else can you do? Fortunately for me:

  1. I do have access to an old, but quite good, 220V arc (stick) welder that my son inherited from his grandfather and
  2. I ran across a low cost add-on. The stitch welder from Eastwood makes welding sheetmetal with an arc welder very doable.

Personally, I was a tad skeptical about how useful it would be - especially given it’s “under $75″ price point. However, it is not a gimmick. This thing actually works. I won’t go into the gory details (see Eastwood’s stitch welder instruction book for details on how it works), but suffice it to say that even a rookie like yours truly was able to create decent welds on sheet metal using this tool.

Is it perfect? No.

  1. For one, you are welding with rods, not a continous spool of wire. This means that you will spend a lot of time installing new rods as you proceed. I was using 1/16th inch rods and in general this would join about 2 inches of metal before I had to use another rod. Sadly, the existing version of the welder uses a simple slotted screw to hold the rods (i.e. you need a screw driver). A screw that could be hand tightened would speed up the welding process considerably.
  2. This welding attachment does not have an on/off switch. Why is this an issue? Well, I stuck a lot of rods to the surface of the metal when I was learning to use the system. If the rod stays stuck for even 2 seconds, it will melt to mush. Given that the on/off switch on my welder was outside the car when I was inside, I either needed a spotter that I could yell “off” too or I had to use all my might to yank the welding rod off the surface. An on/off switch on the attachment would be much more elegant.
  3. The stitch welder is much, much better at doing recessed lap joints than butt welds. If you need to do any butt welding, I’d strongly encourage you to purchase Eastwood’s Welding Aid Tri-Pak . Putting one of these copper plates behind the gap in the butt weld makes the process much easier.

These minor negatives aside, I was very impressed by this tool. It is not a gimmick. If you have access to an arc welder with variable power control, do not hesitate to add Eastwood’s stitch welder to your collection. It is a useful tool for the hobbiest on a budget.

Overall Rating: Thumbs up

posted by @ 1:50 pm


First Impressions of the Welding Tools

Well, I finally got to play with my new welding accessories and so far I’m impressed.

I didn’t have enough time to size any of the panels on Rocket, so I just played around with some scrap metal.

So far, the Spot Weld Gun is a “no-brainer.” I actually tried to burn a hole through both sheets of metal and I just couldn’t . With the amperage set right, a simple spot weld was just too easy to create. I’ll try it on the car next, but so far this looks like a tool that will get a lot of use.

The Stitch Welder is a little trickier. It’s a very cool device that seems to adjust the distance of the rod to the metal based on the strength of the arc. It’s a little like welding with a woodpecker but the results can be amazing. I generated a bead on my metal that looked much better than anything I’d done with my low end mig welder. And as an added benefit, I didn’t burn any holes through the metal.

That said, I still need to practice getting the arc started. Unfortunately I stick the rod to the metal too often and there isn’t an easy off switch for the wand. If you can’t pull the rod off in time, the rod turns to mush in no time flat as the entire length overheats.

One trick I am currently using is to use wire cutters to cut the rod in half. The shortened rod was easier to keep steady. Hopefully with practice, this won’t be necessary.

I’m finally off on holidays and most of my presents are wrapped, so I should have lots to post over the next two weeks.

If you haven’t noticed, the site’s photo gallery is toast. Some time while I wasn’t paying attention a glitch popped up in a small “Coppermine” file and my host provider can’t seem to find a replacement of the old version because the software was recently upgraded. As a result, the captions are toast, caput, gone. I think I may just use HTML from now on.

posted by @ 10:45 pm

Cool Toys and Colds

Report cards and colds… bah. Here I am, finally finished my report cards, all ready to go, and I am feeling like something that belongs on the bottom of a shoe.

Spot And Stitch Welder Set With Rods

I recently received some exciting packages but I just don’t have the energy to play. But I can drool… not that I wouldn’t be doing that anyway, but there are meds for that. ;-) Most exciting to me is the arrival of a my “Spot And Stitch Welder Set With Rods” from Eastwood. I’ve been having some trouble welding with the MIG welders I’ve borrowed, so I thought I’d give this setup a try. My dearly departed father-in-law had a fairly good arc welder that I’ll be using with this package (once I find all the bits buried in my mother-in-law’s basement).

I also got a couple boxes of paints and such, but I’ll talk about those more later.

Here’s hoping I get healthy sooner than later. I hope to have a fun and enjoyable Christmas break tinkering with Rocket. The 16th can’t come soon enough.

posted by @ 9:46 pm


Your hot rod on a postage stamp!

OK, I’m jealous… and hoping that Canada Post comes out with a similar program

I received an invitation to join the Stamps.com affiliate program. The basic idea is that you can take any digital photo and turn it into real US postage! I think Rocket would look great on a PhotoStamp but sadly I don’t live in the US to make use of the stamps if I made them.

That said, I still couldn’t resist plugging in a picture of Rocket and at least seeing what it would look like. Like I say, I’m jealous! :-)

posted by @ 8:21 pm

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