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Custom Tools... What Have You Made To Make Your Life Easier?

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So we've all been there, right? That bolt that's just a little too far around that corner to get to and a ratchet just won't cut it... or that crazy flat thing needed to open up the plug on a pipe cleanout... maybe you just wanted a bottle opener that nobody else had. In any case, some tools just suck and others are either super expensive or just unobtainable. Me? I'm more on the side of thinking that some tools are just too expensive for what I need them to be. Other times it's either late and nobody is open to get the right tool of just out of not wanting to drive all the way into town. Either way, I've made up some tools of my own that have been quite handy.

 

Instead of ransacking my shop looking for everything, I figured I'd just post up stuff as I come across it. The latest are a couple real dusies that I've been using just about everytime I go out there.

 

Mini anvil:

 

 

Yup... it's a chunk of beam that I cut down to size. Really doesn't matter what shape it is though. All I use it for is smacking things around. Simple and to the point for what it needs to be.

 

8" bench vise:

 

 

A bench vise is a real pet peeve of mine. First off, you could pick up a small, cheapie one every year that'll only get bound up and find new ways to get you all fired up. Sure, one could drop $600+ for a nice Wilton or pick up one used but still... good luck finding one for cheap as they never really wear out. Second, the dang handle on the end of them. Always flopping around... always in the way when the jaws are tightened down... sometimes you need to really crank down on something so you're tempted to use a "torque multiplier" and then just end up bending the handle so is doesn't even move like it should anymore... What I wanted was cheap, no dumb handle to get in the way, cheap, easy to maintain, and cheap. This was my solution.

 

This is where everyone else chimes in. What neat tools have you put together to make your life easier?

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I really like the vice.....gives you the option of putting on an impact (electric or pnematic) for those times you are using it for a press.... :thumbsup:

 

I make quite a few myself.....but don't have a lot of pics

 

Here is a set of dollies i made out of simple 1" copper pipe T's and a broom handle. They are your best friend when welding holes or seams in light gauge metal ( they are worth their wieght in gold when fixing floor pans).....You just use them as a backer...they conduct electricity....allow the steel weld to pool....then you just pull them away. :thumbsup:

 

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Made up another doozy recently. We're painting the shop at the school I work at so things needed to get clear from the walls. That meant that I had a whole bunch of curtains to take down. Those curtains are held up with wing nuts:

 

 

... lots of wing nuts:

 

 

That's about a third of what needed to come down. I decided to skip the carpal tunnel and whipped up a wing nut driver.

 

 

Worked great!

 

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I didn't make this one but I did restore it. Its a home brew slip roll, it's stout enough that I have re arched leaf springs on it.

 

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I want a welder :(

 

though once I did assemble an engine hoist from the 4x6 beams out in the landscaping. :D  (dad was impressed, but not all that amused)

 

9836723.jpg

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I finally took some pics so here is a couple of “homemade helpers”

 

The first is a press I made from scratch in school years ago. My instructor had a rule that if you could draw it (both isometric projection and exploded) and utilize just the steel donated to the school (scraps from local manufactures) you could make it and take it home.

 

Here is my take on a shop press…..similar to many you have seen…the only real difference is I fabricated a head, out of 3/8” just like they have on large mechanical breaks so I could use regular break dies. I have pipe dies for it as well. Right now it is just a 20T hydraulic……but that will be replaced by a duel air over hydraulic soon.

 

 

The only “pre formed” piece on the whole press is the bed (40” of 6x6 I-beam)…everything else is formed out of 10 gauge AR steel.

 

 

 

And for any of you fabricator’s out there…..here is my chance to brag a bit…. Like I said the body is entirely 10 Gauge…this is where calculating bend allowances is taken to the max…..so when you look at the side rails look closely at the hole….it is not ¼” but double 10 gauge…..may not mean much to some until you realize I laid out all 4 side pieces as flat stock…..pre-punched the holes…then bent them into u channels…...then slid one inside the other……. the holes lined up (thankfully) and making it look like one piece of ¼” …….you can see the seam in the hole here.

 

 

 

The next is more of an assistant than a tool….I have had a little flat deck that I use to get parts (diffs, Trans, T-cases, Motors, etc.) It saves having to take the topper off the MJ, or I can pull it with one of the Wranglers or XJ’s.

 

The bad part was needing a helper all the time to lift on and off….I had been giving a good long look at modifying the head of my engine hoist to have it bolt on when I can across this virtually new little crane on a local website……picked it up for $40 cash (that included the hydraulic you see…originally it had a hand operated cable winch) added a ATV winch with a pillow block, Onboard battery….ready to rock.

 

 

 

 

I can use the winch to pull it closer ( or out of the brush) as well as load and unload easy.

 

Since the pics were taken I not only gave the trailer a new coat of paint but I added 2 pipe connectors     (one on either side of the frame) that allow me to use a little flip up trailer jack to stabilize it a bit better.

 

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I don't have any pics (not that you'd need any :laughin: ) but stick a few strong magnets on your cherry picker, shop press,engine stand or any tool that has one of those steel handles so you can easily "stick" it in place and keep it from rolling around when you're working on something instead of trying to put it where it goes,,,, which for some reason NEVER seems to be in a convenient place.

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Since I've been making my own copper lugs for 1 AWG battery cables I found out that it's hard to hold onto the lug when drilling the hole. So I came up with this ugly wooden contraption  :yes: works really well, actually. 

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Bringing this one back. Didn't necessarily make the tool, but rather made a home for it.

 

 

Yup... it's a kinker of a pipe bender. I've got some plans to make it actually work well. It stores away nice and will be the new home for my bench vice.

 

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To continue on with the bender, here's how to make them work pretty good...

  1. Clean out all of the excess paint out of the dye. When I first opened mine, it looked as though the guy running the paint line that day was getting paid by how many gallons he put down.
  2. Make up an extension shoe for the rollers. This will create some friction along with putting more even pressure as to not put dimples in the material. See, the problem with these things is that the rollers don't allow for any pressure on the dye letting the material pull up and out... thus why they are commonly refereed to as "kinkers".
  3. Lastly to make sure that the material won't pull out by making up a hard stop over the dye. Pictures are pretty self explanatory as to what I did there.

 

On a side note, 1", 1 5/8", and 2" tubing will fit nicely with the supplied dyes however you need to make sure that you're using a heavy wall thickness.

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Made a few more helping hands this weekend while working on my dune buggy. The tube bender wasn't cooperating... mostly a gravity issue. The fix...

 

 

And then this little guy came in hand when copying angles...

 

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This is an old thread but I thought I'd bring it back to life with a few of the things I've built to make my life "easier" as the title says.

 

Metal plate shear assisted by a trailer jack.   I power the jack with a DeWalt 20V 1/2" drive impact wrench.

picture.php?albumid=2026&pictureid=48934

 

Foot operated spot welder stand to free up an extra hand. 

picture.php?albumid=2026&pictureid=43752

 

Stretcher / Shrinker stands to again free up an extra hand. 

picture.php?albumid=2026&pictureid=41961

 

Shop press (20 ton).

picture.php?albumid=2026&pictureid=36098

 

Parts washer. 

picture.php?albumid=2026&pictureid=19586

 

Rolling welding magnet stand.

picture.php?albumid=2026&pictureid=41959

 

Spark plug wire tester.

picture.php?albumid=2026&pictureid=44352

 

TJ shifter tap handle on my garage fridge.   :beerchug:

picture.php?albumid=3125&pictureid=69519

 

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Thanks Pete.   I built it so that the welder itself can be easily removed (4 bolts) so I can take TO something I need to weld if necessary.   I haven't finished it yet but the box at the bottom houses a timer.   I'll be able to dial it to different times depending on the thickness of the metal being welded. 

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For moving stuff around the yard and loading it into trucks.

 

An old cherry picker modified to slide into a receiver hitch. 

 

And a fuel tank sender removal tool. Made from some pulley off a 4.o. 

Fuel tank ring tool 2.jpg

1-20160801_175140.jpg

fuel sender tool-001.jpg

fuel sender tool-002.jpg

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