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Tools You Can Build at Home

Cool Tools and Simple Stuff You Can Build

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The key to any home-welding project is to create sufficient weldpenetration to ensure that the two pieces being fused are permanentlyjoined. A good weld will result in significant heat penetration intoboth pieces of metal. This heat creates a bond that is strong enoughthat the welded portion is as strong, if not stronger, than the parentmetal.

The best way to learn basic welding technique is to sign up for an adultextension class at your local school if one is offered. At the veryleast, we'd recommend significant practice before attempting to buildany tool or component that could be dangerous if the weld failed. Sooutsource those major chassis modifications until you become proficientwith your welder. But that said, don't shy away from replacing thoserusted trunk floorpans just because the job looks too difficult. That isone of the first tasks we took on with our first home MIG welder, and intwo weekends of methodical work, we had a completed job that was veryrewarding.

We recently had a chance to experiment with a new Craftsman home shop120-volt MIG welder. The welder offers enough power to weld up to3/16-inch plate and even thicker metals with multiple passes. Ratherthan just play around with it, we decided to dive into a couple ofspecialty tool projects for our shop that we could actually use. Wecranked out an engine perch for a small-block Chevy out of one 10-footlength of 1-inch square tubing. We also duplicated a simple engine liftplate out of 1/4-inch-thick square plate. Finally, we made a locking barfor our next 12-bolt rearend buildup using another 5-foot length of1-inch square tubing along with a small chunk of steel plate that'sdrilled for the pinion flange.

MIG welding can be a lot of fun, and it won't take you long to come upwith all kinds of ideas for projects, tools, and widgets you can create.Craftsman tells us that you can even convert this welder to MIG-weldaluminum with proper changes to polarity and a different shielding gas.We haven't tried that yet, but this just adds to this little welder'sversatility.

Parts List
ComponentSource PN Price
MIGwelder Craftsman 0920569 $299.99
Shielding gas kit Craftsman 092017179.99
Helmet, autodark Craftsman0920743 99.99
Twin CutterCraftsman 0926829 179.99
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