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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

7 fabrication tools that belong in your garage

You're more likely to replace a part than to repair it, but at some point your DIY journey will require you either to create something from scratch or to modify a piece for the perfect fit. Welcome to basic fabrication. It's a wonderful thing to practice and become good at.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/7-fabrication-tools-that-belong-in-your-garage/
131 REPLIES 131
richard2
Intermediate Driver

Loved seeing the Ridgid battery tools; you can't beat that lifetime warrantee in my opinion. I would add one of the less expensive MIG welders as they can be invaluable in serious auto work as well as knocking together fixtures, frames and other useful stuff out of square tube or angle iron.
4RenT
Advanced Driver

"one of the less expensive MIG welders"
Like the $47 Hobart with cart I bought from Sears as they were reducing their inventory!
(i.e. slowly dying)
Fortunately they also sold me a couple of rolls of welding wire ($0.97 each).
PlumCrazyChris
Pit Crew

Rivets are good, but I would probably rather have a box of Self-Tapping Screws myself, especially when welding, you can just remove them, instead of having to drill them out.
Tinkerah
Engineer

Plus they're re-usable....or am I the only cheapskate who thinks that way?
DUB6
Specialist

Nope!

SJ
Technician

Various clamps.Pry bars.Magnets. Sawzall.
BMD4800
Gearhead

Sawzall.

I mean… yeah.

Try the Milwaukee portable bandsaw…. Suddenly everything is awesome.
RW68RSConv
Detailer

I can’t believe the most obvious…. Beer.
1) attracts extra helping hands
2) induces creativity
3) comes in a variety of sizes and prices to meet any budget
4) extremely versatile and can be used with nearly every project, cookout, or family gathering
5) increases the attractiveness of non-garage dwellers

Tom1
Pit Crew

#6 Increases visits to the emergency room.
BMD4800
Gearhead

There is a difference between drinking a beer and getting drunk.
RW68RSConv
Detailer

Just a detail…. 🙂
miata93
Instructor

Also whether or not beer is actually consumed it is often used as a measurement of the intensity of the job performed, i.e.

Number of beers (12oz.) = time X difficulty of job

So, a tire rotation for example would be a "one beer job"; a plug and points change on an older straight 6 is a "two beer job" etc. This provides a universal frame of reference when discussing auto projects and is especially helpful when asking others for help.
exatx
Pit Crew

Just my opinion, but if you are going to "fabricate", a small bench brake is quite useful. I use mine for a lot of non-auto related repairs/inventions as well, and it was not prohibitively expensive.

And +1 on the shears!
4RenT
Advanced Driver

Yeah, I bought an $18 bench brake at Horror Fraught!
DougL
Advanced Driver

I'm with Snailish on the fire blankets and extinguishers. Cutting and welding in a wooden garage is a bit frightening! I will also mention that getting a small hobby level oxy-acetylene torch set is not super expensive. I believe I have less than $250 in my set, including the cart it sets on. If I were to add another tool, it would be a welder. Even a cheap flux core welder lets you do a ton of projects that you could not do without it.
TG
Gearhead

I have found that a spray bottle of water works better than having an extinguisher around (which I do anyway), but you can wet things down before hot work and put out small fires without making a powdery mess out of your garage
BMD4800
Gearhead

Welding paper on glass is a must. If you can’t pull the glass, cover it.
MisterBristol
Pit Crew

Mount your bench vise so that you can work the end of a piece of stock mounted vertically. When done this way, a piece at least 3' long can be worked on end. The mount on the vice illustrated has three ears; had the mount been turned 60 degrees the stationary jaw would have allowed vertical positioning.
RedRyder_SFZ
Detailer

Fantastic tools…all of them. Cardboard, like another reader said, is totally underrated.

I’ll add Clecos to the list. These are invaluable when holding metal together. Yes, rivets we’re mentioned but Clecos…perfection.
BMD4800
Gearhead

Clecos are next level.

When magnets are a waste…
TonyT
Technician

**bleep** fluid.) And buy lots of 'em!
FloridaMarty
Instructor

24 pack beer boxes are sweet for template making. The cardboard is sturdy, waterproof, and easy to cut. Whenever I buy another case of beer, I am almost as excited to get the box as the beer. As for the list of 7 tools, yes, how could you do anything without them.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

Lots of bleeping comments here. I know it's a glitch but it makes for some funny comments like **bleep** fluid. I had that happen to me also on another thread.
BMD4800
Gearhead

Makes you wonder why they don’t sensor “knock er loose penetrating oil”.
DrOverboost
Intermediate Driver

I wonder if anyone will read this far down. I agree with all above.
I prefer posterboard to cardboard for some fabrication projects, especially **bleep** is better to learn from others’ mistakes than my own.)
Tinkerah
Engineer

Yup, I'm reading this far down and poster board is better for most if not all fabrication projects but corrugated is just so plentiful. Cereal boxes are prime template material for small projects.
61Rampy
Instructor

You misspelled "frozen pizza boxes".
TimK
Advanced Driver

What, no welder? We're talking fabricating metal here. A good MIG, even a relatively inexpensive gasless 110V flux core MIG along with bar clamps and/or an assortment of vise grips can be priceless when needed for welding steel pieces.
Ken_L
Detailer

I agree with TimK for a welder. Started with a used Lincoln 120V using flux. It did come with a gas set-up, so after we purchased a tank the welds so much nicer now. Not much of a learning curve, just use scrap metal to practice on. When set up with the correct gas and wire, you can even weld aluminum with them!
4RenT
Advanced Driver

My local (government sponsored) recycling center used to let me take metal scraps home for welding practice.
(Probably not allowed anymore...)
MrBill-1943
Advanced Driver

May I add consider having two sets of drills Number and Fraction. I would also get a set of letter drills that I flat bottom and used to drill out spot welds in **bleep** metal. Also regarding hammers, totally agree as I have often needed a "Precision" adjusting tool.

MarineBob
Intermediate Driver

I second or third the fire exting. Never needed one but probably cause I always have one. Not a small tool, but air is very useful. Even a small pancake to do small spray paint jobs will have you wanting bigger. Thought on MAPP…..I don’t think you can get MAPP any more. Something about the raw materials used for higher priced products. You can get MAPP-Pro which is a bit better than propane but not pure MAPP. I’d add a 2 lb hammer. When you need umph, that’ll do it. I need a magnifying glass to read small numbers etc.
OHCOddball
Advanced Driver

SAFETY GLASSES!
TonyT
Technician

Bleeping bleep bleep. And bleep the bleep when you bleep.
DUB6
Specialist

I second that!  😀

Rick1
Intermediate Driver

Two things I use all the time when I am fabricating stuff are a set of digital vernier calipers and a drill **bleep** arcs and distance lines.
Rick1
Intermediate Driver

Add to above post in place of "beep" : **bleep** for scribing arcs and distance lines
Rick1
Intermediate Driver

I give up!!!
Sajeev
Community Manager

@Rick1 we are working on a fix, just keep on bleeping posting in the meantime and we'll make it funny come bleep or high bleep! 

ALTurkeyBum
Intermediate Driver

Finally, some soulmates who appreciate the utility of the humble cardboard box. My wife thinks it's hoarding, or mental illness.
GeneLaRoe
Pit Crew

First time I have done this and my partial comments went to the top, so try again. To quote my late grandpop, very late as I am 85, who was a railroad blacksmith and I have his tools, highlighted by his 300 pound Swedish anvil. "Never force anything, get a bigger hammer".
GeneLaRoe
Pit Crew

If anyone is still here I have another good quote. From Norm Abrams on The Yankee Workshop, "a man can never have too many clamps". Like my guns, I could not tell how many clamps I have. Lucky to have a dream **bleep**, welders and woodworking machines and tools! Staying busy keeps me alive.
GeneLaRoe
Pit Crew

It bleeped out my lathes, Bridgeport, etc.
GeneLaRoe
Pit Crew

If anyone is still awake down there, I would like to quote my late grandfather, very late as I am 85, who was a railroad blacksmith, and I have his tools highlighted by a Swedish 300 pound anvil, "never force anything, get a bigger hammer" And a quote from Norm Abrams in a Yankee Workshop TV episode when he said, A man can never have two many clamps". Just as my guns, I could not even come close in giving the total number. This has been fun and I have a dream **bleep**, welders, etc.
TonyT
Technician

BLEEP THIS!
Sajeev
Community Manager

That's the bleeping spirit! 

cole
Pit Crew

Dykes 4.5" Side Cutter Diagonal Wire Cutting Pliers Diagonal Wire Cutter Side Cutting Pliers (wire cutter)
Brand: Dyketai
(from Amazon website -just checking to see if I can get bleeped)
livemeyer2
Pit Crew

What is absolutely **bleep**). Super helper and time saver.
livemeyer2
Pit Crew

Where did the rest of my comment go? You bleeped the word essential?
livemeyer2
Pit Crew

Well I don't understand why two paragraphs were bleeped, but I mentioned reasons why an air compressor is a vital shop tool.