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Old 09-30-2005, 05:53 PM
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Shop Hints & Tips

These tips are lifted from the Corvette Forum C3 General thread called "Home made shop tools". They are from several different people, myself included. There's a lot more there, but I thought I'd share these with you all.

These may not be official tools, but they make working in the garage a little easier....
Take the cap from your PB Blaster or a spray paint can and cut a slot around the spray nozzle and down the side so you can push the nozzle without removing the cap. Drill a 3/8 hole where the tube sticks thru and cut off a tube about 1 1/2" long. Now you can leave the cap on for protection but still just grab it and squirt. The caps usually fit most spray cans including WD40. The marking paint surveyors and utility locators use has caps with the slot molded in, all you have to do is drill the hole.
Use small electrical shrink tube to join two tubes together to make a long one, but be careful - the 'recoil' will make the tube jump.
Use a magnet stuck to the side of your drill press to hold the chuck key. Just grab it off, slap it back. No more "Where the #*@!! is the chuck key?" Stick one on the side of your creeper to hold little wrenches while you're rolling around. Stick one on your air cleaner lid to keep track of little tools while under the hood- but, of course, don't leave it when you're done. However,if you do forget it, that 3/8 wrench will probably still be there too when you get back. Use a couple magnets to hold a diagram on the fender or frame for quick, easy reference while working. I get my magnets from trash speakers out of car stereo store dumpsters. (Other interesting and useful stuff to be found there too.)
You know those u-clips you mount on the closet wall to hold the broom upright? They're just dandy to hold your air hose. Mount 'em on the front of the workbench, by the solvent tank, next to the vise--wherever you'd like to quickly grab the air, squirt, and click it back. It beats the heck out of laying the hose on the bench and watching it fall off dragging the tray of carburetor parts with it.....
OK, that's all I can think of off the top of my head right now.
Later.

Not a tool but a helpful hint. If you have an engine with headers and it's missing on one cylinder, start the engine and use a spray bottle to spray each header pipe individually. The water will not evaporate as quickly on the dead cylinder. After you’ve isolated the cylinder, you can determine if it's a fouled plug, bad wire, wiped lobe etc.



for those of you with rear mounted batteries, this may come in handy...Took a 15' household extension cord and cut off both ends. Put large alligator clips on each end. Took a small piece of 2x4 wood and screwed two 2" pieces of copper tubing vertically into it, about 4" apart. Now when I need a 12 volt power source in the engine bay, like for a timing light, I set the 2x4 on the windshield wiper tray and hook up my baby jumper cables to the battery & copper posts.



Not really a home-made item, just another use for something. Our '80 aluminum wheels were REALLY in rough shape and needed the remainder of the clear coat romoved followed by a good polishing. I tried quite a few different purpose-built items, however the best at removing the clear coat and polishing, without scratching I found to be fast orange hand cleaner (use sparingly) in conjunction with one of the cheapie bonnet polishers that are for use with an electric drill.
Worked great, didn't scratch, and, when followed by Eagle One Never-Dull, created a VERY shiny, smooth finish.

(smells good as you're working with it too!)



We all know we should have fire extinguishers in the shop, but they are not always the best response. For one thing, they don't last very long -- in a typical 4" X14" tall extinguisher there is only about 10 seconds worth in there. Not much when you're panicking and flames are everywhere.
But also they make a huge mess which can take longer to clean up than to fix the fire damage.
I have a fire blanket which is nothing more than a moving van blanket loosely rolled up in a short piece of 6" diameter heat duct screwed to the wall. If I have carb fire, or rags ignite from welding, or even my buddy's shirt, I can whip the blanket off the wall and smother the fire in a few seconds.
It does work-
I speak from experience.


When trying to either tighten of loosen a nut, use 2 wrenches. Preferably box end for obvious reasons. Many people will want to use maximum force to break the nut free. One of two things happen. First is that they break the nut free as well as bust their knuckles. The second is that the person realizes they are more than likely going to bust their knuckles and never get the nut loose.
Here is what to do. Position the wrenches so that they are one notch from being parallel. All you got to do is squeeze the wrentchs together. You'll be surprised how easy it is. No more busted knuckles and a lot more force can be applied. My son-in-law spent hours trying to take off a natural gas adapter for a dryer. He said he was beating on if with a hammer and thought it was somehow permanetly fastened. I went up to the connnection with my daughter and 2 seconds later it was loosened. This works great when the bolt is only a few inches in length.
One other tip. When using electrical tape don't pull it tight and tear it. After pulling it tight, let the tape relax for the final wrap or two and cut it. It will keep the tape from unraveling after a period of time. If I did this once, I did it 5000 times.
Thanks to Popular Mechaincs!


To keep the thread alive:

Homemade metal-bending brake. Two pieces of angle-iron (free from work) and a couple heavy hinges ($6.00).



Vacuum box for thermo-forming plexiglass, lexan, etc. Scraps of wood (free) made air-tight on top with flex seal from an old refridgerator (also free). Right above you can also see the sliced-in-half bowling pin that will be used to form Daytona headlight covers (5 bucks at the bowling alley).


I madea $2 power brake bleeder with a valve stem, piece of plywood, a c-clamp, and the tire pump for the kids' bikes. Bolt it on and pump it up. Beats $40+ for a plastic one.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Not trying to brag on the Corvette Forum, but I have gotten so much excellent information from you folks here, I just wanted to share with you some of the good stuff from there too.

John

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."
-Red Green

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Last edited by JPhil; 09-30-2005 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 10-04-2005, 02:04 AM
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Great ideas. Sounds like a little something for everyone. Thanks.

Kevin
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Old 10-04-2005, 09:17 PM
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When stacking 10 foot 2x4s in your shop and you have 10 foot ceiling, look up. Yea...you guessed it. Took out two 8 foot UV bulbs right above my head. Felt so stupid.

JCL
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Old 10-05-2005, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPhil
Homemade metal-bending brake. Two pieces of angle-iron (free from work) and a couple heavy hinges ($6.00).
John
I've got the angle-iron and the hinges. Now what do I do with them? I wouldn't mind trying to build this, do you have any plans or drawings?
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Old 10-05-2005, 09:30 AM
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Old 10-05-2005, 09:47 AM
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kringold:
Hope this helps. I have no idea how to post a photo,so I had a freind do it for me. This is all there is in the way of info, but it's pretty simple. You can also get sheetmetal tools, including simple folding tools, at a sheetmetal/HVAC supply house. A handheld folding tool comes in handy often, but I have a number of sheetmetal hand tools from my days in the trade.
Good luck
John
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:09 PM
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Great ideas, thanks
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Old 10-05-2005, 04:44 PM
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Sorry, but I'm not seeing how that would work.
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Old 10-05-2005, 07:29 PM
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kringold:
I guess I hadn't really looked very hard at the photo before I posted it. It seems not complete. It appears it still needs a clamping piece on the back side of the vertical part of the iron in the vice to hold the sheet. Perhaps that is what the c-clamps on the table are for. Then the top iron is pivoted down to fold a 90* in the sheet...You still may have to work it with a roller or hammer to get a crisp bend....I don't know what size or guage you're working with, but the idea is here...
Again, hope this helps
John
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Old 10-05-2005, 09:37 PM
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kringold:
Feeling guilty for not researching & verifying before posting, so following are instructions to build a (light guage) sheetmetal brake like the one shown. I must say I have not built this myself-- yet --but have seen similar home made ones in use. I apologize in advance if my instructions are too elementary but I do not wish to leave you hanging over something I "assume" you understand (like the @#$%^ computer geeks do to me when I'm lost on this infernal/wonderful/magic instrument).
OK, ready?

Parts needed: 2) pieces angle iron, 1) piece flat stock, 2) stout hinges, 1 or 2) C-clamps.

Set the two angle irons together so you have a 'T', the leg of the 'T' being the double thickness. Leave a minimum 1/16" gap between them (or more, depending on the guage of the sheet you're bending).
Attach the hinges to the top of the 'T', one leaf on each of the irons, hinge pivot out/up, so that when you pivot the hinge 90* the leg of the 'T' opens and the two irons form a cross.
Mount the hinges on one end and the middle (+ or -) of the length of the irons. Your vice clamps the fixed iron between the hinges and the free/ open end is where you insert your sheet.

To use:
Fix one leg of an iron in the vice, leaving the other iron free to pivot. Irons will be as a cross: bottom vertical leg fixed in vice, bottom horizontal fixed, upper vertical & horizontal free to pivot.
Insert sheet vertically between the two, fixed vert on one side, pivoting vert on other.
Clamp sheet to fixed vert with flat stock, using vice & c-clamp or two c-clamps.
Pivot free iron to fold sheet, closing cross to make 'T' with sheet between double legs of 'T'.
When you open it back up, the sheet will probably relax into an 80* or so fold.
DO NOT RELEASE FLAT STOCK CLAMP YET.
Use a large socket under a big file or something to roll the fold tighter (or use a board with a good sharp corner and tap lightly with a hammer).
Now you can remove sheet from brake....and you'll probably have a 95* fold! Well, roll or tap out the inside of the fold now to fix that...
PRACTICE ON SCRAP FIRST a bunch of times--it is an art, to a degree. You need to learn how to judge the "make-up" or allowances for the radius of the fold and other subtleties of sheetmetal working before you dive into your project.
For the third or fourth time, "I hope this helps"!

John
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