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paulengr last won the day on February 13

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  1. On the EGO they are particular about the line size and to some degree shape. If you don’t use the one they specify it doesn’t work and it eats line like crazy. Don’t have to buy their brand, just get line that is very similar. Ballistic double twist 0.085” or something like that. I don’t have the Milwaukee but based on the description sounds the same.
  2. Sounds like I need to stock up 1.0 bowlers before I’m stuck converting to Packouts.
  3. Nibblers as a rule are not cheap. The low end gets you maybe”14” or “16” gauge but that’s an absolute maximum...16-18 gauge is more realistic. So maybe OK for roofing but not much else. That’s the cheap category and Ingersol Rand is pretty typical. The biggest ones are 10 gauge and really work on 12-14 gauge and smaller. But the price is much higher.
  4. We have LiDL too. They are slightly higher than ALDI but similar concept. Low SKU and aggressive pricing with low overhead and smaller stores, on par with the larger Dollar Generals. Our area was part of the initial LiDL experiment. I’ve heard about ALDI being different but they have several items that are not just similar but identical to Trader Joe’s. I don’t know what the Sud/Nord tie is and they might be independent but definitely not separate. If you are referring to the big Wegmans in Fredericksburg it’s big but not cheap. Think Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s in full size. I would not count Food Lion (same company as Piggly Wiggly) as discount. They are full line traditional. Along the same lines as say Bi Low (Geirgia) or Harris Teeter (North Carolina). Both run some crazy good sales as loss leaders on things not normally sold that low but the rest of the store is high markup. Not Walmart either. When they first expanded into groceries they were definitely inexpensive but these days the only thing low about Walmart is quality on everything, including tools. And contractors have horror stories about them.
  5. Those are all tool truck brands. If you notice older mechanics have less of those, if at all. First thing, those tool markups are normally 300%. Even if you get a 50% discount in school you are still paying 150%. There is a practical reason. Guys running tool trucks have an insane amount of cost in inventory on the truck and they don’t make much money on their routes in the first place. Do high markups are needed compared to buying from an industrial supply house or even a local automotive store where 10-20% is normal. Second the reason guys buy those tool truck brands is because they want to show off. They sometimes fall to peer pressure too. It’s like lifting your truck and putting Mickey Thompson tires on it or wearing Under Armor shirts and Duluth Trading pants. It’s all showing off. Typically the guy doing that doesn’t know how to use the tools they own. There is also a problem. Tool truck drivers quickly reach a point where they get burned out and get out if the business. So every couple years the tool truck brand changes. Or you rotate shops. Either way then you are stuck driving across town or to the next town on your time to catch the truck to replace your socket wrenches. It’s just impractical to use tool truck brands long term. Look at older mechanics and unless they are in a shop bay environment where peer pressure might matter, you are paid for your skills, not your tool brand. The thing is most of us have to supply our own tools. So that means if you have to buy a wrench and you can buy a $300 Snapon or the exact same one in Williams brand at $80, even if you get paid $30/hour that Snapon is eating an entire days pay instead of a couple hours. One option will be industrial supply house brands. Look on the list on toolguyd.com (search for who owns brands) to see how it works. So for instance you can buy Williams from an industrial supplier or you can buy Snapon. It is the exact same tool just with a different brand name and markup. Others are Proto, Blackhawk, etc. Often an automotive store carries these too. This is still at the Marco/Snapon/MAC grade. Every one of these companies makes multiple grades and brands. The industrial and tool truck brands are identical except price. And you can get the industrial tool shipped to your house or the shop usually the next day. The second would be home improvement store brands. Dewalt or Milwaukee will be your go tos. Husky and Craftsman are lower grade budget brands for homeowners. The difference between say a Dewalt and a Proto or MAC tool will be minor if at all. They are all premium tools. But noticeably different from Husky. Third are industrial supply house budget brands. This would be Harbor Freight and Klutch. Don’t knock it. These still have good warranties and face it, an impact socket is going to be the same from everybody. If you lose sockets a lot like if you’re working out of a truck, this is where you shop. Otherwise pick another one. Budget brands are OK for some things like sockets or sledge hammers but not socket wrenches. Last with power tools I would stay away from tool truck brands period. We have a large motor shop and our shop guys have every tool brand there is. Tool truck power tools are always older models rebranded. When it comes to brands certain ones cater to a specific trade and in your case that’s Milwaukee. They have a stubby 3” impact gun that can get into the tightest spots. They also have.a 2200 foot pound impact gun. But for your use in school I’d get the stubby and a mid size impact say 1/2”‘around 250 ft-lbs torque which handles most diesel jobs. When you get out and need to break rusty bolts loose get the 1400 ft-pound high torque. On a 3/4” bolt it will either loosen or shear off. Plus back to the shopping issue, you can get anything you need at HD or Northern industrial. Dewalt is good too but they cater more to construction trades. The best thing about tool truck brands used to be the Snap On (snatch on) calendars but they stopped those 25 years ago.
  6. The discount stores around here are Save A Lot (avoid), Dollar General (avoid), A&P if you find one (avoid), and ALDI. ALDI is owned by the same people that own Trader Joe’s. Very good quality and puts regular groceries to shame. Usually my bill is half or less. They pay employees above average. The downsides of ALDI are being a quarter (you get it back), bring your own bags, and don’t expect large selection...it is just basics. On the other hand the chocolate is all Belgian and you can get a lot of German specialties. I just had sauerkraut and Kielbasa for dinner. Their store brand sauerkraut is amazingly good. I grew up in a heavy German area so this might not be your thing but they also have a lot of Mexican specialty stuff too, better than most grocery stores. What I find with them is same as Sams club...you will need to adjust what you normally buy for groceries a bit or shop two stores. I think Kroger pulled out of North Carolina. Publix seems to have run them out. Too bad...anything is better than Food Lion, Bi Low, or Harris Teeter.
  7. A chain saw is perfectly safe when used correctly. Reciprocating saws are just as dangerous when used incorrectly. At the very end of the bar the upper half of the tip where the chain wraps around the end is where kick back happens. This is the only area where it happens. But there is no reason to use that area. I’ve owned and used chain saws for 30 years. I have never had a kick back even once. The big thing is use the bottom of the bar whenever possible. The chain pulls the wood towards the saw and there is zero kickback danger. This is the position you use for 95% of all cuts. There is one and really only one time you cut on the top of the bar (bottom to top cut). In this position you have to hold the weight of the saw and put pressure on it against the wood. Gravity works against you. On top of that the saw tries to push the wood towards the tip where it can kick back so you have to push against the saw to avoid this. Overall this cut is so uncomfortable and unnatural I rarely use it. The only time it is necessary is when you have a log that you cannot support properly so it pinches the saw (supported only on the ends). If I can lay it down, cut an end off, roll the log, move my supports, anything to relieve pressure and do a normal cut, I will do that. There is almost never a reason to make this cut.
  8. Fully disagree with the statement that cordless saws are underpowered. Not true with brushless DC motors. When they were brushed and we had limited current from NiCd/NiMH I’d agree. Brushless saws have more torque than AC motors so the cordless ones now equal or exceed corded for power. Also no mention of air saws. And as for “all day” you can’t honestly stick a 3 cell lithium battery on one and expect any torque or to last more than 60 seconds. But a couple 15 cell lithium batteries (9-15 Ah) goes all day. Nobody not even a junkyard crew can go continuously on these saws and with better than an hour of run time under realistic “continuous” conditions cordless equals corded. But I constantly see guys ignore the instructions and plug in a 1.5 or even 5 Ah battery on a super Sawzall and then complain it is underpowered as it bogs down and the battery dies after 3 minutes. Just because the battery fits doesn’t mean it will operate correctly. They just don’t have enough current to drive a tool like that. The market is now kind of five saws. First we have the multi tools. Kind of like Dremel...they have their place. Second are true mini reciprocating saws. I think Dremel used to have a product but hands down this is the one place pneumatic saws shine, Then there are one handed saws. These are much lighter. They get in right spots. We’ve had no problems going right through nails, sheet metal, bolts. It only gets in trouble on say 6x6 lumber or heavy steel where the bigger ones bog down. I really haven’t found that there are downsides here. They run just fine on mid size batteries. I don’t own any little ones so no idea on performance. Second is the traditional saw first introduced as the Milwaukee Sawzall. Two handed, big, heavy. Intended as a demolition tool and that’s what it does best. Cuts through quarter inch steel, conduits, wood, plumbing, whatever doesn’t rip the teeth off the blades. No prizes for neatness. That’s not the point. If you want that go to a circular saw or saber saw. Last are the “super Sawzalls” which are orbital two handed saws. The king of Demo. Eats everythjng very fast. Very rough on everything including end users. To be honest I haven’t seen a lot of difference across brands. It’s a specialized tool so best to buy the one that matches your battery line.
  9. Sunex used to have one but not any more.
  10. The filters and blower are basic tech until you get into large systems where you get pulse jets and Torit systems. The thing is there is a balance called the air to cloth ratio which needs to be under about 4 and the pressure drop needs to be between 2 and 8 inches: for ANY filter. If air flow is too low or high it doesn’t work: Also you need a certain CFM based on the opening it is sucking air through, the gaps around the tool. If it’s too much it won’t capture the dust and you are forced to use a bigger blower which means a bigger filter. Just saying so you get what the technology limits are. So the best dust collector is the one built specifically for a specific tool. Everything else is meaningless. Using a Festool dust extractor on a Dewalt grinder is not a good idea. With saws it’s a different story. They have built in dust ports and just take any shop vac. Shop vacs come in a variety of CFM but the saw manuals give a minimum CFM. More is not better. If you are above minimum you get maximum collection efficiency. Buying super high filtration filters kills air to cloth ratio over OEM filters. 3M is famous for selling overpriced filters that reduce system performance. Don’t do this. Especially with concrete and drywall dust that plugs filters quickly.
  11. Looking to add.a 1-2” range impact socket set. What I’ve seen is that the 1/2” stuff goes up to 1-1/4” and 3/4” goes to 1-1/2”. Only 1” goes fully 1-2”. So when you can get 1/2” impact wrenches that’s can easily give enough torque for 2” sockets it’s easier to just get the adapters. In days past we used large 3/4” drive air impact wrenches still with a 3/4 x 1” adapter. Trouble is i can’t find a 1/2” female by 1” male socket adapter, preferably the sleeve (low profile) type. I’d prefer not to stack adapters if I don’t have to. Anything out there?
  12. Disagree about learning stick first. MIG is just so easy you can figure it out yourself in about an hour. Especially flux core. Also here’s the thing. Welding is not just a typical skill. It’s NOT like riding a bike. I learned to ride a bike decades ago. I can get on a bike any time and just go. You don’t lose it over time. With welding if you don’t do it almost every day, you very quickly get rusty, especially with stick and TIG. You can’t just grab a rid can and have at it. Best to burn a couple rods getting back in the groove. MIG however is so simple and easy it’s actually like that. I believe anyone can operate a MIG with minimal practice and get it right. It’s the perfect machine for weekend warriors that might not touch a welder for months. So for these reasons I suggest learning MIG first. Sure it will ruin you. So what. Not a fan of “multiprocess”. Let’s face it though almost anything can stick weld so really we’re talking about the difference between say a MIG suitcase welder and a TIG. You can buy a top end TIG for $800 (AHZp) and a decent MIG for $300 so total cost for all three major processes is $1100. The low end ESAB Rebels start at over $1500. I still wouldn’t consider them good TIG machines compared to AHP. So you’re just getting a very expensive MIG. Plus you can customize and set up each one separately and repair/replacement doesn’t break the budget. Big thing about TIG is the control. You can weld almost any metal, especially copper, aluminum at any thickness even aluminum foil, and even titanium. The downside is that it’s slow and has a very high UV output although if it wasn’t for that you could weld in a T shirt. A real TIG welder lets you alter the Positive and negative cycle to alter the cleaning vs welding effect and has HF start. The AHP has all that for around $800. In Miller and Lincoln you don’t see that until almost $3000. Even the ESAB multiprocess doesn’t have good TIG. Which is my point...different welders for different purposes. An all in one has too many compromises and kills the budget. You can also stick weld with these. In MIG look specifically for AC and DC. A decent suitcase welder will run close to the AHP price although as mentioned a decent basic HF one sets you back about half that. Again it stick welds too. Finally don’t forget brazing and torch welding. Both are like some kind of lost art. You can brake aluminum. It’s not as good as TIG but costs almost nothing other than materials and takes almost no training, same with most brazing. Torch welding is one of the best ways to weld cast iron with high nickel rod so worth doing even if it’s mostly forgotten. And torch sets are ridiculously cheap, Which brings me to my final point. The thing about welding is that you really are talking about fabrication. There are a lot of tools in fabrication that you really need and hold their own. Even before welding you need to cut material and frequently bevel it, and grind welds flat. Also need pre and post hearing. This means saws, grinders, drills, and a torch. Possibly many kinds if benders, presses, rams, and lots and lots of clamps. You can do a lot of things with all of these tools without a welder but not vice versa. In fact with the correct tip the torch welds as well as brazes. I’d suggest starting there first. Build up your fab shop first. Maybe get into 80/20 or T-slot stuff. I do a lot of fabrication all the time without a welder. Then MIG/stick and finally TIG, if you need it. The big thing about stick is penetration. You can use a 6011 P6 rod and burn through rusty, crappy junk steel and still make good quality root passes. An engine welder is a go anywhere tool. That’s why you see one in probably half the service trucks on the road. It can do a lot and there are some truck rods but outside of steel it’s pretty limited. There are high nickel rods that do decent on cast iron, stainless rods, and some so-so aluminum rods. Stick welders do excellent on thick structural aluminum, In MIG I used to scoff at it. It was for Saturday afternoon car shows only. But especially with electronic welders now we have dirt cheap teeny suitcase welders that can go anywhere. 220 is better but they can run off an extension cord! These are very fast and have quickly become the construction trade welder of choice. You can do aluminum but you have to run very fast and very hot. Very little smoke, very short learning curve. Biggest downside is bottles (except flux core) and you need to work at it for penetration. Already commented on TIG. Need variable positive/negative and HF start. You CAN scratch start and try to get by on pure AC but essentially it’s going to suck. These “options” make TIG much easier when it’s already hard. With TIG the big advantage is ultimate control. You control the heat, filler material, and cleaning/welding. With a pure inert atmosphere small heat affected zone you can do so much with it. But it’s also a three handed welding process. Foot pedal for current control, one hand on the gun, one on the filler rod. Staring at a tiny puddle. Sort of the polar opposite of MIG. Lots of comments too about what amounts mostly to Chinese made machines. I’ll just say this. Miller, ESAB, and Lincoln are making them in the same factories.!i wish they bring it back here. There are quality differences to be sure. Lots of YouTube reviews pointing this out. But especially now that welders are mostly electronic (MOSFET, SCR or IGBT) build quality is drastically improving on the cheap machines. It’s getting hard to ignore say an Eastwood when performance is as good as Lincoln and maybe ESAB. The downside is repairs.’But that’s less critical on a DIY machine compared to say a CAT mechanic. And less of a big deal for the weekend warrior compared to a guy that is welding 4-8 hours a day, 5+ days a week. Operating hours are drastically less. That being said, also suggest shopping used market. Not EBay. More like Craig’s List. Ideal is to find a big expensive but older Miller or Lincoln but at the new Chinese made buzz box price. Don’t discount looking at the welding supply shop either. Agreed about Tweco. If you are unwilling to risk your purchase on Chinese made machine (Harbor Freight, Hobart, Everlast, Eastwood) and you’d rather risk it on a machine made in China it’s not a bad way to go. As far as Red, Yellow, and Blue, Red and Yellow lately have been coming down in price with some very competitive machines compared to the past. Blue is still crazy high. Another thing to think about. Priced a generator lately? Look at the price of an engine welder that just happens to have say a 20 kW generator as well. Often this is much cheaper than a dedicated generator. And often the wife will happily say yes to the generator when it was no to the welder. It’s a win-win. Course you need that 220’receptacle to be a plug now!
  13. I used Hitachi for years as a DIY. Upgraded from corded B&D from last century. I liked that it was an industrial tool and I wasn’t just paying extra for yellow plastic and burned up 3 corded Dewalt circular saws. That lasted until my current job which is a motor shop...tons of specialty tools. Hitachi was just too limited and that’s without trying to find tools locally. So looking at what’s out there Milwaukee has a monster impact gun. Currently 1400 ft-lbs) which is about what I can get out of a 1” socket wrench with a torque multiplier. I think someone else finally came out with a big red killer that is 1500 ft-lbs. So that kind of established my new battery platform. Hitachi has always made some interesting stuff but their main line tools are always just decent, in line with Porter Cable or Ridgid. I guess I know what you mean about grabbing but back in the corded tool days D handle drills were notorious for breaking wrists or at least causing bruises or carpal tunnel. The trick is stop acting like a monkey...opposable thumbs are a bad idea. Wrap your hand around one side only including your thumb. The grip is awkward but you get used to it. If it grabs it rips the tool out of your hand instead of breaking your wrist. Second option is hole saws are not your friend. They work but they are rough. In electrical work we drill mid size holes with a step drill. I’ve also had good luck with a hole cutter (drill press tool) but that’s more of a shop tool. For bigger holes a knockout does great with no rough edge but it’s time consuming in the setup. But it gives a very smooth hole through up to about 10-14 gauge metal.
  14. That’s how they used to be. Not anymore. If there is a local tool repair shop try there. The old guys know that brand X compressor fits on certain tools. But don’t get your hopes up. You might spend more time and money fixing it than new. The compressor is the money. Motors and tanks are cheap. Often the tool repair shop has some factory refurbished stuff though that is cheaper than full retail...or not. Be careful before you walk in the door that you know what a new one costs. Some will charge for repair even if it costs more than new or overcharge on a refurbished one.
  15. You said cheap. Electricians are naturally attracted to yellow like Fluke meters? Electricians usually use four strategies for choosing tools. First one is buy cheap and buy often. Same ones usually don’t have licenses, lose more money than they make on tract houses, and have zero pride in their work. Most are English optional. Most look for work by standing outside HD. If it looks like a rat chewed a slot, that’s your man! Work quality is good in some areas, crap in others. If you explain it in Spanish they still no comprende senior boss man. Second type buy the most expensive (Occidental) tool belts stuffed with very specific brand names of tools. Often have truck covered in union stickers. Most don’t even know how to use a tool unless it’s a Klein screwdriver, a lineman’s pliers, or an adjustable Crescent style 14” pliers. Most of their tools are for show. They will probably use Klein dikes to cut two slots then gnaw with the 14” pliers. Klein doesn’t sell snips so that’s beneath them. Look for boogered up pliers marks everywhere. Romex will be neat but they take all day talking on the most expensive iPhone available and not much working...or they subbed it out to someone they hired at HD. So if you have Makita they snub you for not buying Dewalt or Milwaukee even if the Makita is a much better tool. Third type buys quality. All their tools are well used. They usually have ridiculously heavy bags with way too many tools. They usually have a bunch of strange ones like a screw holding Phillips AND straight screwdriver. They have brands you never heard of and not necessarily the most expensive ones. They might have some oddball Harbor Freight tool right next to a Klein. But they take pride in their work with the mot perfect cuts. They have six snips but probably use a nibbler or saber saw to notch a steel stud, then grind or file to perfection and vacuum all shavings.. Or have a special knockout die. The slot will look factory perfect. Romex will look text book perfect. Job will take half the day just packing tools in and out. Fourth are deeply into efficiency. They spend money where it makes sense but no more. They try to take the quickest (not least expensive) route to get something done. Wago Lever nuts for instance instead of wire nuts. The downside of this crowd is they often use the fastest but not the best method. So they might beat a hole through something with a hammer claw instead of drilling a proper hole. They cut corners. If a straight snip is fast (not near) they do it. Hard to tell from the others. If it looks like the whole job should take 4 hours but they came in early and did it in two and it looks like everythjng was rushed and it’s all crooked, Romex will take the shortest route (not straight) and will be pulled super tight with plenty of pigtails on rough in for fast backstabbed mounting.
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