In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
Not An Ad For A Cool Shop Tool
Feb 18, 2013
This is not an advertisement or endorsement of any tool, machine or device. It's just one tool enthusiast sharing with other tool junkies something he found.
There's a place in California called Williams' Low Buck Tools (www.lowbucktools.com) that has all sorts of cool, economical shop tools. One of them that caught my eye is a thing called "The Metal Machine," which owner Dave Williams calls his "10-in-1" machine because it will do 10 different metal working and sheet metal processes.
Dave uses a different strategy to reduce purchase price and shipping costs: he has the buyer build a basic metal sawhorse frame with a large metal C-frame on top that various metal and sheet metal working devices can be attached to. You can buy as many or as few of the devices as you have need for. When you buy the first device, Dave gives you a very simple-to-follow diagram so you can build the basic support frame yourself.
Dave told me that he discovered most of the people buying his metal-working tools were good enough metal workers so that they could save money by building the basic stands and supports for his devices. "Why should they pay me to build something they could easily build themself in a day or less?" he said. "That way all they have to buy from me is the actual precision device or unit that attaches to the basic frame to do the actual metal working."
Once the basic frame is built it's easy to bolt one of 10 metal working devices to it, including an English Wheel, Planishing Hammer, Sheet Metal Shear, Louver Press, Deep Throat Sheet Metal Punch, Deep Throat Shrinker, Box and Pan Sheet Metal Brake, Bead Roller, and 90-degree forming dies.
Not every farmer does sheet metal work, but it you do, or if you have hobbies that involve metal work--check out the Low Buck Tools website. Not because I'm advertising for him, but because he's got some neat stuff for reasonable prices. In fairness to other metal products retailers, once you check the Low Buck Tools site, shop around for similar tools on other websites, compare prices, features and performance, then buy from the retailer that best fits your needs.