Thanksgiving is past so it's safe to talk about Christmas. Time to think about Christmas lists, for other people and for myself. My wife keeps asking for a list of things I want for Christmas. Just for fun I may hand her a list of the following "dream" tools:
-TorcUp pneumatic torque wrench. It looks like a conventional 1/2- or 3/4-inch-drive pneumatic air impact wrench with a funny U-shaped gizmo on the business end. But it's a high-tech, air-over-hydraulic torque wrench capable of accurately torquing fasteners to as much as 6,000 ft. lbs. After beating myself up putting all my weight onto the end of the 6-foot-long handle on a conventional torque wrench trying to get wheel bolts to merely 800 ft.lbs., the TorcUp unit looks pretty sweet. However, they won't even list prices on any of the websites I visited, so I'm guessing we're talking about a price in excess of $2,000 to $3,000 for the complete unit, which includes the "gun" and its associated suitcase-size regulator unit.
-Plasma cutter. It would be nice to accurately slice plate steel, and a plasma cutter is nifty way to do it. But most of the metal I cut is 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. A plasma cutter that would easily handle 3/4-inch steel would carve a $2,000 to $4,000 hole in my tool budget. Yes, a smaller plasma cutting unit might cut thick steel, but I've learned the hard way it's better to buy a large tool and operate it in the middle of its operating range than to cheap-out, buy a small until, and constantly operate it at or beyond its designed capacity.
-Remote viewing camera. Imagine a color digital video camera on the end of a 6-foot-long cable that displays images on a hand-held 3-inch x 4-inch screen. Imagine the camera and cable is small enough to fit through a 3/8-inch diameter hole. Imagine being able to look inside gearcases or behind dashboards without first taking them apart. Imagine looking through a spark plug hole and checking an engine cylinder for damage without removing the cylinder head. Imagine paying $500 to $1,000 for a durable unit that displays a high-quality image. I can imagine everything but the price. Maybe technology will improve, competition will drive prices lower, and I'll someday be able to get one of these nifty units for around $200.
Or maybe Santa will bring me one this Christmas. It certainly won't come from my wife. She glanced over my shoulder as I was writing this, burst out laughing, and said, "No, really, what do you want for Christmas?" That's not a promising sign.