My shop has a variety of air tools and electric tools for grinding, sanding and polishing, in addition to a variety of sanding blocks for block-sanding. Here are
a few observations about a few of the tools that are often used.|
When choosing any tool, the price is a lot less important than the quality. I look for the best tool for the job, regardless of price. Good tools end up being a
better value in the long run.
They're loud, they generate heat, you have to take care of them, and they wear out and break down, but there are so many useful air tools available with no
electric equivalents that a compressor is pretty hard to do without. When you're choosing a compressor, get something with the biggest motor and the biggest
air tank you can afford. If you have the room for it, a second air tank fed by the first one is nice to have. To keep the noise down, our compressor is
installed in a cabinet with air vents.
Air D/A sanders
Avoid the cheap D/As that vibrate so much they make your hands go numb. With a good D/A, that should never happen. The best D/As I've used were all made by
either Dynabrade or Hutchins. These are American-made precision tools that with a bit of care can last a lifetime.
Electric D/A sanders
An electric D/A (dual-action) sander is a really handy tool to have. Although it has a longer stroke than what would be ideal for really fine finishing, the
Porter-Cable 7335 is the best five-inch electric D/A that I've found.
When you use an electric sander on metal, remember that fine steel (or whatever metal you're sanding) powder can easily find its way into the motor, where it
will build up and eventually destroy the brushes.
A 90-degree die grinder is one of the handiest tools in the shop. Most of them are designed to operate a lot faster than what's called for in fine, precise work.
I'd like to find a high-quality, low-speed, 90-degree die grinder. Almost all of my work is done with a variety of abrasives, rather than carbide cutters. Even
with fine abrasives, precision work like porting a cylinder head involves very slight cuts, and a relatively slow speed provides better control. A high-speed
hand drill often works well for this.
I sometimes use a conventional, high-speed air die grinder with the air turned down so it turns slowly, but this is an inefficient way to work. When you take a
20,000-rpm die grinder and choke it down to run at 500 rpm, the grinder loses most of its torque and stalls easily. When you do this, the compressor runs almost
constantly, so you might as well put a flexible shaft on the compressor's motor and take the air out of the equation, in which case a half-horsepower motor would
be more than enough, as opposed to the five-horsepower motor on the compressor.
There's a drawer in my toolbox that has about twenty files in it, along with a file card to keep them clean. To make them easier to clean and to help keep them
from rusting, I give them a light coat of Gibbs Brand.
Using an air gun to clean your work puts a lot of metal filings into the air and they end up landing all over the place, creating more of a mess than you
started with. A two-inch paint brush is great for cleaning parts you're filing or sanding. There's always at least one of them on the workbench, as well as a
The sanding blocks I use the most are pieces of hardwood that I cut to the size needed for a particular job and then sand flat on a piece of glass. Hardwood
sanding blocks are some of the most important tools I use.
In the future I hope to be able to find the time to add some articles about block-sanding and what I call precision metal polishing. In the meantime, there is
some information about how I do this work on the page about my
496-inch engine project.
CHA Cylinder Head Abrasives carbide burrs, cartridge
rolls, hones, and seat depth testers
Eagle Abrasives, Inc.
Norton Automotive Refinishing Products
Brightworks, Inc. polishing supplies
Lake Buchanon Industries, Inc. the Barrel Blaster
Tar Heel Parts, Inc. polishing supplies
TP Tools & Equipment abrasive blasting cabinets
Automotive tool manufacturers
Links to race car computer software manufacturers are on the
Race car design software page.
Advanced Racing Technologies race car chassis setup tools
All American Race Car Jack
Behm Design plans for garages
Biondo Racing Products, Inc.
Brunnhoelzl Racing impact guns
Channel Lock pliers
Cleaning Technologies Group ultrasonic parts cleaning tanks
Dynabrade, Inc. some of the finest air sanders made
Dzus Fastener Company, Inc.
D.J. Edman and Company Wheel Lug Gauge for measuring wheel bolt patterns
Emglo air compressors
Hansen Global socket trays
Hazet nice hand tools, especially their small wrenches and Allen wrenches
Hunter Engineering Company tire mounting and front end alignment equipment
Hutchins Mfg. some of the finest air sanders made
Intercomp pyrometers, tire pressure gauges, and weight scales
Jancy Engineering tubing benders
Kastar Hand Tools
Longacre Automotive Racing Products
Marchant Machine metal shaping tools
Mechanix Wear heat-resistant gloves and arm protection
P-AYR Products replica engine blocks and heads
Portatree Christmas trees
Precision Epoxy coatings for shop floors
Pro Tools tubing benders and metalworking tools
Quick-Wedge screw-holding screwdrivers
Racedeck interlocking tiles for shop floors
Safe Shop Tools, Inc.
Scribner Plastics, Inc. shipping containers for engines, transmissions and rear ends
Sierra Racing Products pit jacks
SmartCamber Products camber adjustment tools
Snap Lock Industries interlocking tiles for shop floors
SPX Service Solutions hand tools for mechanics
Storic storage systems
Dollies, lifts, and stands
Accessible Systems, Inc. automotive rotisseries
Autotwirler carts and dollies
Backyard Buddy lifts
Brunnhoelzl Racing racing jacks
Time-Shaver Tools work stands
US Jack "100% American made" jackstands
Wizard Auto Tools dollies for cars, engines, and transmissions
DTS Dynamic Test Systems, Inc.
Dynotech Engineering dampers and driveshafts for dynos
Land & Sea, Inc.
Engine builders' tools
Altalab Instrument weather stations
Audie Technology, Inc. measurement tools and flow bench
Axe Equipment hot tanks and pressure testers
BHJ Products, Inc. tools for engine builders
DCM cylinder head machining centers
Goodson tools and supplies for engine rebuilders
King Electronics Co. electric test equipment for engines
Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool
Stroppini Enterprises professional engine stands
Tavia Performance tools for engine builders
Machinists' and fabricators' tools
Baileigh Industrial, Inc.
Black & Decker
Bridgeport Machines, Inc.
Daytona MIG welding equipment
Drill Doctor twist drills
Flexible Fixturing Systems, Inc.
Foredom Power Tools
Grip On Tools
Haas Automation, Inc.
Hardinge, Inc. Hardinge lathes
Hougen Manufacturing cutting tools including the Rotabroach
HTP America, Inc. welders
Kingsbury Corporation CNC machining centers
Lincoln Electric welders
The Magnet Source magnetic tool strips
McMaster-Carr over 370,000 products
Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation
Mitutoyo measuring tools
MSC Industrial Supply Co.
The NgraveR Company tools for engraving
The Old Joint Jigger to fishmouth the ends of frame tubes
Osborn Manufacturing "SOFTOOL" power brushing
Proknee trick, custom-made kneepads
Rottler Manufacturing boring, surfacing and honing equipment
SK Hand Tool Corporation
Skybolt Aeromotive, Inc. fasteners and hardware
South Bend Lathe Company
L.S. Starrett Company measuring tools
Surplus Record Machinery & Equipment Directory find used machinery
Torchmate CNC cutting systems
TP Tools & Equipment air compressors, buffers, HVLP paint spray systems, restoration tools, and welders
Welding Direct over 5,000 welding items in stock
Williams Lowbuck Tools, Inc.
Materials for machinists and fabricators
Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Company supplies for fabricators
Airparts, Inc. 4130 sheet and tubing
Robert & Sons Aluminum, Inc. plain and anodized aluminum sheet
TW Metals aluminum, chrome-moly and magnesium plate, sheet, and tubing
Metal shaping tools
C. Cook Enterprises metal shaping tools
Ron Covell Creative Metalworking English wheels and metalshaping DVDs and videos
Creative Billet English wheels
Dagger Tools metal shaping tools
Metalcraft Tools metal shaping tools
Sunchaser Tools heat shrinking discs
TM Sheet Metal Forming Technologies
Van Sant Enterprises metal fabricating equipment
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