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The Ultimate Tool Buyers' Guide

Mike Alexander
Oct 1, 2007
Photographers: Mike Alexander
Guys have tools, girls have shoes. That's just how it works. But it's more than just collecting the best tools out there for us minitruckers. We use and abuse the crap out of our gear as some of the most hardcore group of hobbyists around. Some of our garages rival the best fab shops out there. As minitruckers, we inherently take pride in working on our rides, and to do this we need tools! So here it is, what you've all been waiting for: The Ultimate Tool Buyers' Guide for the minitruck home builder. Make your list, check it twice, and then go out and buy all the cool stuff you've been dreaming of over the years! Go ahead and treat yourselves to some early Christma-quanz-nikah presents, you can thank us later. For more information, contact the companies listed.
Plumb It
Classic Tube stocks flaring and bending tools, so that do-it-yourselfers can create their own bent tubing for brake, fuel, transmission, air, vacuum, oil, coolant, hydraulic, or other custom hard-line applications. The selection of tube-forming tools offered includes the Swivel Handle Tube Bender, the Power Bleeder brake bleeding tool, and Flaring Tool Sets that make both double and single SAE flares. Classic Tube has the flaring set to meet your requirements, covering a wide variety of small diameter tubing sizes. Also Classic Tube's assortment of brake valves will give you the performance you need. For more information and to check out the wide selection, call (800) 882-3711, or visit
Photo 1/19   |   tool Buyers Guide craftsman Compressor
Pump It Up
Craftsman's Professional series of compressors were built to stand up to even the most demanding DIY home hobbyist, as well as for the professionals. This portable model has a two-stage patented oil-free pump, which is the highest pressure capability on 120v models, and it will plug right into your standard garage outlets with a grounding prong. The 175-max psi, with cut-in at 140 psi, means more useable air in a smaller tank. The portable design is space saving and easy to move with the provided rugged wheels, which include sturdy maneuverability and handling. The oil-free pump design gives you optimum operation with less maintenance. A fully shrouded pump and motor provide dependable operation year after year, and the direct-drive, with no belt to adjust and fewer parts, provides outstanding reliability. A large internal fan gives smoother and cooler operation, while the heavy-duty crankcase, crankshaft, and cylinders deliver a long life even under rugged use. For more information and to purchase, visit a Sears store near you, or order online at
Photo 2/19   |   tool Buyers Guide viair Tire Inflation Gun
EZ Inflation
Viair's Tire Inflation Gun comes equipped with a 0-200 psi air-pressure gauge and features a close-ended folding-lever air chuck, as well as a 12-inch rubber-extension hose to allow simple inflation of inner dualie tires. On the side of the inflation gun, Viair has included a bleeder valve that makes adjusting exact tire pressure a matter of simply pressing a button-not for use with typical portable compressors. For more information, call (949) 582-6868, or visit
Photo 3/19   |   tool Buyers Guide miller Millermatic 140
Welding has Never Been this Easy
The new Millermatic 140 with Auto-Set, is the simplest wire welder in the industry. With the new all-in-one MIG welder, the user simply has to set the wire diameter and material thickness. The patent-pending Auto-Set technology automatically sets wire feed speed and voltage to achieve optimal welding results. This allows the user to weld with confidence by knowing the machine is properly set up. The Millermatic 140 is available with or without Auto-Set, and provides smooth, spatter-free starts through Miller's exclusive Smooth-Start technology, which further improves weld quality and decreases the need for spatter clean up. The Millermatic 140 with Auto-Set is a 115V all-in-one welder that can weld up to 3/16 in. in a single pass. To find the nearest distributor or for more information, call (800) 4-A-Miller, or visit
Photo 4/19   |   tool Buyers Guide snap On Ph3050 Air Hammer
Get Hammered
With the introduction of the Snap-On PH3050 Air Hammer, you can experience an innovative power tool that offers enhanced comfort and control features. This new Air Hammer emits less vibration, which, in turn dispenses maximum power. Now, Snap-On Tool Company is offering the versatile PHG3050CH4 Heavy Duty Air Hammer Set, a complementary kit that contains the air hammer, along with the most frequently used accessories that pound through a variety of metals and materials. For more information, contact your local Snap-On representative, or visit
Photo 5/19   |   tool Buyers Guide miller Spectrum 375 X Treme Plasma Cutter
Xtreme Portability
Weighing only 18 lbs., the new Miller Spectrum 375 X-treme plasma cutter provides the cutting capacity of machines twice its size, yet it's light enough to be carried by the included shoulder strap. Going above and beyond the call of duty, the 375 X-treme is versatile enough to connect to any 115V-230V single-phase power supply. Rated at 3/8-inch cutting capacity on mild steel, the Spectrum 375 X-treme can provide a smooth and steady cut through 1/2-inch mild steel at six inches per minute (IPM). The optional drop-tested X-case with reinforced corners provides exceptional protection for the 375 X-Treme during transport and storage. Opening from the top, the X-case offers plenty of room for MVP plugs, consumable box, eye protection, gloves and other equipment. To find the nearest distributor or for more information, call the toll free number (800) 4-A-Miller, or visit
Photo 6/19   |   tool Buyers Guide weldcraft Wp 17 Tig Torch
Better Body
As part of the engineering and design alignments between TIG torch manufacturer, Weldcraft, and Miller Electric Manufacturing Co., Weldcraft announced that its air-cooled WP-17 TIG torch series now includes the patented Diamond Grip, which was previously found on the Miller Diamond Back torches. To increase operator comfort, the Diamond Grip helps operators maintain a secure grip for superior torch control in all welding positions. Engineered for comfort and durability, these torches are ideal for professional or hobbyist welders working in the shop or in the field. The ergonomic torch body helps the operator maintain the correct relationship between the torch and weld joint, and helps to reduce downtime associated with operator fatigue. For operator convenience, the WP-17V includes a fingertip gas control valve and both torches use 10N series consumables. For more information, call toll free (800) 752-6840, or visit
Photo 7/19   |   tool Buyers Guide craftsman Professional 77 Piece Special Access Tool Set
Tight Access
Use the tools designed for the serious pro. With the Craftsman Professional 77-piece special access tool set, you can get into tight places with the proper tools. No more guesswork or rigging tools to work in tight spots. This kit has it all, including three quick-release ratcheting drivers, 51 wrenches-47 are fully polished, 18 professional screwdrivers, and five specialty tools. When you have the right tools, there's no more guesswork and the job is completed in a fraction of the time. Craftsman is the ultimate home hobbyists tool and every handtool is guaranteed for life. Celebrating 80 years of know-how, Craftsman gets the job done right, every time. For more information and to purchase, visit a Sears store near you, or order online at
Photo 8/19   |   tool Buyers Guide snap On Techangle Wrench
All the Right Angles
Snap-On's new TechAngle wrench uses patented technology to save time and increase accuracy and quality. Many technicians are likely familiar with torque plus angle specifications. The torque plus angle method helps take friction and variability out of the process by specifying a torque preload and an additional angle of rotation to more accurately predict bolt stretch and applied torque. This method has often meant the service technician would use a protractor/angle gauge, sometimes trying to install it in very tight quarters, to measure the additional torque angle. And the gauge had to anchor on each bolt as technicians went around the assembly, which can be very time consuming. The TechAngle Torque and Angle Wrench is available in the most popular 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch flex-ratchet sizes. For more information, contact your local Snap-On representative, or visit
Photo 9/19   |   tool Buyers Guide craftsman Led Jack
Shed Some Light
Craftsman has been the leader in LED technology incorporating LEDs with tools for the past few years. The LED Jack is the ultimate innovative tool with a built-in LED light to illuminate the undercarriage of your minitruck, and to help position the jack in the right spot on the frame. Not only does this make every job easier, but it adds safety and comfort by knowing the jack is properly placed every time. An automatic shut off, after one minute, conserves the LED's battery. At just 30.6 lbs., the light-weight jack with side handles is easy to maneuver and position. And its low, 3.5-inch starting height fits easily under the low ground clearance of minitrucks. For more information and to purchase, visit a Sears store near you, or order online at
Photo 10/19   |   tool Buyers Guide hobart Welding Products Airforce 250ci
Cut it Up
Hobart Welding Products introduces the AirForce 250ci. Featuring a built-in air compressor and lightweight inverter technology, the unit offers powerful cutting abilities and weighs 27 lbs. The AirForce 250ci is powered by standard 115 VAC household current, and can cut 1/8-inch mild steel and sever 1/4-inch steel. The unit allows cutting with an arc up to 3/16-inch, which improves results when freehand cutting. The unit comes ready to cut right out of the box, with a 16.4-ft. ergonomic HP-25 torch, which is designed for increased comfort, more efficient post-flow air cooling, and economical replacement tips. The unit comes with extra replacement tips, of which are two tips and two electrodes, and a convenient cable management strap for transportation. For details, call (877) HOBART-1, or check out
Photo 11/19   |   tool Buyers Guide miller Syncrowave 200 Welder
The Ultimate Home TIG
The new Miller Syncrowave 200 AC/DC TIG/Stick welder features an extended power range for welding thicker materials, along with several functions to make it even easier for hobbyists or those in light industrial settings to attain professional-quality welds. The Syncrowave 200 helps operators enhance weld appearance with an easy-to-use, built-in pulse control that also helps to eliminate burn-through and distortion. Squarewave output with AC balance-control features adjustable penetration and cleaning action, while increasing arc stability on various aluminum alloys, and helps eliminate tungsten spitting and arc rectification. Dual digital meters, with alpha-numeric displays, allow for quick and easy viewing of actual and preset values of amperage and voltage. A built-in pulse control enhances weld-bead and puddle control, for an improved appearance and quality. There's a 115V auxiliary power and a convenient receptacle on front panel for cooling system or small tools. To find the nearest distributor or for more information, call (800) 4-A-Miller, or visit
Photo 12/19   |   tool Buyers Guide craftsman Titanium Blue & Slim Line Drivers
Blue Bling
The new Titanium line from Craftsman features an attractive titanium-blue finish and the slim-line drivers are ideal for easy access into tight areas. Designed with a 60-tooth gear mechanism, these drivers need only a 6, arc to operate in confined spaces. Every ratchet features a quick-release button and reverse lever for easy operation. The paintbrush-style handle design enhances comfort in use and looks great. The set includes three ratchets with 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch drives. For more information and to purchase, visit a Sears store near you, or order online at
Photo 13/19   |   tool Buyers Guide soft Sanders Flexblade
Baby Soft
Soft-Sanders is offering a new Flexblade line that features flexible sanding blocks in six profiles of three densities. These contoured sanders offer all of the right angles for use in those pesky bodylines, curved corners, and so on. They're designed to be used with adhesive-backed as well as wet or dry sandpaper. For more information, call (706) 354-6782, or check out their website at
Photo 14/19   |   Tool Buyers Guide shocker Glove Co Love Glove
Throwing up the Shocker
Shocker Glove Co., brings us the Love Glove. This glove features low-density palm padding for easy movement, yet it has enough energy absorption for power-tool use. The integrated terry cloth thumb patch is handy when sweat begins to roll, and the Easy-Flex Neoprene wrist closure, coupled with the Easy-Pull hook-and-loop rubber strap, finish off a secure fit. The Love Glove is currently available in sizes of small to XL, and in any color-so long as it is black. For more information, log onto
Photo 15/19   |   tool Buyers Guide jmr Tube Notcher
Notch It
JMR Tube notcher is the highest quality and most versatile hole-saw notcher on the market. It is manufactured from bar stock, not plate, to increase strength and has a 1.125-inch induction-hardened shaft, which is supported by Timken bearings. The custom-designed shaft seals prevent bearing and shaft damage and the shaft accepts replaceable hole saw mounting threads. Angle changes can be made easy, due to a Timken thrust bearing at the pivot point to increase clamping force while reducing wrench pressure. Capable of notching in a 210, arc with as much as 2.5-inch tube, and 2-inch pipe capacity. The double v-clamp vise allows square to be held flat, or corner to corner, and it will also hold a thin-wall tube without distortion. The notcher can be clamped onto tube or pipe to bore holes and has multiple mounting positions. The engraved degrees and stainless steel pointer ensures accuracy every time. For more information on this item, please contact JMR Manufacturing at (805) 584-0191, or check them out online at
Photo 16/19   |   tool Buyers Guide craftsman Lithium Ion Battery Pro Tools
Battery Plus
Craftsman's new Lithium-Ion Battery Pro Line is the top-of-the-line suite of quality tools, which includes a Craftsman Professional Drill and a Circular Saw with a LaserTrac Level and LED Worklight-all powered by a DieHard Lithium-Ion 20-volt battery pack. This battery's life support revolves around the Craftsman SmartChip. The SmartChip is a microchip built into the battery pack and charger that protects each cell from overcharge and over-discharge, and the battery pack from extreme temperatures-the primary culprit for battery failure, which will ensure extended battery life and unmatched performance. For more information and to purchase, visit a Sears store near you, or order online at
Photo 17/19   |   tool Buyers Guide logger Head Tools Bionic Wrech
The Bionic Man
The Bionic wrench family features a powerful, six-sided grip and combines the versatility of an adjustable wrench with the simplicity of pliers. The patented Bionic Grip technology surrounds work surface to distribute forces equally giving a mechanically enhanced grip that multiplies the user's gripping power and won't round, slip, or scar work surfaces. It also works great for softer materials, such as plastic, copper, and aluminum. The wrenches are fully adjustable with a one-handed squeeze and provide efficient ratcheting by releasing, then re-gripping the object. Each wrench fits from 14 to 18 SAE and metric sizes of nuts and bolts. For more information, check out the website
Photo 18/19   |   tool Buyers Guide ingersoll Rand Iqv Series Cordless Tools
Funny Name, Good Tools
The IQV Series cordless tools from Ingersoll Rand includes 19 different tool models, six battery models, a universal battery charger, battery analyzer, and a full line of accessories. The tools feature a metal reinforced composite housing to protect against the damage we minitruckers put our tools through. To support the new line of tools, Ingersoll Rand has designed one charger that charges all voltages and chemistries, including nickel-cadmium and lithium-ion batteries from 7.2-volts to 19.2-volts. These tools include a 1-year, hassle-free tool and charger replacement; a 2-year or 1,000-charges-limited battery warranty; and a 3-year limited warranty on tool and charger. For more information, call (800) 376-8665, or visit
Photo 19/19   |   tool Buyers Guide g&l Aircraft & Competition Dimple Die Set
Nice Dimples
Have you ever looked at a World War II era aircraft and noticed how much of the plane's structure was built out of sheetmetal? If so, then you have noticed the dimpled holes appearing every few inches in the sheetmetal. These holes aren't there just to look really cool; they actually help to turn the flimsy pieces of sheetmetal into a rigid part of the plane's structure. When it comes to one-off custom parts for your minitruck, sometimes all it takes is a little rethinking of something previously used for other purposes. The G&L Aircraft and Competition dimple die set is the perfect way to add personality to any project sitting in your garage waiting for some fresh life. For more information and to order a set, call G&J Aircraft at (909) 986-6534.



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