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The 12 tools of Christmas

Christmas shopping can be laborious when you don’t know what to buy for the farmer on your gift list. To help, I’ve done some preseason shopping, identifying innovative new tools that are sure to please any mechanically minded man or woman on your list.

In anticipation of a special welding guide that will appear in the January 2022 issue of Successful Farming magazine, this year’s gift giving recommendations are focused on welding tools.

If you have recently purchased a great welding tool or supply, I’d like to hear your opinion of that item. Email me at dave.mowitz@meredith.com.

1. The Ideal Welding Level

Adjust-O Mag-Level welding level
Strong Hands Tools

Here is the ideal level for any welding center. Turn the level’s magnet on and you get 70 pounds of pull force, which means this tool won’t come off any vertical or overhead metal surface. The 16-inch-long level has three vials to provide 45°, 90°, and 180° readings. The Adjust-O Mag-Level retails for $67.99. Visit stronghandtools.com.

2.  Paint Marker Writes on Oily Surfaces

Quik Stik solid paint marker for metal

The smooth marking Quik Stik + Oily Surface Mini uses a special solid paint formula that marks through oily and wet surfaces. It also leaves long-lasting marks that dry in less than a minute on dry surfaces including metal, wood, plastic, and glass. The Easy Grip Airtight Clip Cap offers convenient pocket storage. Retail price is $5.67. Visit markal.com.

3. Flap Disc Grinds Into Corners

Weldcote Korner ceramic flap Discs for grinding metal

These flap discs feature a unique design where the abrasive material wraps over the edge of the flap disc allowing its user to grind aggressively into corners and other tight-fitting areas such as fillet welds. The Weldcote Korner flaps are available in both zirconia and ceramic grains that provide for fast metal removals. The zirconia Z-prime version is available in 4½-, 5-, and 7-inch diameters and in grits ranging from 36 to 80. The ceramic C-Prime version is available in a 4½-inch diameter and in grits ranging from 36 to 80. Retail price is $7.77 each. Visit weldcotemetals.com.

4. Small But Mighty Angling Weld Magnet

MagSwitch 150 welding magnet for farm shops

The Magswitch Pivot Angle 150 Mini has a 150-pound metal holding capacity and is adjustable from 0° to 270°. Weighing just 3.2 pounds, the magnet features an on-off switch, magnetic holding on three sides, and a single lock knob for angle setting. Retail price is $179.99. Visit magswitch.com.

5. Heat- and Cut-Resistant Sleeves

Hardy Kevlar Sleeves for metal working

Made from 100% Dupont Kevlar, the Hardy sleeves protect arms from heat and abrasion. Plus the treated material helps repel liquids. The sleeves provide 17 inches of coverage and fit snuggly with an elastic wrist to provide all-day comfort. A pair retails for $19.99. Visit harborfreight.com.

6. Auto darkening helmet with Massive Screen

The Weldmonger welding helmut auto darkening

Vision industrial-grade welding helmet offers up to eight different sensitivity settings so its user can set the automatic darkening screen to his or her exact needs. The screen offers no less than five sensors and is ideal for low-amp TIG welding. It also offers a  “grind mode” that darkens the screen at a lighter scale when grinding metal. Retail price for the Arcone X81VX-1500 Black Vision helmet is $289.99. Visit weldmonger.com.

7. Cordless Metal Cutting Circular Saw

Milwaukee metal cutting circular saw

Make quick work of slicing metal in the metal storage area, farmyard, or field with a Milwaukee 9-inch metal cutting saw. The tool is cordless (an industry first), so you don’t need to drag cords out to cut. Operating at 4,000 rpm the saw has the rated capacity up to 2 9/16-inch metal. And the 8-amp-hour battery powering the saw has been shown to operate while cutting up to 120 feet of corrugated construction deck per charge. The Model 2982-20 (tool only) retails for $399. Visit milwaukeetool.com.

8. Fume-Extracting MIG Guns

Tweco Centrovac MIG welding gun

Centrovac MIG guns remove up to 95% of welding fumes at the gun nozzle but will not interfere with the gun’s shielding gas coverage. The vacuum vent located at the front of the gun’s handle allows the operator to easily adjust fume extraction rates by simply turning a band. Offered in three different models, the Centrovac Model 250C is designed for light-duty fabrication applications and has a rating of 250 amps at a 60% duty cycle. “Our new guns are ergonomically designed for the best comfort and weld quality results,” says John Esposito of ESAB. “Even at high volumes and vertical up welds, Centrovac’s fume extraction will not interfere with its shielding gas coverage.” Tweco also offers the MIG gun in two other models, the 415C and 420CW, which provide higher fume removal rates. Visit esabna.com.

9. Water-Cooled MIG Guns

Tweco water-cooled MIG welding gun

If the welder on your list does a lot of welding and complains of a hot hand from a hot MIG gun, then consider a Tweco Fusion Pro 7W or 9W water-cooled gun for solid or flux-core welding or Tweco MXH 420WW PP (push-pull) gun for welding aluminum. The company says that while water-cooled guns require a higher initial expense, their enhanced cooling capabilities provide a better payback. “To start, consumables last about twice as long compared with an air-cooled gun, and that also means half the amount of downtime related to consumable changes. A more stable arc also lowers spatter, and spatter doesn’t adhere as readily, so there is less need to clean the nozzle and less risk of shielding gas turbulence,” Esposito says. Retail prices vary greatly by the model MIG gun you choose. Visit esabna.com.

10. Stick Welder Generator On The Move

Vulcan Outlaw 195 welding generator

The Vulcan Outlaw stick welder generator offers a maximum DC welding output of 195 amps at a 30% duty cycle or 107 amps at a 100% duty cycle. Power for the welder is provided by a 13-hp. Predator engine that generates 6,500 watts of starting power and 6,000 watts of running power. Features include both 120- and 240-volt outlets, electric starter with a manual backup, and inverter technology that provides 195 amps maximum DC welding output for smooth, high-quality welds. A digital display enables fast weld setups and thermal overload protection extends the welder’s lift. The Outlaw comes with an electrode holder with a 20-foot lead, ground clamp with a 13-foot lead, and weather-resistant cover. The welder generator’s retail price is $1,999.99. Visit harborfreight.com.

11. Entry-Level Multi-Processor Welder

Yes 3-in-1 multi processor welder

The 200-amp Yes MIG-205DS is a multi-process welder (MIG, stick, and TIG welding) featuring Synergic Control, which allows the automatic change of the voltage and wire feeding speed by adjusting the amperage or choosing different thicknesses. The welder will also match the welding chart set in the data. The weld can take up either 2- or 10-pound rolls of up to .035-inch MIG solid and flux-core wire. The MIG-205DS retails for $499.99. Visit yeswelder.com

12. Stick, TIG welder weighs just 21 pounds

Weldcote Striker 160 welder

This compact, dual voltage (115 or 230 volts) single-phase inverter welder automatically features power factor corrector, which increases power efficiency, reduces input power requirements, and stabilizes the welding current, maximizing efficiency on extension cords and generators. As a safety precaution, it has a voltage reduction device that reduces the voltage across the outputs when idling. The Striker 160 is designed for input voltages from 98 to 265 volts, making it ideal for use with generators. The welder comes with a 230-volt to 115-volt adaptor, electrode holder, ground clamp, and cables. An optional TIG torch with 12-foot cable can be purchased separately. The Weldcote Striker 160 retails for $1,399. Visit weldcotemetals.com.

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