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Tools of the Year 2021: Metalworking & Welding

We searched the latest innovations from manufacturers for a tool chest of necessities on the farm and ranch.

This is the Metalworking category of the exclusive Successful Farming “Tools of the Year” program to highlight innovations and must-have tools and shop supplies for your farm operation. These tools will help you get the job done.

Our editor selected one tool as an “Editor’s Choice” and other tools as “Recommended” in Power Tools; Hand Tools; Ratchets & Sockets; Metalworking; Shop Supplies; Lighting; Workbenches & Tool Chests; and Shop Essentials.

Here is the list of the 2021 winners in Metalworking.

Editor's Choice Tools of the Year 2021

Metalworking tools from Miller
Miller

High-Capacity Multiprocess Welder

Capable of MIG, flux-cored, stick, DC stick, DC Lift-Arc TIG, and pulsed TIG welding, the Miller Multimatic 235 Welder offers up to 170 amps of output at a 60% duty cycle (percentage of time in 10 minutes that it can run nonstop). The industrial wire-feed system handles 15-foot MIG gun cables so welders can work farther away from the power source.

Miller’s Gun-On-Demand feature allows operators to simply pull the trigger on a MIG gun or spool gun. The welder automatically detects and recalls the voltage and wire feed speed of the active gun. A 4.3-inch color LCD display ensures proper machine setup and parameter selection, reducing setup time and increasing weld time.

Operators will experience less downtime changing wire with a case that handles longer-lasting, 12-inch-diameter wire spools. Also, the welding cart holds up to a 300-cubic-foot gas bottle. The Multimatic 235 features Auto-Set Elite, an electronic control in which weld settings are predefined for all weld processes.

The weld comes with a power source with 7-foot power cord; 15-foot 250-amp MDX-250 MIG gun with Bernard AccuLock MDX consumables; 10 feet of cable with an electrode holder; 10 feet of work cable with a clamp, flow gauge regulator, and gas hose; and .030/.035-inch reversible drive rolls.

The 235 has a list price of $2,335. Go to millerwelds.com.

Tools of the Year 2021 - Recommended

Metalworking from Lincoln
Lincoln

400-Amp Diesel Welder Generator

Equipped with a 41-hp., turbocharged Perkins diesel, Lincoln’s Vantage 441X welder/generator has 400 amps of power with a 100% duty cycle for DC welding output.

The Vantage 441X comes standard with CrossLinc Technology. Developed to improve overall jobsite performance and safety, CrossLinc Technology enables precise voltage control at the arc without the use of an extra control cable for improved productivity, safety, and quality.

Go to lincolnelectric.com.

Tools of the Year 2021 - Recommended

Metalworking  from Lincoln
Lincoln

Lightweight Autodarkening Helmet

Offering a 6.3-square-inch automatic-darkening lens, Lincoln’s Viking 1740 Recode Welding Helmet weighs just 18 ounces and features easily adjustable, cushioned headgear.

The helmet’s 4C Lens Technology creates a crystal clear, true color view of the arc and puddle. This enhances your control and increases weld quality while reducing eye strain. Additionally, the 4C lens has a 1/1/1/1 optical clarity rating, which showcases the absence of common lens imperfections such as blurriness and distortion while also providing consistent brightness and performance at an angle. (A green flashing LED inside the helmet tells the user that the helmet is in grind mode.)

The Viking 1740 retails for $164 and is powered by replaceable AAA batteries. Go to lincolnelectric.com.

Tools of the Year 2021 - Recommended

Metalworking from Benzamatic
Bernzomatic

High-Output Torch

The Bernzomatic Max TS8000T advanced performance torch offers instant on-off ignition, adjustable ultra-swirl flame, and lock option for continuous use.

The torch is pressure-regulated for inverted operation. A run-lock button keeps the torch lit for continuous use.

The Max TS8000T retails for $81.50, which includes a limited lifetime warranty. Go to bernzomatic.com.

Tools of the Year 2021 - Recommended

Metalworking from Bernzomatic
Bernzomatic

Fuel Gauge Reveals Fuel Remaining

This handy device, which sells for just $12, will tell you instantly how much fuel is left in portable 14- and 16-ounce propane or MAP-Pro cylinders via an easy-to-read digital LED display. The device operates on two CR2032 batteries included with purchase. It is compatible with any nonrefillable fuel cylinder with CGA600 connection, including 14-ounce Bernzomatic Propane fuel, 16-ounce Bernzomatic Propane Camping Gas, and 14-ounce Bernzomatic MAP-Pro fuel. Go to bernzomatic.com.

Tools of the Year 2021 - Recommended

Metalworking tools from Tweco
Tweco

Aluminum Wire Gun

The Tweco PullMaster2 push-pull MIG gun employs an internal preset drive-roll tension mechanism that reduces the risk of deforming aluminum wire. Those drive rolls are also electrically insulated to prevent micro arcing.

Available as air- and water-cooled models, the PullMaster2 feeds wire diameters from 0.030 to 0.052 inches, has a rated duty cycle of 60% using mixed gas, is available with 20- or 33-foot cable length, and uses Tweco 16APS standard contact tips.

The PullMaster 2 enables an operator to select and switch between up to 10 synergic programs. A synergic program contains preprogrammed welding parameters that have been optimized for a particular wire, application, or welding position. Using simple buttons and a digital display on the gun, an operator can fine-tune arc performance by increasing or decreasing voltage and wire feed speed, as well as select between 2T (standard) and 4T (latching) trigger modes to reduce hand fatigue on long welds. 

The PullMaster2 feeds wire diameters from .030 to .052 inches. Go to esabna.com.

See all of our categories of Tools of the Year winners:

We welcome your feedback and nominations for 2022!

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