Tools of the Year 2022: Metalworking
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 Metalworking; Storage; Shop Essentials; Shop Supplies; Hand Tools; and Power Tools.
Here is the list of the 2022 winners in Metalworking.
- READ MORE: Last year's picks: Metalworking & welding
First Ever Full-Size Cordless Chop Saw
The relentless innovation and expanding uses of lithium-ion battery-powered tools claimed another corded victim — the metal chop saw. Milwaukee’s abrasive chop offers a 5-inch cut capacity using a 14-inch-diameter blade. Spinning at 4,000 rpm the Model 2990-21 can operate for up to 200 cuts (in 20-gauge steel studs) between charges, qualifying it for use in the field, at the scrapyard, or next to a fabrication job.
Features include the Rapid Stop Blade Brake, which stops the blade within three seconds of trigger release. The blade and cutting fence can be changed without the use of tools. An overload indicator light coaches the user into the optimal cutting speed. The saw with battery weighs 42.5 pounds.
The Model 2990-21 (tool only) retails for $499. Go to milwaukeetool.com.
Rod Holder Greatly Simplifies TIG Welding
Eliminate the clumsiness and inconsistency of feeding TIG filler rod while welding with the Eastwood TIG Mate. You grasp the rod holder like a pencil, rolling your index finger over its dial to feed rod while welding. The lightweight aluminum body with silicone O-rings allows the entire length of filler rod to be used during welding. The holder automatically adjusts to hold 1/16- or 3/32-inch diameter filler rod.
The TIG Mate retails for $34.99. Go to eastwood.com.
Heavy-duty, Adaptable Welding Tables
The BuildPro Alpha welding tables are fabricated from heat treated ground steel plates with machined 5/8-inch holes set in a 2-inch grid pattern for mounting clamps and accessories. All BuildPro welding tables feature precision machined self-locating steel plates and reversible top plates that enable each table plate to be removed and flipped 180° to expose a new working surface if the top has been damaged or worn. Plates also can be reconfigured to expand the width of the table for larger projects. Features include heavy duty leveling feet.
Alpha models are available in 4×4-, 6×3-, 6×4-, 8×4- and 10×5-foot sizes. Go to stronghandtools.com.
Cordless Metal Cut-off Tool
Designed to slice through a variety of metals as well as plastic, fiber cement, and stone, DeWalt’s Cut Off Tool is powered by a 550-watt engine to spin its 3-inch-diameter blade (on a 7/16-inch arbor) at a no-load speed of 20,000 rpms. Offering a maximum .79-inch cutting depth, the tool provides both forward and reverse capability. Features include a removable dust shroud with adjustable shoe and LED work light.
The DCS438B 20V Max XR Brushless Cut-Off Tool (tool only) lists for $199.00. Go to dewalt.com.
Face Shield Provides Purified, Cooling Air
Safety and comfort are both delivered in Miller Electric’s Face Shield PAPR. The shield’s exclusive Dualtec manifold system employs six adjustable air vents to distribute air. Dual speeds allow users to customize the flow of purified cooling air, which helps reduce dry eyes and nose. A lightweight, low-profile breathing tube attachment is positioned at the bottom of the neck instead of the top of the head, which allows it to stay flat against the user’s back for unrestricted movement. The shield’s high-definition view (HDV) technology provides a sharp, detailed view at any angle without distortion.
Suggested list price is $1,500. Go to millerwelds.com.
Push-pull Torches for MIG Welding Aluminum
The Tweco ESAB push-pull torches maintain constant wire tension between two sets of drive rolls (one set of rollers in the feeder and the other set in the torch). This eliminates wire slippage, erratic arc performance, wire burning back to the contact tip, cold lap and “bird nesting” at the feeder rolls when welding with aluminum wires. Also, the dual rolls provide greater reliability when feeding smaller diameter wires over long distances. The TMXH torches are offered in two versions, both of which feed 0.035 to 1/16-inch wires.
Either model comes in cable length options of 20 or 33 feet. Go to ESABna.com.
We welcome your feedback and nominations for 2023!