Category Archives: Tools

Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ AirStrike 18-Gauge Cordless Brad Nailer

Well folks, I recently needed to install some molding at my mother in law’s and realized I no longer have a small compressor to run my air nailers at a remote site.  So, I recalled an article I had read that spoke well of the Ryobi Airstrike 18ga brad nailer.

The interesting twist on this nailer is that it uses an 18 volt One+ battery to operate and you don’t need a compressor or air lines.  I have a ton of Ryobi tools and decided to pick up just the tool for $129.99.

I read the manual and the tool has both an air pressure adjustment and a depth adjustment.  In the next photo, the silver dial on the top adjusts the air pressure and depth is down towards the nose.   You’ll notice I have one of the slim low-profile lithium batteries on it.

It came with 200 1-1/4″ brads and they look just like the ones I use in my air brad nailer so I have plenty for the future.  They load in the magazine just like other nailers.

Now, I definitely would recommend practicing some with this.  The balance is fairly good but what is really different is the way it cycles when you pull the trigger.  There is a split second delay as it builds up pressure and then it fires the hammer driving the brad forward.  For me, the delay took some getting used to.  We’re not talking very long at all but I’m used to bang-bang-bang-bang with an air nailer as fast as you can pull the trigger.  Here there is just enough pause to throw you off.  I found myself pulling the trigger and lifting to fast so I needed to make my self slow down, pull the trigger, let it cycle and then pull.

What I was installing was some of that cheap paper/fiber molding so it was very easy for the nailer to drive the brads in.  I really should have dialed the pressure back a bit and/or reduced the depth.  That will take further experimenting for me to learn the right combo.

All in all after driving about 30 brads, I am happy and would recommend the unit to someone who is interested in going cordless.

Note, I would consider a bigger nailer if I needed it down the road but most of the time I am close enough to my shop that I can run an airline to my big compressor.  The reviews are mixed on the big nailer as it uses a relatively oddball sized nail and I’m hoping they change that.

If you are thinking of buying one of the brad nailers, they are on Amazon but you will pay a premium.  Either get them at your local Home Depot store or buy them online:

Just the tool – click here.

The tool, battery and charger – click here.


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Getting Unstuck With Traction Mats

Well, I parked our full size Ford Transit van at the end of the driveway on the grass to get it out of the way.  Of course, given the recent snow melt the ground turned out to be too muddy and soft to support the van’s weight – but I didn’t notice that because it took a while to slowly sink.  Yeah, I didn’t notice anything – my wife did we she went to use it!  Oh crud.  So she called my cell phone and was none too happy.  I didn’t really worry about it because my truck could pull it out – or so I thought.

I drove to the house, cockily pulled my trusty old 96 Landcruiser up in front of the van and got out one of my big tow straps and walked up to the van.   Should have been easy, right?  Wrong.  Nothing, nada to hook on to.  Ford, in their infinite wisdom does not put a tow hook, eye or anything up near the bumper!  Crap, crap, crap.  [Note, near the bottom of this blog post I added in what I found after researching how to recover a full size Transit.  I’m still irked at Ford.]

Did I mention my wife was standing their fuming?  Yeah, she was.  I should have known better than to park the heavy full size van on soft ground.  Point taken – I didn’t realize it was that soft.

At any rate, I went back and looked at the 5″ deep rut the driver’s side rear tire had dug for itself.  By the way, these photos are after removal.

I needed something long to fill the ruts and give traction.  Luckily, back in 2010 and then in 2014 I bought these things called “traction mats” from a company called OTW Enterprises who touted them as portable tow trucks.  In 2010 I bought the black ones after getting my truck stuck on ice with the plow blade buried in a snow mound.  In 2014. I bought an orange set to put in my wife’s car in case she got stuck.  Here they are after I hosed all the mud off.

Well, they bounced around in the trunks for a while and did bail me out a couple of times over the years but were actually leaning on the outside wall of my shop.  They don’t fold and while they fit in the trunk you have the little plastic spikes catching stuff so I tool them out at some point and leaned them against the wall of the shop.  At any rate,  I walked over and they were exactly what I needed.  Each mat measures 36″ long and 8″ wide.  Since I had four, I butted on up against the front of each tire and placed a second one in front of it to help the tire get up and out of the rut.  The sides are labeled by the way – the relative few long spikes go down and the side with many spikes goes up.

I got in and rolled the the van back a bit and then forward to get up on the mats.  I then slowly gave it more gas (not much) and the van up and forward onto the mat and got out of ditch and I kept moving forward onto the pavement.  I don’t have any action photos – things were stressful at the time and I really wasn’t thinking about a blog post 🙂

Well, I was pretty pleased with the outcome.  Wreckers charge at least $65 to come out to our house so avoiding that charge is always a good thing.  My wife was relatively happy but gave me a hard time for causing the problem in the first place.

Are these mats perfect?  No.  They will fly out from under your car if you don’t go slow and make sure you have the correct side down.  Even then they sometimes do so I would never have someone stand behind the car.  My recommendation is to go slow – avoid your spinning tires and rock the vehicle onto the mat if need be – don’t spin your tires onto them.

My wife is so impressed she wants them back in the cars.  I just wish they had a carry case but I do recommend them as another tool to keep in your bag of tricks.

I hope this helps you out.


Comment about Ford and Their Oversight on Towing

By the way, I looked up the tow/winch location up for future reference  so if you are surfing the web trying to figure out how to tow a full size 2016 Ford Transit, here is the reference link at Ford – click here.

Look just behind the tires at the frame and you’ll see the eye rings that are part of the frame.  You can’t make this stuff up — Thanks Ford.  It drives me nuts when you look at decisions made in ivory engineering towers vs. real world needs.  Sure, let’s bury it under the van, make it hard to get to and pretty much ensure damage will occur if you actually use this to pull the van for whatever reason.

Now look how their factory winch attachment point lines right up with hitting the front radiator.  If you pull this at just about any angle where the recovery vehicle is higher than the van then the cable/strap is going to cut right into the aluminum radiator at the front.   In the next photo, you can see the silver aluminum radiator just above the lip of the bumper molding.

If you wanted to protect that radiator, you’d actually need a harness with something to push the attached cable lower to the ground – or fabricate another attachment method.   Maybe my 4″ drop hitch in my rear class IV receiver would be low enough to tie onto vs. my truck’s winch or front recovery hooks.  … Something for another day.  I didn’t buy a new van to have to worry about something people in rural areas need regularly in the winter.   They should have been in the front.


2/11/2018 Update:  The traction mats bailed me out again when I got the van stuck on ice in our yard while turning around.  I’ve come to realize the van does a fair job on the road but the tires are damn near useless on uneven icy surface,  With this van, it’s really handy to have four.  With only two handy, I could move the van forward and then get stuck, move the mats, move forward again, get stuck, etc.  I had to do the cycle about three times.  I think if I had all four handy it would have done the trick in one shot because I could have built up some forward momentum.  I now have all four stored together,  We’re nearing the end of Winter finally and I think I will keep all four in the van next year and need to find some kind of carrier bag to store them in.


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Portable Tire Traction Mats – Two Emergency Tire Grip Aids Used To Get Your Car, Truck, Van or Fleet Vehicle Unstuck In Snow, Ice, Mud, And Sand – Orange, 2 Pack


Features: Provides emergency traction for your tires in snow, ice, mud and sand. Works on all vehicles with summer, winter, or all-season tires., Comes with 2 reusable polypropylene solid and virtually indestructible traction mats., No installation required, making it hassle free, easier and safer to use than tire chains and snow chains., Each only 2.5 pounds and 36 inches long, allowing easy storage in your trunk or under your seat., Avoid the stress of shoveling, slipping and sliding, being stranded, or calling for a tow truck in emergency situations.

“Portable Tow Truck’s emergency traction pad provides you with the way out of messy situations. Getting stuck in mud or snow on the side of the road is a common roadside emergency. You could could call for a tow truck to pull your vehicle out, which can be expensive, or install tire chains when you’re stuck, which is messy and dangerous.

There is an alternative. The Portable Tow Truck tire traction aid provides emergency traction to your drive wheels and allows you to get back on the road. The innovative cleat design bites into your tire and allows your drive wheels to climb the mat instead of spinning in snow. No more digging and pushing and rocking back and forth. Simply wedge the Portable Tow Truck under the pulling wheel and slowly drive the vehicle to a more suitable surface . At only 2.5 pounds and 36 inches long, the Portable Tow Truck is easy to handle and consumes very little trunk space. Buy this Portable Tow Truck and a future version of yourself, stuck in the snow or mud, will be thankful you did.”

List Price: $59.95 USD
New From: $49.95 USD In Stock

Not Happy With EBLCL LED Upgrade for My Ryobi Worklight Either

Okay, I ordered the EBLCL CE ROHS FCC PR P13.5S 18V 247 Lumen CREE XP-G2 S4LED upgrade for my 18 volt Ryobi worklight.  To make a long story short, like the Jomitop, it too throws an irregular crescent shaped light that I don’t like.  This unit is sold by a number of vendors on Amazon so buyer beware.

Here’s a photo of the EBLCL unit and the beam it projects:

I’m going to just leave this unit installed and look for a new worklight … I may even just put a replacement bulb in the unit.  I use these things quite a bit and I would rather have a decent wide area of light vs. these oddly shaped beams.

Bottom line, unless you like the shape of the beam shown above, I can’t recommend it.

 


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Not Happy with Jomitop P13.5S LED Replacement Bulb for Ryobi 18 volt Work Light

Okay, some guys sneer at the Ryobi power tools but I have gotten my money’s worth from their 18 volt drills.  I bought one of their 18 volt sets years ago and have two drills, an impact driver and a hammer drill that I use all the time.  One drill has done 3-4 decks and the other at least two.  I burned out one hammer drill a year ago and replaced it and the others are going strong.

Along with the tools came an 18 volt work light that I have used a ton especially while working on cars.  I’ve replace the incandescent bulb probably at least three times over the years.  As luck would have it, I dropped the light the other day and busted the bulb.  Rather than buy another replacement bulb, I decided to move to an LED unit.

I did some digging and bought a Jomitop P13.5S from Amazon – two of them actually as I have two of the work lights.  Now I wish I could say the upgrade went great but the resulting light is a weird crescent shape – even when it is just the LED by itself with no lens or reflector.  Both LEDs did this.

I plan on returning these two units as defective and have ordered two more models from other sellers on Amazon.  So, for now, pass on the Jomitop P13.5S model.  I’ll post on what works later but wanted to get the honest review out.

I hope this helps you out!


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Husky H4230C 1/4″ Angle Grinder Does A Great Job

I use a lot of air tools for sanding and have been slowly upgrading them as stuff has worn out.  Some years back I bought a Harbor Freight (HF) model and the bearings wore out so I did some digging to buy a new one.  I tend to look at a combination of features, reviews and price.  In this case, I needed something local as I was in the middle of some work and couldn’t wait for mail order.

I decided to go with a new one from Home Depot – the Husky H4230C 1/4″ angle grinder.  The price was good and I could walk into my local Home Depot and pick it up.  30 reviews and 4.5 stars was good enough for me.  I really didn’t want another HF tool as they tend to use a lot of air in my opinion.

The Husky is light, compact and like every other angle grinder on the market.  The one thing I immediately noticed is that it didn’t take much air to operate.  Even at 60PSI the thing was clipping right along and at 90PSI it had plenty of speed and torque to turn the 3″ sanding flap and surface prep discs I use.

By the way, I need to do a lot of uneven surfaces and a trick I know is to use the 2″  R-type quick connect mandrel but actually use 3″ discs.  You can save a ton of money by purchasing the discs via Amazon – don’t buy them at a retail store or you will pay a fortune.

I bought unit in August 2017 and have used it a ton with no problems at all.  I need to keep my airlines clean and do not run an inline lubricator so I do add a few drops of air tool oil at the start of each sanding session – that is the only maintenance that I do.  All in all, I am happy with the purchase and thought I would pass along the recommendation.

Here are some photos of it including next to the seized HF unit that went in the trash after I tool the photos:

I hope this helps you out!


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How to Connect a Paasche H Air Brush to Your Shop’s Compressed Air System

I recently purchased a Paasche H-series kit from Amazon as I wanted to get a quality air brush.  I was surprised at all the confusion around how to hook up the H to a standard shop air system and want to clarify matters.

Now the set comes with the airbrush, tips, bottles and an airline.  The airline is the key – on the end that connects to the airbrush, it is 1/8″.  The other is 1/4″ female.  just take 1/4″ air fitting with male thread, apply several layers of PTFE tape to the thread and then screw on the hose and tighten – done.  That’s it.

The red assembly above the plug is a cheap generic inline disposable filter.  I simply have quick connects to make it easy to move my airbrush around to where I need to work in my shop.  I run a high-end filter system in my shop and still put a screw in filter just before the air brush’s air line just to play it safe.  If you run your air brush off your home compressor, you definitely need to do this and the more contaminated your air is, the faster the filter will foul out.  If you have any questions about the quality of your air, shoot a blast at a test mirror and see what all spatters on it – you’re liable to see a ton of goop if you are not filtering out water and/or have a lubricator in the line.

If you do have a ton of contaminants and plan to airbrush a lot, then invest in a good filtering system.  There are tons of them out there.  At a minimum, considering really good disposable filters such as a Motor Guard M30 for 1/4″ lines.  Worst case, just make sure you have the disposable filters installed and change them regularly.  If you are still getting water and other junk when you spray, then decide how to either filter your lines or buy a dedicated airbrush compressor.  For me, it was a no brainer given the air system I already have and the disposable filter is there “just in case”.

At any rate, this is a great airbrush.  Having trashed numerous Harbor Freight airbrushes over the years, this is a wonderful step up.  I hope this helps.


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Paasche H-SET Single Action Siphon Feed Airbrush Set


Features: The H airbrush is perfect for beginners or those requiring quick and easy spraying, Achieve patterns of 1/16-inch to 1-1/2-inch, Set includes all three head sizes, The H airbrush is made in the USA

The airbrush features a chrome plated body for durability. Included with the airbrush are all three available spray heads, which allow the H airbrush to be used in a wide range of application. The H single action allows the user to achieve fine lines down to 1/16-inch and wider patterns of up to 1-1/2-inch. The H is simple and easy to use and requires very little practice compared to double action models. The best uses are those requiring more basic spraying like solid coats, uniform lines or stencil work. Clean up is as simple as spraying your paint cleaner though the airbrush. The H is used for many applications including hobby, craft, chip and ding repair, taxidermy, ceramics, cake decorating, tanning, tattoos, etc. The H airbrush is made in the US and includes the following: H#3 airbrush, size 1 and 5 spray heads, 1/4-ounce metal cup, 1-ounce bottle assembly, 1-ounce storage bottle, hanger, wrench, 6-foot braided hose, lessons booklet and manual.
List Price: $56.66 USD
New From: $56.66 USD In Stock

Boy does this make splitting kindling easy

I grew up helping my dad cut trees, stack firewood, and splitting kindling.  Of the three, kindling always took the most time – trying to get the wood to balance and then hitting it with the axe.  When I got older and had a splitter, I would use the splitter to crack up a load of kindling while I was at it as well.  That worked great if I had the splitter running but if I needed something right away, out came the axe and the balancing act.

I was reading through some stuff over the summer and heard about something called a Kindling Cracker from Australia.  It looked gimicky so I read up on it and the thing actually works — it gets great reviews actually.  Basically you set the piece of wood to split on this cracker that has the blade facing up side the unit and hit the wood with a small sledge, foundry hammer, etc.  What I especially like is that you can get the kindling down to very small sizes – I could never do that with an axe or hatchet — at least not easily.

It works great!  You could screw it into something if you wanted but I cart it around to where I want to crack the kindling at plus it doesn’t get left out in the winter.  I think this thing is great and have bee building up a pile of kindling for the winter and also my BBQ.

  

The ring diameter does limit the size of log you start with but its easy enough for me to find wood that will fit – I have several cords to choose from at any given time.  I did learn quickly on to pick small enough pieces of wood so they would not jam during splitting but that was another easy lesson learned.

Because it is steel, it holds the logs quite nicely and I find I can get nice thin kindling because you can set the wood right on the blade to start however you want.  The above is my actual chopping block.  I keep the Kindling Cracker in my garage where it is nice and dry and take it over there when I want to split wood.  It’s very convenient, safe and effective – I’m very happy with it.



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Kindling Cracker Firewood Kindling Splitter


Features: A safe and easy way to make kindling with no moving blade or sharpened object passing by your hands, Splits firewood with less force than a standard axe, 6.5in. inside diameter top ring, Made of high-quality cast iron in Australia, Virtually maintenance-free

If you need to create kindling for your campfire, wood stove, fireplace or pizza oven and you don’t want to risk injury by using an axe, the Kindling Cracker is just what you need. Built in Australia with an award-winning, patented design, it’s the safer, faster and easier way to make the best kindling for your fire.

The Kindling Cracker delivers real-world ingenuity from an unlikely source – a school-age student who was determined to avoid injuries from splitting firewood into kindling. The simple, safe and easy-to-use design that began as a science fair project has become a perennial award winner, from science fairs in New Zealand to regional and international recognition from Scientific American, International TeenBusiness, Google and more.

Quality, Premium Build

The Kindling Cracker is made in an Australian foundry. It consists of one solid piece of high-quality cast iron, so it’s something that your grandkids’ grandkids will use to split their own kindling, if cared for and used correctly. The only maintenance it needs is a bit brushing off and maybe a touch of paint from time to time to look like new for generations.

Safe and Easy to Use

The Kindling Cracker is a top-grade cast iron splitting head mounted inside of a 12in.H cast iron frame. To make a perfect piece of kindling, place a piece of firewood inside the iron safety ring and strike with a blunt instrument, such as a hammer, mallet or even another piece of wood. This drives the wood down onto the splitting wedge for a quick, easy split. There is no need to swing a sharp axe blade dangerously close to your hands. It’s the perfect companion for your backyard stack of firewood, creating perfect kindling for your fireplace, fire pit, pizza oven, sauna, barbecue or smoker.

New From: $128.00 USD In Stock

Did you know most consumer vehicle undercoatings are rip offs?

We recently bought a new van and I wanted to undercoat it so it would last — being old school that was the first thing I thought of anyways.  The next was to do some searching around with Google about undercoatings so I could get the best product to use.  You know what I found out?  When most cars and trucks are made, the manufacturers do a ton of stuff now to prevent corrosion straight from the factory – so much so that you may find it hard pressed to find a shop that even does undercoating/rust proofing any more.  The car companies have improved their alloys, finishes and even learned not to leave exposed lips for mud to settle in to and sit – think about how the old wheel wells had the reinforcing lip all the way around that dirt/mud could sit in and hold salty water or even just water against the metal – of course it would rust.  So now you look in to wheel wells and through one method or another that flange is either not there or protected.

So I want to share some things I learned.  First, rubberized spray on undercoatings often caused more problems than they solved.  Now, you may be wondering why – I know I did.  You see, it is a spay on finish the adheres to whatever surface it can stick to – paint, rubber, metal, dirt, etc.  Over time, that undercoating develops small holes from stuff hitting it and then a pocket starts to form, salty water enters in and is held against the very steel it is trying to protect!  So to make a long story short, after reading tons of posts about the various spray on rubber undercoatings one must conclude they are not worth investing in any longer.

Second, rust proofing sounds great but there really is no such thing.  You are delaying the inevitable if we are talking about steel and salt water – eventually something is going to rust.

Okay, enough doom and gloonm, let’s say you live in a state, like Michigan, where they salt the heck out of the roads in the winter.  What do you do to protect new cars even more than what the factory did *or* you want to try and save older vehicles even if they have started to rust?  The answer, interestingly enough, was developed long ago – Fluid Film.  Eureka Chemical Company, yes that really is their name – started in the 1940s when they developed a product with an unlikely source to help the Navy prevent corrosion – the not-so-secret ingredient is lanolin from sheep. If you want to read the whole story, click here.

Let me cut to the chase – the reason this stuff works is that it oozes and seals itself if nicked.  DoD, NASA, Coast Guard, Delta and others are still using this stuff!  After doing a lot of reading, I bought a five gallon pail off Amazon, an applicator gun and a pail pump dispenser.  They sell an aerosol can version but I really don’t have much experience with it but am a bit leery of it because the liquid is so thin that comes out compared to what I can spray with the applicator gun.

This is my second year using it on our vehicles and it almost makes it a few months before you can tell it has dried out / faded.  In other words, it doesn’t quite make it the whole winter. I get rid of looser dirt by spraying it down, let it try and go to town spraying this stuff on everything – even the exhaust as it will just bake off after the first time it gets good and hot.

Honestly, I think the FuildFilm helps – our newest car after our van is a 2002 Camry and I spray the heck out of it and our other older cars (the oldest is a 1992 Corolla) and my old 1996 Land Cruiser.  I go through about a quart per car/truck liberally applying it real thick all over the under carriage.  I also spray door hinges, locks and hood latch.  The stuff smells funny for the first day or so but seems to really do the trick.  I just finished putting it on our vehicles for the second year.  I’m about half way through the five gallon pail so if you want to test it out some, you could start with a gallon pail – that would do 4-6 cars or trucks depending on how thick you apply it.

So, thought I would pass along what I learned – don’t bother with rubberized undercoatings and definitely check out FluidFilm.



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Note, my local Autozone also sells the below aerosol cans.  I really do not know how long it will protect what you spray it on.

 

 

 

Fluid Film 5gal Pail NAS Rust Inhibitor Rust Prevention Anti Corrosion Anti Rust Coating Undercoating Underbody Rust Proofing Corrosion Protection for Truck Snow Blower Mower Car Semi Tractor Bus


Features: RUST PREVENTIVE LUBRICANT. Fluid Film is a penetrant and lubricant also used for corrosion prevention. It is a non-toxic, long lasting, thixotropic liquid that has been used for over fifty years in the highly corrosive marine environment of ships and offshore drilling rigs. More recently they have been introduced and successfully utilized in the aerospace, aircraft and automobile industries as well as for home maintenance., SOLVENT FREE, WILL NOT DRY OUT, LONG LASTING. Fluid Film is formulated from specially processed wool-wax, highly refined petroleum oils and selected agents to provide corrosion control, penetration, metal wetting and water displacement. The long lasting product contains no solvents, will not dry out and will penetrate to the base of all metals, providing corrosion protection from both natural and industrial atmospheres., ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLY. LANOLIN BASED. CLEAN. Easy to use, protects all metals, no solvents, stops rust on contact, non toxic, non hazardous, long lasting. Powerful corrosion protection for all metals and superior lubrication for all moving parts., ANTI FREEZING AGENT. Heavily corroded and/or frozen parts such as nuts, bolts, shafts, etc. that would normally be damaged during maintenance, can be salvaged by applying Fluid Film. Great for snow blower chutes, semi-trucks, pick-up trucks, buses, cars, mowers, tractors, well drilling rigs, metal, hedge trimmers, garden tools, power tools and many more, UNDERCOATING AGENT FOR CARS AND TRUCKS. Best used as underbody agent, rust proofing, rust protection, rust inhibitor, rust prevention, anti corrosion, water displacement, equipment winterization, rust treatment, bolt rust, hardware rust and etc

Fluid Film is a rust and corrosion preventative, penetrant, and lubricant. Lanolin based formula embeds in the pores of the metal to remain active, lubricating and stopping the corrosive effects of salts, fertilizers, pesticides, and high humidity. Will not harm paint, plastic, or rubber, or cause burn to greenery. Solvent-free, non-conductive, non-drying, and does not freeze. Fresh inventory shipped direct from Kellsport Products
List Price: $184.24 USD
New From: $180.56 USD In Stock

My Welding Helmet is an Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

A few guys who read my blog post about assembling my SWAG press brake asked about my helmet.  It’s an Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet that I bought in October 2014 according to my records.  My old helmet died and would no longer automatically switch on and off so I did some digging.  These days I pay a lot of attention to reviews on Amazon and this helmet got great reviews.

At this time, October 3, 2017, the helmet has an amazing 761 reviews with a score of 4.5 out of 5 stars.  That score speaks volumes right there.  I’m very happy with mine and have never had a problem – I use it with my Millermatic 211 MIG.  It’s sensitive enough and switches very fast – I don’t see any flash at all plus it turns off fast which is a plus when I am doing lots of small quick welds on sheet metal.

The viewing port is good sized at 3.86 x 1.73″ and the shade can vary from 4/5-9 and 9-13.  On the low end it could work with plasma if you really wanted it to and the upper end of the scale makes it suitable for TIG and MIG welding certainly.

I’d also tell you that it is very comfortable.  It’s fairly light and the headgear does its job plus has a generous sized sweat band.

Now there are two real important things for me with a helmet and this has both – it must have a solar cell and battery backup plus the lens must change fast.  The reaction time is a very important safety matter that a lot of guys do not realize.  If a helmet changes slowly then damage to the eye due to arc flash accumulates.  The Antra is rated to change in 1/25,000th of a second.  That is pretty darned fast and like I said, I have never seen a flash.  I trigger my MIG, the arc starts and bang – the lens is dark.

My last comment is that you can get spare parts for it too.  A lot of helmets do not have anything and you are more or less buying a disposable unit at that point.  Here are the spare parts and links to them:

– Exterior lens covers:

– Inner lens covers:

– Head Gear:

Antra APX-XXX-9969 Head Gear For Auto Darkening Welding Helmets for AH4, AH5, AH6,AH7 series (Misc.)


List Price: $12.99 USD
New From: $12.99 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

– Hard hat adapter: 

Antra APX-XXX-9002 Hard Hat Adapter Kits for connecting Welding Helmets and Fiber Metal (Misc.)


List Price: $9.99 USD
New From: $9.99 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Antra APX-XXX-9001 Hard Hat Adapter Kits for connecting Welding Helmets and MSA V-Guard Cap Style (Misc.)


List Price: $15.99 USD
New From: $9.99 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

– Sweat Band: 

Pack of 2 Antra Sweat Bands for All Antra Head Gear APX-XXX-9929, APX-XXX-9969, APX-XXX-9979 (Misc.)


List Price: $4.99 USD
New From: $4.99 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

– Auto Darkening Lens: 

– Cheater Lens: 

So, if you are looking for a welding helmet, I sure recommend this one after using it for three years with my MIG.

By the way, to protect it, I bought a Raider BCS-88 helmet bag as my shop is dusty.  I still store it in my welding cabinet but it stays a lot cleaner now.

Raider Deluxe Motorcycle Durable Nylon Helmet Bag – Black (Automotive)


List Price: $14.95 USD
New From: $14.95 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

 


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Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with AntFi X60-2 Wide Shade Range 4/5-9/9-13


Features: Great For TIG MIG MMA, Plasma Applications with Grinding Feature, Large Viewing Size 3.86″X1.73″ with 4 Premium Sensors, Cheater Lens / Magnifying Lens Compatible Design, Step-less Delay and Sensitivity Knob Adjustable, Shade Variable 4/5-9/9-13 Covering Most Common Welding / Plasma Cutting Processes

Antra AH6-260 Series welding helmet is extremely fast responsive to electric arc from TIG, MIG, MMA or Plasma applications. This light weight welding helmet is so versatile that it can be used on grinding, cutting and welding applications. It is a perfect upgrade for goggles and fixed shade glass welding helmet at a fraction of cost.

*Features:

– Fully automatic power ON/OFF.
– Knob to adjust sensitivity and delay setting
– UV/IR Protection: Permanent Shade DIN13
– Hard hat adapter (Sold separately)
– Battery indicator and testing
– 6 Ext. and 1 Int. Lens covers included.

*Specifications:

– Viewing Area: 98mm x 44mm / 3.86″ x1.73″
– Cartridge Size: 110mm x 90mm x 9mm / 4.33″ x 3.54″ x 0.35″
– Optical Class: 1/1/1/2
– Reaction Time: 0.00004(1/25,000) Seconds
– Dark to Light: 0.1-1 Seconds
– Light State: Shade DIN 4
– Dark State: Shade DIN 5-9/9-13
– DC TIG Amperage Rating: >2 Amps
– Battery Type: Solar Cell + 2X CR2032 installed (Replaceable)
– Helmet Material: High Impact Polyamide Nylon
– Operating Temperature: -10°C- 55°C (14°F-131°F)
– Meet Standards: ANSI Z87.1 / EN379 CE / CSA Z94.3

*Spare parts list:

– Exterior lens covers: Amazon ASIN# B00CIOKN6C
– Inner lens covers: ASIN# B00CIXN50O
– Head Gear:ASIN# B01N5HCMIX
– Hard hat adapter: ASIN#B075FCZJZH, B075FH4J4C
– Sweat Band: ASIN#B073XT6CCQ
– Auto Darkening Lens: ASIN#B01M2DHSDR
– Cheater Lens: ASIN# B017IDJKMK (Diopter various)

*Note: Head gear may require simple assembly.

*SAFETY ALERT*

– READ WARNING LABEL AND MANUALS CAREFULLY BEFORE USING THIS HELMET
– STOP USING THIS HELMET IMMEDIATELY IF IT FLASHES, OR WORKS IN UNEXPECTED STATUS, RECTIFY THE PROBLEM OR CONTACT ANTRA CUSTOMER SERVICE.

List Price: $45.95 USD
New From: $45.95 USD In Stock

Installed a 20 Ton Air Over Hydraulic Bottle On My Shop Press

My shop press is actually rated for 30 tons but I have used a 20 ton bottle for a safety margin.  Until recently, my preference has been a hand pumped 20 ton bottle on my press.  The reason for this is that when pressing barrels, pins, etc. I like to “feel” how much pressure I am applying.  Years back, I bought a 20 ton air over hydraulic bottle from Harbor Freight as guys told me it was faster.  What this means is that an air-operated mechanism pumps a piston and extends the bottle.  For a variety of reasons, it sat by the press and never got installed – mainly I did not have an airline there and I didn’t really have the need – as my grips business increased, free time to build AKs decreased.

At any rate, with the new SWAG shop press, I didn’t want to stand around pumping the bottle so I ran an airline and installed the bottle.

Installing it was a breeze (not including running the air line).  I just screwed in the head of the ram of the old bottle enough to pull it out.  I then slid in the new bottle and adjusted the screw head until it was nice and snug.  Done.  I’m using regular 3/8″ air line with 1/4″ Milton quick connect fittings and it seems to have plenty of air.

Boy is the end result nice — I can use the air system to run the ram down to where I want to then take over by hand and feel what is going on.  What a time saver.

One annoying issue I had to overcome was the pressure relief valve.  The bottle still has one of the little “+” shaped valves that you have to slide the handle onto.  SWAG makes a replacement handle you can slide onto the shaft and reinstall the pin but my budget was spent and then some.  Instead. I found some tubing in my shop and made a little “T” handle and cut a relief into one end with my band saw for the pin to slide into.  It’s way more convenient than using the long pump lever arm.

So the that’s it for the bottle. The next post will talk about the lower bending die and the series is done.


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