Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

This forum is dedicated to the Live Steam Hobbyist Community.

Moderators: Harold_V, WJH, cbrew

User avatar
warmstrong1955
Posts: 3507
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:05 pm
Location: Northern Nevada

Re: Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

Post by warmstrong1955 » Tue May 12, 2020 12:33 pm

I don't go anywhere without my Leatherman. Pliers, wire cutters, knife , screwdrivers, church key, scissors, and more.
I've been carrying one, since they were invented, and worn out a half a dozen.
Today's solutions are tomorrow's problems.

Gra2472
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:02 pm
Location: Monte Rio California

Re: Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

Post by Gra2472 » Tue May 12, 2020 12:55 pm

First aid kit.
7.5" Allen Mogul
3 x 7.5" West Valley Baldwin Westinghouse Electrics
The Mrs. wants her railroad around the house!
G. Augustus
Monte Rio, Ca.

thunderskunk
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:24 pm
Location: Vermont

Re: Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

Post by thunderskunk » Tue May 12, 2020 1:04 pm

gwrdriver wrote:A Tapping Stand.
I made mine from offcuts from various sources. The base was a dumpster remnant of 1" structural steel plate, working surface 8"x10". The column is 1.25" diameter steel, copper lapped to within a 10th over its length (my first go at lapping.) The arm is built-up from CRS, pinned and soft soldered together. Yes, soft soldered and its not gone anywhere. The ring at the top is a "clinch-collar" which works like a compression fitting and locks or unlocks the arm within a few degrees of turn.

The best thing about it, other than being made for little more than the price of the Jacobs #31BA 3/8" drill check, is that it reduced my tap breakage from some, to ZERO. I've found that it easily manages up to about 1/4" threads but above 1/4" the knob doesn't provide the leverage needed, but it will squarely start larger taps. In a couple of decades I haven't found the need to increase the leverage.

Hands down, the best thing I ever made for my shop.
That’s a good one. I’ve gotten my hands on a fancy hand tapper in a tool room, and it’s been on the project list for a while to make one. I like yours better.
"We'll cross that bridge once we realize nobody ever built one."

User avatar
SteveM
Posts: 7356
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:18 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

Post by SteveM » Tue May 12, 2020 1:52 pm

warmstrong1955 wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 12:33 pm
I don't go anywhere without my Leatherman. Pliers, wire cutters, knife , screwdrivers, church key, scissors, and more.
I've been carrying one, since they were invented, and worn out a half a dozen.
My uncle was one of the designers of the World Trade Center and spent most of his career in the building. Literally from the ground up, as he was one of the engineers on the foundation.

He was there for the 1993 bombing.

Several people from his office were on the elevator on their way to lunch when the bomb went off. The elevator stopped, the lights went out and smoke started coming in.

They pried the doors open only to be met by two 1" pieces of fiberglass-reinforced plasterboard.

Using their car keys, a nail file and a panel they removed from the wall, and with their backlit displays on their beepers for lights, they cut a hole in the wall and escaped into a bathroom.

For the rest of my uncles career, he carried two items with him:
A leatherman tool
A light stick (one of those ones you bend to activate).

He retired before the 2001 attacks, so luckily he wasn't there for that.

When he passed away, someone (I think my dad) stuck a swiss army knife and a small maglight in the casket.

Steve

User avatar
NP317
Posts: 2585
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:57 pm
Location: Northern Oregon

Re: Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

Post by NP317 » Tue May 12, 2020 7:20 pm

Sounds strange even to me, but my most useful tools in the shop are the two electric garage door openers!
So simple to adjust Shop temperature, air movement, lighting, and access getting any of the 6 operating vehicles in and out!
One classic car, two motorcycles, one steam boat and two steam locomotives.
Loving the blessed life...
RussN

jeanluc83
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:02 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

Post by jeanluc83 » Tue May 12, 2020 7:44 pm

I have a small clamp on vice that I picked up from Harbor Freight for around $20. It is not something you can beat the snot out of and have it hold up for long but it is a pretty good vice for the price. What makes it nice is that it swivels in two directions. This is really useful for holding pieces for file work. It makes it easy to change positions for a better angle.

The other tool I’ll include is a couple of good files. It might take a bit of time but it is pretty amazing what you can make with just a drill press and some files.

User avatar
ChipsAhoy
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:23 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

Post by ChipsAhoy » Tue May 12, 2020 7:54 pm

I have an old old old 4"cresent wrench, i have never seen a 6" open up as far as this one. It's actually pretty tight still also.
Glenn Brooks wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 11:58 am
Somehow I have three pairs of scissors in my toolbox, one in the garden shed. Four new pairs in the house. Wonder how that happened?
Glenn
By the way Glenn, can I get my scissors back now?
Scotty Brooks
Last edited by ChipsAhoy on Tue May 12, 2020 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Glenn Brooks
Posts: 2236
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:39 pm
Location: Woodinville, Washington

Re: Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

Post by Glenn Brooks » Tue May 12, 2020 8:01 pm

Hahahahahaha. Absolutely.
Moderator - Grand Scale Forum

Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

User avatar
gwrdriver
Posts: 3155
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 10:31 am
Location: Nashville Tennessee

Re: Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

Post by gwrdriver » Tue May 12, 2020 9:17 pm

NP317 wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 7:20 pm
Sounds strange even to me, but my most useful tools in the shop are the two electric garage door openers! - RussN
Different strokes . . . and whatever gets the job done!
GWRdriver
Nashville TN

User avatar
gwrdriver
Posts: 3155
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 10:31 am
Location: Nashville Tennessee

Re: Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

Post by gwrdriver » Tue May 12, 2020 9:23 pm

thunderskunk wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 1:04 pm
That’s a good one. I’ve gotten my hands on a fancy hand tapper in a tool room, and it’s been on the project list for a while to make one. I like yours better.
Thanks. I'll send you the details if you're interested. I once had it drawn in Cad but it's missing from my dwg archive so it's probably sitting in an old hard drive, or it's gone. It will be short work to redraw it though.
GWRdriver
Nashville TN

User avatar
SteveM
Posts: 7356
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:18 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

Post by SteveM » Tue May 12, 2020 10:24 pm

ChipsAhoy wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 7:54 pm
I have an old old old 4"cresent wrench, i have never seen a 6" open up as far as this one. It's actually pretty tight still also.
I have a 3" adjustable wrench that looks like a toy, but it's made better than any of my larger ones.

Comes in really handy.

Steve

User avatar
Greg_Lewis
Posts: 1997
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 2:44 pm
Location: Fresno, CA

Re: Your favorite low investment/high payoff tools and gadgets

Post by Greg_Lewis » Tue May 12, 2020 10:48 pm

Gra2472 wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 12:55 pm
First aid kit.

See my avitar :lol:

Also, the three-cornered scraper is great for taking the sharp edges off most anything, even when spinning in the lathe. The tweezers retrieve any small screws from the parts department that are smaller than about #6, and the 4-inch Starrett rule is much handier than the more common 6-inch one as I can get it into small places if needed. Also it has graduations across the ends. I've had all of these for so long I don't remember where they came from.

And although not really low investment at about $100, my 6-inch disc, 1-inch wide band sander is perhaps my most used tool. Almost every part I make pays a visit to this little machine for deburring. And many parts that don't need to be to .001 can be profiled or whatever there; some parts are made entirely by sanding to size.
IMG_3092.JPG
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of the dull toolbit.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

Post Reply