A viewer wanted to which are Kevin’s top 5 most favorite pieces of equipment.
As for welders – and Kevin does a lot of welding – his favorite welder has to be the Everlast Lightning MTS 275. “MTS” means “MIG, TIG, stick,” so this welder has 3 different functions. You can weld heavy metal, light metal, you can TIG weld, MIG weld and stick weld. It’s just an amazing machine.
Before you ever even think about welding any metal together, though, you have to cut it to size. Nine times out of 10, Kevin uses the Ellis 1800 horizontal miter bandsaw. It’s a monster machine, with a lot of throat room so you can get a lots of metal in it. It’s quick; it’s quiet. It’s so straight, smooth and precise – just amazing. A really, really nice bandsaw.
For cutting more complex shapes, especially when trying to take a piece of flat steel and make something dimensional, Kevin turns to his DynaTorch SuperB 4×4 CNC plasma cutout table. It has a big plasma torch with the plasma cutter in the toolbox, and it’s all computer controlled. You create your designs on the computer in the office, then hand it off to the table. “Zip! Zip! Zip!” The CNC machine cuts out your shapes nice, neat and clean. Asks Kevin: “Why did I ever wait so long to buy one?”
Sometimes you want to shape something. You want a curve, a spiral, a different shape. By taking a flat piece of steel, Kevin can use his Dayton 52″ slip roll to make twists, turns, spirals, circles. A slip roll gives you that creative freedom, if you will, while having a machine to do all the hard work for you. You just have to crank the handle.
Of course, you’ve got to have someplace to work! Kevin has a fixed height workbench where he does some welding, but when the sculptures get really big, it’s nice to have a table that comes to you. He shows his hydraulic “magic lift table,” left over from the days when his studio was an automotive garage. It still is a functioning automotive garage. But the big chrome cylinder that the piece of steel plate is sitting on was part of an in-ground car lift like you see in old gas stations with four big arms on it. You’d drive your car over it, move the arms out, and pick up the whole car. Well, he didn’t need that – it was just something to trip over.
Kevin got rid of the mechanism and put a piece of 10′ by 5′ by 1-1/4″ steel plate on the cylinder. Now he has a workbench plenty big enough and flat that goes all the way to the floor and 6′ in the air. If Kevin is working on something tall, he can always put his welder up on the lift table. Or he can get up on the table so he can work on sculptures that are 10, 12 feet tall.
Or Kevin can put the sculpture on the table, pick it up, and work on it at whatever height he wants. It’s easier on your back, easier on your neck. You’re not hunched over, looking down all the time. And this way you can get whatever you’re working on up to whatever height you want. It’s been a great addition in the shop. Kevin doesn’t know how people work without one!
Thanks for watching. Kevin hopes you enjoyed this video and encourages you to leave your comments below about your own favorite tools, and please give this video a “like.”
Before you go, though, stick around for a moment to see Kevin really take off ….