Some of the tools/equipment that I have
I have the standard assortment of drills, grinders etc. But the good toys are the:
The sliders only cost me about $100 in steel and paint plus another $50 or so in gas and mig wire etc. The welder and plasma cutter considerably more!
The welder is a Miller Challenger 172 and the plasma cutter a Hypertherm Powermax 350 . Both units operate on 230V from our unused dryer outlet in the garage (we use a gas dryer)
One really worthwhile purchase was a welding helmet with an Auto Darkening Filter. It makes it so easy to set up for a weld, no more having to hold the gun still and hope I haven't moved when I tip the helmet down. Now I just lower the helmet, position the gun where I want it and start welding - especially nice when you're out of position, like under the car doing the tack welds during fit-up.
A close up of the front panel of the plasma cutter. The torch is in the foreground, a nice feature of the Powermax 350 is that you can drag the torch on the work piece. The torch electrode is designed to push up and away from the torch tip when the cutting flame is activated - this prevents a short circuit occurring between the torch tip and the work surface and the return ground cable. Quite a clever system and perfect for home use! Plasma cutters are wonderful tools, they only require electricity, clean compressed air and the consumables are cheap (less than $8 a set and I'm still on the first set after building three sets of siderails).
A standard filter and regulator connected to the large filter element that feeds the compressed air to the plasma cutter - via the 1/4" coiled airline at the top. The large unit removes any remaining moisture and oils from the air supply. You'll eat up consumables really fast if your air supply is contaminated. The lower air line (from the t-piece) is for my airtools: impact wrench, air rachet, air drills, tyre chuck etc.
A couple of pictures of the plasma cutter in action (thanks Jay). I wear a mask to keep from breathing the burnt metal 'dust' from the cutting operation. After finishing a bunch of cuts and you start to sweep up - that's when you realize how much metal has been turned to dust.
Close up of cutting through some 3/8" plate. That's about the limit for the Powermax 350 - you have to go nice and slow to get a reasonably clean cut. The template is made of wood and showed no signs of having been used - amazing how relatively cool the surrounding metal is after a cut.