The Mechanic Shop

Mechanic Bench

A sturdy bench with a small vise, useful for mechanical assembly as well as setting up portable tools which are not compatible with the wood shop.

Welding Bench

The welding bench is for hot work, and is also useful for metal forming tasks which require heavier blows and more force than other workbenches in the shop can accommodate. It is equipped with a number of workholding tools.

⚠️ Safety:

  • All hot work must be followed by a 30 minute fire watch. You can do anything you want (other than more hot work) during the fire watch, but you cannot leave the shop until the fire watch is complete and you have determined that nothing is on fire. If something becomes inflamed during the watch, the fire watch starts over once you put it out. You cannot transfer the fire watch to another person without their consent.
  • Wear safety glasses at the welding bench. Most tools will require additional PPE.
  • Protect surrounding areas and people from hot work - use the welding curtain to protect people from arc flash as well as to prevent sparks from leaving the hot work area. Reposition the curtain or other partitions as needed to maintain separation.

Usage Information:

While the bench is mostly self explanatory, a few notes are in order:

  • You can weld things directly to the bench, just be a dear and grind it flat afterward.
  • The bench top is not flat. It looks flat, sure, but don’t get out a repeat-o-meter. That said, don’t make the bench top less flat by hammering on it in the middle. Use your sledge near the edge, as close to one of the supports as possible.
  • The bench has cam-actuated casters. Push all four levers down to move the bench, flip them up to keep it still. Always immobilize the bench before use, as the capacity of the casters is much lower than the capacity of the feet.

Stronghand Tools F-Clamps

  • Unlike woodworking clamps, these can be used in hot-work environments. They are spatter resistant and non-combustible.
  • There are two accessories available, which bolt to the static pad of the clamp. One is an extension for getting in tight spaces, the other is a v-block, for clamping round objects. The v-blocks attach with a separate hex cap screw, please don’t lose it. The accessories live on the expanded metal shelf.
  • The F-clamps hang on the lower spreader rails of the bench.

Other Clamps

  • C-clamps are so common that children recognize them instantly. They are cheap. Don’t overload them or they will bend. Or do, just run to home depot to replace them before someone notices. Recycle the bent ones instead of leaving them to disappoint someone else.
  • Locking plier clamps can grip all sorts of funny things, and are good for repetitive tasks, as they maintain their adjustment. The red-handled ones have lock nuts on their adjusters.
  • The C-clamps and locking plier clamps hang on the lower spreader rails of the bench.

Chas Parker 4" Vise

  • This is a very heavy duty bench vise. It mounts to the welding table with three hex screws which go into tapped holes in the bench. For the most part, the vise will live on the bench.
  • The tail of the vise is not an anvil. Do not hit it with a hammer. For pounding purposes, use the bench itself, as described above.
  • The vise is not an arbor press. It is designed to clamp, not to travel under load, so pressing in bearings or similar things should be done carefully or not at all. The jaws will not stay perfectly parallel under load. If you find you need a cheater bar, use a different tool.
  • There is a set of aluminum soft jaws which are loose in the jaws. These are stickier and less likely to mar a surface than the hardened and knurled steel jaws. They are replaceable, but they take some time to make and true up, so don’t be unnecessarily cruel.
  • If using the vise to support a workpiece which is to be filed or ground, take care not to file or grind the vise itself.

Whitney Jensen Punch Press

  • The punch press makes holes in thin sheets. It makes a cleaner hole than a twist drill, and can make fun shapes as well, if the punch is available.
  • The press is mounted to a base which slips over the edge of the welding bench and secures with a single screw in the back.
  • There is a set of punches nearby - always use a matching set of male punch and female die. Punches (RW 300170) and dies (RW 310210) include: 3/16”, ¼”, and ½” diameters
  • This Whitney Jensen model is similar to the Roper Whitney #17. Punch sets are available from Roper Whitney and used ones are often on eBay.
  • The thickness of material to be punched should not exceed the diameter of the punch - i.e. you cannot punch a ⅛” hole in ¼” plate.

6" Pedestal Grinder

⚠️ Safety:

  • Wear eye and hearing protection.
  • Do not wear jewelry, gloves, or long sleeves. Tie up long hair.
  • Adjust grinding rest to no more than ⅛” from the wheel. Smaller gap for smaller work.
  • Do not adjust grinding rest when the wheel is in motion.
  • Do not grind on the side of the wheel.
  • Do not attempt to stop the wheel with your hands or any other object.

Usage Information:

  • There is a coarse wheel on the left and a fine wheel on the right. Use the coarse wheel whenever possible.
  • Introduce the part to the wheel gently, and use the least pressure necessary.
  • Dress the wheels frequently using the spur tool. Rest the lugs of the tool on the grinding rest and let the spinning spurs do the work. The wheel is normally dressed with a slight crown across the face and sharp corners.
  • Adjust the grinding rest to provide the angle you require rather than working freehand whenever possible.
  • Use water to cool the part frequently. For delicate heat treated parts, only grind for a second or two between dips.

Ryobi Angle Grinder

Angle grinders are versatile tools that are also extremely dangerous. This grinder can take 4 1/2” diameter discs of different types and spins them at very high RPM. Discs you can use include abrasive cut-off wheels, flap discs (course sandpaper), and other more technical heads such as wood power carvers, wire wheels, and more..

⚠️ Safety:

  • Wear safety glasses and hearing protection and a full face shield.
  • Use a mask or respirator for breathing protection whenever grinding that creates metal or wood dust.
  • Do not wear jewelry or clothing with ties or other loose dangly bits. Tie up long hair.
  • Wear the appropriate gloves to protect against sparks or wood debris.
  • Wear long sleeves when grinding metal to protect against sparks or other flying debris.
  • When starting the grinder, hold it firmly with both hands to compensate for the rotational forces.
  • Never swing the grinder while it is on and always be aware of your surroundings and limbs when using it.

Assembly Information:

  • Trigger:
    • The trigger is on or off. When the trigger is fully depressed, the little button next to it can be pressed to keep the trigger in the “on” position.
  • Speed Dial:
    • There is a dial at the bottom of the grinder that will speed up or slow down the RPMs. When in doubt, use a slower speed.
  • Head:
    • Attach different tool heads and wheels using the wrench in the case. There is a button at the head that will lock the spindle in place.

Usage Information:

  • Ensure that the disc or tool head you have is properly secured.
  • Plug-in the grinder.
  • When using an abrasive cut-off disc, score the line of the cut you want to make lightly first. Make gradually deeper light passes. Repeated shallow cuts will provide better results.
  • Never place pressure on the flat sides or transverse to the edge of an abrasive cut-off wheel. It can shatter and send debris at high velocity. Use a flap disc or wire brush wheel instead.
  • When using a wire-wheel, ensure that you and anyone nearby has eye, face, and skin protection. The wires tend to fly off the wheel and embed themselves in anything soft nearby. You may not even notice that you have a wires in your arm, so be careful and use low RPMs.

Tormek Sharpening system

To be documented.

TIG Welder

To be documented.

Bike Stand

The bike stand itself belongs to Spencer Wright; ditto all of the tools in the large red tool chest and the blue Vention workbench. Spencer is eager to get more bike work done in the shop, and is generally available to assist you with planning your project; get in touch with him on Slack if you’d like to use the bike stand and/or any of his tools.

Mechanic’s Tool Chest

To be documented.