There’s no such thing as too many tools. But what tools are a must? It all depends on how much you’re doing your own repairs. These are the tools at the top of the list.
1. Quality Air Compressor
Buying an air compressor that’s a tad too big will never be a problem, so don’t be stingy. A good one will last a lifetime. And to make sure it lasts, don’t get one that is oil-less or that has aluminum casing.
The size is measured by airflow capacity and pressure. Make sure to get a minimum of 90 psi of pressure, which is 621kPa. For heavier jobs, you’ll want to invest in a 175pis, or 1,208kPa, compressor.
Air tools will require the most from your compressor. A 7-in, or 18mm, angle grinder or a spray gun both need about 8cfm, or 4l/s. When dealing with bigger tools like an air hammer or chisel, you’ll need 11cfm, or 5l/s.
You can almost find any kind of air tool you want on the market, and their requirements will be on their label. If you’re in the paddock, you will definitely need a 25cfm, or 12l/s air compressor and lance for harvester blow-down.
Don’t get one smaller than 4 ft. by 2 ft. (1.2m by 0.6m).
A bench that has both wood and metal surfaces is a good choice. The wood is ideal for precision parts because they will less likely get damaged. Wood is also easier to work on. A vice will need to be on the metal part.
Make sure your bench is mounted well.
3. Bench Vice
Make sure to invest well in a vice. Price really shouldn’t be a factor.
At minimum the jaw should be 4 inches, or 100 mm.
If you buy a vice with an anvil, it will be very useful. Otherwise, an anvil on the side will also work.
Make sure the vice is secure on the bench. It is best if long pieces of steel are able to be gripped on both sides of the vice.
A good anvil could be built using railway iron and welding legs onto it so that the flat side goes up.
4. Drill Press
If you want precision, you can’t drill hand-held. A drill press is also necessary for bigger holes. It’s also safer and easier.
A good budget option would be to buy factory machines, such as a drill press, second-hand.
5. Chop Saw
Use this instead of an oxy torch or a gas wrench. It’s faster and cleaner. Also, the cleaner cut will be better for welding. You’ll use this tool more than you can imagine.
6. Angle Grinders
Get angle grinders in these sizes: 4 inch and 7 inch. These will come in handy for blade sharpening, prepping for welds, shaping, and tool sharpening. I don’t even need a gas torch, I use these so much. They’re so versatile!
There are so many options in this category. Traditional stick welders are good, but the newer wire welders are good for their penetrating welds and for being slag-free.
Be wary of inexpensive weld shield that may malfunction, leaving you blinded for a bit. If the sun hasn’t come out in some time, the shield’s auto-darkening might not work right.
Oxy sets can be a versatile option, but may be too pricy too be worth it after considering the cost for bottle rental and gas.
8. Bolt Pins
Nobody likes that there are both metric and English thread in the mix, but a well-equipped shop will have an array of nuts and bolts.
First, get professional bolt boxes instead of mismatched jumble of recycled cans and plastic containers. A systematic organization will save time later when you need the perfect fit. Don’t rummage through coffee cans of bolts, be organized. When you’re in a hurry, you’ll be happy you spent the money.
If your bolt containers are open, check for bird poop before you plunge your hand in!
9. Hydraulic Press
Bigger IS better when buying a hydraulic press. 10-tons might be enough, but even a 30-ton hydraulic press is not too big for a broad acre farm. A hydraulic press will keep you from driving away from the farm every time something is bent, or when you need to press out bearings
10. Jip Crane or Forklift or Front End Loader (FEL)
These are so helpful for easing the task of moving heavy stuff. The FEL is better for farmers who don’t have room for the forklift or jib and winch.