Metal prep, polishing, rust removal, and even buffing can be accomplished with this one tool. A Roloc, or twist-lock attachment, makes quick work of changing tips or blades. Buffing pads twist onto the same mounting pad as grinding wheels.
Price range: $19 to $39
If you're using pneumatic tools, or especially if you're painting or priming, your air compressor is the heart of your workshop. Choosing the right compressor can make your world a lot easier, and pennies from heaven will rain down upon you! Just kidding--no miracles, but your tools will work properly and efficiently, and your project will go a lot easier. Too little output (CFM) will starve your tools and paint guns, and will overwork the compressor. Results of this can include contamination of your primers and paints, and premature failure of your air tools. Think of it like this: Air volume is measured in cubic feet per minute; air pressure is measured in pounds per square inch--two very different measurements. You need to carefully match the output of your compressor to what your tools will be demanding. If you plan on painting, pay attention to the ratings and requirements of your guns.
A dryer setup or moisture separator is critical to the proper outcome of your paint projects and long tool life. Having your dryer too close to the compressor can allow moisture to bypass the unit, and still contaminate your air. Place this unit at least 25 feet from your compressor to allow moisture to separate properly so it can be removed from your usable air.
Price range: $50 to $300
Even if you're only going to get your ride into primer, you'll still need a quality gun to shoot primers and surfacers. Thinking that "it's only primer" doesn't apply anymore with today's 2K products. Materials are vastly improved, but much more expensive as well; and they need the correct air volume and pressure to do what they're designed to do. If you're on a budget, get a good-quality, moderately priced HVLP gun with a 1.4 fluid-tip setup and use it for primers and topcoats. Just make sure to clean it thoroughly between uses. If budget is not an issue, get a dedicated gun for each procedure, but stay with HVLP and compliant technology--they're much more efficient and will actually save you money when applying your materials to the project.
Price range: $29 to $500
A computer in your...
A computer in your workshop? Not necessarily, but close by so you can use it to reference everything from parts sources to MSDS sheets and painting procedures. Gearheads are turning into computer geeks, and, in today's information age, a computer is one of the best assets you can imagine. Online shopping for tools can be an eye-opening experience, and you'll soon learn the ropes of Internet bargain hunting. Even if you don't have your own online computer, most public libraries offer free Web access. The recent advancements in high-speed access open up the possibilities for online product demos, technical seminars, and information on a much wider level. The opportunity to compare notes with people all over the world and of all different skill levels has never before been as accessible as it is now.
Price range: $500 to $2,000
INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO TAPES...
INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO TAPES
Shameless plug? Yes siree! The Paintucation video set is a must-have for your reference library, showing you excellent techniques, as well as important safety tips. The new "Bodyshop Basics" video covers the fundamentals of the trade, giving you the necessary foundation on which to build your skills. An added value of the tapes is the free (yes, free!) Internet tech support and Web site at www.paintucation.com. Current updates, a Q&A board, a readers' rides page, chat rooms, and a great community of fellow enthusiasts are just some of the features of Paintucation.com.
Price range: $39.95 to $140.00
The learning curve for doing your own bodywork can be frustrating and painful, but it doesn't have to be. Having the right tool for the right job is more than half the battle, and making a game plan before you start melting down your credit card is very important. You don't have to buy the best of everything to get effective results, but spend your money wisely; and remember that good value sometimes comes with a bigger price tag.
If you enter into this field with an open mind, a reasonable budget, and a willingness to study some basic techniques and principles, you can get excellent results right out of the gate!