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Old 10-14-2014, 12:41 PM   #1
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Foothill Ranch , California
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Airstream Restoration Tools... Show what you got!

We LOVE our Airstreams!
Tools to fix our Airstreams are required!

Did not find a thread dedicated to the tools required to do all manner of repairs and upgrades...
I know I have added a BUNCH of tools to my garage to further my project.

Pictures, and discussion.....
What you needed, and what you got...
Prices, best places to find and buy...
New or used...

Let me get this party started...

Needed to blast a bunch of parts to refinish them...
Needed a bigger cabinet.
Good ones are $1000+

Craig's List find..
Dee Blast 38"x 24" cabinet... asking $200.


It was "not working" said the seller.
Maybe the approx 150lb of damp, solidified sand in the hopper was the reason I thought because you don't have a drier on the air feed!
The glass was broken, the gloves were shot and the gun was a high volume unit...
Leveraged all this and $100 was agreed.
It only just fit in my truck after removing the vac motors and the sand!

Some TLC, paint, glass, gloves and gun(maybe $150 invested) later.


Now I can fit most of my stuff in this beast... but maybe I will need to add another door to the other end sometime.

Headlamp casting blasted clean and ready to powdercoat...
And yes, I broke the glass rotating it around to get all the crud off it!


Almost done.
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Old 10-14-2014, 12:48 PM   #2
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This sure looks nice!
I hoped I'd get along with a good toolbox and air tools...
Mmmmh maybe I need to up my game if I need to restore my AS myself!
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Old 10-14-2014, 01:31 PM   #3
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Portsmouth , Virginia
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That blast cabinet is nice. I've seen a few of them show up on the local CL from time to time. My problem is that I could never fit it in my garage, I am so limited on space. But they sure do come in handy for any type of restoration work.

Since you are talking about tools, I'll add a pneumatic rivet gun to the list. Using a hand tool for pop rivets gets very old after the third or fourth rivet. I would also look at some power sheet metal shears or a nibbler, some good cordless drills for drilling out the rivets and making holes for new ones.
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Old 10-14-2014, 02:22 PM   #4
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
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The cabinet has more than paid its $250 investment back already...
The have been a lot of tools added to keep up with my restoration needs over the last 5 years... so much to share...
I too, only have a double garage.... so space is at a premium..

On the subject of air tools...
Of course, when you have a big cabinet, you need big air...
My 2hp Sanborn compressor was stretched and overwhelmed.
So, a search started for bigger unit...
Little did I know how big I would go... its all a matter of $$ and space, so I needed an upright 60 or 80 gallon tank with a dual stage compresser pump to keep up.
Craig's List find again...
Older Speedaire, 7.5hp, 80 gallon tank... puts out at least 25cfm at 90psi.
These cost about $4k new I am told.
This one checked out good, so $600 changed hands and he even loaded it into my old pickup... which was good, because it weighs in at 600lb or so!


Getting it out at home required some creative thinking and an engine crane!


Almost in place in my garage corner... and my old Sandborn unit looks kinda silly now!



A few days later, it was wired, plumbed and running... and surprisingly it makes less noise than the smaller unit!
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Old 10-14-2014, 02:40 PM   #5
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
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Airstreams requiring metalwork as they do, so I added a bunch of tools for that...

Used HF Horizontal/Vertical bandsaw... $30 off CL again...


Needed some TLC... the gearbox was dry... Yikes!


Made a better, larger vertical table...


But again, after some TLC, oil, a belt, paint, and a welded wheeled base... it was transformed both visually and functionally..


Adding to my sheetmetal forming needs was this...
Used Harbor Freight 30" Combo Brake, shear and slip roll. A CL find at $100.
Not well loved by experts, but with some care, they work well enough for most smaller projects.




After some TLC and paint..


Test pieces...


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Old 10-14-2014, 03:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyair View Post
Airstreams requiring metalwork as they do, so I added a bunch of tools for that...

Used HF Horizontal/Vertical bandsaw... $30 off CL again...


Needed some TLC... the gearbox was dry... Yikes!


Made a better, larger vertical table...


But again, after some TLC, oil, a belt, paint, and a welded wheeled base... it was transformed both visually and functionally..


Adding to my sheetmetal forming needs was this...
Used Harbor Freight 30" Combo Brake, shear and slip roll. A CL find at $100.
Not well loved by experts, but with some care, they work well enough for most smaller projects.




After some TLC and paint..


Test pieces...


I have used that small combo tool for over 25 years.

Most tools are only as good as the user, in that they don't have any imagination.

Shearing, rolling, bending, and shaping of metal with that combo tool, has solved many small projects for use.

Of course, we also have much larger tools that do some what of the same thing, but on a much larger scale.

Andy

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Old 10-14-2014, 06:42 PM   #7
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I hear you Andy...
I wish I had money and space for a the full size items... but this will have to do!

The shear took me a while to get it cutting consistently and across the whole 30"... I have cut 18g aluminum about 20' wide without problems, and 20g steel.
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Old 10-25-2014, 01:54 PM   #8
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
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I didn't start this thread to show off my own stuff!
I want to see what you got to continue the restoration, and get more ideas myself!
Come on Streamers!

Small bench drill which I got for $20!


Some other stuff I have collected over the years to make this restoration happen include welders...

Used Snap-On Muscle Mig 140SL.
Really good welder for a very nice price... This setup would have been about $5000 new... I did some trading of part plus $500 cash.
Also came with an Aluminum Spool gun for Mig welding Aluminum and DC Tig torch for steel and SS.



Whilst it was on the border of its amperage limit, it managed to repair this twice broken and twice poorly repaired(PO special!)...



This was it after the 2 parts were rejoined, extra holes filled and refinished.


My birthday last year yielded some boxes from my girlfriend and partner in this project...



An Eastwood 200 TIG welder which can do AC which is needed for aluminum, and an Eastwood Plasma cutter!
No idea why I don't have a photo of those...

I am learning the TIG side of things and this is my best TIG weld to date on steel..
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:17 PM   #9
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Now you,ve got me thinking. (Ouch, it hurts) I have a machine shop with mills, lathes, band saw, band filer, welders, and sand blaster. No shear, brake, or rolling machine, tho. (I got rid of those years ago.)

I was a mechanic in a former life, but my broken down old body won't let me do that kind of stuff anymore.

However, if you are in the Des Moines area, and have a project that requires a tool shop that you don't have, you are welcome to come over and use mine. I'll even hang around and hand you stuff. (That's about as much as I can do these days).
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:30 PM   #10
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Speaking of 'tools', I tried 'thinking' once... I realized I did not have the "tool"...
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Old 10-26-2014, 12:56 PM   #11
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Aww Terry... I wish I were closer!

My love of tools and process goes back 35+ years to when I apprenticed as a Tooling Patternmaker... that passion followed me into the Design side of the Automotive Industry, where I was a Clay Modeler/sculptor. Sadly, I had a loss of vision in one eye, and cannot "compete" against people with full vision as it takes me longer.

I have my Airstream and garage to keep my skills honed!
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