Tools That I Use

Wondering what kind of tools I use to create stuff in my garage?  I’ve listed them here for you to peruse.  With the products that are linked to Amazon, I get a small cut of if you buy something using these links (at no additional cost to you).  So I’d invite you to buy something, and support me making the random stuff you see here.


Large Tools

Manual Mill: My first major tool, this has come in handy on many occasions.  I use it as an incredibly versatile drill press much of the time, but I’d really miss it’s slotting ability when CNC isn’t practical.

CNC Router: Maybe my favorite tool.  Allows me to cut anything I want out of wood or plastic as long as it fits in my somewhat limited cutting window.  You can see these at, or an updated version is available from Amazon here.

Lathe: As my lathe was built in the 1940s, you may not be able to find this one exactly, but it’s a large South Bend metalworking lathe.  I use it mostly for wood, so something less robust (or meant for wood) would probably work better.

Miter Saw: Chops PVC pipes and 2x4s with the greatest of ease.  My Rigid model was more expensive than a Ryobi, but the build quality is definitely worth it in my opinion.  Here it is from Amazon.


Smaller Tools and Accessories

Hand Drill: A Dewalt wired drill.  Simple, and built tough, I’ve never had a problem with this or another that I used to use at my actual job.  Available from Amazon.

Dremel Tool: Dremel 200.  I can’t believe how much abuse mine has taken from being used on everything from a CNC router, to cutting out a “Hank Drum,” this thing just seems to keep working.  I review it here, and if you want to buy one, here it is on Amazon

Foam Cutting Kit: Although I think I was supposed to use this on my CNC machine, this has made a nice stand-alone unit for those times when I need to cut foam.  Available from Zen Toolworks.

Drill and Tap Set: Really handy to be able to put a hole in anything and use it with machine screws.  See this post for more info on machine-tapping wood.  Here’s a similar set to what I use available from Amazon.

Torch: I saw this at Home Depot, and didn’t really have a use for it.  I still felt like I needed one, because I like fire.  I’ve since used it in one project.



Heavy Work Table: This Shop Fox frame * and the accompanying butcher block is tough enough to hold my manual mill, and really looks great.  One of the first things I put in my garage.

FastTrack Shelving System: See my review here.  The system is not cheap, but it’s modular, and a lot easier and cheaper than expanding your garage.


Electronics Tools

Soldering Iron: A nice cheap iron available from Sparkfun for $10 +S&H.

Voltmeter: A nice not cheap voltmeter from Fluke.  A cheaper model would probably work fine for most people.


Measurement and Recording

Calipers: Basic method for measuring small lengths of material.  Much better than a tape measure in some circumstances. Here it is on Amazon

Sound Level Meter: This has been really helpful as I tried to get my shop-vac noise levels down to an acceptable level. Available here from Amazon.

Camera: Canon T2i.  Huge difference between this and a point-and-shoot.  Or my Env2 camera phone for that matter. Available here from Amazon.

Webcam: Generic $5 webcam.  I probably need a better one.


Obviously I have hammers, brushes, and other “normal” tools that are not listed here.  You know what those are.  I tried to focus instead on those tools that not everyone necessarily keeps in their garage.  If there’s anything I need to buy to make my life easier, be sure to let me know in the comments!

  1. Kenneth T. Willis

    cant find your gcodes

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