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Ivation pressure washer

Ivation Pressure Washer IVA 9175L

Ivation Pressure Washer IVA 9175L

When I was choosing my electric pressure washer, of course I’ve tried searching the forums and Google but only found a lot of guesses and bickering. So I think, this article will help you get more information to make a right decision. And though it is an Ivation pressure washer review, you’ll find useful tips and advices in choosing electric or gasoline-powered one (for example, Simpson PS3228-S 3300 PSI pressure washer). We’ll also discuss Ivation troubleshooting, you’ll find here it’s manual and spare parts review, including washer turbo wand.


The Ivation IVA 9175l pressure washer is a machine for home use, intended to cleaning cars, RVs, boats, decks, etc. The washer pump is powered by 1800W brush motor and delivers 2200PSI at 1.8GPM. The maximum pressure allows you to clean siding up to second story. And this is more than enough for the foam cannon, it works amazing.

Iva 9175L – contents of delivery

Iva 9175L pressure washer comes with five interchangeable quick-connect nozzles: 40°, 25°, 15°, 0 degree and a foam nozzle. An onboard nozzle storage is convenient to store the attachments. By changing among the available nozzles you can concentrate the flow to a narrower stream with more pressure or wider with less concentrated water flow. Soaping nozzle applies detergents over a much wider area. High pressure nozzles remove most of the mold stain from vinyl siding and brick.

The cord is approx 30 ft and it provides a good movement range for this compact and lightweight unit. It is two prong and has a polarized plug with something like a GFI switch.

There are also a gun handle, a spray wand, and a turbo wand. The soap dispenser is a built in module and trust me, you’ll surely meet the times when you need detergents to combat stains and dirt.

High pressure hose connects to the front of unit with a large knurled knob. The other end goes the the wand and has a metal nipple

The brush motor only runs when the trigger is pulled and stops as soon as you release the trigger.

Bonus Turbo Spray Wand

Ivation pressure Washer Wand

Ivation pressure Washer Wand, hose and rear basket

The turbo spray wand is very useful for vehicle undercarriage and other hard to reach areas. This wand provides ideal maneuverability. If you need to change the gun, the “Tool Daily Deluxe Washer Gun, with Replacement Wand Extension“. The high pressure hose is interchangeable with the “YAMATIC Kink-Free Pressure Washer Hose.” You should consider, that the hose by Ivation only works with the Ivation gun, and may be (I’m not sure) with the Greenworks gun with the female end.

Ivation pressure Washer Manual and Troubleshooting


You can download Ivation pressure Washer Manual in pdf format here.

ivation pressure washwer manual


Pump does not reach working pressure Water filter fouled Clean it
Nozzle worn Replace the nozzle
Low water supply pressure Turn on the water supply tap fully
Air into system Check the connection of hose fittings
Air in Pump Switch off the appliance and keep depressing and releasing the gun trigger until the water comes out in a steady flow. Switch the appliance back on again
Adjustable nozzle not positioned correctly Turn the adjustable nozzle
Thermostatic valve tripped Wait for correct water temperature to be restored
Pressure drops during use Water intake from external tank Connect appliance to the mains water supply
Intake water too hot Reduce temperature
Nozzle clogged Clean nozzle
O-ring to one-way valve broken Replace the broken component
Intake filter dirty Clean filter
Motor “sounds” but fails to start Insufficient power supply Check that the voltage of the mains power supply line is the same as that on the plate
Voltage loss due to use of extension cable Check characteristics of extension cable
Appliance not used for long period of time Contact your nearest Authorized
Service Center
Problems with TSS device Contact your nearest Authorized Service Center
Water leakage Seals worn Have the seals replaced at your nearest Authorized Service Center
Safety valve tripped and discharging Contact an Authorized Service Center
Appliance noisy Water too hot Reduce temperature (see technical data)

Ivation troubleshooting


Clearly, if you are looking for a compact, easy to operate electric power washer that offers a good performance for various home cleaning tasks, then this product may be for you.

All in all, the “Ivation” is nothing more than a trade brand for a Chinese product.

SIMPSON PS3228-S Review – 3300 PSI Pressure Washer (2020)


Whether you are starting a local business or just want to choose a pressure washer, you have selected the right article. Read our SIMPSON 3300 PSI Pressure Washer Review to find out its advantages, disadvantages, details and performance characteristics such as pump diagram, etc. so that your investment will pay off.

The washer easily removes unsightly blemishes on concrete and cleans a patio. 25-foot hose is enough to get up on the roof and wash away the debris. Detergent function helps to cleaned home properly, The best part about is, of course cleaning a fleet, SIMPSON PS3228-S does the job with ease.

SIMPSON PS3228-S Review – UPDATED 2020

Simpson PS3228-S is an assembled in US 3200 PSI @ 2.8 GPM pressure washer powered by Honda motor with AAA triplex pump. This is a gas engine powered model, SIMPSON PS3228-S Reviewit is EPA-approved and compliant with California (and every state across the USA) emission laws. Not all gas powered pressure washers are CARB compliant, take it into account.

PS3228-S has more than enough power for general cleaning duties. The hose is wear resistant and abrasion proof, threaded fittings safely hold parts together whatever nozzle you use. SIMPSON 3300 PSI Pressure Washer can run continuously for hours without overheating and any unpleasant incidents.

The throttle can be set low to decrease pressure, along with switching to a 40 degree nozzle, and increasing the distance between gun and surface. You can turn the washer down to 1600PSI to clean your house, it is much more safe than full pressure.

Safety of operation is provided with a thermal relief valve to prevent pump damage), a trigger lock which prevents accidental operation, and a low oil protection for engine.

SIMPSON 3300 PSI Pressure Washer – What you should know?

Both the the triplex pump and a motor are commercial grade and it’s listed on the commercial section of the Simpson site. But take into account, that no gasoline items are legally allowed for return. Therefore, check and recheck the model number and the integrity of the power washer when receiving.

3300 PSI Pressure WasherThe SIMPSON 3300 PSI Pressure Washer comes with 5 different nozzles. The 0-degree nozzle extracts as much power as possible to remove graffiti, strip paint from metal and wood and for deep-cleaning carpets, thick tarpaulins, etc. 40°, 25°, 15° nozzles are milder power and are used for quick cleaning of unstable dirt, dust, debris . The soap nozzle effectively dispenses detergent to washing your car and house.

Be careful with aggressive chemicals. For example, chlorax may damage the machine seals and gaskets in the pump. It’s not recommended to use harsh bleach.

The device comes without a soap tank, detergent supply is performed by a siphon hose with an automatic soap dilution feature, which dilutes the soap with a 7:1 ratio. The detergent is added automatically when a soap nozzle is attached.

SIMPSON PS3228-S Parts and Specifications


1 – base
2 – handle rear
2.1 – handle, rear
2.2 – holder
2.3 plate
2.4 screw
3 – engine, honda gx200
4 – key, shaft
5 – pump
5.1 – pump, horizontal 3200psi
5.2 – cap, vinyl cover
5.3 bolt
5.4 washer, split lock
6 – wheel
7 – foot kit
8 – hardware kit, handle mounting
9 – hardware kit, engine mount
10 – hardware, kit for pump mount
11 – nozzle set
12 – handle grip

SIMPSON PS3228-S Parts

SIMPSON PS3228-S Parts – read here full illustrated parts list


PSI Pressure Rating: 3,300
Water consumption 2.5 GPM
Nozzles Included: Five spray tips
Tips characteristics Soap, 40° (Concrete, brick, masonry, siding, gutters, house, fencing, deck, patio), 25°(with caution: siding, gutters, house), 15°(concrete, brick, masonry), 0° (with caution: concrete, brick, masonry)
Hose Length (ft.): 25’ x 5/16” high pressure polyurethane wear resistant hose
Warranty: Three year Honda limited warranty,  two year limited pump warranty, one year manufacturer’s limited warranty, 90 days on gun, hose, lance, nozzles and all other wear items
Wheels: Four-ply pneumatic 10″ rubber wheels can handle rough terrain
Start Type: Recoil
Fuel Capacity (gal.): 0.825
Recommended Engine Oil: SAE 10W-30
Engine Oil Capacity (oz.): 20.16
SIMPSON PS3228-S Parts 3,300 PSI power unit, handle, spray gun, spray wand, high pressure hose, 5 cleaning nozzles, detergent hose with filter, engine oil, nozzle cleaning tool, operator’s manual, engine manual, quick set-up guide
Engine Honda® 196 CC
Pump Type: AAA™ Industrial Triplex Plunger Pump
Assembled Weight: 85 lbs.

SIMPSON Washer Pump Diagram

SIMPSON Washer Pump Diagram

SIMPSON Washer Pump Diagram – read full parts list here

The washer comes with horizontal 3/4″ triplex hollow shaft “PowerBoost” pump

  • Pressure – 3300 psi
  • Water flow – 2.5 gpm
  • RPM – 3450

The pump has SAE gas flange

  • Input for female garden hose
  • Output: accepts female screw connect, 22mm / 14mm male


  • Built in adjustable unloader valve
  • Thermal relief valve
  • Built-in chemical injector aluminum head

Pros of the washer

  • The Simpson PS3228 pressure washer has great 3200 PSI pressure and quite big water output of 2.5 gallons per minute. Most of electrically powered washer for homeowners are limited to about 2000 PSI and less than 2 gpm.
  • Honda engines are very reliable and much quieter than most of gas ones.
  • 25 foot anti kink hose made of expensive materials. And believe me, high quality hose is very important when it comes to pressure washers
  • The GX200 5.5 hp motor has pretty low oil shut off, separate fuel/choke controls and a big enough 3.3 qt gas tank. Industrial triplex plunger pump is equipped with ceramic pistons and a thermal relief valve and to lasts for years of trouble free service. A sight gauge on a pump helps to  keep tabs on the oil level.
  • The weight of the SIMPSON PS3228-S is about 85 lb, so most likely you are able to lift the unit by yourself in and out of the van. The work is pretty quiet, even at full throttle and this allows to get started earlier in the day.
  • The washer is compact enough to store in a small garage

PS3228-S Cons

  • For professional tasks 25 feet hose is not long enough and you’ll be moving the unit all the time.  You can pay about $80 for Simpson 50 foot hose.
  • The washer use professional grade ceramic piston Triplex pump. It is high quality and very efficient machine with great output in pressure and water flow. It should work for years and has two year warranty. But it is really expensive, so possibly in a 5-7 years of home use you’ll decide to buy new washer instead of spare pump.
  • The reversible handle is a bit low, if you plan to use it for a long period of time, moving it around might be hard on your back.
  • The vibration sometimes causes the nozzles to fall off the holders, check them from time to time
  • This is a rather expensive machine.


All in all, gas pressure washer is a durable, portable and powerful machine for the money and I would recommend it to others for purchase. Though it’s average in price on the gas washer market, you can choose a cheaper option with slightly worse reliability, pressure and water flow rates if extra $100 plays a big role.

May be, electrical washer is good enough for your needs. Although electric washers are lighter and quieter, they are limited by the current source and the length of the power cord. Also you need to remember, that long cable cuts voltage and unit power. Nevertheless, if you only use the device at home, choosing an electric washer with sufficient power makes sense.

Raccoon Proof Bird Feeders – UPDATED 2020 – A Complete Guide!

Well, you’ve possibly chosen the best bird feeder location to view birds from your window, and now it’s time to protect your feeder from “masked bandits”. Read our guide to find out, how to choose or even build your own DIY racoon proof bird feeder. We’ll discuss ready to use feeders, raccoon baffles, methods of mounting and special products that contain capsaicin, which is safe for birds but unpleasant for raccoons and squirrels.

Raccoon baffles for bird feeders

Most common method to protect a feeder from raccoons is using a baffle. It is a contraption that stops animals from climbing. The baffle also prevents squirrels from stealing the birdseed from the ground.

The most popular form is a cone similar to the one worn around the dog’s neck after surgery. If the pole is long enough, it is very effective against  squirrels. But raccoons defeat them in most cases – even 22 inches bowl baffle is not enough.

racoon proof bird feeders

Good for squirrels, but not enough to protect against a raccoon

masked bandit - a racoon defeats the squirrel baffle

Masked bandit – a raccoon defeats 22 inches squirrel baffle

Of course, you can try to hang your feeder on a wire, or very thin pole, but no one is immune from meeting a raccoon with the acrobatic skills necessary to access even these feeders.

raccoon baffle for bird feeder

Torpedo raccoon baffle should be at least 20-24 inches long

Torpedo baffles, plastic trays or short stove pipe work also work great against squirrels. However, raccoons are very agile and smart, so you can often meet a cunning coon who figured out how to steal bird food.

The only working ready-to-use solution in my experience is a baffle for bird poles is build as a hollow cylinder that is free to sway to make climbing difficult. But you should choose a large one, at least 24 inch long and 8 inch wide. Such a device mount on the pole about 4 to 4.5 ft off of the ground to the baffle top effectively blocks raccoons. Adjustable mounting clamp helps to  set the desired height.

Cages and weighted hoppers

coon cage feeder

A protective cage is not an option

Wrapping the feeder with a metal mesh is one of the first thoughts that visit you after robbing the feeder by a raccoon. The size of holes should allow birds to get through, and the radius of the net should be greater than the length of the animal’s leg.

But in practice this solution works only against squirrels. To protect seeds from coons, you need really large cage. And keep in mind that wire fences make it easier to climb into a comfortable position. Plus, they make cleaning the feeder much more difficult.

Raccoon proof weighted hopper

Raccoon proof weighted hopper

Weighted hoppers work better. These feeders have covers that close seed ports under a weight of the coon or a squirrel. Usually the hoppers are made of steel and have a removable roof for easy filling. My advice is to hang them, so when the coon climb onto it, the feeder tips, which makes it more difficult to reach into the feeder. It also swings back and forth and the coon must grab onto the front, which causes the cover to close over the seeds.

How to build a DIY Raccoon Proof Bird Feeder

A raccoon baffle may cost up to $60, but if you are handy you could build your own out of stove pipe. Personally, I prefer the simple exclusion techniques to keep the mammals off my feeders. All these powered motor devices spinning the feeder perches when the excessive weight detected, make me a little frightened 😊.

The most effective choice is a six- or seven-foot pole with arms to hang feeders. Use a stove pipe as a raccoon baffle. The top of the stove should be five feet or more above the ground to prevent animals from leaping above it to the pole. The platform feeder may sit on the stove, above the platform is you can place tray or tube feeder. All feeders must be cleaned regularly for the health of the birds.

In this way, all you need is one stovepipe 6-8” diameter at least 24” long. The pipe usually comes in black, if you need another color, buy galvanized duct pipe and paint it. To place the DIY racoon baffle on the pole you may use the end cap that fits on stovepipe. Hose clamp that to fit around feeder pole well help to set needed height.

how to build a raccoon proof bird feeder

Drill the end cup with a drill or hole saw

DIY raccoon proof bird feeder

Attach the hooks to the cover and then hang the DIY baffle to other hooks on the pole.


Hose clamp on the pole

  • So drill a hole in the center of the cup with a big drill bit or hole saw.
  • Insert the pipe firmly into the end cap, fix it with screws.
  • You can place the baffle on the pole in at least two poles.
  • First way is to, attach the hooks to the cover and then hang the DIY baffle to other hooks on the pole.
  • The second one is to use hose clamp and slip the baffle over the Pole

This construction is similar to torpedo baffle, described above. If you can find 24″ long one, just buy it.  Unlike small squirrel devices, big DIY or factory made baffles really work. The squirrels crawl up inside the stove, and the raccoons unsuccessfully try climb around it. In both cases the feeder is absolutely unreachable.

Raccoons and suet feeders

suet feeder should be raccoon proof

Raccoons are able to loosen the mesh or lift up the lid of this feeder

Suet is an energy dense food that is readily eaten not only by birds, but also by raccoons and squirrels. Thus, the feeder must have a sufficient toughness reserve and a complex lock. Otherwise, a squirrel, and even more so a raccoon will be able to pull the metal grate loose on one side or open the lid.

Cedar cuet upside-down feeders are good choice, they naturally eliminate nuisance birds grackles that are not comfortable hanging upside-down. You just need to hang the feeder firmly on a branch or pole. A coon can’t get suet from a sturdy feeder, especially when he hangs upside down. But it will definitely try to move the feeder away. For more safety, hang suet feeder to pole protected with raccoon torpedoes, plastic pipes or baffles.

Spicy bird seed mixes

spicy bird seed mixes

Spicy bird seed mixes are safe for birds and burning hot for mammals

For most songbirds hot pepper is safe and they can’t taste it. For example, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture, bird pepper (like any other hot pepper) is harmless to birds. But raccoons and other mammals will avoid your bird feeder after tasting burning-hot food a few times. Hot peppers have varying levels of capsaicinoids which make them hot. But you can effectively use what you have. For instance, cayenne pepper is also commonly used as a raccoon deterrent, and you can make your own hot mix.

All you need is to sprinkle dried pepper flakes onto seed and mix it. Optionally, spray the seed with an aerosol oil before applying the pepper. It will prevent blowing away ground pepper by wind. When using ground pepper, avoid breathing in the powder and wash your hands immediately afterward.

Tool box – how to choose what you really need

Tool box – how to choose what you really need

I have a lot of tools. Nevertheless, my business from time to time requires even more of them. All sorts of metalwork, woodworking, flooring, plumbing, etc. In such circumstances organization and ordering are quite important. I’ve always liked toolboxes, all sizes of them and I just get a new box when the last one gets full.

Tool box - how to choose what you really needThere are two boxes in my van and many of them in the garage. Pulling out the toolbox after toolbox finally bothered me, as did finding the tool, which is in some other one.

Walking through local tool store I saw and bought one of Stanley open top tool caddies. But even it sometimes becomes full and I can never find anything! In the end, my choice was separate boxes for specific types of work.

But in your case my way may be inconvenient, so in this article we will discuss all the pros and cons of the main tool boxes types.

Tool box for everyday use


If a tool box is a thing that you should carry every day, it is especially important to make it as convenient and light as possible. You shouldn’t put unnecessary parts and tools there. Create a separate box just for the task. If it does not require a 1″ socket, there is no reason to bring it. You can bring your usual large universal tool box to work and leave every piece you use laying on the floor. When the work is done, those are the only tools you need to take. That system will drop quite a few pounds out of the trailer or tool box.

I have a variety of the plastic tool boxes, they are usually pretty cheap. But I’m not much of a fan of that stuff. Had some plastic Stanley Tool boxes. Sure, they are OK if you watch out but if you are constantly moving tools, they break quite easily.

During the hot summer they also get hot if something gets on top, they tend to deform. Tool boxes that come with for example cord drill, are much better, and if I have spare one, I use it for my common tools. These are great for garage, they are cheap and light, if they are broken, you just buy another. My advice here is to stop buying the expensive ones considering the result was the same.

Metal boxes are much more reliable, especially the bigger ones. I have two tool boxes – Gearwrench 20″ three-drawer Black Steel Tool Box. And Kennedy Manufacturing K24B 24″ Tool Box. I carry the bigger tools in the 24″, the smaller stuff in the 20″. But I also have my DIY wood carry all about 24″ long with thick plywood to bring just the tools I need to the area I am working as well as sand cloth, gloves, glues, whatever else. Works great.

Tool bag works great going into a finished home, and I don’t have to worry about the bag getting wet from rain. But if I’m outdoor, on a build or doing a siding job or whatever, my choice is plastic or metal tool box. But to be able to place the tool box on a wet ground and not have to worry that water is seeping in from a seam, is a load off of my mind.


Tool box for garage

For small parts, tools and stuff


We’ve been using great Plano tool boxes for small parts two years or so. I’ve bought about ten of them, and replaced as they start to suffer various indignities due to heavy exploitation (broken latches, handles, etc.) Here is what I’ve learned in few years:

  1. Make sure the hinges are robust and the top doesn’t fall off every time it is opened. Not good. There should be either metal hinges, or stout plastic hinges with a metal wire hinge pin.
  2. The top of the box cannot just flop over backwards. It must rest at some upright angle.
  3. The biggest weakness of the tool boxes is that their lids aren’t hold MUCH weight that has stuff which accumulates over time. So, the handles sometimes pull out.
  4. The best solution would have a flat top that could be used as work surface if needed and an embossed ruler would be extra helpful.
  5. Choose the length right, for example, 17.5″ tools well suits in at least 18″ box.

I also have a Plano 1374-02 3700 tackle box. It holds all my small parts, nuts and bolts, etc. Large metal parts are stored in a big metal toolbox. It works out well, and can put four boxes in the back of my car.


For professional mechanics


If you are professional repairman, lugging seriously overloaded boxes around all the day long is very difficult, and very worth it to clear the space for a proper box. Something mobile in this case is very convenient.

My requirements for large mobile tool box are: positioning all of my sockets / ratchets / extensions in the top. The next drawers are for pliers, then screwdrivers, the bottom drawer has end wrenches, etc. I also use fat drawer on the bottom for power tools. The big drawer for pneumatic tools is not required, I store them on the wall. Such a box I can roll to the car easily for most jobs. My choice is Husky.

The Milwaukee and Dewalt boxes are decent for the garage but not for hard everyday use. Especially getting moved around a big shop. In a year of use the Milwaukee drawer slides got all gritty sounding and slide bad.  I would not purchase it again. The Dewalt box seems to me in the same class.

I think, you can’t beat Husky for cost value for a home owner. Boxes like Mac and Snap on worth the ten times the price for the value you would get. And some of the older Craftsman boxes were built very well.

Once you get established in a shop and start earning more money as you progress in your career you can buy more tools and maybe pick up the more expensive stuff as you go. Then one day after you are certain this is the career you want you might buy a nicer box from Snappy or the Mac Man and move that first box to your garage at home.


For DIYer


As for DIYer my advice is save money on the box. If you feel strongly that you’ll be wrenching more than 5 years, a box is probably worth the investment, but I still wouldn’t buy new. Buy it from someone retiring or giving up on wrenching off the internet. Run a good, cheap (reasonable) box, you don’t need to buy expensive sharp looking box to make a good impression on customers. Buy it for function.

Get yourself something at least 20″ deep. Push on the bottom of the drawers, that tells you all you need to know…sockets, wrenches are heavy. You can choose a Milwaukee or a Husky box. They are cheaply built but do work, if it’s light duty use they will be OK. They are made of thin metal, but it’s not a bad deal for a homeowner who will leave it in one place.

For working on things around the house, usually better to have larger tools in their own carriers on the shelf. And you can take them as additional to “job box” for specific tasks, for example, a tune up box with screw drivers, pliers, oil filter wrench, etc. If you’re mobile, then smaller boxes for specific jobs may make sense.


Tool boxes for trucks


Betterbuilt, Lowes Kobalt boxes, Delta or Weatherguard – all of the above brands are good. I have a husky full size, it has plenty of storage space and for the price, it is exceptionally sturdy. I’ve had several buddies sitting on it at once and there was no flex in the lid at all. The sidewalls are also strong for the price range.

Betterbuilt, Lowes Kobalt truck tool boxes, Delta or Weatherguard - All are good
Check truck toll boxes here

Weathergaurd are very heavy duty, GM automotive locks and never leaked, they seals like a US Military ammo box, perfect lid, sealing, and locking system.

Tractor Supply box is good for holding larder tools, like saws and nail guns, when you need to max out secure storage for extended weekend work trips.

Some important tips

  • I’d suggest going to the nearest lock shop RIGHT after you buy truck tool box and replace the lock. The toolbox companies usually to have three or four different locks. I replaced mine with one of the circular keys (think coke machine). Not too many people have those on their tool boxes.
  • If the dealer installs your tool box, they will use the cheapest sheet metal screws that they can find, and eventually, they will pull out. The solution is 1/4″ bolts, fender washers, and nylon locking nuts. If you can pull it down tight, it cannot move, therefore it cannot crack the aluminum, or the top of the bed. Although the plastic tray looks cheap, I have not had one crack, and I prefer the 2-door style.
  • Keep it locked but don’t put there anything really valuable. If someone wants to break in, they should find a couple old shovels, ratchet straps and rope, and other stuff like that. More valuable tools should be kept inside the cab and go in the garage at night.



Your work, your hands and all the tools in the box earn your living, but not the tool box itself. Buy the best tools you can afford, put them away every day, and be very careful about loaning them out.

Choose a good tool box that costs less but fits your needs NOW and in the immediate future. Middle-priced toolboxes hold up every bit as well as the top-of-the-notch Snap-On and Mac tools. And you can buy them with sales deals.

Wall hanging and shadow boards in my opinion are for production environments, nothing more. Plus your tools gets dirty all the time and it can’t be locked up.

For professional use I like the drawer type but need to be able to move it around easily and also don’t have a garage. Larger, rolling toolboxes have deeper trays, so you can store larger, commonly used items in those trays, as well flatter tools in the shallower trays. Nice. Although larger rolling toolboxes have one BIG flaw – they are BIG and heavy.

And, it’s not number of drawers that matters. It’s usefulness of drawers. I’d rather have one good sized drawer than three smaller ones that are only good for holding pens and pencils.

For every day outdoor use tool bags and light metal tool boxes are great. The most important thing here is to have only necessary tools there.

Aluminum welding rods

Aluminum welding rods

aluminum welding rods - are they miracle or fraud?

Aluminum welding rods – are they miracle or fraud?

You’ve probably heard about a simple, cheap and universal method of welding aluminum with no expensive equipment required – only cheap propane torch and few aluminum welding rods. Does it really work and do you really need this product?

Please note here we are NOT talking about “true” aluminum rods that are used for TIG and oxygen-acetylene gas welding as a filler material. We discuss here low-temperature material used for “welding” in DIY and home projects. And call them “welding rods” or “aluminum welding rods” as manufacturers call them.

Read our article – we have collected together everything you need.

What the advertisement says

So, product description usually says about low temperature “aluminum welding rods”, sometimes they are also called soldering or brazing rods. These are used to make a sound joint between both thin and thick parts.

Melting point of aluminum is 1220 °F (660 °С). Aluminum welding rod’s working temperature is 720-750 °F 382-400 °С. Since no high heat is required, they can be used to build-up joints without discoloration and distortion.

Ads also say, that resulting joints are strong, have good electrical and thermal conductivity and corrosion resistance. One meter of 2.5 mm (~0.1”) diameter rods is enough for few meters of continuous joint. Using welding rods don’t require flux (but later we’ll discuss it) or fumes, making it even more easy.

Aluminum alloy of the rod is often stronger than aluminum you “weld” and it can be machined by milling, drilling, grinding. It allows you to weld aluminum alloys including siluminum and duralumin. Some say that steel (except stainless steel), and galvanized steel can be brazed with low temperature aluminum rods and resulting welds are stronger than the base material (as we will discuss later – this is mostly not the case). You can use welding rods to make a joint with dissimilar metals, for example aluminium and copper.

So, in ideal life, it’s the best and the easiest method of welding aluminium, “ideal for use” on repairs. Isn’t that a miracle?

No, basically not.

Are they a miracle? Nope!

All of these rods are made basically from aluminum and zinc. Some manufacturers advertises more metals that make together “revolutionary new alloy”. And maybe it’s a percent or two better. But I didn’t notice it 😊 The more zinc is added to alloy, the lower the melting point.

The “welding” you see in ads is not really welding. It’s brazing, actually it’s more like soldering then welding. Base aluminum does not melt, rod material does not penetrate the base metal, and the joint is much weaker than after TIG welding.

Yes, the material of the welding rod is usually stronger than the aluminum that you “weld”, but the key is adhesion to the base metal. And it is much weaker than rod alloy. They use a lot of tricks to fool you with a YouTube videos, but believe me, in this case, adhesion is a “weak link”.

I am also not sure about metallurgical match of the alloy to aluminum. The Zinc is more brittle, so the welding rod material is more brittle too, and the coefficients of expansion/contraction, fatigue strength, crack sensitivity also differ from aluminum.

Is this a scam? No!

Every technology has its value, features and limitations.

Technically using low temperature welding rods is not welding and even brazing. It is actually more like soldering. The alloy of the rod has a low melting point and it adheres to aluminum and non-ferrous metals.


  • There is no need for expensive equipment.
  • Due to low temperature you can “weld” thin metal, even soda can, as it is advertised.
  • Flux is not required (but can and I think better to use it), and it won’t contaminate the inside of a radiator or evaporator.
  • TIG or oxy acetylene cast aluminum welding often causes distortion and, for example, oil leakage under the cylinder block. Low temperature soldering doesn’t affect the base material
  • Using low temperature aluminum rods have some benefits such as working with an area that may have corroded thru and it’s hard to be repaired by TIG weld
  • Great for filling cracks, bullet holes, stone scratches on the boat bottom
  • On complex surface of aluminum parts, TIG torch just pittes all the surrounding dimples and that can’t be tolerated. Aluminum welding rods and an oxy fuel, propane or mapp torch can be handful


  • Everyone wants to use aluminum welding rod on applications that the original part failed and is seldom “stronger”. The truth is, that you should consider it more like a strong heat-on glue. The adhesion to base metal is not ideal and the joining is not really stronger than aluminum.
    “True” TIG or oxy acetylene welding melts “true” aluminum rod AND base metal. Their molecules mutually penetrate from one material to another, and adhesion is very high. All applications associated with great forces, pressure of water or gas, structural elements, etc. which are important for your safety or money, must be welded by the professional welder
  • If your “welding” fail, and you call TIG welder, he will have to grind the alloy completely to clean aluminum with a mill or carbide burr.
  • Advertising says you can use any type of torch, in most cases propane one. But large application as a tank may require much heat due to large mass and area you are working. You could spend hours heating it and never get it hot enough. Use MAPP gas using aluminum welding rod on massive parts.
  • You need to do some practice to obtain superb results. It will be easier for you if you know how to sold or weld

How to get appropriate result

1. Clean area down to base, brush the metal with steel brush till shiny. Do it really well. Oxidized layer on aluminum surface is an insurmountable barrier for aluminum welding rod.

2. Although the flux is not really needed, the result will be better, if it is used.

You need to find a soldering paste, matching temperature range, for example that one. It is  soldering paste flux, that works in the range of 620-850 degrees, and can effectively dissolve the various metal oxides. Before welding, workpiece must be preheated to about 500 degrees and electrode coated with an appropriate amount of brazing flux.

If you don’t use flux (it’s OK), make sure you removed all aluminium oxide and meticulously cleaned the rods and the surfaces with acetone – just as for a high quality TIG weld.

3. Heat the area to be welded. Never apply heat directly to the rod, or the welded connection will be easily breakable. You have to practice and get the hand of when the aluminum is hot enough because aluminum does not change color when its heated like steel does.

4. Tin the surface. Rub the rod vigorously against the heated piece until the rod starts flowing. You have to scratch the tip of the aluminum brazing rod on the surface to break thru oxides. It won’t flow just by sticking the rod on the metal. Once more, you never want to heat the rod, just the metal. Heat the aluminium parts hot enough for the rod to flow without the aid of the flame, thoroughly tinning the surface.

5. Brush tinned surface under heat, thoroughly filling the open pores. This creates a film of rod over the weld or repair area, which aids bonding and strength to the weld.

6. With sides thoroughly tinned, flow in enough rod to fill the vee.

The most important aspects when using welding rods is to remember that you need to clean weld area from oxide film and contaminants, and use the heat from the parent material to melt the rod, NOT the torch flame!


Once more, with these rods you make rather soldering, than welding. But why not? Soldering gives excellent results over the centuries! It has been around forever. You just need to understand its limitations and make it right way.

I would not recommend it for things where structural integrity is important. Nothing that could take a sharp impact and I wouldn’t trust my life to them.

But you can produce joints strong enough for most of home purposes like furniture build and repair, aluminum windows, doors, gutters and siding. The joints do look nicer than welds, it is all about practice. If It’s not a critical repair, the stuff is cheap enough to try.

Gas Welding

Gas Welding

oxy-fuel weldingGas welding includes some of the oldest methods of welding which are still in use today. Its survival is down largely to the fact that it doesn’t require an energy source, like most other processes, meaning that it is much more portable. It is less used in heavy industry as electrical methods allow for more control and efficiency in large scale projects, however given its proficiency to weld both metals and plastics in a wide range of environments as well as the attribute of portability it boasts, Gas Welding is still favored by many welders and smaller welding companies.

As the name suggests, gas is used in this weld, predominantly oxygen. Uses gases in the weld, especially oxygen to weld using pure oxygen create a hot enough flame to weld and to cut. Temperatures delivered by the most popular gases range from around 2000°c (3600°F), created from propane and air flame to 3100°c (5600°F) from an acetylene and oxygen flame, although Hydrogen and Oxygen combine can produce a flame in excess of 3500°c (6300°F).

There are however two main methods in Gas Welding which remain popular today and although there are a number of others, there limited use and inferior weld mean only two dominate. They are Oxyacetylene Welding (OAW) also known as Oxy-Fuel Welding and Oxyhydrogen Welding (OHW). 

Oxyacetylene Welding (AKA Oxy-Fuel Welding)

Acronym: OAW

Distinctions: Inexpensive equipment, versatile for range of materials

Applications: General repair

Hobart institute video

Oxyacetylene Welding is perhaps the most common Gas Welding method, often referred to as Oxy-Fuel Welding. As with most other Gas Welding methods, it is used less in heavy industry today and its application centers more around general repair.

The equipment required is fairly inexpensive. Here, a flame is what creates the heat required to fuse two or more work pieces together and is generated from acetylene in oxygen. Temperatures of this flame can reach 3100°c (5,600°F) and whilst they are cooler than a number of methods which use electricity to generate heat, a proficient weld is created. The heat is applied through an Oxyacetylene welding torch which allows for a relatively small area to be welded at a time, which also helps to concentrate the heat transfer. To prevent burning, the torch must be continuously moved around the area designated for welding.

Filler is sometimes require in this process but it is not essential. It is dependent on the type of material being welded. In the welding process itself, one drawback is however the fact that the gas arc cools slower to that of an electric arc, meaning the weld can be more prone to stresses. Nonetheless, Oxyacetylene Welding is a very popular method employed by many, thanks to its versatility and the relatively inexpensive equipment required.

Oxyhydrogen Welding

Acronym: OHW

Distinctions: Hydrogen and oxygen produces flame

Applications: Limited

Gas Welding methods do not vary as much as seen in other processes. As such, Oxyhydrogen Welding is performed much in the same way as Oxyacetylene Welding in that a flame produces the heat required to fuse two or more materials together. The temperature of this flame, fuelled by both pure oxygen and hydrogen can reach upwards of 3500°c (6,300°F).

This combination of gases was one of the first mixes in welding and has certainly stood the test of time.

Whilst its applications are more limited than other gas welds, it does still benefit from its portable energy source. However, the gas mix is perhaps more expensive than other more popular fuels on the market, which also limits its widespread use today.

Pancake welding hood – why and when you need it

Pancake welding hood – why and when you need it


Why do you need them?


Pancake welding hood is not what you see in any workshop. My fellow welders seem to either love or hate them.  But I use mine more than my speed lens one, so let me tell you why the pancake is one of the three hoods I keep in my truck.

  1. Protection from backlight and reflection. Blue light bounces off anything and gets inside the helmet, you can only guess where it comes from. After a day of welding sometimes my face looks like I have been at the beach all day. There is a problem for any welder.Also, when welding indoors, a fair amount of or reflection and glare get on the inside of the welding helmet lens. It happens both on cheap and high-quality auto darkening helmets. At times I could actually see the outline of my face reflected on the inside of the lens. It really gets in the way of seeing the work. Turning off the overhead lights helps a little, but it makes seeing the puddle only slightly better. Of course, you may use covering for the back, some guys use an old beach towel. But it usually isn’t fireproof and could end up on fire.

    In any case for me pancake welding hood words better than others with the light reduction I can see good enough to ignite the arc and I can’t do that with the same shade lens in a regular hood. Especially with lots of welders around to protect from their flash bouncing around in your hood.

    Well leather stitched to a hood to drape down the back of your head would keep glare out, but you would also get no air circulation, sweat would drip into your eyes, and it would get in the way when you have to lay on your back.

    You can also use monkey mask but it will drive you insane as it is needed to squeeze your head, etc.

  1. Protection from bright sun. If you weld outdoors in the bright sun or have another person welding behind you but still need perfect puddle clarity, just look at what pipeline welders wear.They solved the problem over 40 years ago: a “pancake welding hood”. There are compact auto dark “insert style” lenses for pancakes and/or small window hoods if you must have auto darkening in a compact hood. Really nice for outdoors applications.

    You can perfectly understand what it is when you see, for example, a pair of welders working the same butt on a pipeline

  1. Reliable. Traditionally the eyepiece is made of balsa wood and welder himself sand it for a perfect fit. Pancake welding hoods seal out all light, dirt, wind and sparks. They also won’t try and fall off like a normal bucket can in those positions unless you tighten the head gear more and (personally at least) get a headache as a result. Pancake hood stay put when you are having to constantly change positions since it is worn like a pair of goggles. You can lay your head down on the ground as you weld the bottom of the pipe without knocking the hood off.
  2. Incredibly light, Any pancake welding hood is lighter than any regular one so there is no neck strain after eight or so hours of welding.
  3. Pancake welding hood offer superior ventilation. There is a good air flow due to it only has one side of your head covered (along with your face obviously).
  4. After you wear it for a little while your eyes adjust and you can see better than you’d think. Also, the welders that wear these “know” exactly what they are doing and where they are going to strike, your eyeballs are always adjusted to the dark, you don’t flip up a pancake all the time.


Why they are not universal


Pancake welding hood is great when you work with a helper to grind and brush for you and all you have to do is burn rod. Or at least when you make long welds. If you need to switch yourself from hood to face shield constantly, you are losing proposition. It helps if the hood has an auto-darkening lens, but the welders that have them usually carry a normal lens as well.

You should spend some time custom fit the balsa block to your face, and do it without hurry and with love. If you do it properly, the hood will fit you like no other, and if its uncomfortable – it is your fault, work more. Not everyone likes the sanding, but in my opinion, if you are going to work with a hood for years, give it a little time at the beginning.


Where to buy a proper pancake welding hood


I don’t believe pancake welding hoods are made by any of the big boys, i.e. Jackson, Speedglas, Huntsman. Sarges and Wendy’s are the two biggest. Both are OSHA approved.

In my opinion, the Sarges are quite a bit sturdier. They come in 3 different “depths” of the lens cavity to allow for a regular lens, or lens with cheater, and the biggest for the battery powered auto lenses.

Many of my friends really like the white Wendy’s as they are light, they are made of pretty thin material and flex quite a bit. The Wendy’s don’t come with any closure for the lens opening and I don’t like that at all, you can whittle your own but shouldn’t have to in my opinion. The side piece of Wendy’s comes straight back (Sarges is on a bit of an angle) and they love it haven’t had the first piece of buckshot in the ear hole.

There are the yellow ones that are made of one piece bent to 90 degrees, I don’t like them at all, I bought one but traded it off for a 25-year-old (unused) Sarges.


How to get them to fit your face tighter


Be sure to use the sandpaper to shape the balsa to the shape of your face bone. And if you shape them right with the provided sand paper then you shouldn’t get any flash. Sometimes you got a lot of sanding to do, so Dremel tool could help it a lot quicker. The better you sand it the better it will fit your face. When you get it right pancake welding hood fit like a good pair of leather gloves. If you don’t sand balsa block, the hood will be very uncomfortable.

Finally smooth the balsa with fine sand paper and coat it with bee’s wax, it will protect the wood from sweat.

The white shields let a little background light in around the edges of the filter, but you can easily paint it and eliminate the glow around the filter plate.




That being said, pancake welding hood is not for every job, but it can’t be beat for outdoors welding in 110°F heat with the sun beating down and no shade to weld in. You don’t get any glare from behind you. They’re also way cooler when it’s hot out as compared to most of the “brain bakers” out there. When welding in southern areas, the pancake shield paid for itself the first hour you owned it.

You don’t get any sparks flying around your eyeballs which common with a bucket hood when welding pipe. And it’s super lightweight, very comfortable, allow zero sunlight in. Somebody thinks pancake look silly but I’m a function over form guy. If it works it works. When I am outside welding, then I use my pancake hood.

Hobart 500487 Handler 125

Hobart 500487 Handler 125

Bloated 8 – extremity ( 2. 4 m ) H – 9 glom secrete liner for. 023 – to. 035 – inch ( 0. 6 – 0. 9 mm ) wire and three. 030 – inch ( 0. 9 mm ) contact tips. Obligation knit disguise 10 – spire ( 3 m ) struggle disclosure. Spool shaft to accommodate 4 – inch spools ( accidental polestar apparatus available for 8 – inch spools ). Self – resetting balmy overload and motor protection. Function rein curtain plug.

Hobart 500487 Handler 125 Description

Hobart 500487 Handler 125

Hobart 500487 Handler 125

Rugged and portable, the Handler 125 operates wipe out 115 – volt homey current. Comes ready to annex gone astray shielding gas using 0. 030 – 0. 035in. flux cored wire. Adoption C – 25 gas ( 75 % argon / 25 % C02 ) on 22 – gauge, 1 / 8in. steel for detergent bracket cover less spatter. Help Tri – Max gas and stainless steel wire for welding on 16 – to 12 – gauge stainless steel. MIG gas upgrade utensils available for greater versatility ( spot Item# 164796 ). U. S. A. Volts: 115, Amps: 125, Duty Circumgyration: 20 % at 90 Amps, 19 Volts, Mig Ready: No, requires MIG conversion utensils, Wire Feed Speed Discipline: Yep, 0 – 500 IPM, Weldable Metals: Steel and stainless steel, Marry Breadth ( direction. ): 18 – gauge to 3 / 16in. steel, Weld Hearsay Coil ( ft. ): 10, Regulator and Gas Spray Included: No, Shielding Gas Required: No, Welding Wire Calibre ( imprint. ): 0. 023 – 0. 035, Cart: No, Dimensions L x W x H ( in. ): 9 7 / 8 x 12 1 / 8 x 16 7 / 8.

Hobart 500487 Handler 125 Review

I bought this machine about 2 years ago, I previously had a harbor freight 150 which was 220 volt. I did not like that machine the wire would never feed right and it looked cheap and was built cheap. I had never welded before that machine, and I still don’t really know how. when i got the HOBART it was ready to go in about 2 min. and I was out building a stand with wheels and just about everything else i could put on it. A lot of my welds still look pretty bad but I learned a little on each one, this welder is like driving a cadillac lots of power and only needs 110 to run it. I am glad i spent the extra money and got this one. It looks good, the wire feeds great, and the temp. is very easy to adjust, when you open the hood there is a diagram of material thickness and it tells you what adjustment to make. I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS TO ANYBODY. I used next day shipping from Amazon and it arrived on time and I think I received a good price on it compared to all the other sites I checked.

This welder is very good quality and well made. The controls provide a wide range of welding options. Operation is simple and wire loading is easy. I use it for hobby work on 1/16″ to 1/4″ material. With proper care it will weld 1/4″ with good results.

I’ve had my hobart 125 for about a year…never welded before purchasing it. WIth a little practice, I’ve been fairly successful in welding on replacement panels on my project truck. I spent the additional money to buy the gas regulator and solenoid kit…as well as a gas bottle. The gas makes a real difference.

To anyone looking to buy a small machine, I’d stay away from the El’ Cheapo welders you see at Walmart and such. Buying a Hobart guarantees that the machine can be serviced locally. The Hobart/Miller company is really great about their service and support. I spent quite a bit of time on their online Forums and the employees and Miller / Hobart have always been very helpful.

Hobart 500500 Handler 140

Hobart 500500 Handler 140

Hobart 500500 Handler 140 115-Volt 25-to-140 Amp Gas/Metal/Arc Single-Phase Wire Welding Package

MIG welder handles a wide soup of solid, mild steel or stainless steel, flux cored and aluminum wires, Operates from 115 – volt standard home current, Features 4 outturn voltage settings secrete wire feed tracking and a purge locale, Comes ready to purpose, Includes a built – control contactor to conceive wire electrically ” brisk ” when not welding

The Handler 140 from Hobart comes ready to agglutinate shield or invisible shielding glass, and physical expertly handles a wide variance of solid, mild steel or stainless steel, flux cored and aluminum wires. This handy MIG welder operates from 115 – volt standard native current again one’s way four output voltage settings cover wire eats tracking besides a purge locale, both of which bring quick again painless habituation over at variance materials again breadth. The Handler 140 welds 24 measure unfolding to. 25 inch access reassure off-track silvery on ice, again includes both a built – magnetism contactor to construct wire electrically ” penetrating ” when not welding and self – resetting sizzling overload protection for beyond compare safety.

The proven built – supremacy wire feeder stow away rapid – release drive roll lever ensures reliable operation, and makes present child’s play to knob between. 023 and. 025 inches and. 030 to. 035 inches. This device again offers effortless access to polarity changeover, which includes storage holes for spare tips.

Customer review for Hobart 500500 Handler 140

I love it. I’ve made very successful welds on 1/8″ steel using .035 wire and 25/75 argon/co2 mix, 5/32″ cast aluminum using .035 aluminum wire with 100% argon, (repaired Webber gas grill cover hinge that broke in a gale: Saved a pretty penny!), 24 gauge steel using .023″ wire 25/75 argon/co2, and several other thicknesses of steel up to 5/32″. Flux core wire works well too on 1/8″ and thicker steel, but of course not as pretty a weld. Easy to set up, adjust, and learn to use. Have not yet exceeded the duty cycle or caused a circuit breaker to open. I have found that one of the keys is to look at the work from the side so the puddle is always visible. I use a self-darkening helmet: expensive, but I think worth it. My previous experience is with a torch and with 220v buzz box. The MIG makes strong welds in material 1/8″ and thinner so much easier. Buy one and enjoy it.

Some thoughts about spot welder profession

Some thoughts about spot welder profession

Spot welding is a fairly common method that can be done from home or in a personal workshop. For many, it offers a great pathway into the world of welding whether it is for the keen hobbyist or for people looking to make some money.

If the latter is for you, then you might be interested to learn more in the becoming a welder pages. There you’ll find something for welders at all stages of their welding career. Whether it is more information on the best welding schools and welding course near to you, or tips and help on starting your own business, you’ll find all you need to know there.

Safety First

Safety in any type of welding is imperative and you should make sure you are familiar with the safety instructions of the equipment you are using, before installation, during use and in aftercare and maintenance. It is also vital that you take the necessary precautions to ensure you are wearing the appropriate safety clothing, such as suitable eye and hand protection.

One of the main dangers in Spot Welding is in the relative simplicity of the equipment and the accessibility of this type of method for many welders. Although the method is relatively simple, it remains, like other welding methods, very dangerous and it is important that the equipment and process is carried out with due care.

To ensure you and your workplace remain safe at all times, it is vital that you are aware of the full set of risks and safety symbols associated to welding. If you ever have any questions or are unsure about anything, it is important that you contact the manufacture of your equipment.

Remember, in Spot Welding, there is a high electrical current used, creating enough energy to melt metal. Not only does this high electrical current pose its own dangers when come into contact with certain materials, but it can lead to severe burns and even death. The molten metal of material used in the welding process too poses its own, very real dangers as well, such as molten droplets of metal and sparks. Both of which are able to ignite flammable liquids and materials. Ensuring your workplace is protected from these hazards is very important.

Back to top Spot Welding Do’s and Don’ts

Whilst Total Welder takes no responsibility for any injury sustained or damage inflicted due to anything related to welding, there are some basic do’s and don’ts which you should be aware of.

The Do’s

Understand the full set of dangerous associated with the welding method. A full set of safety guidelines should accompany the equipment you intend to use, if it doesn’t or you are ever in any doubt, contact your equipment manufacture before installing, using or maintaining you equipment. Familiarise yourself and read all safety standards. Only a qualified person should ever install, use and maintain welding equipment. Always turn of the electrical current after use or in installation and servicing. Because of sparks and risk of fire, remove all flammable materials from where you are welding up to 36ft (11m) away. Where this is not possible, ensure they are covered with non-flammable material. Always have a fire extinguisher close by Always be alert to the potential of fire, whether that is from molten metal dropping or flying sparks Always check the work place after use as smouldering embers can exist and left unextinguished can cause fire. Wear appropriate safety wear such as a hole-free gloves and body protection as well as face shield and safety goggles. Spot Welding can create fumes which may be harmful so make sure you are also wearing the appropriate mask and that you are welding in a well ventilated area. Remember, not only can the current and high temperatures cause injury, but so too can the moving parts in this weld, such as the electrodes, so always be aware. Always leave a cooling off period between welds to ensure the equipment is overused.

The Dont’s

  • spot welder safetyDo not weld on or over combustible or flammable materials, this includes when they are contained. For example, within piping or drums unless they meet the safety standards required by the AWS.
  • Do not oversize fuses or circuits and exceed the equipment capacity.
  • Do not weld in damp areas as this could pose a danger due to the electricity used.
  • Do not weld in unsafe environments, for example where there might be flammable or hazardous gases and vapours in the air.
  • Do not touch or interfere with live electrical parts.