Here are some tools I used:
1. Mig welder. I have Miller 180 mig. Bought it almost 10 year ago simply love it. Most of my steel welds are done with it. I know some people use gasless mig welders. I personally hate them and wire is much more expensive.
2. Tig welder. This is very new to me. I planned to use aluminum and stainless extensively so I had to buy it. This is AC and DC model 185. You have to have AC to weld aluminum. All aluminum welds are done with it. Also I used it for "brazing" roof slope area (used silicone bronze rod).
3.This is a little tip. I have 2 80 cubic feet gas bottles. One for mig gas the other for argon. It costs about 55 CAD to fill one of them. I found rental bottles for 7 CAD rent a month + 85 CAD to fill. The rental bottle is 4 times bigger....
So for now I have this 2 big boys:
4. Rivet removal. I used air chisel to remove all rivets (few thousand
). I tried few chisels and found out that some have many more BPM but the internal hammer is very light and this chisels just buzz and don't cut anything. I found one that have lower BPM but heavy hammer. This chisel cuts steel rivets in 2-3 seconds.
5. Pop riveter. I use HF air/hydraulic one. It still works great. Pulls 1/4" steel rivets just like nothing.
6. Plasma cutter. A must have tool for project like this size especially when aluminum cutting is involved. I use it to cut everything. Cuts 1/4" steel or aluminum like butter. All 1/8" aluminum panels are cut with it (hundreds of feet). Consumables are cheap and last few days. I simply have no idea how to cut 1/8" aluminum without it.
7. Welding protection. I use 3M respirator and 2097 cartridges. Can't smell a thing (even skunk smell goes away
8. I use flap discs and a grinder to grind down welds where needed. They work well when brand new but soon work very slow especially on aluminum.
Today I bought this flat sand paper disk and a backing plate at HF. It is just about a $1 a piece. Oh men how much time it saves it is just unbelievable. It takes seconds where I had to grind for minutes.... I was always thinking that they are a joke... I was wrong...
For now I will use them instead of flap disks. I will still use flap disks for fine grinding.
BTW I took picture of this disk after I ground a ton of aluminum. There is no even a sign of wear and no stuck aluminum...
Here is a tip how to get steel/aluminum profiles for cheap. I bought 4 sheets of 1/8" 5'x10' galvanized steel at local metal recycle place. I paid $40 CAD a sheet. I took this sheets to metal fabricator. He sheared them and bent profiles I needed. I paid about $120 CAD for bending. Now I have few miles of angles, channels etc for next to nothing. The same I do with aluminum.... The rear corners were bent for me and I welded them.