Tools and Techniques


Forty Power Tools
You Can Make

by Popular Mechanics Press

In Depression-era America, people learned to "Make do, or do without." This self-reliant attitude encouraged innovative thinking and re-use of materials to build what was often too pricey or unavailable. This book, published originally in 1941, is a prime example of do-it-yourself smarts.

At 96 pages, there is a wealth of very innovative plans for a variety of useful power tools for metal and woodworking tasks. From bandsaws to drill presses, from a variety of sanders, jig saws, even lathes (both model making and wood turning types) this book has it all. See below for a more complete list of specific plans.

The book is filled with very clear and excellent diagrams and drawings showing various schematic type views of each project. And while not every one is probably useful to this day (i.e. building your own vibrating metal engraver or the hand drill made from an old automobile starter) the majority are still rather applicable and at least will give you unique ideas to start as a great starting point for your own construction. Also, be advised the machines illustrated in this volume are all with any type of safety guards whatsoever, so it is highly advisable that they not be built without adding suitable guards and other modern safety features.

Projects List:

  • Bandsaw, 12 inch plywood
  • Three wheel Bandsaw (22 inch throat)
  • Pipe Fittings Bandsaw
  • Drill Press, from pipes
  • Drill Press, from auto parts
  • Precision Modelmaking Drill
  • Handheld Drill
  • Drill Press speed-reducing unit
  • Dust removal system
  • Filing machine
  • Grinder (4 different types)
  • Power Hacksaw
  • Modelmakers Lathe
  • Wood Lathe
  • Metal turning on wood lathe
  • Treadle wood lathe
  • Cut-off Saw
  • Milling unit for small lathe
  • Electric Pencil
  • Motorized Hand Plane
  • Belt Sander for lathe
  • Compact belt sander
  • Drum sander from auto parts
  • Flexible belt sander
  • Oscillating Sander
  • Disk Sander
  • Spindle sander
  • Sanding Table
  • Sliding cut-off saw
  • Inexpensive saw mandrel
  • Circular saw grinder
  • Saw-Sander unit
  • Scroll Saw (standard and pedal powered)
  • Table Saw
  • Shaper
  • more tool modifications and tips

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- Auburn, Calif. -

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