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How it Works: MiG Buddy

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MiG Buddy
A review of the 2017 SEMA runner-up award winner for best collision and refinish product, the MiG Buddy.

STATS: Regal Collision Repair Location: Vallejo, Calif. Website: migbuddy.com Cost: $35.99 Uses: Welding gun holster Training Required: Live demonstrations and instructional videos available 

The Reviewer:

Jim Boyle started in the trade in 1980, working as an apprentice before helping open Regal Collision Repair Inc. in 1984. Four years later, Boyle and his wife, Shellie, purchased Regal Collision Repair, making Boyle the third generation of his family to work in the collision industry. Boyle’s grandfather owned a shop where both of Boyle’s uncles worked. In 1998, Boyle’s son, Jim, joined the family business, making him the fourth generation.

Along with being a member of a number of associations, including the California Auto Body Association, Boyle has served on the UTI technical board, the Contra Costa College Advisory Committee and also actively fights to protect the consumer’s right to choose.

 

The Shop:

Regal Collision Repair Inc. is located in Vallejo, Calif., and employs 18. According to Boyle, the shop is making a push toward manufacturer certifications. To list a few, the shop is Ford, GM, Hyundai and Nissan certified. The shop is also I-CAR Gold Class and Assured Performance Certified.

For Boyle, finding a solution to the technician shortage has always been a passion of his, which is why he is so active in reaching out to local vocational and secondary programs, including Contra Costa College, where he befriended instructor Peter Lock. At the 2017 SEMA Show, Lock and Boyle went to see one of Lock’s former students, who had come up with a new product: the MiG Buddy. Boyle was immediately sold on the product—which would go on to the win the show’s Best New Product in the Collision & Refinish Category—and purchased three for his shop.

 

How it Works:

Boyle describes the MiG Buddy as a “third hand.” The product holds a welding gun in place by using a support rod and holder. The welding gun is placed in the holder and the support rod holds it up when attached to a surface. The support rod can be mounted in a number of different places, such as a cart or a table, which Boyle says makes it easy for his technicians.

Boyle says that the holder works on all four welders at his shop and the MiG Buddy website has a list of all the compatible guns (fenderbender.com/migbuddychart).    

Visit fenderbender.com/migbuddy to view a live demonstration of the product at the 2017 SEMA show.

 

The Review:

Once Boyle saw the tool, he had a difficult time comprehending why it had taken someone so long to invent it.

“Before, there was nowhere secure to set the torch down while welding.”

Now, he has a dedicated place for the welders in his shop, which fits in with his shop’s 5S philosophy.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Boyle says. “He [inventor of the MiG Buddy George Bertolotti] has perfected it.”

Boyle added that he’s waiting for a similar product for a welding helmet.

 

The Return:

Because of the low price tag and how much it’s helped his shop, Boyle says he’d pay double for it.

Boyle, who purchased the three holders at the beginning of November, says that they’ve all paid for themselves (interview conducted in January) thanks to the time savings that it’s brought. Boyle guesses that with each welding job that is performed at the shop, it saves a few minutes by having the welder easily located and not having the hassle of juggling it between hands. With four different welders at the shop, those few minutes each time add up quickly.

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