Pre-SEMA tool spotlight

Oct. 6, 2022
Check out what's new in this collection of collision repair tools and equipment selected by ABRN from manufacturers who will be at the SEMA Show.

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Tool and equipment companies are always innovating, finding a new way to offer greater speed, increase worker comfort/reduce injuries, and provide a higher quality repair. Narrowing down my selection wasn't easy, but here is some of what has caught my eye in recent months. All of the manufacturers listed here will be at the SEMA Show, and so will ABRN! Although I will be roaming the halls and not at the booth, come stop by and say hi to our staff at booth number 34079 and pick up the latest issue!

BendPak Ergochair

The older I get, the more I appreciate anything that can reduce workplace injuries and fatigue. According to BendPak (SEMA Show booth 81030), its patent-pending Ergochair adjustable-height rolling work seat "is designed to make performing awkward work tasks in the shop more ergonomic, reducing stress and strain on technicians’ bodies to deliver improved safety, greater productivity, and reduced injuries. Ergochair works as both a chair and a creeper. It features an adjustable seat height and backrest that adjusts up and down, as well as forward and back. Its four casters ensure it moves smoothly in all positions."

Dent Fix Body Buggy

Are you waiting on some backordered parts, so you can get that vehicle finished and off the rack? Dent Fix's patented and U.S.-made Body Buggy (SEMA Show booth 31101) is a beam on wheels that allows the vehicle to be simply and safely moved off the frame rack if it's front or rear suspension are removed, which frees up your rack.

According to the company, it installs in five minutes and becomes “part of the vehicle,” which means your staff won't need to use any unstable or dangerous lift points. The spacer kit that's included with the Body Buggy allows the use of the original fasteners, so you won't need to keep additional fasteners in inventory. And when installed, the vehicle is easily rolled onto a frame rack, into a paint booth, or to storage, out of the way of production. It can handle speed bumps, dips, and uneven pavement. And it can be installed on the front or rear of most any vehicle using the cradle or sub-frame mounting points and hardware. It's available in 4-foot (DB-BB104) and 5-foot (DF-BB105) main beam configurations .

Dynabrade 3" sander

"Proper preparation prevents poor paint performance," to modify a popular phrase, and that means getting into tight spots. Years ago, that would mean wearing a prepper's fingers to nubs. Enter mini sanders, which get into those areas and saving some callouses...and maybe boosting productivity a bit, too. The Dynabrade (SEMA booth 37057) 3” Mini-Dynorbital Extreme Random Orbital Sanders feature integrated speed control. The 3" pad size helps technicians focus sanding on small targeted areas. Its smaller grip gives greater control over the sanding surface, which is helpful in hard-to-reach locations. According to the company, the 3" sanders are 35 percent lighter than its 5" and 6" Extreme models, which helps reduce fatigue during extended usage. They're available in four models: No. X31, X31V, X32, and X32V. The vacuum models are equipped with a 3/4” threaded, swiveling vacuum cuff for connection to Dynabrade clean air solutions.

H&S Autoshot Stud Pull Ring Snap Finger Kit

It's hard to have too many options for moving metal. H&S Autoshot (SEMA Show booth 32199) began over 50 years ago in Georgetown, Ontario, Canada, and recently expanded in the U.S., including moving into its new distribution center located in Mooresville, N.C. The company's Uni-Spotter stud welder was an original pioneer of stud welders in the auto body industry, and it now offers multiple attachments for its popular stud welders, including the UNI-2015 Stud Pull Ring Snap Finger Kit. The "fingers" quickly push onto steel or aluminum studs for dent-pulling with self-locking pulling rings. Use the provided rods or a pulling tool. The stud-pulling ring kit comes with six pulling fingers plus a 4" and 10" pulling rod. The "fingers" will pull 2.2 mm and 2.6 mm steel pins/studs or 4mm aluminum studs.

Innovative Tools paint station

Sure, you could rely on wires or chains hanging from the booth at eye level but wouldn't you want your painters to have other, more secure options? Innovative Tools' (SEMA Show booth 38191) Innovative Paint Station features four strong removable swivel clamp arms that can mount mirror covers, door handles, and fuel doors in seconds, while the large, clean work surface makes painting side moldings a snap (just cover with 18" masking paper). It also features a small footprint (41" width by 23" depth by 72" height), two spray gun holders, easily adjusts to a comfortable working height, and has a durable powder-coated finish. Its large, 4" industrial-grade casters means it will roll easily over spray booth grates, and it holds up to 40 lbs.

Keco LTT (Lateral Tension Tool)

With lighter gauge materials and the added benefit of often requiring less disassembly, it's easy to see why glue-pulling has become so popular. Many companies have added glue-pulling products to their arsenal, but it's Keco's (SEMA Show 32227) specialty. A talented technician can often use glue-pulling to either pull surfaces to perfection or to where they need only a bit of primer, prep, and paint. Keco's LTT (Lateral Tension Tool) provides technicians with another arrow in their quiver. According to Keco, the tool "improves metal flow" during a glue-pull repair by releasing tension. "The release of tension with a lateral motion from crown areas promotes needed relief when pulling large dents and collision damage from panels, doors, seams, and body lines."

The LTT can be combined with Keco's K-Beam, K-Bar, or other glue-pulling tools. According to the company, if its high-strength PDR glue is used, it can be used to pull the deepest dents from virtually all vehicle metals. It works by using a threaded drive rod that is turned to adjust the length of the rod. The tension knob can be used with a power drill for fast adjustments or turned by hand for more finesse. It works with the four included centipede tabs: two each 54mm x 54mm (2" x 2" rigid and two each 38mm x 152mm (1.5" x 6") rigid with a lateral pull hole.

Pro Spot Dust-free Sanding System

Making a dusty mess doing bodywork and prepping for paint used to be a necessary evil, but it doesn't have to be anymore. Pro Spot's (SEMA Show 32043) Dust-Free Sanding Systems are patented systems that safely and quickly extract dust from sanding, collecting it into a disposable bag. They don't contain any electrical motors or parts, which prevent explosion risks from heat and potential sparks.

According to the company, the patented air improvement module increases vacuum performance while operating on an extremely low air flow of 5-7 CFM, compared to competitor systems that use 40-50 CFM. That saves on air compressor needs and energy costs, of course, but the low airflow also keeps noise levels low. The company offers three different sanding systems, all of which offer a detachable, easy to move dust extractor.

SATA Customizable Paint Guns

Are you looking to recognize your veteran painter with a unique gift for a special work anniversary or maybe you're just looking for a cool conversation piece? SATA's (SEMA Show 31017) customizable paint gun program ( may be just the ticket. Order a SATAjet X 5500 or SATAjet 5000 B in various configurations, including HVLP or RP, digital air micrometer or standard, and use the company's design template to order your gun with the graphics of your choice. Plus, choose silver or black for the control elements (knobs and air cap.

The Custom Design Gun Configurator allows one to upload images and place up to five of them per side of the spray gun. You can also add text in a handful of fonts and styles. Of course, with the shape of a paint gun, not all graphics are suitable for all areas of the gun, so you'll have to play around with a few of them before you get it right. A background color can be selected, or do as I did and upload realistic flames for a background on both sides and add the company logo (ABRN Magazine, in this case.)

Solidus Allsweld MicroSpot Dent Pulling System

Although glue-pulling has made great inroads to dent-pulling and metal finishing, don't count out resistance-type pullers yet. Solidus' (SEMA Show 33071) Allsweld MicroSpot Dent Pulling System uses an adjustable weld current to leave only a "micro spot" area on the bare metal. The difference is there is no risk of e-coat burn-through, according to the company, which eliminates the risk of causing rust or the need for disassembly to access those areas to apply rust-preventive products. It runs on 100V or single-phase 220V, is easy-to-use, and has long, lightweight cables. A cart/trolley is included.

Spanesi PULL UP! repair system

Spanesi (SEMA Show 32205) is another company that's always innovating. Its PULL UP! repair system uses "suction cups," glue, and slide hammers for "flawless panel repairs," according to the company. Because it uses glue, it's suited to either steel or aluminum substrates, and straightening can be performed from the exterior of the panel. With the company's exclusive glue formulation, they say, repairs can be completed even on stiff areas such as rocker panels, doglegs, rocker panels, pillars, and along body lines. The technician uses a combination of pull bars or the optional Electro puller.

The method can increase the number of parts that can be repaired, according to the company, which means increased touch times, decreased parts ordering, and faster vehicle repairs. And because it's paintless, the technician can better check the progress of dent removal and see the end result. It also means there can be less of a need to disassemble a vehicle, disconnect the battery, and recalibrate ADAS. Repairs are less invasive or noninvasive, and because it doesn't introduce heat into the panel, it can be safely used with all materials without compromising corrosion protection because of burn-through.

About the Author

Jay Sicht | Editor-in-Chief, FenderBender and ABRN

Jay Sicht is editor-in-chief of FenderBender and ABRN. He has worked in the automotive aftermarket for more than 28 years, including in a number of sales and technical roles in paint/parts distribution and service/repair. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Central Missouri with a minor in aviation, and as a writer and editor, he has covered all segments of the automotive aftermarket for more than 20 of those years, including formerly serving as editor-in-chief of Motor Age and Aftermarket Business World. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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