About 18 months ago I was given an arc welder, an angle grinder, and a host of other old tools by my cousin, who was moving house. I was scared of the welder for a bit, but on my birthday last year, trying hard to avoid working, I took it outside, and plugged it in. It sort of exploded, and knocked out the power, but I took it apart, and rewired it, and then it worked fine.
I started teaching myself how to weld, and for a long time I thought I just wasn't very good at it. Then I bought some decent electrodes and started storing them properly, and my welding improved a great deal. On a fabrication job, my welder kept overheating, and I realised that I'd need a new one. At Harlequin Works, "new" invariably means "new to me but much older than I am", at least when it comes to tools. I bought a Pickhill Bantam, an old oil cooled welder, and that knocked out the power the first time I used it too. This time I needed to build an inrush inhibitor, to prevent it drawing too much current when it was turned on, and now it, too, works fine, and much better than the old one.
Today, I took delivery of a lathe- it's a step that many metalworkers seem to take, from fabricator, to machinist. The lathe increases the capacity of my shop a great deal. Jobs that were fiddly or impossible before will be easy now, and if I need a part for something, I can almost certainly make it rather than buying it.
People who use tools laugh when I say this, but that's the last big tool, really. Perhaps one day I'll get a milling machine too, but from here, the shop is more or less complete, and any new tools will be upgrades.