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4

Harbor Freight 2" Boring Head

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Sailplane Driver

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#1
Ive wanted a boring head for a while but haven't had an application to justfiy buing one. I now have an application so I looked around for an inexpensive one for occasional hobby use. The cheapest one I could find - I'm a tightwad - is from everyones favorite to complain about Harbor Freight. It's shown at $60 but there is always the 20% off coupon so I bought one. This is a review of what I received in case anyone else is interested. They didn't have it in the store so I purchased it sight unseen.

The package I received was well padded with no damage. It contained the boring head, two allen wrenches for adjustment and a limited 1 year warranty certificate. Note that the HF web site only showns this as having a 90 day warranty. I suspect that the enclosed certificate, which shows Cen-Tech and Harbor Freight Tools, takes presidence.

The overall impression upon opening is that of reasonably good quality. The finish is good without the rough edges you see on so many Asian tools. Fit is reasonably good however the hex socket in the adjustment screw was broached off axis.

The boring head I received is essentially as pictured on the HF web site with slight differences. The one pictured on the HF site has a slightly different shaft. The one I received does not have the black in the middle and has a has a flush flange where the head attaches. The head screws onto the shaft with right hand threads so it is only suitable for clockwise boring - the head will unscrew from the shaft if operated counterclockwise. My guess is this is true for all boring heads.

The assembly is all steel - no aluminum. Some reviewers complained that the unit was all steel which is odd. The central body is black and the adjustable portion of the head is stain. The dial is chromed with etched calibrations filled in black. There is also a notation of 1 Div = .001 0 etched below the dial. It has the typical three holes for 1/2" boring bars. There are three allen grub screws to lock the head in position.

The head adjustment, as received, is not smooth. As with most HF machining equipment, it should be disassembled, cleaned, oiled and reassembled prior to use. Upon disassembly, I found grit on the threads of the adjustment screw. Cleaning the threads revealed some small nicks. Once reassembled, it was smoother but not great. I suspect that it will improve with use. I measured .006" backlash in the head assembly which should not be of consequence. There is no adjustment for backlash. I haven't bored with it yet so I can't comment on the accuracy of the dial. I will have to sneak up on any holes I bore anyway since my mini-mill lacks rigidity.

Overall, the boring head is of reasonably good quality with good fit and finish, especially for the price. I would buy it again.

IMG_20170301_162247.jpg IMG_20170301_164509.jpg
 

brino

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#2
Nice review. It is appreciated.
I hope you update it when you make some chips.
-brino
 

coherent

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#3
I bought the 3 sizes inexpensive set from Shars and it looks like they came from the same factory (but then again I suppose most boring bars look pretty much alike). I've used all three of them them on projects (mostly for bearing pockets and motor mounts for a mill cnc conversion) and they have worked well.
 

benzflieger

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#4
My Burke model MV Mill holds #9 B&S tooling and the harbor freight boring head comes with an R8 Arbor. When you remove the head from the stock arbor do you know what the diameter and pitch of the threaded shaft is?
I'm wondering if I can swap out the stock Harbor Freight R8 arbor for a BS9 arbor that has a 7/8–20 thread on it


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

hman

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#5
Note the second photo that Sailplane Driver posted. The threaded portion of the R8 arbor is visibly wider than the end of the R8 taper, which is about 1.25"
 

Dave Paine

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#6
If the HF boring head arbor is the same as the one I purchased from Shars, the threaded section is 1.5in dia x 18 tpi.
 

Silverbullet

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#7
You can secure it to the adapter so you can run in reverse. Easy to drill a hole in the flange and in the head where one hole needs to be tapped for a set screw.
 

Bob Korves

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#8
Wells-Index can grind the B&S 9 spindle to R8. You have to send the entire spindle and quill assembly to them, it is not cheap, and it does not fully support the R8 tooling when completed. You already have all the collets you need except 3/4", so why bother? Put straight shanks on your drill chucks, boring heads, and other tooling and you are done. That will also make your tooling more adaptable and easier to change in tight setups. My suggestion is to stick with the B&S 9 taper...

The B&S 9 taper also has its problems. It is a very shallow taper, and if you crank the collets or other tooling down, and/or leave the tooling in the spindle, you can play hell getting them back out again. Do not torque them tightly, do not leave them in the spindle. Some machinists actually oil the #9 collets before installation. If you do get one stuck, support the spindle nose solidly to the table so that when you beat on the drawbar you will not destroy the spindle bearings.
 

4gsr

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#9
The spring is a new component I've never seen in a boring head before. I have had several different brands of boring heads over the years and never seen a spring used. I assume that is supposed to keep tension on the slide to prevent backlash?

The two Asian built boring heads I own, I did as you did, take them apart, clean the crud out. Next, I take one of my flat oil stones and work flat all of the slides, including the dovetails. Don't need a lot of honing, just enough to get the surfaces smooth and remove any roughness felt in the sliding surfaces. I reassemble using a little Lubriplate engine assy grease, or light oil. I even do this on my Criterion boring heads I own too. I have too many boring heads and only one mill to use them on.
 

Dave Paine

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#10
After reading Kens comment I had to take apart my Shars boring head, purchased a few months ago. As Ken would expect, mine does not have a spring.
 

chips&more

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#11
I had no idea HF had that boring head for sale. We have a local HF that I have been to a few times. That store has nothing at all related to mill tooling, maybe a vise. Thanks for sharing…Dave
 

Sailplane Driver

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#13
I had no idea HF had that boring head for sale. We have a local HF that I have been to a few times. That store has nothing at all related to mill tooling, maybe a vise. Thanks for sharing…Dave
The HF store by me seldom has any mill tooling as well. I had to order the boring head and have it shipped. They did have a TiN coated end mill set in store which I purchased and has been fine so far.
 
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