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Rate the Harbor Freight Tools Thread- Pass or Fail?

Discussion in 'TOOL JUNKIES - TOOLS & TOOLING (Love Tools? This Is Your Forum)' started by Nels, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. kingmt01

    kingmt01 United States Active Member Active Member

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    If I was buying tools for emploies you can bet they would have HF tools in their hand.
     
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  2. Anthony G

    Anthony G Active Member Active Member

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    I don't know about the bar clamps. The ones I was talking about are those "squeeze-type" clamps. I think they have them in either plastic or metal. The metal ones cost a little more. The come if a few different sizes. They're like a glorified clothespin if ya know what I mean, just little larger.
     
  3. Anthony G

    Anthony G Active Member Active Member

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    Several years ago I bought one of those large, Chinese made tool chests, upper and lower. I didn't buy it at Harbor Freight, but you could tell it was the same thing they sell, only with a different name on it. It has the "Remington" name on it. Probably all made by the same manufacturer and they just put a bunch of different names on it. Anyway, I will say it's extremely heavy duty and weighs a ton. Everything still functions correctly on it (casters, drawer roller slides, locks, etc). I have a lot of tools in there that weigh a ton and a half and its holding up well. The side handles are chrome plated, or at least were. Their chrome is JUNK! It blistered and has been flaking off since it was a couple years old. Both side handles. Red paint seems to be holding up OK, though.
     
  4. eosborne9w6

    eosborne9w6 United States Swarf Registered Member

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    I bought a 4 1/2" right angle grinder there (chicago electric brand?) in 1995, and I still love it. I forgot to pack it on my way to a welding job once, so I stopped at a local Walmart and picked up a Black and Decker. The HF grinder is so much quieter and smoother running, even after 20 years of abuse!
     
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  5. Bill Rosselot

    Bill Rosselot Active Member Active Member

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    We can all say what we want and most of us have all the big names, Snap-on, Craftsman, Dewalt, Milwaukee, and others. Does the HF tools match up? That depends on the use and owner. I have a 12" sliding compound saw made by Ridged, and a Dewalt, both are pretty good as long as they stay in the shop. I have a HF 12" saw that travels with me all over the country and cuts great. I have had over the last 20 years probably 30 4" grinders all makes and models, but my orange HP Chicago electric grinder is still in the gang box and use it almost everyday, makes a little noise have to grease it once in awhile but it still going strong. But somethings you just cant beat, air hose, grinder discs, etc. I will also say that Ive bought some pretty good tools at HF and I have bought some real junk. But I dont think it is you get what you pay for because I have done the same thing with all of the big names, if it is an electric tool it is a crap shoot.
     
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  6. jjtgrinder

    jjtgrinder JJTGRINDER H-M Supporter-Premium

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    "1 HP 7 In. x 12 In. Hydraulic Feed Metal Cutting Band Saw, Item #97009" was my most impressive purchase from them. I used the 20 percent coupon and saved about $175.00. The saw works very well, cuts straight and I like the cutting fluid pump system it has. I had to "fiddle" around with the automatic shut-off to get it adjusted. I recommend using a product called "TRIM C270" cutting fluid concentrate. Mix it with water (3 parts water to 1 part C270). This mix will not turn rancid, will not rust your equipment. About once a month, add some additional water, depending on how much you cut with the saw. About once or twice a year, add a cup of Trim C270 to the tank to compensate for loss. If you notice some rust on your saw, that means the "TRIM" is too weak in the solution. It is what they use in the local shipyard that builds ships for the United States Navy. I purchased the "Lenox Bi-Metal" blades on the internet from the BSBD.com. Lenox "CLASSIC" blades. They last a long time , I have cut stainless, high-carbon steel with them. No problem.
     
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  7. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    I need work with some stainless steel, so I decided to buy a 115 pc cobalt drill set. $80 with a 20% off coupon. I've used 3 of them so far seem to work as advertised. The quality seems to be good, and the grind looks good on the ones I have checked. I haven't gone through them to check sizes.
     
  8. Franko

    Franko Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    My favorite Harbor Freight tool is my 1.5 ton aluminum racing jack. I have a bigger one, but I use this one the most.

    Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 7.31.38 PM.png
     
  9. kd4gij

    kd4gij United States Active User Active Member

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    I have there original Alum. jack that is branded US General. It has been a great jack probably at least 15 years old now.
     
  10. rmack898

    rmack898 United States Active User Active Member

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    I have been abusing that same aluminum jack for years and it keeps on going. It certainly is one of the gems.
     
  11. Nels

    Nels United States Founder Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2015
  12. Charles Spencer

    Charles Spencer Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have one of them and like it for what it is. I have an older and larger (6"x49" belt, 9" disk) Craftsman sander. I use that for heavier jobs. The HF sander is one I haul out and set up for finer jobs. It works pretty well for me.

    On the HF sander the tracking on the sanding belt is a little fussy to get adjusted just right. Also you must make sure you adjust the drive belt properly. All in all, it works and is worth the money.
     
  13. royesses

    royesses United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Harbor Freight 4" x 36" Belt/Disc Sander. I have one also. As long as you respect it's size and power it is a decent little sander. You need to check all nuts/bolts/screws and adjustments first before use. I have it mounted on a HF grinder stand.

    Dsc_0342small.jpg
     
  14. kingmt01

    kingmt01 United States Active Member Active Member

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    I have one & while not great it is still useful. I don't have any problems with the belt rollers. The disc sander however has huge voids in the casting. I wasn't interested in it anyhow so I didn't install it. If I ever want it I might go back & Bondo the holes.
     
  15. kingmt01

    kingmt01 United States Active Member Active Member

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    I ordered two 10 FT. X 17 FT. PORTABLE GARAGE Item #60727 but got #69039 instead. Only problem I found was one of the pins wasn't drilled for a cotter pin. They seem fairly made. I also had one of the old style that was gray that lasted a few years. This one is much better built then the old style. I'm not sure how long the top will last but I may end up covering it with metal roofing when the top goes bad.

    IMG_20151220_195426_zpsgcbzsf2d.jpg
     
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  16. swatson144

    swatson144 Global Moderator Staff Member Active Member

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    I Have a HF green 4x36 belt sander from about 10 yrs ago. I changed the drive pulley to speed it up and I am happy with it. IMO the disk is useless except for jewelry making and is no longer installed to save space on the workbench.
    It is still a good value for the money for my occasional use of it.

    Steve
     
  17. Anthony G

    Anthony G Active Member Active Member

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    Since a couple others commented on the 4" X 36" Belt and Disc Sander, I wanted to add my two cents, also. Now, I don't own it, but I went to HF a couple days ago for a couple small things and checked out this sander, along with everything else in the place, as I always do when I'm there. They have it on sale right now for $59.99.

    Well, I wasn't impressed. The biggest negative I saw was in regard to the table for the sanding disc. It is mounted with a single rod that fits into a hole in the casting which, in turn, is secured by a single bolt that holds against a milled flat on the rod. The rod/hole fitment was sloppy to say the least. On the store display, the bolt was secured tightly and, because of the slop fit, the table was nowhere near square to the sanding disc. It's just not a good setup. It may be OK for free handed sanding, but that's about it I would say. I wouldn't expect accuracy with it.
     
  18. jocat54

    jocat54 Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have one of the HF 4x36 sanders, bought it while waiting on a drive belt for my very old 4x36 craftsman sander, needed the sander before the belt got delivered. It is ok for what it is and will do in a pinch. The belt runs pretty slow--never thought about speeding it up as swatson144 did (great idea, thanks).
    It sets on the shelf now--might look at speeding it up.
     
  19. hardwarz

    hardwarz United States Iron Registered Member

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    I bought the 10" drill press. I burned out the motor within 6 months. The chuck had a lot of runout.

    Instead of putting another item into a landfill, I decided to fix it. I replaced the 1/3 HP motor with a 1/2 HP motor. I made an adapter plate from a piece of 1/4" steel plate. I had to expand the motor pulley hole in belt housing, replace the step pulley on the motor, and get a new belt. I upgraded the wires for the increased amperage, but the switch was still within spec for the higher amperage. I also replaced the chuck.

    I could have just bought another drill press or purchases a used one, but the whole landfill thing got to me that day.

    If I had to do it again, I wouldn't; because of one thing... The head is not cast iron. It's some kind of non-ferrous metal.

    798a930965e36b5fd5ddc70da668dc34.jpg

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    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
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  20. hardwarz

    hardwarz United States Iron Registered Member

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    I almost bought one of the 4" X 36" belt disc sanders. I decided to buy the Ryobi one instead because of so many bad reviews of the HF one. After my experience with the 10" HF drill press, I thought I'd spend the extra money on the Ryobi.
     
  21. Nels

    Nels United States Founder Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    There are 3 videos to repair this machine:








    I have just bought this machine for $59.99 on sale now. I intend to replace the rollers, fix the table, and get a more powerful motor for it.
     
  22. hardwarz

    hardwarz United States Iron Registered Member

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    Is there room for anything bigger than 1/3 HP?
     
  23. Nels

    Nels United States Founder Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Part of the power issue is that the rollers are out of true, and they track poorly and bog the motor down. By truing the rollers with his lathe, the guy in the videos above helps end the noise and motor bog-down.
    Not having my lathe operational, I will buy new rollers of plastic (the rubber ones are too expensive at $25 each), and replace them. Then I will do the table fix he suggests to hold it steady.
    Having a square table supported by a single rod through it is a terrible idea. I'm sure you welding guys could weld a couple of supports on each side.

    The basic machine is cast iron, so I figured the basics are there, you just have to make modifications, like with their saw.
     
  24. hardwarz

    hardwarz United States Iron Registered Member

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    That's a lot of work to get it functional.
     
  25. markknx

    markknx Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I bought some 3" magnets from them and They work pretty good. They won't stick to aluminum but at least so far they stick on steel.

    I was thinking on getting a small 3-5" bench grinder from them to make a dedicated tungsten grinder. Not sure how hard getting new wheels would be. any likes or don't likes.

    Mark
     
  26. kingmt01

    kingmt01 United States Active Member Active Member

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    My orange grinder has been running for maybe 15 years. Only problem was the light fixture was always junk.
     
  27. GarageGuy

    GarageGuy United States Active User Active Member

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    Use these cheap HF diamond wheels and just make a hub sleeve to make it fit your grinder. They are excellent for sharpening TIG tungstens, and even carbide cutting tools.

    GG
    diamond wheel.jpg grinder.jpg
     
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  28. markknx

    markknx Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Looks like a reasonable plan. Thanks! Will take a little getting used to grinding the tungsten on the side of the wheel but I think it can work as long as I take care on the direction of the grind lines.

    Mark
     
  29. expressline99

    expressline99 H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I wanted to jump in with a tool I just used to remove a cone pulley gear. It was pressed into the cone on my Logan 200. The item: "Slide Hammer and Bearing Puller set" or Blind Hole bearing puller. It worked perfectly even though the ID I needed was slightly larger than it was rated for. I was able to expand the tool to work. So I give it a "PASS" grade. :) I did have to soak the gear in penetrating oil before using it but it worked great! Item number: #95987
    Plus I used a %20 off coupon so it was worth it.

    Paul
     
  30. royesses

    royesses United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have that set also. It has always done the job. A very good buy with a 20% of coupon.
     

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