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Rate the Harbor Freight Tools Thread- Pass or Fail?

rsting

Iron
Registered Member
Has anyone tried the quick change tool post set for mini lathes? I'mthinking of trying one, but ddon'twant to waste my money if tthey're just awful.
 

kvt

Active User
Active Member
well 4 1/2 inch angle grinder FAIL Twice, NOt sure what happened this time but it started smoking and slowing down, shut it off and put it on the floor. Guess I need to find me a good 4 1/2 inch angle grinder that will hold up. First one was bearings seized up and died. If anyone knows of a decent one at a decent price let me know.
 

pebbleworm

Active User
Active Member
Last time I needed an angle grinder, I checked Amazon and they had a Bosch for less than $30.00US. It has worked well, and arrived 2 days later. Always worthwhile to check Amazon since their algorithm occasionally prices things very, very low.
 

kvt

Active User
Active Member
Thanks, I got about 3/4 of the way through cutting up a axel so I could heat the pieces in my little forge, when it smoked. Put a kink in my plans.
 

Billh50

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
I have had good luck with the 4 1/2 " angle grinder with the paddle switch. I have 2 that lasted me about 5yrs with a lot of use. I also have had the ones with the slide switch ut they don't seem to last as long for some reason.
 

kvt

Active User
Active Member
This was one with the switch on the side, THe prior one was one that had the switch on the back, It at least lasted a few years, but not that many, The new one lasted just past the warranty only because I did not use it much for a long time.
 

Charles Spencer

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
Sort of off topic. I ordered a revolving four tray bin online:

http://www.harborfreight.com/tool-storage/part-storage/12-inch-revolving-four-tray-bin-94050.html

It arrived yesterday - minus the little plastic bag that contained the hardware. So I called them and asked if they could send it to me. After being put on hold twice, they said that they couldn't as they didn't stock the hardware separately. So they said they'd send me a new unit.

Now I have most of the items I need to assemble it except for 72 small nuts and screws. I'll buy some that fit today. I guess that means I'll get two for the price of one plus some screws.

So I'd give them a pass on customer service.
A follow up:

I had also sent a complaint via the web. This was the response:


"Dear Charles,

Thank you for your recent inquiry.

We do apologize, but the part that you need is not available as a replacement part from Harbor Freight Tools. Would you like us to issue a prepaid shipping label to have the item returned and replaced?

We look forward to hearing from you.
"


So apparently it's better to call than to use their web site.

I did decline their offer.

I also received an email today telling me my new one had shipped.
 

roadie33

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
I just bought one of these Threaded Insert Riveter Kits, http://www.harborfreight.com/45-piece-threaded-insert-riveter-kit-1210.html and am using it to do some mods on the HF Sand Blast Cabinet I bought earlier this summer. Just got around to putting it together.
The problem is I bought some of the Metric insert Nuts on Amazon and the tool only has the SAE Mandrels. I've found some metric Mandrelss on Amazon and Ebay that look to be the right size, but am not sure if they would fit this gun. I want to know if anyone else has one of these and if they found the correct Metric Mandrels that fit.

image_18300.jpg
 

juiceclone

Active Member
Active Member
Have to add this re: HF 4 ½” angle grinder. I never can leave something alone when it fails. Been thru 3 HF angle grinders in prob 15 years now…haven’t picked up a hacksaw since I discovered them.. Couple of days ago, my current one started to shake/wobble the cutoff disk so bad, I went out and bought another HF $14.99 one. Now I have two bad ones so, ….. took them apart to make one good from the bits. When I got to the main bearing that supports the shaft at the wheel (output) end I pulled the clip holding it (the “bearing” ) in and pulled in out of it’s bore. What I found was it was not a bearing at all. Literally made to appear like one, but it’is just a disk of steel the size and shape that you would expect a ball or roller bearing to be. The steel shaft rode in this steel …thing… and of course wore out till the shaft clearance got too great to ignore. Being steel, I wouldn’t even call it a bushing..The only lube available to it would be the thick Chinese grease that came in the housing,. Now this is the most heavily loaded rotating piece in this thing. I have to wonder if this is one plant somewhere in China just making crap and getting away with it, or if this is actually to specs from Harbor Fright. Or can something like this actually be an accepted “bushing” ???

HF fail.jpg
 

silence dogood

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
I just bought one of these Threaded Insert Riveter Kits, http://www.harborfreight.com/45-piece-threaded-insert-riveter-kit-1210.html and am using it to do some mods on the HF Sand Blast Cabinet I bought earlier this summer. Just got around to putting it together.
The problem is I bought some of the Metric insert Nuts on Amazon and the tool only has the SAE Mandrels. I've found some metric Mandrelss on Amazon and Ebay that look to be the right size, but am not sure if they would fit this gun. I want to know if anyone else has one of these and if they found the correct Metric Mandrels that fit.

image_18300.jpg
I was tempted to buy this tool until I found out that HF does not sell extra threaded inserts. That makes about as much sense as buying an ink jet printer, but the same store does not carry the ink cartages. I don't mind ordering them, but it would be nice to get the inserts locally.
 

roadie33

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
I checked locally and the prices were outrageous.
I ended up ordering the sizes I needed by the 100 on Amazon, and they were cheaper than buying 20 locally.
The problem I have is finding the right size mandrels in Metric to fit this gun.
 

BGHansen

H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
Couldn't resist the 25% discount coupon for Labor Day weekend, bought a 7 x 12 metal cutting band saw. Hard to beat a normally $900 saw for $675. I've only made a few cuts, would rate it a big plus. Packaging, fit/finish are very good. Manual is not up to Grizzly standards, but is very acceptable. I've read that the supplied 6 tpi likely carbon steel blade is garbage so I've got $100 worth of bi-metal blades on order. Using TrimSol for coolant which is great also. My first cut was through a 2" CRS round which took about 45 seconds. Cut was almost perfectly square. Really like the quick acting vise too.

Bruce
 

bfd

H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
I too have a HF close buy. I have some of their tools. 1 ton gantry crane, muffler pipe expander 6" digital calipers, If I was making a living with them I wouldn't have. at best all Chinese tools are a kit and need reworking
 

bfd

H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
42" red tool boxes (3) pass 1.5 tom alum floor jack pass jack stands pass. hand grinder fail not due to ability but lack of a deadman switch, Use with a wire wheel and have it jump off the part and into your shirt you can't just let go, you need to find the moving switch. bad, it hurt
 

Nogoingback

Active Member
Active Member
I bought one of the 44 inch 13 drawer roll cabinets several years ago: Major Pass. I have a couple of the old Craftsman roll cabs (as in 40 years old) and I think it's just as good.
I think I payed about $350.00, which is a lot of tool box for the money.

I also bought a couple of packs of metric and inch Allen wrenches off the sale table one time. They were 5 bucks, so I figured I couldn't lose. They are also a Pass: they've been
fine and they get used regularly.

'Course, tool boxes and Allen wrenches don't fail often, so I guess my chances were good.
 

george wilson

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium
I am surprised that HF Allen wrenches would be good. I have found that cheap Allen wrenches are too soft,and VERY soon fail,with their corners getting dubbed off till the wrench just rotates in the hole. I ONLY buy good brands,otherwise they are soon useless.
 

roadie33

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
I found the L shaped ones are good, but the T handle ones are prone to rounding off.
Took care of that issue by cutting the longer end off the L shaped allen keys, use 12" pieces of round stock of various sizes, drilling one end close to the Allen key size and silver soldering the cutoff into it then soldering a cross piece to the other end.
Now I have SAE and Metric size, very strong T handle Allen wrenches that will reach into about anywhere.
 

george wilson

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium
The "L" shaped ones are the ones I meant. I have a set of the long T handle ones,but they are of a good brand,which my old head can't remember right now! Elkind?
 

Fabrickator

Active User
Active Member
Some extra hand tools to keep in my trailer, 3- 4 1/2" angle grinders (one each for cut-off disk, wire wheel and sanding), power hacksaw for no particular reason except it comes in handy occasionally, horizontal 14" band saw, shorty angle drill, heat gun, and some other stuff I just use occasionally. Certainly not pro quality to be used daily in your occupation, but good enough for, wait for it: occasional use and the price is right.
 

Nogoingback

Active Member
Active Member
I am surprised that HF Allen wrenches would be good. I have found that cheap Allen wrenches are too soft,and VERY soon fail,with their corners getting dubbed off till the wrench just rotates in the hole. I ONLY buy good brands,otherwise they are soon useless.
Honestly, I was surprised as well. I had very low expectations when I bought them. The packs I bought are labeled "Pittsburgh", which is, I guess, one of the HF brands. It's interesting to
scan down through this thread: some people have good experiences and some are terrible. In my view, that's the biggest problem with HF or other retailers the deal in a lot of import stuff:
we usually expect a certain minimum level of quality from a retailer. With HF, you never know what you're going to get. Also,
I think that with the Chinese stuff, there is little consistency from factory to factory, and so different suppliers will deliver goods of different quality.

I had a conversation with an employee at Grizzly in Bellingham one time that was instructive. I was considering buying their 11" bench lathe and I asked him a question about parts availability
over the long term. He assured me that Grizzly tries to support their customers with parts, but then told me a story that suggested what the real situation is: Apparently Grizzly has a
representative in China who's responsible for working with suppliers over there. At some point, Grizzly stopped receiving product from one of the factories they did business with. The
rep tried repeatedly to contact them and got no response, so eventually he travelled to the factory itself to find out what the situation was. When he got there, the factory was empty and
abandoned.

Not trying to pick on Grizzly in particular here, but that's what we're dealing with. (I bought a old Logan in the end).
 
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owl

Active Member
Active Member
regarding the 4 1/2" angle grinders, mine started acting up, so I took it apart. The problem seemed to be that the brush holders are almost tinfoil thin, and the brush springs are not very good. I stretched out the spring as best I could, and bent the parts for the brush holder back in shape so that they locked together, re-installed 2 phillips head screws, and it works fine again. I suspect that if I had let it go, that whole assembly could have burned up, but I got to it in time.
 

Superburban

Active Member
Active Member
I had a conversation with an employee at Grizzly in Bellingham one time that was instructive. I was considering buying their 11" bench lathe and I asked him a question about parts availability
over the long term. He assured me that Grizzly tries to support their customers with parts, but then told me a story that suggested what the real situation is: Apparently Grizzly has a
representative in China who's responsible for working with suppliers over there. At some point, Grizzly stopped receiving product from one of the factories they did business with. The
rep tried repeatedly to contact them and got no response, so eventually he travelled to the factory itself to find out what the situation was. When he got there, the factory was empty and
abandoned.

Not trying to pick on Grizzly in particular here, but that's what we're dealing with. (I bought a old Logan in the end).
The same could be said about many American companies. How long is a good time period for a company having repair parts available? Try finding many of the emissions parts for any car from the 70's. Or any lathe made in the 70's. Yes, many companies will get you parts at an outrageous price, and a six month lead time.

I would think a company like Grizzley would at a minimum have the company provide them with drawings and specs of every part, so Grizzley could have parts made down the line, or give or sell the costumer the drawings, so he could make them, or get them made. Grizzley does have a great system for parts, but I do have a problem with them (And most other companies) not listing older parts, when changes have been made to a product.

I would love to see companies place their parts specs in the public domain, when they go bankrupt, but I know that is only a dream.
 

george wilson

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium
I recall that Sears used to guarantee spare parts availability for 10 years. I think that was a reasonable length of time. Years ago I had a LeBlonde Regal 10" x 24" lathe,made for the US Navy in wwII. Leblond Still had SOME spare parts for it even in the 70's. But,the trick was,they wanted ME to pay for STORAGE since WWII ! I thought that was outrageous of them. Let their parts rot on their shelves for all I care!! I sold that lathe.
 

BGHansen

H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
Was given a 90A MIG welder; would have to rate it a fail when compared to my Hobart Handler 190. Lots and lots of spatter because it's an AC machine instead of DC. My project today is to convert it to a DC welder with a full-wave rectifier and electrolytic capacitor. Maybe then it'll be OK. If I'd have purchased it new my total investment would be about $150 to make it run DC. Was just at Menards and saw a Campbell Hausfield with comparable ratings for a little over $200, assuming that one is a DC already.

Harbor Freight $80 retail ($60 on sale) welding table, big pass for me. Sure, there are better ones out there for $1000, but it works great for my purposes.

Bruce
 

alloy

Always looking for the next tool score
H-M Supporter-Premium
I've been using these Harbor Frieght extendable ratchets for some time now. I like not having to not have to take a short ratchet, and a long one in my small tool box when I go to the wrecking yard. I use the 3/8" to break transmission mounting bolts lose because I can't get use a 1/2" socket on one of them. I lean on it pretty hard and it just keeps coming back for more.

I give them a 10 out of 10.

http://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-x-38-in-dual-drive-extendable-ratchet-62312.html

http://www.harborfreight.com/12-in-drive-extendable-ratchet-62311.html small ratchet.jpg
long ratchet .5.jpg
 
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The Liberal Arts Garage

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
I recall that Sears used to guarantee spare parts availability for 10 years. I think that was a reasonable length of time. Years ago I had a LeBlonde Regal 10" x 24" lathe,made for the US Navy in wwII. L Still had SOME spare parts for it even in the 70's. But,the trick was,they wanted ME to pay for STORAGE since WWII ! I thought that was outrageous of them. Let their parts rot on their shelves for all I care!! I sold that lathe.
A good number of years ago ,the Tax People dropped the allowance for parts storageq
Costs--------Into the dumpster!--------BLJHB.
B