View Full Version : Harbour Freight Tube Notcher
12-05-2004, 11:25 AM
Wow I thought I was getting something for almost free when I tried the cheap ($30) tube notcher from Harbour Freight. And wow it worked three times! Appearently the threads on the end of the shaft that connect the hole saw and the drill are threaded in the same direction as the rotation of the drill. Hence, one too many catches of the hole saw on the work metal and damn if it didn't strip the threads. And I'm not even sure which threads stripped, it may be my hole saw or it may be the shaft itself. Irrelevant though, they are one fused piece now.
At least it was only a $30 mistake!
12-05-2004, 04:40 PM
I wonder if you couldn't repair it? They do have a 30-day warranty too, if it's even worth $30 to drive there and back.
12-05-2004, 11:25 PM
Recently my employer bought me a new compresssor for my road van. They decided to go to Harbor freight due to price. Furthermore, they purchased a display model. Needless to say, I am now on my third compressor and it too has failed. This is the twin tank engine powered unit. While the briggs engine runs well, the compressor pump continually pumps its oul out the breather and the unloader valves continually fail. For the amount of money they tried saving, ( about $150, over the cost of a quality unit) they have since spent at leat $250 in my time, sending me back to the store, replacing the unit, refilling the oils, and reinstalling it back into the van. Not to mention the lost productivity.
Crap, its all I can say. they are good for seldom used hand tools, but I would go no further with them.
12-06-2004, 01:12 AM
i wondered how those central pnematic machines worked, Now i know... I have a husky machine from homedepot and the only problem i've had was the line pressure gauge sprung out on me, fixed it easy though
12-06-2004, 11:42 AM
I have one of those cheapo HF tubing notchers and have had no problems with it. I notch 1-3/4 DOM .95 wall with a 1-3/4" hole saw. Probably done a 100 notches. I have had it bind up and even take a few teeth out of the hole saw when I got overly agressive with the feed rate. For the price I paid I'm still happy. I just couldn't see spending $150 for one that was supposedly better but looked about the same.
I do try to run good bimetal hole saws though.
12-06-2004, 04:42 PM
I'm not sure how well the return would go, I can't seperate my hoelsaw from the shaft. I might call them to see though...
And not too surprisingly I just had to toss my cameleon auto-darkening helmet from HF, because I think the shade intensity feature just went bad. I found a $30 fixed shade helmet that works perfectly fine.
The $30 notcher works ok for the price. I too had the hole saw stuck to the shaft. Exchanged with no questions asked. Upon inspection of the 2nd notcher I noticed the threads do not go all the way to the bottom of the adapter. (Easier to show than explain, but it is the adapter that is the issue) I now use a couple of washers to space the hole saw onto the shaft and it has been great for probably 25 or 30 notches on 2" x .125.
08-31-2005, 04:31 PM
On the $150.00 notcher the threads go all the way up, HF tube notcher does not. Be careful tho because if you tell them that you used a spacer between the hole saw and the shaft they will tell you that you did not use it right and refuse to refund you! This happened to my buddy, So I lent him mine and I fixed the HF one and also made it a little stronger on the base. I also pressed out the brass bushing and made a new one out of brass so it had less play in it.
11-16-2005, 02:02 PM
After reading the posts about the cheap tubing notcher from HF, it seems to me that there is one thing that is being overlooked by most, and that is, alot of items purchased at HF are not " purchase and use" items, they are "purchase, modify then use" items. I purchased one of their tube notchers and after just one cut, I decided that a modification was needed in order to make it work right.
First thing that was removed was the flimsy little piece of metal that holds the notcher to the baseplate, with one bolt.
Second thing was the base plate was trashed.
Now we're down to just the piece that has the notcher shaft, degree finder and tube hold down clamp.
First: Remove the hole saw shaft and where the hole for the pin is, that keeps the shaft from coming out (when not in use), drill it out and tap it and insert a grease fitting.
Second: Drill out the tapped hole that attaches the notcher to the old base plate to 9/16" and move back about 2-1/2" and drill another 9/16" hole inline with the first one.
Third: New baseplate. Take a piece of 3'x3-1/2"x3/16" angle 6" long and on the 3" side drill 2 7/16" holes approx. 4" apart and 2" in from the outside edge of the angle. Slot these 2 holes out to the edge. These will be the hold down points for the drill press table. On the 3-1/2" side of the angle, transfer the hole layout of the 2 9/16" holes drilled in the notcher plate, to the angle 3/4" in from the top edge and in from the outer edge of the angle far enough so that the notcher plate and the outer edge of the angle are even, BUT DO NOT DRILL. Drill and tap these 2 holes for 1/2" bolts.
Now assemble all the parts, but don't tighten the notcher plate to the base plate. Place the shaft, with the hole saw, in the drill press and chuck it. Position the drill press table so that the base plate is aligned with the hold down slots in the table and tighten down the base plate to the table. Last tighten down the 2 1/2" bolts on the notcher. Now you have the notcher setup to be true with the drill press chuck and the base plate is true to the drill press table.
Now when cutting notches you will notice that there is very little chatter and all the vibration that once occured, before the modifications, is eliminated. You will get a better cut without all the hassles.
I have built 2 mini sandrails and a few roll cages since I made these changes and will say that the notcher has worked quite well, with no problems.
Just my 2 cents worth. Hope this will help.
12-27-2005, 01:13 AM
... I purchased one of their tube notchers and after just one cut, I decided that a modification was needed in order to make it work right.
First thing ....
...Now we're down to MODIFICATIONS:....
Can you post pictures please?
If you have pictures but can't post here then let me know and I'll host them where I am a forum Moderator for Unimog tech.
Thank you in advance
12-27-2005, 06:53 PM
03-26-2006, 08:29 PM
I just bought the notcher!
I agree with coach...please post some pics of your mods because they sound great! I would love to do them to mine...:help:
03-28-2006, 01:17 PM
I haven't looked at this thread for a while and I just noticed that someone wanted some pics of the modifications on the HF notcher. Will get some pics and post them as soon as I get back out in the shop.
I've been working away from home quite a bit, so I haven't hit on this site as often as I should.
Again, I'm sorry for taking so long to return a reply. Will get the pics ............... Bill
03-30-2006, 10:17 PM
Okay guys, I finally got the photos taken and here's what I did, as for the modifications, to my notcher.
Photo # 1. I drilled out the 2 holes and threaded each to accept a regular grease fitting on both sides.
Photo #2. This shows the base plate I made with a piece of angle iron (3"x3-1/2"x6" long). I just drilled 2 1/2" holes and slotted them for holdown points on the drill press table. The 2 holes in the upright part of the angle were drilled and tapped for 1/4" bolts.
Photo #3. I drilled out the origanial 1/4" threaded hole and added another hole. Make both of these holes 3/8".
Photo #4. Sorry about the pic being out of focus. This shows a V groove cut into the angle. Well after everything was drilled and tapped, I found out that I had placed the 2 threaded holes down to far and when trying to notch at a 45 degree angle, I couldn't move the protractor all the way down to 45 degrees. To keep from making the same mistake, just raise the 2 1/4" threaded holes up further on the angle, when laying out everything.
When setting up the notcher on the drill press, I usually loosen up the 2 1/4" bolts, holding the notcher to the angle first, then insert the shaft with the hole saw in the chuck and tighten it up, then tighten up the bolts that hold down the angle to the drill press table. I then tighten up the 2 1/4" bolts on the notcher. This helps to keep the notcher from getting in a bind, just in case the table is not exactly 90 degrees to the drill press chuck.
The above modifications have solved the problems with vibrations and flexing caused by the cheap way this notcher was manufactured.
Hope this information helps everybody. ............. Bill
03-30-2006, 11:29 PM
One of the problems I've run into is I bought a drill press before I got the notcher. I got a bench drill press and not a floor standing. Now that I have the notcher it appears my bench drill press is not tall enough. You need something like 14" to set the thing up for notching according to the info. The box on my press says I only have 11" if I remember right. Will see. I've been setting up the shop this week but I dont have any benches/tables yet so that's not set up yet.
04-02-2006, 03:55 AM
Put the table top drill press together today and NOPE the notcher wont fit BUTTT... if you swing the press's adustable bottom plate out of the way you have room between chuck and base. You'll just have to put a spacer in to raise the notcher slightly to get full range of the drill. Will report back when I get this done w/photos
04-03-2006, 02:36 AM
Looked at mine closer today. I'm not happy with the potential wiggle factor created by the bolts used in the slots where you adjust the height of the shaft housing. The Bolts width is less than the slots so much wiggle room potential is there. Any thoughts on this? Should I drill and tap this out to a bolt size as wide as the actual slots?
04-04-2006, 03:18 PM
Thanks for the photo's, I plan to do the same to my notcher. Unfortunately I ran into the same problem as the coach, a benchtop drill press.
Coach...throw up some pics...
Thanks again guys... :drinkup:
04-05-2006, 04:46 AM
Coach, ......... I really haven't had any problems with the slotted holes. I just make they are tight and check them often. The problem that I ran into was the flimsy little piece of angle that held the notcher to the baseplate. the first time I cut a notch there was quite a bit of vibration and flexing of that angle. I knew right then that I would make a modification before I made any more cuts. After I made the new baseplate, that problem was solved. The grease fittings were added to keep the bushing lubed, for longer life. Other than that I haven't had any problems with it. Just remember, when setting up the notcher to make some cuts, tighten everything down in the order that I suggested in earlier post, tighten the shaft to the drill chuck first, then the base to the drill press table and last tighten the 2 bolts that hold the notcher to the baseplate. This way the notcher is always true to the chuck and is not in a bind. Since you are using a bench model drill press, figure out some way to tighten the baseplate to the bench, i.e. C-clamps, bolts thru the work bench, etc.
Hope this helps.;) ........ Bill
06-18-2006, 08:58 PM
hi all. we use the jd2 pipe notcher in our mobile unit..this thing has worked 3 years with thousands of cuts.......still holing away...have good hole saws...other than this we use a bridgeport in house....try www.tricktools.com ..good luck jim
07-01-2006, 05:55 PM
I solved the clearance problem on my table top drill press by inserting a piece of steel pipe in the existing support tube. In my case 1 1/4 galvanized steel pipe had an OD close to the ID of the support tube. I had to shim the pipe to compensate for the size difference when re-attaching the top portion of the drill press and secure the pipe to the tube by drilling and tapping through the tube and pipe.
Obviously, there is some practical limit to how much you could increase the clearance without increasing the size of the base but mine seems stable after going up about 4 inches.
I disassembled the press and took the tube to the hardware store to see if I could find a pipe that would work and got lucky.
Depending on how your press is put together this might be an option.
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