HF tools that don't suck - Page 2
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  1. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Jawjuh
    Posts
    119
    My wife had been wanting a small air compressor to power her brad nailer and staplers she uses on her furniture projects. So, I suggested she look at the HF compressors and gave her the 20% off coupon I had received a few days earlier.
    Theres now a new HF addict in the house. She bought the little 2hp / 8 gallon oil bath compressor and LOVES it so far.
    "I need this parade like I need a hole in the head"~John F.Kennedy

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Yuma, Arizona
    Posts
    3,356
    SPARKEE!!!!! Listen, let me add a little SAFETY here for you. STOP using the silica sand from the orange box. First of all SILICOSIS is a huge health hazard. You should never sandblast with silica sand, I don't care how long some old timer has been doing it. It's bad news. Read the bag it comes in. Really inexpensive blast media is available at my local brick/concrete/rock yard in 60lb bags. I think it's called SharpShot. It is made from copper slag left over from the smelting process. This stuff works awesome! It is approved by OSHA for use without any respiratory precautions other than a dusk mask for "Nuisance" dust control. In laymans terms (and personal experience) you will have a bunch of black boogers if you don't use a dust mask. I did a ton of blasting and found that my leathers and a leather welding hood (soft) with a clear lens instead of a shade is perfect for blasting a lot of things out of position.

    Ok, secondly, (I have the same blaster you have), it uses a lot of air and your compressor will run a lot. I have an 80gallon tank. What I have found causes the sand to stop flowing easily is condensation. You gotta dry that air before you plumb it into a sand tank. Vibrating wet sand doesn't really do much good. The best way to do it is really expensive. Which would be a commercial dryer. They use a series of refrigerated cooling, membranes, dessicants. But what I did was cheap. I took the 1/2inch air line coming off my compressor, ran it to a copper T fitting, 1/2inch X 3/8inch X 3/8inch, I sweated two 50ft copper coils onto each end of the T fitting, then put another T on the other end back to a 1/2inch line and into my Filter/Dryer. I took a plastic tub from wally world and put the copper coils in it. Cover it with about 24 inches of ice. Start blasting away. The cooled air will condensate, hit the filter/dryer and drip out the bottom. The dry air will hit your sand and keep flowing. Works like a freaking champ. I have used plain water and it works, but ice works better. Ok, so I have an ice machine that makes 500lbs a day....so it's easy for me to say use ice. Even water works better to cool than nothing at all!
    But whatever you do. Stop using silica sand
    Lincoln Power Mig 350MP - MIG and Push-Pull
    Lincoln Precision TIG 275,Undercart cooler,Foot/Finger Amptrollers
    Lincoln Hobby-Weld 110v
    Lincoln SP-200 MIG and Hi-Freq Tig
    CK TIG TORCH, gas diffuser, pyrex cup
    Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 101

  3. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Yuma, Arizona
    Posts
    3,356
    What I like from HF is my sand blasting cabinet (The large metal cabinet one) But I had to modify it to satisfy my needs. I installed two halogen lights inside. I also grounded the cabinet to the light fixture box. Apparently if you let air run through there a while, the static will build up and zap you pretty good. The ground wire eliminated that for me.
    I like the 7" X 12" horizontal bandsaw, hydraulic speed control, recirculating coolant pump and enough power so far to cut through 2" X 2" solid draw bar stock.
    The 40lb sand blasting tank, but had to change out some valves that wore out kind of quickly.
    A bunch of casters that seem to work pretty well. Never replaced one yet.
    The pneumatic tires are fine. Just gotta fill em with SLIME. good to go.
    I also use the flat green garden cart with pneumatic tires. That thing is great for loading the ice chest from the truck to the camping site full of ice and beer!
    U-joints for 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch impact wrench have seen some abuse but never broke.
    I also used the heck out of the air chisel I bought at HF. I broke it by misusing it (Really was my fault), but they replaced it and it is still going today.
    Oh, the one tool I had to have and just could not fork over the money to snap-it-on tools, was a u-joint/balljoint tool. It's like a big c clamp that you can press things in and out with. I had to use it several times so far and it really does a good job at a mere fraction of the price the red truck guy wanted for his strap-on tools.
    If you know what you want and what to look for, you can really make good use of what they sell for the price they sell it for.
    PLUS HF is open on Sat and Sun.!!! Not that I am a huge fan, but hey, they did give me a free blue HF t-shirt for being so handsome. U can't beat that with a wooden bat and it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
    Lincoln Power Mig 350MP - MIG and Push-Pull
    Lincoln Precision TIG 275,Undercart cooler,Foot/Finger Amptrollers
    Lincoln Hobby-Weld 110v
    Lincoln SP-200 MIG and Hi-Freq Tig
    CK TIG TORCH, gas diffuser, pyrex cup
    Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 101

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Midland, Texas
    Posts
    1,202

    Drill Bits

    Normally I wouldn't consider buying HF drill bits, but I bought some large twist drills a while back because I didn't have any that large (up to 1"), and they were cheap. They are item #00527, Silver & Deming Twist Drills.

    I got to try them the other day, drilled some 1" holes in some 3/8" steel plate. Did just fine! Money well spent!

  5. #30
    I have a few HF tools, the ones that stand out are:

    A red paddle switch grinder from their industrial line. I wished they still sold it, it lasted me thru welding classes where it was borrowed by everyone . I wore out the original brushes and the second set is in now. Yes its still working after 3 years!

    The little 80amp inverter welder I got for Christmas 2 years ago. I've heard some people had problem with theirs, maybe I lucked out because mine been trouble free. Its the size of a lunchbox and used within its 80amp output, its great for small stuff. Being 120v and small Its easy to tote along where you just got a couple of beads to run.

    I also got a couple of HF's "drillmaster" grinders for $9.99 each. They bog down for grinding but fine with flap disks. I use them for clean up duty with different grit disks. Time will tell if they last. I can't ask alot from 10 dollar grinders

  6. #31
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    69

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    Just gotta be selective, I have a bandsaw, the large blast cabinet and a few other harbor freight tools that are actually pretty good...their #43430 hvlp spray gun is legendary (it's a sata knock off and the guys on the painting forums swear by them, I have one and it works great).

  7. #32
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    1,840

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    I have the following HF tools and they are pretty good with exceptions noted:

    1. The large HF blast cabinet, the 36" wide one that opens on the side is good. I had to eventually change the gun to a Snap-on because I got tired of looking around for ceramic tips or machining stainless steel ones. Other than that, it's great. I use it with a large vintage Cyclone dust collector to keep it clean. Oh, I changed form a fluorescent bulb to three incandescents, too.

    2. The 3/4 hp double-shaft buffer-grinder is great. It has an 8" grinding wheel on the left and a large buffing wheel on the right. 3/4" shaft and a 3,450 rpm motor. It's a real powerhouse. I sold my 1/4 hp Baldor buffer in eBay for $200 and bought the HF buffer on sale for $69.50. What's not to like? Oh yeah, you'll be needing one of their grinding pedestals with the water tray on the front, they're good too at $29.95....or you can get the same thing at Sears for $99.00.

    3. All of their consumables such as cotter pins, grease fittings, roll pins, O-rings, Internal and External lock clips, 12" sanding disks, 12" cutting wheels, 3", 4", 4-1/2" grinding wheels are OK too.

    4. The large Sidewinder grinder (can't remember the exact size) is a winner at $39.95, too. Those things are heavy but for occasional use, it stacks up pretty well with the Sears or DeWalt for five tmes the price.

    5. Vises: Somebody above complained about their vises but I haven't had any trouble. I have one of their 5" vises, the one with the black wrinkle finish and it's pretty darn good. I did make a longer handle for it, but I do that on all of my vises since they are typically too short.

    6. HF Mill Drill. People turn their noses up at cheaper Chinese tools but this one is a winner for me. I only had to do a couple of changes to make it work very well. The drive column has a pin in it that's too soft. I removed the column and pressed in a 1/8" roller bearing to contact the tools on the inside. It's still in there and holds the tapered tools very nicely. The 2 hp (rated) motor on this one will run on 110 or 220 but I left it on 110 since it works quite well and it looked like a chore to change the cable and re-arrange the switch. I typically run this on low speed for cutting and drilling so it's got plenty of power. It's been running for ten years now and still going. By the way, these things are probably all made in the same factory, even the "better-finished" ones that are sold by Enco, Grainger and other such companies.

    So, IMHO, HF ain't all bad. Just stay away from their Welders, gas or electric. If buying welding equipment, just bite the bullet and get Miller, Lincoln, Hobart, Victor or other name brand and enjoy!


    .
    Last edited by gnm109; 06-18-2006 at 10:51 AM.

  8. #33
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Iuka Mississippi
    Posts
    423

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    I have owned a Thermal Arc Dragster 80 and I recently asked my boss to try one of the harbor fright 80 amp welders for a few cases in which we need to go do a small job requiring a few short welds or tacks.

    The harbor freight machine has welded better than the thermal arc EVERY time. Plugging this into a 125v receptacle seems to make it even better.

    I have yet to tig weld with the HF machine but hope to in the next week or two.

    I received a HF auto darkening welding hood Friday. I welded with it all day Friday (10 Hours) and 6 hours Saturday. I LIKE IT . ESPECIALLY for $49.00.

    As a Huntsman hood wearer most of my life I was suprised by how light and comfortable it was. The lens is too sensitive for grinding but I can remedy that with a few modifications.

  9. #34
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    11

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    only thing i have is an auto-dark helemt from them. chaepest one at 50 bckus on sale (some are over 150) i've uesd it tnos and inm ndot bilnd yet

  10. #35

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    I have a lot more to add in a bit, I am working on a list. I think we all like to have positive things to say- so a few days ago- and OK, I know welders don't use this tool as a rule, but hey- I facetiously bought one of their $9.99 pneumatic brad nailers just to watch it fail, and I was really surprised. So far for light use it is working very well, it even came with a bag of service parts which could be taken either way- but there you are.

  11. #36
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    11

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    my neighbor has a concrete mixer he got on sale for i think $189 and so far it has worked great. i think when he gets done with the shed he's building ill try to buy it from him if its still together. i could have really used it when i put up a fence for my goats. mixing like 20 bags of quickcrete with a shovel sucks!
    66% of Americans think George W. is doing a bad job in Iraq. The other 34% think Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church.

  12. #37
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Lakewood, CA
    Posts
    796

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    I have been buying stuff form HF for years, but ususally for low-use projects. Any REAL tools you use for making a living should be higher quality. Some tools I have bought and have had good luck with:

    4" angle grinder (my favorite HF throw-away)
    cheapo mutimeter (I seem to keep my Fluke in the box)
    vise grips & other pliers and stuff
    small band sander (1 1/2"?) gets a lot of use
    pipe wrenches
    air fittings & hoses
    1/2 HP bench grinder
    a dedicated spare tool kit for my travel trailer that includes screwdrivers, socket set, wrenches, allens, assort. pliers , multimeter and stuff
    misc. consumables: tape, gloves, razor knifes, sanding & grinding supplies

    My REAL tools are Snap On, Delta, Dewalt, Makita, Hitachi, Milwakee, Porter Cable and of coarse, some Craftsman.

    Worst tool was a chop saw moblie base (about $50) that never worked properly and a weld broke the second time I set it up. Luckily, I knew how to fix that.
    Hobart 140 Handler w/ gas
    HyperTherm Powermax 380 Plasma
    oxy/acetylene

  13. #38
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    4,157

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    So, would you guys consider the $199.99 HF band saw or just go with the $329 Jet from Northern Tool ? I'm thinking of buying a band saw this week. I saw the posts and post referral to other links on how to fix the small "issues" with the HF unit. Thoughts, opinions???
    John
    - fabricator extraordinaire, car nut!
    - bleeding Miller blue!

    http://www.weldfabzone.com


  14. #39
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    69

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    I have the HF band saw and it is fine. The sheet metal stand is pretty lame, but the saw itself works great. I doubt the JET is a ton better, it's not like we're comparing HF to Milwaukee, etc.

  15. #40
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    3,174

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    About the only difference I saw worth noting was the JET had a UL-Listed motor. Haven't heard of any motor issues with the basic HF units, though.

  16. #41
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Lakewood, CA
    Posts
    796

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    Micro-

    I wouldn't suggest the HF band saw. I had one and had to change the motor after about a year and also the blade adjuster is made of pot metal and it cracked. I had to fab steel ones to sell it. I know JeET makes preety good equipment. I'd spring for the JET if I were you. I ended up getting a Delta.
    Hobart 140 Handler w/ gas
    HyperTherm Powermax 380 Plasma
    oxy/acetylene

  17. #42
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    4,157

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    Thanks for the replies fellas. From what I've read and gathered, JET is supposed to be a really decent brand in tooling. I may just spring the extra $129.00 for the JET unit. Again, I've read some posts and other various links on "upgrading" the HF unit and the time involved, it's worth it to spring for the other bean and a quarter. My time is worth at least $60 an hour, so I'm thinking it will take me 2 hours or more, to make it right, per the HF band saw correction links.

    One item to note: the HF unit only allows 4.5" max. round stock, the JET in Northern Tool allows for 5"...I do some large downpipes for turbo systems.
    So, this is my golden harp for possibly springing for the JET.

    Any other comments are still appreciated.
    John
    - fabricator extraordinaire, car nut!
    - bleeding Miller blue!

    http://www.weldfabzone.com


  18. #43
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Guam, USA
    Posts
    171

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    My buddy and i have had good luck with Harbor Freight Tools.

    Central Machinery 2hp 10" Bench Grinder: Worked good for over 5years but now the wheels need to be replaced and i am having a hard time finding replacements...

    Central Machinery Bench Top Drill Press: This thing is still going strong...

    Makita 14" Abrasive Chop Saw: This saw has run strong for over 5 years, but i think the brushes are starting to go...

    20ton A Frame Shop Press: good little press....

    All thses tools are where all ordered at the same time over 5 years ago and all but the bench grinder are still in use today....
    Millermatic 175 MIG
    Miller Spectrum 375 Plasma
    Lincoln AC/DC 225 Buzzbox
    M-Tech NE5 Tube bender with
    custom CNC machined 3/4" think main arms

  19. #44
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    4,157

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    Just an FYI fellas:

    Northern Tool has a deal on their brand of band saw, it is $159. Link here:

    http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...70_20885_20885

    This is mighty tempting but I think I will still go with the JET saw.
    John
    - fabricator extraordinaire, car nut!
    - bleeding Miller blue!

    http://www.weldfabzone.com


  20. #45
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    3,174

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    Since this thread got bumped anyway:

    Most of my air hoses are Made in the USA by Goodyear, and purchased at Harbor Freight.

  21. #46
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    69

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    Quote Originally Posted by MicroZone
    Just an FYI fellas:

    Northern Tool has a deal on their brand of band saw, it is $159. Link here:

    http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...70_20885_20885

    This is mighty tempting but I think I will still go with the JET saw.
    That appears identical to the HF band saw I have..down to every detail..(different color sheetmetal)

  22. #47
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    4,157

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    Seems like a great deal for those who want a decent price on a good band saw. I went ahead and ordered a JET. I would have like to save $170 but I hope to be happier in the long run with the JET saw.
    John
    - fabricator extraordinaire, car nut!
    - bleeding Miller blue!

    http://www.weldfabzone.com


  23. #48
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Midland, Texas
    Posts
    1,202

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    Quote Originally Posted by stomper4x4
    Central Machinery 2hp 10" Bench Grinder: Worked good for over 5years but now the wheels need to be replaced and i am having a hard time finding replacements...
    You can get the original type wheels from Harbor Freight online. They can get parts for virtually anything they sell and are good to deal with.

  24. #49
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    moncks corner, sc
    Posts
    454

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    someone decided they needed my service truck more than i did. so in a pinch, i had to go to HF and replace some tools fast. the company i worked for said there 1 milion dollar insurance policy didn't cover my tools on their truck. i ended up replacing 15grand of tools for about 1200.
    i had really good use of their 9$ die grinder and the needle scaler. also the 1/2 and 3/4 in sockets and impacts. the 3/8 stuff took an aww shcrap on the first nuts i put em on. the 3/4 torque wrench for 60 was the gem though. i was hanging off it trying to get 600 ft/lbs. cheater pipe and a front end loader to stand in helped that. all their metalworking tools, benders and rollers went to shcrap, but hey i was in a pinch

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    69

    Re: HF tools that don't suck

    Does anyone have one of their drill presses? Wondering if they are any good.

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