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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: February 24, 2007, 2:19 am 
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Joined: August 15, 2005, 10:13 pm
Posts: 7048
Location: Charleston, WV
Used my tubing notcher today.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=42324

What a total piece of crap. First try on my expensive DOM the brass sleeves slid out and one went down the shaft, one up. This resulted in way too much play in the fixture and a botched cut. I disassembed it, roughed the outsides of the brass sleeve/guides and epoxied them into place. Next time the cut went through, but was off center. Upon closer examination the "self centering" notches in the clamping fixture weren't welded in evenly. A half hour of grinding, reassembling, checking, grinding a little more etc. I got it to hold the tube straight.

It did the job, but barely, and not without wasting a considerable amount of my time.


I have to rank this one a D+. (since it did get the job done) Slightly better than my orbital sander that worked for 25 minutes and never again, ( D-since it was for a short period of time actually useful) and considerably worse than thesawzall that I could stall by hand (as in my hand on the blade) new out of the box. F-I took it back to the store and told them I'd exchange it if the one she brought me could not be stalled by hand. She brought me two and I made both of them smoke.


14'' INDUSTRIAL CUT-OFF SAW

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=44829

So far so good. It works OK on tubing but sucks at cutting bar stock. Angles are difficult to set but it can get you close sometimes. I'm giving it a C+. Beats the crap out of a hacksaw. Oddly doesn't work as well as the cheapo 6 inch chopsaw I bought there last year. (they no longer carry it)


DUAL MIG 131. 120v MIG(they no longer carry it) Gas or flux mig welder. Works suprisingly well with a regulator and bottle. Had to fix the trigger a couple times on it and the gas line in the torch once. (Typical for HF stuff) I've built roll cages and now a full frame with it and I'm satisfied. I'll give it a B+.

My $8 digital calipers have served me well. I should have bought a few of them. I'm giving them a A-. Since I haven't had to fix anything on them yet.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=93293

Anyone else have a HF tool they want to review for us? :twisted:

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Last edited by chetcpo on November 12, 2007, 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: February 24, 2007, 9:38 am 
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Location: Metro Detoit
I have a lot of HF tools, 1 because I am cheap and refuse to spend a ton of money on a specialty tool and 2 because there is a store about a mile from my house.

I bought the TIG welder they have and used it on my exhaust for my 240Z. It worked great and for a scratch start TIG it's been very usefull for other things around the shop. It is a bit hard to control the amperage, but once you get the hang of it, it does an excellent job for what it cost. I would give it a B. It does the job, but the construction could be a bit better and some instructions with tips would be great too. Also, it didn't come with any consumables, so you have to get them separate.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=91811


I also have the 6 inch chopsaw that you have. I was really impressed with it and how well it cuts. I think the issue with the bigger one is the quality of the blades they carry. When the big one spins up, I think there is a lot of blade whip that makes it hard to get a good cut. The smaller one doesn't have the issue. I give the smaller one a B- because I did have to retap the bolt hole for the stop. it just pulled out when I tried to clamp it in place for a cut.


The variable speed buffer/polisher/sander is a really nice tool for the $20 it cost. I did my whole Z with it and it came out great. I give it an A because it did everything it was supposed to do and I didn't have to fix anything on it.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=92623


I have the sandblaster cabinet as well. I am really happy with it. I've heard people complain that it leaks really bad and they it's just plain junk. I've not had a single problem with it since i got it. I use it a ton!!! It comes with about 10 of the glass shields, so you don't have to worry about etching the glass, the hopper and siphon gun work great, and the seals are excelent. Remember, you have to assemble it yourself. There are no step by step instructions, only an exploded view on the back page. I hooked up an old shop vac and it doesn't leek. It's big enough for almost anything I need to blast. I use glass beads (don't buy them from HF) and I can recycle them for about a month before they get too beat down. I give this tool an A.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=47603


I have more, but I will have to go out in the garage and see what I still use.

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Build sold to a new loving home. May start another one when I have more time to devote to it. For now I play with my boat, Datsun 240Z, and GS700 motorcycle.


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PostPosted: February 24, 2007, 11:37 am 
I have that same tubing notcher, but haven't tried it yet. Hopefully I have better luck than you!

A few years back I picked up their Horizontal/Vertical metal cutting bandsaw: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=93762
The biggest problem with it is that the blades HF sells are crap. 100% crap. I picked up replacement blades at HD which made a HUGE difference. They cut much faster and lasted longer. There are companies on-line who sell even better quality blades. The saw will cut steel, but it takes a while. The result, however, is a smooth and accurate cut - much more accurate than you'll ever get with a chop saw. I bought mine before starting to build the 2nd Hummer I made, which was made from various sizes of aluminum tube. For aluminum, it was fantastic. Cuts were quick and accurate. There are a few ways the bandsaw could be upgraded to make it faster and better, but if you plan on only building a vehicle the size of the Seven, I wouldn't bother. Based on the price and quality for that price, overall grade: A- Grade for the HF bandsaw blades: F


Another good product (for the price) is the 4-1/2" angle grinder: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... umber=3150
I currently have 4 of them. One for a cut-off wheel, one with a grinding disk, and two with different size flap-disks for sanding welds. I've burned through 4 or 5 of these in the past, but considering they only cost me $10-20/each, I'm fine with that. For the same price as all of the grinders together, I could buy one "high-quality name brand" grinder. If anybody is concerned with how I could burn out 4 or 5 of them and still be happy with the quality, the ones I burned out were destroyed while I was building a full steel Hummer and the all aluminum Hummer. Each of those was full size and had a LOT of welds and tube which needed dressing. While I wouldn't trust having only one of these grinders, the price easily allows you to have one or two ready for use with a spare waiting for it's turn. As with the bandsaw, the low price really pushed the grade higher than the quality alone would deserve: Grade: A-

Here's a luxury - a 48" Pan & Box Brake http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=45876
It works well for thinner sheet, but really starts to struggle if you're trying a full-width sheet in thicker gauge. It bends aluminum sheet easily. Overall, it's a bit of a pain to get set up properly, and I think I ruptured a testicle trying to move it, but if all you plan to bend is thinner gauge sheet, it works well. Grade: B-

Following is something you can NEVER have enough of: bar clamps! http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=46809
I picked up a large stack of sizes from 6" to 24" and they've come in very useful as you would expect. I've got a couple of expensive clamps which work the same and which can be released from clamping pressure more easily, those expensive clamps cost me $25 or so each, compared to the $3-5 per clamp I spent for these. The thing I really like about the HF clamps is that they're cheap, and if I break one or melt the pads while welding, it's not a big loss. Overall, I have nothing to complain about with these clamps. Grade: A

I have a ton of other HF tools, but no time to really go through and do a review on each at this time. If this thread stays alive, I'll post more as time permits.


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PostPosted: February 24, 2007, 11:58 am 
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Location: Charleston, WV
jmanz6 wrote:

I also have the 6 inch chopsaw that you have. I was really impressed with it and how well it cuts. I think the issue with the bigger one is the quality of the blades they carry. When the big one spins up, I think there is a lot of blade whip that makes it hard to get a good cut. The smaller one doesn't have the issue. I give the smaller one a B- because I did have to retap the bolt hole for the stop. it just pulled out when I tried to clamp it in place for a cut.

I forgot to mention I stripped out the set screw for the angle adjustment on mine and had to weld a nut on the back. I also cut down the "fence" on it to get more use out of a blade. (cheap batstard) This tool works great for the price and cuts solid stock better than the 14" beast.

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PostPosted: February 24, 2007, 7:58 pm 
I give the large chopsaw "blades" HF carries an F. I picked up a couple to run through my Ryobi chopsaw and was amazed at how long they lasted, but also at how freakin' long they took to cut. Switching to name brand blades, I found I went through them more quickly, but that I could cut a 2"x2" 1/8" wall tube in about 1/3 the time. The tubes on a Locost being much smaller probably won't mean that much of a difference.


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PostPosted: February 27, 2007, 11:20 pm 
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I second the HF metal bandsaw review per the JokeR . Get a good blade. Cheaper in the end than HF blades. I have cut 4" x 6" x 1/4" wall tubing for my Ewheel frame and just cut 3.5" x 7" x 10" aluminum for a new roll bender top wheel blank.

The "H" frame, 20 ton hydraulic press I just bought looks to be a nice tool. The materials would probably cost more than 2/3 of the retail price.

The power hand tools can't be beat. I've got 3 or 4 years on some angle grinders.

Pick up the pneumatic riveter when on sale, makes rivet installation much more pleasant.


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PostPosted: February 28, 2007, 12:26 am 
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Location: Charleston, WV
JonW wrote:
I second the HF metal bandsaw review per the JokeR . Get a good blade. Cheaper in the end than HF blades. I have cut 4" x 6" x 1/4" wall tubing for my Ewheel frame and just cut 3.5" x 7" x 10" aluminum for a new roll bender top wheel blank.

The "H" frame, 20 ton hydraulic press I just bought looks to be a nice tool. The materials would probably cost more than 2/3 of the retail price.

The power hand tools can't be beat. I've got 3 or 4 years on some angle grinders.

Pick up the pneumatic riveter when on sale, makes rivet installation much more pleasant.


They are on sale now for like $25. MY BIL insisted on getting me something for my birthday so I sent him to HF for that riviter. :twisted:

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PostPosted: May 7, 2007, 2:42 pm 
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I have the HF cuttoff wheel and I think its worthless for angles. The body of the saw gets in the way. I use it for straight cuts and thats about it. I don't have trouble cutting with it though. I cut up my diff with it and thats about 2'in of solid cast steel. I give it a B for a chopper but for angle work I give it a D


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PostPosted: May 7, 2007, 5:16 pm 
the JoKeR wrote:
Following is something you can NEVER have enough of: bar clamps! http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=46809
I picked up a large stack of sizes from 6" to 24" and they've come in very useful as you would expect. I've got a couple of expensive clamps which work the same and which can be released from clamping pressure more easily, those expensive clamps cost me $25 or so each, compared to the $3-5 per clamp I spent for these. The thing I really like about the HF clamps is that they're cheap, and if I break one or melt the pads while welding, it's not a big loss. Overall, I have nothing to complain about with these clamps. Grade: A


I'm not a fan of those clamps. They don't tighten enough for me and I've broken a couple. One good $25 clamp is better than $25 worth of these in my opinion. Killer deal, hard to pass up, should have passed it up.

I use HF HVLP paint guns. I'm no pro painter, but I've been very happy with them so far. The spark plug cleaner is a gem. My bench grinder isn't great, it's not well balanced but I might try some new wheels before I complain too much about it.


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PostPosted: May 7, 2007, 7:54 pm 
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Posts: 214
Location: Mesa, AZ
The HF electric impact gun is the best purchase I made there. Be sure to get the wired model, but it has stood up to some major punishment and as others have said, by now I've gotten my moneys worth and if it pisses out then no big loss. I give it an A for value. Do not waste your time with HF hand tools though (i think most people know this), you'll round off more nuts and bust more knuckles than you can imagine. They have nice bench vices and c-clamps, both are an indispensable tool to have with our projects.

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PostPosted: May 13, 2007, 12:10 pm 
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Location: ohio
Soldering Iron - $7 on sale. B works well, just don't keep your finger on the trigger too long or you'll burn their cheap tips in half. pick up some name brand (weller) tips @ a real store and you are good to go.

3/8 drive air ratchet - $14 on sale. F- it worked great for 30 seconds then the gears blew up.

20# Blasting Cabinet - $299/$200 on sale B+. Works well, but get real tips for the gun. the porcelain ones blast through in short time. the light bulb burned out in 2 weeks. when assembling, at all seams where they use the foam seal, add some RTV or sand will come out the seams.

Cable cutters $4 on sale - B For cutting battery cables and other large wires. I give them a B because i have a pair of fuller ones that cut easier, but for $4 they are excellent.

i will never buy a power tool, air tool, wrenches, ratchets, etc... there. but it's hard for them to screw up a press, cherrypicker, and other stuff that is just a bunch of steel with a bottle jack.


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PostPosted: May 25, 2007, 12:10 pm 
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http://www.harborfreightusa.com/usa/ema ... tailB.html

Folding shop crane on sale for under $100.

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PostPosted: May 25, 2007, 1:08 pm 
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pat wrote:
i will never buy a power tool, air tool, wrenches, ratchets, etc... there. but it's hard for them to screw up a press, cherrypicker, and other stuff that is just a bunch of steel with a bottle jack.


I bought some of my air tools there. For as little as I use them, none have broken, so for me, they have worked fine. It's all about how much you use them. If I was a professional mechanic, I wouldn't touch anything HF makes.

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PostPosted: May 25, 2007, 2:45 pm 
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I have used the crap out of my HF air tools with no issues. I don't treat them very nice either and they have yet to let me down. I can get 2-3 of their die grinders for what it would cost for an expensive one and I haven't even used up my first one yet. It's been about 3 years now. I bought a couple die grinders for the shop at work from HF when they had them for $9. If the guys destroy them it's no big deal. They won't use them that much, so I couldn't see spending Snap-On money for a tool that only gets occasional use. You have to remember that just because your tools are made in the USA doesn't mean they are better, just means they cost more. For most shadetree mechanics like us, the cheap tools do what we need at a price we are willing to pay.

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Build sold to a new loving home. May start another one when I have more time to devote to it. For now I play with my boat, Datsun 240Z, and GS700 motorcycle.


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PostPosted: May 25, 2007, 3:23 pm 
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Chetcpo, I was looking at that same crane this AM. It looked good. Is it strong enough to lift Miata motors??? With the boom out to the max it will only do 500 lbs. I havent pulled a motor in almost 40 years. I know the miata motor is less but what about motor and trans. Also do you need to go out to the max to pull a motor or can you shorten the beam? The 2 ton also looked good but twice the price. Russ


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