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 Post subject: tool review
PostPosted: December 1, 2007, 3:00 am 
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Auto Motive, My friends call me Motive
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Joined: October 23, 2007, 11:56 pm
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Location: Spanish Fork, UT
I can't believe I've never seen this thread. Since my garage is full of HF I consider myself an expert on their crap, er tools. :D

I have a bench top mill/drill model #33686. I love the thing expecially now that I converted it to CNC. In standard form it did need some adjusting but nothing I wouldn't do to a mill costing 5x as much. The biggest problem was the slop in the trust bearings on the leadscrews but any experienced machinist can deal with that. Overall I'd give it an A- as some of the castings are alittle rough compared to a Rong Fu or Enco but still quite a bit cheaper. Actually lots of machine tools out of China and Korea are esentually the same as they are all based off of plans distributed by the government to boost the manufacturing economy. The foundry that poured the iron and the color are the biggest differences.

7x10 lathe #93213. Another great piece of machinery sold under many different lables. Its alittle small for some projects but still extreamly useful. After cleanup, adjusting, and lubing I give it an A as well.

horizontal/vertical bandsaw #37151. (older green model. new red one has some changes.) Had to do some work on one of the blade pulleys as it would woble and throw the blade. The stand is junk. HF blades suck. Other than that its been a great tool. Quiet and good cuts too. I no longer use my HF chop saw now. Bandsaw B-. Chopsaw D. (Vibrates about every nut and bolt out, noisy and messy.

Dual Mig 131 no longer sold. Added gas and its been real good to me. Welded lots of aluminum with great results. Its the only HF tool I have that has totally paid for itself buy welding intercoolers and aluminum oil pans for other people. My only complaint other than I wish it had more umff is the low duty cycle on full power. The fix is a large heat-sink and wire in a fan (already had the opening for one). B

4 1/2 angle grinder. years of use and hasn't died yet though it did make a horible screaching sound for awhile. B+

Now having said all this I will say that I like tools so I do take care of them. You can ruin an expensive tool just as quick as a cheep one by using it as a hammer when you can't find/reach one. I also bought just about all of it on sale or with the 10,15,20% of cupons they used to e-mail me. Does anyone know if they still do these cupons or did they catch on that I'll only buy from them when I'm getting a deal?

Not all of their stuff will give as good of service as the stuff I've bought from them. A word of caution about their stuff, If it feels like a cheap piece of crap it probly is. Look very closely before you take it out the door. Just look at their taps if you don't know what I mean.


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PostPosted: December 1, 2007, 12:00 pm 
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Location: Charleston, WV
Good review Motive. It's good to see another Dual Mig 131 owner here. I have it and the 220v 151 model I got for thicker stuff and so far in the first 6 months of ownership I have spent more time working on the 151 than I have on the 131 over the last 4-5 years. They appear to share the same case and the 151 has a fan. I didn't like the noises my wire feed motor was making on the 151 so I called customer service and gave them the part number. They quoted me $12 for the entire feed mechanism. I'll bet you could order the fan for the 151 and bolt it right up to the 131, whether it would run or not I don't know, I'm no electrician.

I'd be interested in hearing what your 131's setup is for aluminum as I have an extra 20cf tank I was considering using for Aluminum. Will it weld cast Aluminum? How thin of Aluminum will it weld?

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 Post subject: HF welder
PostPosted: December 1, 2007, 3:21 pm 
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Auto Motive, My friends call me Motive
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Joined: October 23, 2007, 11:56 pm
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Location: Spanish Fork, UT
I just used a generica electronics enclosure fan but it is good to know that the 151 shares some parts. I might have to look into it as I was thinking about wireing in another transformer to try to get alittle more heat out of it. Maybe the 151 part would work. I have a wireing diagram somewere for the 131 and I got to say that there is not much to a welder like this.

For Alu. you need pure argon. There is also a special teflon liner for the wire feed that your supost to use but I have never been able to find a HF part # for it (owners manual talks about it). The alu wire is so soft that if it has too much resistance in the gun then the rollers will make a birds nest. that is why you can buy guns with the wire feed at the gun. What I do though is keep the gun hose as strait as possible with no loops in it. Use a tip one size bigger than you would for steel.

Alu disipated heat away from the weld very quickly so almost all the welding I've done it at max heat and be prepared to move along the weld quickly. Preheating the parts with a propane torch helps ALOT. The wire melts back very fast too so the feed speed has to be set high. The parts to be welded also have to be much cleaner than steel and the oxidized layer need to be ground, sanded, or acid etched off just prior to welding. Those HF flap sanders work great for this. Also the wire needs to be snipped off after every time you stop welding as well as regrind the weld if you are going to continue were you left off.

I have welded both cast and sheet Alu from 3/16 to maybe a 1/4in. with great results. One thing to note is that on some of the cast stuff I've done like VW oilpans with cracks in them, there is junk/oil in the cracks that causes trouble in the weld. A welder friend once told me that alu is easier to weld than steel but ANY impurity on the alu will ruin the weld. I have found this to be true.

I also wanted to mention that there are several yahoo groups dedicated for HF tools that have tons of great modifications and stuff to really turn them into good tools. There are groups for the mill/drill, lathes, bandsaws and several others. If anyone has these tools I highly recomend checking them out.


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PostPosted: December 12, 2007, 3:40 pm 
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Joined: December 6, 2007, 1:31 am
Posts: 205
Location: Nebraska
If you are looking for a better bandsaw blade, consider the Starret bi-metal blades. Also, I have used these from Grizzly. They are a bi-metal and one blade lasted me through my entire buggy build. I have cut some 3 1/2" diameter round stock on my grizzly 4x6 (same as HF) with these blades, along with 1x4 solid bar. Actually, I still have one new blade at home, because I bought two after the stock one died and it has been on the saw for two years now. You will like these blades.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/64-1-2- ... lade/G5114


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PostPosted: December 12, 2007, 4:22 pm 
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It's ALWAYS good to buy two blades. Nothing worse than finally getting time to work on the car and having a blade break on the weekend when the stores are closed.

Also, even good blades can jam and kink. After that happens you may as well replace it then, since the kink causes mischief when cutting, and the blade will eventually break there.

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PostPosted: December 12, 2007, 11:44 pm 
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Auto Motive, My friends call me Motive
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Joined: October 23, 2007, 11:56 pm
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Location: Spanish Fork, UT
Starlett does make some good stuff, including some of the best bi-metal hole saws for those fishmouthing round tube.

I got some e-mailed coupons from HF the other day that reminded me of one of the best buys there... 1/2 in torque wrentch. Its only $9 with the coupon. I know guys that have gone through several craftsmans before switching and have never had a problem since.

Always remember to set your clicker wrentchs to zero when not in use to maintain its accuracy.


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PostPosted: December 18, 2007, 1:21 pm 
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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" Aluminium 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.

Save $80 on HF metal bandsaw!


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PostPosted: December 18, 2007, 3:39 pm 
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Joined: July 19, 2007, 12:10 pm
Posts: 46
Location: MTL, QC, CA
chetcpo wrote:
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" Aluminium 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.

Save $80 on HF metal bandsaw!


Now, that's not fair! Why is there no HF equivalent here in Quebec ! :cry:

-S.


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PostPosted: December 18, 2007, 4:58 pm 
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Location: Metro Detoit
I think the HF equal in Canada is Princess Auto from what I understand. Same chinese tools, just a different name.

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PostPosted: December 21, 2007, 10:53 pm 
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They have some very nice coupons this month.


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PostPosted: January 12, 2008, 8:55 pm 
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I should have bought this a long time ago, $69 on sale. Extra large viewing area really helps out of position welding. Adjustable sensitivity, delay, and shade #. Way better than the $200 helmet its replacing.

Rod

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PostPosted: January 12, 2008, 10:24 pm 
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Joined: February 20, 2006, 11:18 am
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Location: Lexington, KY
Mandurath wrote:
They have some very nice coupons this month.


Has anyone else noticed HF is not emailing coupons any more? I haven't gotten any spam from them in half a year or more. I put my email into the website again, but no joy. Can't remember the last time I saw a 15% off coupon show up.

Or is one of the spam filters just being overactive?

-dave

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PostPosted: January 12, 2008, 10:43 pm 
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I get them monthly.

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PostPosted: January 13, 2008, 1:10 am 
I get them every week or so. Although, it took me signing up about 3 or 4 times before I started getting them.

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PostPosted: January 13, 2008, 9:21 am 
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If anybody gets another coupon for the bandsaw shown above, please post it. I have the handheld. It would be nice to have a floor model.

I think with the greater acceptance of their products, we will see fewer and fewer good deals.

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