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Old 01-12-2008, 03:22 AM
mccutter's Avatar
mccutter mccutter is offline
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Question Product Review: Harbor Freight "SlugBuster" (tm Greenlee)

Product Review: Harbor Freight "SlugBuster" (tm Greenlee).

Actually, HF calls it a "Punch Set--Knock Metal Kit". {pic 1} I bought it several months back after I had just missed the "Real McCoy" on craigslists for $50. {pic 2} I figured for $17, a SlugBuster wannabee couldn't be THAT bad. The "real" Greenlee SlugBuster set is around $125. And why I'd gladly pay $50 for a good, used set. They are used by electricians to "cut" a nice round "slug" out a breaker panel/box, etc. And by other trades...

I rate the HF set at "?" because it has both + and - attributes. On the plus side is price and the fact that the end result wasn't actually that bad after a few turns of the deburring tool. {pic 3} On the negative side is that it broke very easily and I wouldn't rely on it day-to-day.

Of note is that both companies offer hydraulic versions of these: $125 for HF and around $900 for GL...

I needed to carve some holes in a "recycled" CRT TV wall mount/arm. The holes were for the "feet" of an inverter TIG I wanted to mount on it. (I'll post this project in Fab. soon). I was eyeing the plasma cutter when I remembered I had bought the HF "knocker". It took me 5 minutes to find out where I had hid it since I had never used it. It is supposedly rated for 10ga metal and I figured it could cut the 16ga TV stand no problemo. Marked and drilled pilot holes, started with the smallest punch (1/2") and almost got 4 holes done when the bottom cutter cocked slightly and by the time I "felt" it, I had bent the screw! {pic 4} I was able to get the last remnant out of the 4th hole with some pliers bending back and forth.

Now stepping up to the "next" size (3/4") and larger screw I figured I could use the ol' CP 1/2" air impact to save some time. The results are shown in {pic 5}. Cracked the cutting ram and boogered the screw threads a little. Going to the next size up (1") and by hand I was able to get all the holes "knocked out".

Of note is that the instructions warn you of sharp edges but these punches aren't sharp at all.

Summary: these are probably worth it for the money, but go easy on them--they can't take much abuse. If you are going to have to rely on a slug cutting device, I would go with the Greenlee and maybe have a set of these as "spares".
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TA Arcmaster 185 w/tig/stick kit
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45ACP Black Talons for those stubborn jobs...
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:25 AM
Bolt Bolt is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Texas
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I've got a greenlee set, 1/2 to 2 inch. Bought it on ebay, don't remember what I payed, but it was worth it. Use them often (but not like a pro), grease them seldom. Not a problem with them. Great tool to have around. I only use the greenlee ratchet to run it, no power tools. Well sometimes I use a 1/2 ratchet with deep socket if It is inside a box or something hard to reach.
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:26 PM
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terry lingle terry lingle is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Birch Island, BC, Canada
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I have three or 4 sets of greenlee punches and the 967 hydraulic drive I have thousands of holes on my set and have destroyed more than a few draw bolts but never a punch . The bolts get twisted when one side of the hole has an extra layer of metal . Great tools real time savers.
Life beats the alternative hands down.
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:43 PM
Bolt Bolt is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,267

Yeah, the studs do show wear.

Sometimes I think it would be advantageous to have the 3/4 inch stud, and shorten it up. If you're only doing 3/4 or 1 inch holes, the stud is very long, and takes a while to assemble and disassemble the set.
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Old 01-12-2008, 05:58 PM
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randydupree randydupree is offline
Why, Hell Yes!
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i have a pile of greenlee knockout tools for sale,small to big,with hydraulics or without,singles and sets.
what do you need? they are going on ebay soon!
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:19 PM
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Paychk Paychk is offline
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I sent you A PM

Ory-gun Boy!

Millermatic 200 w/ SKP-35 Spot Pulse Weld Panel, Tweco MIG-GUN #2, running ER70S-6 .035 wire on CO2, Spoolmatic 1 Spool Gun
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Old 01-13-2008, 12:40 AM
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Dave Lee Dave Lee is offline
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I bought a bunch of Greenlees off of an electrician that was retiring early so, they still have a lot of life left in them. I was never satisfied with the one for
1/2" fittings though. It makes a 7/8" dia. hole and for a 1/2" romex connector, that's too big IMHO. So, I made my own 13/16" dia. and use the screw and thrust bearing from the set.
I made it out of 0-1 drill rod and heat treated it. Works good.

Hoocha Momma!, who chop-id-da cheese?
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:04 PM
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capt-ron capt-ron is offline
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I bought one of these sets of KO punches a few months ago and it has worked rather well on circuit breaker boxes. Couldn't be happier with them. Always used a wrench or rachet and made sure that everything was lined up and square.

Lincoln AC/DC 225 tombstone
ReadyWelder II 10000ADP
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:37 PM
Fast Orange Fast Orange is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Central Jersey
Posts: 203

Just to clear something up from the original post-you don't need to go up incrementally when using KO punches.The force needed to punch out a larger size KO is the same,no matter what size the center hole is.My normal routine is to use a step drill to get a hole big enough for the draw stud for the desired size KO,then punch out full size,one shot.

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Old 01-14-2008, 06:33 PM
tom.jelly tom.jelly is offline
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Location: N. GA
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you can buy the cheap stuff twice, or the good stuff once...

new stuff for sale added daily at:
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