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Old 03-19-2006, 11:57 PM
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mccutter mccutter is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 8,598
Default Harbor Freight Portaband: Act II

cutter (not to be confused with "McCutter", my company), thanks for the insight on the HF saw as I had just bought one on sale with coupon prior to reading your post and it is still in the box. I'll be sure to perform the "pre-operation modification and maintenance" as described by you and others.

To JT Metalworks: good job on your adaptation of this saw. If I didn't have my MSC I'd probably create one of my own from your pics and info. Yours is certainly more portable than my MSC! You could probably sell a few "kits" right here on this message board with all the people that own one of these HF saws!

This wouldn't be the first HF tool I'd had to "fix" before I could use it. I WILL be buying the optional warranty though*. I had a brand new HF 21? gal. air compressor not work once I got it to the shop and out of the box. In hindsight, I should have returned it but that would have required a 45min. ride in wonderful Orlando traffic (one way) so I fixed it instead. Turns out, a wire from the power cord had a butt connector crimped onto insulation instead of wire. Simple fix and far quicker then returning/exchanging it. It worked OK for a couple months but man, was it loud! Then it started popping the built-in breaker after 1-2 cycles so I bypassed it with a house breaker which seemed to work OK. I wished I had bought the extended warranty with this one! It was a happy day when I replaced it with a 2-cyl 60gal. Husky (Campbell-Hausfeld, made in USA) from Home Depot (on sale for around $400). I think I sold it for $125 with an air-hose and regulator and full disclosure.

I also had their $200 ($169 on sale) horz. band saw and wished I'd bought a warranty on it, as well. After six months it started throwing blades and I adjusted it and shimmed it and replaced a couple bearings but it never really cut like new after that. A business I bought came with a larger MSC saw with cooling so it was another happy day to see this one go.

Not all the HF tools I have bought have been duds. I got about 5 years use out of their Makita-colored 4-1/2" grinder until it stopped working. If I could find the extra pair of brushes it came with I'd put them in and it would probably work again. As mentioned here by others, the gearbox doesn't seem to have any grease in it and there is one heck of a lot of play in the gearbox (from the beginning) compared to my Makita or Milwaukee. It was replaced by a $9.99 HF "Drill Master" which has been working fine for a year or so. I can't vouch for their orange machine. I had a Homier $6.99 P.O.S. that started smoking as soon as I started to use it and I wouldn't recommend one. A HF heavy-duty 1/2" drill with stirrup handle and another 1/2" hammer drill both seem to be working OK considering the limited use they get. And a metal flat and rod bender I just bought so far works good and seems to be decent and well built. The manual tire changer works in a pinch although it will make you sweat. I have mine mounted to a thick board and also the bender above. I also bought one of their $200 utility trailers (12" wheels) and aside from the red paint fading almost overnight, I've had no problems with it although I eliminated the folding and tilting "features" and added my own stiffeners here and there. It took a good 4 hours to build it so you might consider buying a pre-made unit locally or building your own.

Since HF has eliminated "free" shipping, I rarely buy online or over the phone. I'll make a trip to their store about twice a year and I am thankful I do because some of this stuff is junk and looks alot better or bigger in the catalog. They DO still have some good deals, though...

*The guy at HF told me that the warranty is only good for only ONE free replacement. Something to consider when buying the warranty.

TA Arcmaster 185 w/tig/stick kit
MillerMatic 252 w/3rd gen 30A
MM140 w/o AS, w/CO2
Hobart (Miller) 625 plasma
Hobart 250ci plasma
Victor O/A (always ready, but bored)
Lincoln Patriot autodark (freebie)
45ACP Black Talons for those stubborn jobs...
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Old 03-20-2006, 12:07 AM
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cutter cutter is offline
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Lubbock,Texas
Posts: 32,952

Well well - welcome aboard, mccutter.
And thank you for posting your location.
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Old 03-20-2006, 12:34 AM
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Tom Zachman Tom Zachman is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Dodge City Kansas
Posts: 7,921

Welcome & Thanks for the post mccutter.

....about Orlando's traffic.. I'm surprised I'm not still stuck in it.
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:07 AM
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1911man 1911man is offline
Co-founder, Harbor Freight 12 Step Program
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: west central florida
Posts: 3,223

Welcome aboard mccutter- hope you enjoy the sand box!
The older I get the more I know and the more I know the less I understand.

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Old 03-20-2006, 04:23 PM
tonycamco tonycamco is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 137

oh buy the way a geat sand box
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