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Thread: Harbor Freight Tubing Roller upgrade

  1. #1
    KustomsbyKent's Avatar
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    Harbor Freight Tubing Roller upgrade

    Here's the modifications I made to my Harbor Freight tubing roller so I could easily roll 1.5" x 0.120" wall round tubing for a project I'm working on.
    Pittsburgh Harbor Freight Tubing Roller & Upgrades - Kustom's by Kent

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    C-Bag (10-03-2016), Captainleeward (09-24-2016), PJs (09-22-2016)

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    Jon
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    Your article got real interesting toward the end when it mentions what you're modifying that tube roller for. That All Terrain Track Chair looks awesome.



    More: All Terrain Track Chair (ATTC) Video Summary - Kustom's by Kent

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    Thanks Jon! It's a bit of a hint for what's coming, as I'm actively working on the ATTC project right now.

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    Ohooooooo, felicitaciones a lo grande, como tu trabajo...

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    Thanks KustomsbyKent! We've added your Tube Roller Modification to our Metalworking category,
    as well as to your builder page: KustomsbyKent's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:




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    I have the same tube roller and I like your idea to extend the lower rollers out. However, I am a quality assurance/mechanic/metalworker and I see some inherent weakness areas. This roller is designed upon the triangle principle and is very strong. By extending the sides out, without any support along the bottom edge, it will flex and eventually break. I will build mine so that the bottom edge is at the same level as the inside base support. This will ensure the side extensions get full support all the way out to the end.
    No flexing, no stress cracks, no failures. Just something to consider.

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    Hi Nixrox, Glad you like the idea, many others have also already done this, so there's plenty of documented success. I'm a mechanical engineer, and to check a design, I like to test it before it's fully welded, which I did with this. I had only 4 tack welds per plate (each corner of each plate) and then I put in the rollers and rolled my 1.5" 0.120" wall tubing to the shape I wanted. It held up just fine, which tells me that the stresses in frame are not excessive since none of my tack welds broke. I then proceeded to fully weld it.
    The entire side is in shear between the 3 points of contact, there is minimal stress in the bottom plate. In fact, the bottom plate from a structural standpoint isn't even doing much. From a practical standpoint, it helps stabilize the side plates, but there isn't much load being transferred into it.
    You can certainly add additional plates along the bottom, it won't hurt anything.
    The weak point in this unit is now the ACME thread on the center roller. One common upgrade is to replace this with a hydraulic jack, something I might do later. For now, it works great, it accomplished what I needed, and I'm already onto other aspects of the main project I'm working on.

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    Thanks for your detailed explanation and sharing your mod, project and methodology Kent.

    So far my roller has done everything I've wanted but I'm not doing roll bars

    In my application the mods I'm thinking about are guide rollers so the tubing stays straight as its rolled, guides to keep the center roller steady and adapting my HFT hand held threader to drive the roller. I don't see the adjuster as the hard work, it's the long traverses back and forth that get old. But that's the great thing about HFT stuff it's cheap enough where I don't have any guilt about modding it.

    I look fwd to more posts on the ATTC.

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    C-bag,
    I'm glad you found it helpful! Guide rollers would definitely help for keeping the tubing straight. I've looked at high end semi-automated ones, and they have those rollers.
    I have found that just welding a piece of flat steel to the end makes a nice reference point, and an assistant can help keep it from twisting then.
    This weekend I picked up 2 sets of roller dies for 1/2" square tubing. There's enough material there that I can turn one set on the lathe for a different size of tubing... maybe 1" square.
    I agree, with HF low prices, I feel no hesitation to modify their stuff!

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    Kent,

    Before I got my HFT I struggled with one we made at work. It was mostly used for rolling guide rails for box conveyors out of 3/4" conduit. I was never allowed to take the time to put some guide rollers on the home made roller and it made me crazy that it would have been so easy as the roller worked horizontally instead of vertically like with the HFT. Hmmm, writing this brought that whole thing back. In my case, I have more room for the rolled material in the horizontal than in the vertical, with the rafters and stuff in my garage. Funny I never even thought of that until just now, crazy. It would also be easier to guide if the HFT roller was on its side with just roller guides on my tripods on each side of the unit and let gravity do the rest. Why didn't I think of this before?? I guess I was just letting the original design dictate it's use. Your probably taller than me and it's no big deal, but as stupid as it sounds, your thread just triggered an ephiany that is totally going to change how I use my roller. My sticking point was the roller guides, not now.

    Now just figure how to adapt the HFT threader to drive the roller.

    I also bought a set of the square rollers and machined mine for 1 1/4" sq. tube. Worked great.


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