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  1. #1
    Jon
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    Homemade tools made with Harbor Freight tools

    Here's a rundown on some Harbor Freight tools we have listed in the encyclopedia. To get this list, I simply searched the database for "Harbor Freight" and "HF".

    Some misc Harbor Freight tips are at the bottom. Additional tools? Tips? Advice? Post in this thread.




    Some keys to getting value from Harbor Freight:

    -Accept that HF will never be the equivalent of a "real" tool supplier.

    -Work the sales and discounts and coupons and tricks. An inexpensive tool can turn into a ridiculously inexpensive tool.

    -Understand the difference between inexpensive and cheap. Sometimes the difference is important, sometimes it simply doesn't exist.

    -Be cautious with consumables. Blades, bits, etc. These need an extra skeptical eye. You don't "save" anything if one breaks at a critical moment, and they will usually break when they are storing the greatest amount of energy.

    -You usually get what you pay for. The upside is that this means that you don't get a 50-cent driver for $8, like is sometimes the case at big box stores. That 50-cent driver is usually priced accurately, for better or for worse.

    -Get your spelling lessons elsewhere. It takes a special kind of company to stamp a misspelled version of "Pittsburgh" into a tool.

    -It might be advantageous for you to buy multiple instances of a specific tool, toss them around, lose some, break some, etc. For specific tools, in specific situations, you could come ahead like this, and avoid the stress of monitoring a fancy tool in a certain environment.

    -HF might be best as a tool "platform". If you can buy basic tools there, and mod them, you'll likely extract the maximum value from their offerings.

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  3. #2
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    This thread made me think about the Harbor Freight rotary table that I modified for CNC use.

    I took some pictures and posted it here:
    Stepper Motor Mount for Harbor Freight Rotary Table

  4. #3
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    Another "key" Jon is buy the HFT's used, they are even cheaper then!

    Sometimes I've been able to get basket cases for penny's and it makes even less remorseful about modding it beyond recognition

    My lathe, mill, and 14" bandsaw were all used off CL. All of them had passed through several hands with some improvements, and some botched try's. The bandsaw was totally modded to become a dedicated metal saw. Dropped down blade speed from 3k ft per min to 110. And because I only paid $50 for it I could afford putting a good all bearing upper and lower guide headS on it and still be cheaper than even a used 14" HF or it's knockoff origin a Delta.

    Thanks for putting those up Jon. There's a bunch more though and just like U2oob I can fall down that rabbit hole for hours/days. One that I found recently and capitalized on was using a HFT cheapo drill press vise to make a small ring roller. Talk about a timely find! I of course had to modify it and have been using it extensively.

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  6. #4
    Jon
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    Nice one scorch! I'd be interested to see the 3D version if you end up trying it.

    Good call C-Bag. I gotta admit, I've never bought a used HF tool, and I don't have a good reason why. I just had a very interesting look on my local Craigslist. I did notice that the misspelling "Harbor Frieght" is yielding some good results.

    Also: "Harbour" instead of "Harbor".

    Homemade tools made with Harbor Freight tools-harbor_freight_misspelling_screenshot.jpg
    Last edited by Jon; 12-08-2015 at 10:02 AM. Reason: adding second misspelling option

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  8. #5
    C-Bag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    I did notice that the misspelling "Harbor Frieght" is yielding some good results.
    LOL! I don't even bother with doing a search, I only make sure the tool posting has a pic. There are LOTS of people bagging on HFT's saying their tool is better and asking close to retail $$. Of course they sit and post the same thing over and over trying to snag a sucker. Some don't even know what they are trying to sell is a HFT. It's tough trolling CL because about half the folks don't respond and half of the ones who do respond I don't trust. But there are nuggets for the patient.

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  10. #6
    Jon
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    I used to work Craigslist quite a bit when I was younger. For the good deals, I converted the results to a custom RSS feed, then I used an RSS feeder that checked every few minutes during the day. The key was to be first, fast, and professional.

    For the misspellings, I've found waiting is a decent strategy. At the end of the listing, the seller is just perplexed as to why he didn't even get a single email about the sale. Then you offer your discounted cash no-BS price, arrive quickly, load it yourself, etc. Really professional email or phone call, so they know you're not a scammer.

    Scheduling buyers to view the item at the same time is also a good example of using social proof. You see sellers doing this a lot.

    I used to balk at stuff like no pic, misspellings, bad description, etc. Now I see it as an opportunity.

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  12. #7
    C-Bag's Avatar
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    It should be noted, not all area's are equal. I scan from SF Bay area to LA and where I am midway between them is still the best. There is a LOT of small and micro manufacturers like myself here. And when they either retire, go out of biz or pass, their shops have astounding stuff.

    It can be tough dealing with the relatives though. I know what's a good deal and what's new prices. I'm not looking to steal it just not get ripped off. HFT's have skewed the market to where people expect those prices or less for quality tools. But like you mention, I treat people professionally and expect to be treated the same.

    My main problem is I'm working out of my two car garage and keep finding deals on equipment and don't have the storage space for the parts that I want to cannibalize from them. Right now there are two complete industrial portable automatic taping machines that were for sealing up pallet flats that the guy wants $100ea. for! Any of the components, 2" rollers, two gearhead motors, larger air rams, heavy duty castors not to mention the frames and guards are worth way more than that. My junkyard dog, CL/Ebay vulture senses are a tingle....but all I can do is watch. And drool.

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  14. #8
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    Unfortunately, my experience with Craigslist has been pretty negative, especially as a seller. People either want to steal something for ridiculously small money or they're outright scammers. When I was a kid in NY in the '60s and '70s, we had a local paper called PennySaver featuring local ads for all sorts of items, from used tools to cars. Nowadays, Craigslist seems to attract the same crowd.

    I agree completely that the way to get a seller's attention is to be prompt, polite, and professional. Those are also good guidelines for life, in general…

    As a buyer, it's always a challenge to deal with the fantasy prices to which some sellers cling, either believing their goods to be worth nearly new money or at least representing that they do in the hopes of finding a sucker. These are the same folks who, at a garage sale, will see something obviously worth $5 marked at $1, then offer 25 cents and be shocked and offended when you tell them no.

    Anyway…

    Ken

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    I have to admit, CL seems a one way street for me too. I've only sold one thing even though I've tried several times. The one thing I sold, the guy was great. The other try's were nothing but jerks and scammers.

  16. #10
    Jon
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    I had very bad "luck" at first, but did better after enhancing my filters and scheduling purchasers at similar times. I also think it's deeply dependent on geographical location, and the type of item being sold. It helped me to also make extremely clear to people that, if the item is as described, the price can't be altered in person. This disincentivizes them from thinking they can get their foot in the door with one price, only to alter it later.

    The advantage of low-class buyers is that when you act professionally and punctually, you stand out.

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