I was just looking at one the other day. It sure didn't look like cast iron, just laser cut plate to me.
Eastwood and Woodward sites say their 3/8" main body is "plate steel".
Harbor Freight says theirs is "cast iron".
I bought the HF unit yesterday with a 25% off of $149.95 (coupon on HF main site, good till 12/18/2016)
Questions: is the HF unit cast iron? If so what rod is everyone using...or does it matter, when adding re enforcing braces?
Not sure about the cast iron vs. plate steel wording, but altering HF tools is popular around here, especially the bead rollers. Some examples of HF altered bead rollers are listed here:
The Harbor Freight Bead Roller is plate steel and easy to weld reinforcing plate steel to. If you go to youtube, there are a number of good videos on modifying it for better stiffness, motorized drives, stands, better shaft adjustment for tightening, and several other areas. I just bought a complete gearmotor kit from ebay that has variable speed, and is reverseable comes with the wiring schematic, foot pedal, and reverse switch.
Best to you, Barry
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