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Thread: Harbor Freight Drill Press quick hack

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    Weekend Warrior Welding's Tools

    Harbor Freight Drill Press quick hack

    My Harbor Freight drill press has been giving me problems (no surprise there). It would stop drilling through just about everything and when I tried to adjust the tension on the motor/belt/pulleys, it didn't help. I figured out a little trick that takes just a few seconds to do. I'm sure it's not OSHA approved or anything like that, but it will definitely help you while you work on a more permanent fix. If you have some ideas on how to permanently fix it, please leave a comment on the video. Also, if you like the video, please subscribe to my channel for more like this one. Thanks!

    Please check out my other videos on https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5V...gjS9S2bTVgMbHQ

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to Weekend Warrior Welding For This Useful Post:

    Christofix (07-04-2019)

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    Thanks Weekend Warrior Welding! We've added your Drill Press Belt Tension Hack to our Drilling and Drill Presses category,
    as well as to your builder page: Weekend Warrior Welding's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:




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    Weekend Warrior Welding's Tools
    Thank you for the MUCH MUCH better description than I came up with.

    Happy 4th!!!
    Please check out my other videos on https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5V...gjS9S2bTVgMbHQ

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    Supporting Member TrickieDickie's Avatar
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    Its a friction issue. Either the belts are too narrow or the pulley v-groves are too wide. The belts are probably bottoming out on the pulley base. Made in china anything is possible. I see fraying on the belts.

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    Supporting Member piper184's Avatar
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    All you need to do to fix this is tighten the belt between the motor and the intermediate pulley. The machine is designed to do this.
    See the little two winged thumb screw just ahead of the motor? That tightens down onto a round shaft that slides through the piece that the thumb screw goes through.
    To adjust the belt tension, loosen the thumb screw, slide the motor back and re-tighten the thumb screw. Walla! fixed.
    Now, that being said, these designs leave a little to be desired.
    First it is pretty hard to get the thumb screw tight enough to keep the motor slide from slipping.
    Second, it is difficult to move the motor enough by hand to get the belt tight.
    Third it is even harder to hold the motor in place while you tighten down the thumb screw.

    My solution is to use a pry bar of some kind to give a leverage advantage to moving and holding the motor. You can use pliers on the thumb screw or replace it with a hex head bolt so you can get more torque on it to keep it from slipping.

    You should be loosening this thumb screw each time you change speeds. It makes moving the belts much easier once the tension is off of them.

    Your procedure will definitely wear the belt out faster than normal

    Something else to look out for: On my HF drill press the nut on the spindle pulley came loose and even though the belts were all tight the spindle was slipping. Tightened the nut and all is well.

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    I believe the machine has a tension adjustment - usually on these it is the motor mount bolts.

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    Supporting Member piper184's Avatar
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    From the owners manual:

    Harbor Freight Drill Press quick hack-adjust.jpg
    Last edited by piper184; 07-03-2019 at 06:18 PM.

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    I think that due to wear on the pulleys and belts you have run out of adjustment. To rectify this fault pack out the motor mounting bolts with washers to tighten the belts. I worked for me.

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    Supporting Member TrickieDickie's Avatar
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    Hmm, I took for granted the obvious tension adjustments were done. Speed adjustments are necessary for drill bit size.

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    I have a similar drill press; you are correct the speed needs to be adjusted to suit every change in drill diameter. This entails slacking the belts, selecting the new appropriate pulleys then retensioning the belts as described in the manual. If sufficient tension can't be obtained, my suggestion is to: dismount the motor, insert washers between the motor and its mounting, refit the four bolts and the motor can now be repositioned further away to apply more tension.
    If the drill press is run as described with the belt out of alignment, the wear on both the pulleys and the belt will increase resulting in slack belts again and slippage.
    Sorry for not making this more clear in my last attempt.

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