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Harbor Freight English Wheel.. can it be fixed?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by zman, May 14, 2007.

  1. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,508

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    So I hate Harbor Freight. You can read about it in multiple posts on here. But I caved. I knew it was going to be a piece of Chinese crap but yet I ordered one. I figured that the cost of steel and the anvils made it worth it. Now I'm setting on the path to fixing the damn thing. I'm gonna track the hours and the amount of material I use to fix it. And we'll see if it's really worth it or I should have bought a good one off the get go...

    There are definately some issues with it... The wheel and the bottom anvil are way out of alignment. The frame flexes way to much. The quality of the welds is questionable at best. It's gonna take some work.

    First thing I'm gonna so is to document what is wrong with it. Then get to fixing it....

    You can see some of the issues from the attached pics....
     

    Attached Files:

  2. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,508

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

  3. Aman
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,523

    Aman
    Member
    from Texas

    It seems like every piece of metal working equipment that comes out of that place has to be retrofitted some how. The last thing I bought from those communist bastards was a sand blaster that lasted 10 minutes(I swear) before it caved. I took it back and was told that I need to go to Home Depot...they have the parts you'll need. Needless to say, I didn't go to HD and I got my money back. I have only been in there one time in the last five months and see anything I needed/wanted. I felt like I was at the fleece market in Mexico. If everyone on the HAMB would stop buying their junk and convince other to do the same, it would put a significant dent in there business. Good luck..I wouldn't waste a lot of time on it...we all know it's junk.
     
  4. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,508

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    It's more of an experiment than anything. And like I said, if you had read through the post, I don't like them, this is the first thing I've bought from them in 5 years. So take a deep breath already...
     
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  5. synthsis
    Joined: Mar 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,899

    synthsis
    Member

    not going back onto those previous threads but I will say that HF has a place, be it a small one, in our world. I'm new to the game. My brother just recently moved his fully stocked full of junk tool box out of my garage to his house. That leaves me with many holes to fill with little nonsense-electrical connectors, heat shrink wrap, C Clamps, razor knives, socket extenders, you get the idea. Now I do well for myself but I'm not in a position to go out to Home Depot, Snap On, Matco, etc and buy every little thing he took with him but I do need these things in my daily garage adventures. that's all.
     
  6. tinmann
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 1,578

    tinmann
    Member

    I am currently building a small E Wheel for high school metal shop (which I teach). Actually, I'm lying...... I've got 3 grade 12 students building it. When I built my own full sized version years ago, I looked at all the guys fixing the top wheel yoke directly to the frame fixture. I thought there was something wrong with that approach. So I went with 2 half inch plates bolted together so that fine tuning of top and bottom wheel could be done with shims between the two plates..... worked like a charm. One plate welded to the big frame, one welded to the yoke. I plan for the boys to do the same thing.
     
  7. Aman
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,523

    Aman
    Member
    from Texas

    Why don't you just take it back and get your money back?
     
  8. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,508

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    Why don't you just shut the fuck up? :eek:


    Much better, actual constructive post... I'd be much happier with some adjustability right now. Look at the pic with the straight line to see how much these things are off. It's gonna take some work, but I think it can be made better, will it be worth it? Depends on time and materials... Plus it's a learning experience for a couple of others to show them how much it takes to fix crap...
     

    Attached Files:

  9. 61 chevy
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 892

    61 chevy
    Member

    its got a nice paint job on it:rolleyes:
     
  10. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,083

    Malcolm
    Member
    from Nebraska

    Hey zman, thanks for sharing this with us. It will be very interesting to see what it takes you to make this thing right.

    Malcolm
     
  11. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,508

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    Yeah there are a couple of guys around here that love the cheap crap from there. I figured I'd spend a little time and see what it takes... One of the things that will be interesting is to see what it looks like with that nice paint job gone.....
     
  12. Muttley
    Joined: Nov 30, 2003
    Posts: 17,995

    Muttley
    Member

    HAHAHAHA......................why dont you tell him how you really feel? Do I sense a Groucho vs. Hon style steel cage death match in the near future?
     
  13. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,508

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    Nah... I might come off as a grump. No cage match either, steel is to expensive right now...
     
  14. Flathead Youngin'
    Joined: Jan 10, 2005
    Posts: 3,530

    Flathead Youngin'
    Member

    I wouldn't buy anything off of.....blah, blah......why is it everyone wants to turn threads into, "Well, I think....."

    This isn't an "I think" thread.....he's going to try and take a mediocre tool and make it good at an affordable price.....just like the bead rollers that have been done before..

    Good of ya, Zman, I've been curious about this thing.....
     
  15. 39 Ford
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,558

    39 Ford
    Member

    I think it can be improved to work quite well with a little effort. Being old and retired with no-one to leave my tools to ( my 19 year old son is Autistic) I buy some things from HF such as thier clamping pliers which are 1/4 the price of Irwin and will last me as long as I need them. Looking carefully and being prepared to fine tune thier tools is part of the cheep price.
     
  16. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,508

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    I have some ideas for the top wheel. Some steel plate and such. I think the hardest part may be fixing the anvil and the adjustment mechanism. That seems to be the weakest point. Sloppy too...
     
  17. i agree, the srb i bought some time back, and modified, works great. along with the bead roller. and i think aman shut the fuck up. the hf cut off wheels are hard to beat.
     
  18. Harms Way
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 6,786

    Harms Way
    Member

    Hey zman,

    I will look forward to watching this post,....... thanks for the effort.
     
  19. 72sst
    Joined: Nov 24, 2006
    Posts: 428

    72sst
    Member

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zman [​IMG]
    Why don't you just shut the fuck up? :eek:



     
  20. Aman
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,523

    Aman
    Member
    from Texas

    Geez, was it something I said?:D
     
  21. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,508

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    It might have been. :D I knew going into this that it sucked. Now when I'm done and I count up the hours and the materials we can see if it's worth it or not. But there are a few locals that this is squarely aimed at. I also know that there are a few on here that will benefit.

    I know the bead roller was not gonna be cost effective for me. I know I wanted power and the option of just calling up and ordering dies. So I wouldn't have even tried with it...
     
  22. I also know that there are a few on here that will benefit.

    ME!
     
  23. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,508

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    I'm looking at like buying a car. Do you buy the rusty one that you know is gonna need a bunch of body work? Or do you buy the one with the straight body but costs a bit more? Is the difference worth it. Now I'm not a huge fan of body work so I try and make the choice of the straight car.
     
  24. tinmann
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 1,578

    tinmann
    Member

    If your adjuster is sloppy, it needs to be tossed. I made my adjuster from an old hydraulic ram. I cut off the plunger end and centre drilled the stub. I turned the end of a piece of acme thread to fit the newly drilled hole and tig welded the two together. This gave me a very rigid, precise adjuster.
     
  25. Rusty
    Joined: Mar 4, 2004
    Posts: 9,367

    Rusty
    Member

    I wil be following this, even with the slight offset I think it would be better than using my different size spare tires that i have used in the past.Good luck

    Rusty
     
  26. I was talking with a guy at the Houston Home Metal Shop Club meeting Saturday, he got one of these and said on his, the wheels weren't too bad. Everyone who has read my rants against China Fright knows how I feel; that said, I am curious as to how this will come out, and will be watching closely.

    Last year, the Home Shop Machinist magazine ran a series in which a fellow built an English wheel, complete with drawings and a bill of materials. This machine had a power feed, and could also be used as a bead roller. A pretty extensive fabrication project, but you may want to look into it for a few ideas. I could scan the articles if you are interested.
     
  27. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 13,070

    scootermcrad
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Zman...

    I just want to say I think this is a good thing you're doing. I personally am excited to see what you come up with. I think it's a great experiment and look forward to seeing the numbers on what it took to get it right. Most people around this forum are looking for ways of saving money so they can buy more cool parts for their build. Some of us don't need a $4000 E-wheel to do a couple small panels. Of course it would be AWESOME to have one, but on the hobby level where you're only doing a few small things, a beefed up china freight e-wheel might be a more realistic solution.

    I say press on. If people don't like the idea, they don't have to read about it. Good luck!

    Scooter
     
  28. MIKE-3137
    Joined: Feb 19, 2003
    Posts: 1,578

    MIKE-3137
    Member

    I'm real curious too, I'd like to have an e wheel to learn with, but it doesnt make sense to pay big money for one with as little use as I would give it.
     
  29. LDGn63
    Joined: Jan 27, 2005
    Posts: 433

    LDGn63
    Member

    hurry up already!
    ;-)
    Thanks!
     
  30. Rem
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,255

    Rem
    Member

    If you end up with a cheap frame and wheels, plus your improvements, it will hopefully be worth it in the end. Those two flat plates mounting the top wheel certainly look like they need some bracing!

    I try and avoid buying Chinese stuff if at all possible, but it is the only way to afford some things, and other times you get no choice anyway (try and find a camera or camcorder that isn't 'Made in China', what ever the brand).

    Since my employers started getting our products made in China we have been kept busy rectifying their efforts, and even had to buy a dirt-cheap Chinese shop press to fix some of their crap! Eventually we'll be out of a job, either because they'll get it right or our customers will get pissed off.
     

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