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harbor frieght stretcher shrinker

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by shtterbug8, May 1, 2013.

  1. shtterbug8
    Joined: Jul 31, 2011
    Posts: 514


    went out and bought one today with stand. planning on doing alot of custom fabrication here soon.

    well got it home and assembled and ran into my first problem trying to operate the machine. although it states it can bend alum, mild steel and stainless far ive been unable to bend the SS. i immediatly grabbed a scrap piece of 16ga mild steel and it bent no problem.

    here is my there any preperations to make to the sheetmetal before attempting to stretch or shrink? the stainless steel im attempting to bend is mirrored stainless. so its very slick. but due to the nature of stainless its very hard also.
  2. What ga SS? I hope you bought the warranty.
  3. TRIK3R
    Joined: Mar 19, 2011
    Posts: 49


    Havent tried stainless with mine, otherwise it has worked well, other than rusty metal loading up the dies. Try scuffing the area so it gets a bite maybe?
  4. shtterbug8
    Joined: Jul 31, 2011
    Posts: 514


    20ga. the booklet that came with it states it can do 20ga stainless. works fine on mild steel. 16ga.

    why stainless? im making a badass decklid for my coupe and its going to be mirror stainless. but i need to form the radius. if i cant get this to work im going to be doing a crap load of relief cutting.
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  5. daliant
    Joined: Nov 25, 2009
    Posts: 683


    The stainless is probably harder than the jaws in the shrinker/stretcher.
  6. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,269

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    Any time Im going to be doing a lot of work, or high end work I always buy HF tools.
    Why don't people get this yet? HF tools are cheap for a reason, they dont always work the best, or sometimes at all.
  7. shtterbug8
    Joined: Jul 31, 2011
    Posts: 514


    tomorrow i will try and get into the garage and roughen some stainless up. if that does not work i will try to heat it up and make it softer. if that doesnt work i just give up on that....and relief cut the so frustrating. i was hoping someone on here had some tips.
  8. COOP
    Joined: Mar 27, 2006
    Posts: 255


    Ya might wanna check into this first. Going through all the effort to make a deck lid and then having the cops give you hell for such a bright reflective surface might not be worth it. Buddy of mine made a stainless tailgate for his model A pickup. Within two weeks it was removed for the same reason. Not tryin' to rain on yer parade, but ya might wanna check on it. Norm
  9. brokenspoke
    Joined: Jul 26, 2005
    Posts: 2,874


    Do not use mirror stainless for the deck lid.....its dangerous
  10. 63comet
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 508


    I understand the why nots, but at the same time I've been behind many a tractor trailer with such highly polished metal on the doors that it was blinding with the sun behind us. Why aren't cops harassing them?
  11. Green Rodz
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 495

    Green Rodz

    Here is the deal with Harbor Freight (for those of you who DON'T know):

    You buy Harbor Freight tools that you use ONCE in a GREAT while, or ONE time.
    If you are going to use the tool on a regular basis, or for some project that's high end or close to high end, you buy GOOD, DECENT, HIGHER QUALITY tools.

    I laugh every time I hear about someone buying a Harbor Freight, say, sawzall for $60 and are pissed off because it broke before they got done totally dismantling 1946 International Harvester pick up truck into pieces small enough for the garbage men to pick up at the curb on trash day.
  12. 117harv
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 6,594


  13. If you want to do stainless in there you need patience !
    Take the metal 1/2 depth into the jaws and start your curve , then come back around full depth. Not enough curl to it, repeat again 1/2 or 1/4 depth then deeper.
    Try it
  14. thebugbox
    Joined: Nov 29, 2009
    Posts: 255


    I bought the Eastwood, which is almost the same as harbor freight. The first thing you have to do is completely dissasemble the whole thing and get rid of all the packing grease. Clean, clean clean. Then reassemble using a good lubricant or WD-40 at least. Until I did that I had tons of problems. See if that works for you.
  15. Xman
    Joined: Nov 17, 2011
    Posts: 432


    It helps to clean the dies and the metal with lacquer thiner to de-grease them.
  16. shtterbug8
    Joined: Jul 31, 2011
    Posts: 514


    Good tips... Mine were covered in packing grease. I guess i be cleaning the tools also.
  17. inlinr6
    Joined: Oct 27, 2009
    Posts: 344


    Look on you tube for Lazze's tip on tuning up shrinker dies, may have to buy some stippled dies instead of the serrated.
  18. mustangmike6996
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 146

    from the D

    I figured stainless wouldnt work on the HF tool the price is very appealing tho.
  19. Kevin Lee
    Joined: Nov 12, 2001
    Posts: 7,403

    Kevin Lee
    Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Tucking fork and a hammer seems like a pretty good idea at this point.
  20. toreadorxlt
    Joined: Feb 27, 2008
    Posts: 734

    from Nashua, NH

    dont overload the shrinker jaws. I snapped mine to bits on a piece of 16 gauge. Ended up replacing them with USA ones. no problems yet
  21. shtterbug8
    Joined: Jul 31, 2011
    Posts: 514


    Tucking fork? That sounds interesting
  22. shtterbug8
    Joined: Jul 31, 2011
    Posts: 514


    well roughing the metal up didnt work but heating the stainless and using the shrinker does! so all is well
  23. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,756

    from vail az

    That sound like a good deal if its working.
    My HF story. I still do have HF stuff, ya just have to be aware of the limitations.
    I bought the spring compressors from HF. I told the guy I was gonna use em on my motorhome. The guy behind me in line caught up to me in the parking lot to see if I was stupid. I told him all they had to do was compress the spring a little so I could get the overload bar back in then I was gonna take em off with the hot wrench.
    The rear axle was held on with all thread and came apart enroute to the first disaster camp.
  24. shtterbug8
    Joined: Jul 31, 2011
    Posts: 514


    i only buy items from HF that look like they are built good. if it looks like its made cheap....i just stay away from it. but ive had alot of luck with my purchases from HF.

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