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Heartbreak at Harbor Freight: bead roller

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by cl350rr, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. cl350rr
    Joined: Jun 29, 2011
    Posts: 216


    I hate it when the tool becomes the project.

    Ok so when I took on my most recent project econoline I realized I would need to be able to roll beads sooner or later. tool budget is rather small and I rarely buy new tools. I did alot of reading on bead rollers and with full understanding that I would have to modify it to do the job, I plopped down some hard earned green at HF for their roller.

    I removed it from the box and set it up in the vice, installed the 1/2 inch round bead dies and stuck a piece of 18ga steel between them and rolled it back and forth while increasing the pressure. it rolled a fair bead but I only moved it back and forth about 1/2 turn of the shafts. flex in the frame was obvious so I set it aside.

    it sat on the floor of my shed while I hand hammered a few panels but then Irene struck and I was stuck surfing the web for 2 days... I studied all of the modded HF rollers I could find and determined the best way to reinforce it with what I had on hand.

    so tonight after 2 days of measuring, cutting, welding and grinding, I had the frame ready to try a bead again. at first when I assembled the parts the shafts were very stiff. a bit of measuring and I found a heat warp in the frame. a few moments with "the persuader" and the frame was straight. I reassembled and inserted a piece of 18 ga to try a bead.

    this time the shaft would turn about half way and get tight... I knew that was not the frame. cutting to the chase, now that i have modified the frame so it cannot be returned to the store, I find that the necked down portion of the shafts that the dies rides on is off center. .004 on the driven shaft, .020 on the drive shaft. Blast!!!

    so now I am going to have to buy some stock and try to make new shafts...
  2. KY Boy
    Joined: Sep 6, 2006
    Posts: 403

    KY Boy

    Can be explained two ways:

    one word: China

    two words: harbor freight

    Sorry its going bad for ya. Name brand stuff is high priced. Harbor freight has an allure but I've had similar issues many times. I guess its the chance you take. Good luck with your mods...and glad you made it thru Irene OK.
  3. Black Primer
    Joined: Oct 1, 2007
    Posts: 966

    Black Primer

  4. jerseymike
    Joined: Sep 25, 2008
    Posts: 680


    go to the main page to the tech articles section. search for harbor freight beadroller modified. there have been many on here modified that work very well. good luck.
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  5. 1/2done
    Joined: Oct 29, 2006
    Posts: 604

    from Ohio

    Buy another, swap parts and return the junk one.
    Bad Henry likes this.

  6. ^^^Yup^^^
  7. i modifyed mine and it works good
    it did warp a little just a little shim wala
  8. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,651

    from California

    bought one a long time ago, mainly for the shear... turns out the shear didn't shear so I took it back. couple years later I bought a rolling table with a sheetmetal brake, a vintage roller, and a corner notcher. included with these was another HF roller.

    I'll keep the second one and modify it so it works. they are only good if they were free with other tools you can actually use.
  9. jmpowie
    Joined: Dec 2, 2006
    Posts: 202


    I got mine from eastwoods and still had to weld more metal to it so it would not warp with 18ga steel.
  10. cl350rr
    Joined: Jun 29, 2011
    Posts: 216


    I like the way you think, only problem may be that they only had one on the shelf when I bought it
  11. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    from Chino, Ca

    Thing is that nearly everything is "Made in China" I go to Home Depot and nearly all of the tools are "Made in China" and these are brand name tools. I go shopping for a new spatula or knife set for the kitchen and everything is labeled "Made in China". Rarely do I find something that says "Made in the U.S.A."
    It's more like "Assembled in the U.S.A. with foreign parts". I remember a time when I only saw "Made in China" in Chinatown.
  12. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,247


    Fix the one you have. You buy another one and it'll be just as screwed up as the first, then you'll feel unbelievably stupid. Try to explain that to your wife.
    jp52 likes this.
  13. 1/2done
    Joined: Oct 29, 2006
    Posts: 604

    from Ohio

    Two options:
    1. Go to a different HF store in your area.
    2. Weld up the shafts on the one you have and turn them true on a lathe.

    I'd go for option #1.
  14. cl350rr
    Joined: Jun 29, 2011
    Posts: 216


    good but you left out option 3.

    find some 1"od DOM tube, cut the shaft, turn a new end on it and weld a section of the tube in between the two pieces of shaft.
  15. I took mine out of the box welded two c channels 2x4 box on the back welded a tail for the vise and has worked greaat for 10 years now.
  16. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,712


    Sounds like a bad case of "I welded on it so much at one time that I warped the shit out of it and now I want another one for free".
  17. cl350rr
    Joined: Jun 29, 2011
    Posts: 216


    actually if you read what I wrote the shafts were turned non-concentric on the ends where the dies attach, that was done at the factory and has got nothing to do with welding
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  18. Bib Overalls
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,069

    Bib Overalls

    The one from Woodward Fab is a bit heavier. But it also needs to be beefed up.
  19. 26 roadster
    Joined: Apr 21, 2008
    Posts: 2,015

    26 roadster

    I have had my HF for years, never a problem with it. Don't like the tension adjuster though, that will be modified some day
  20. iammarvin
    Joined: Oct 7, 2009
    Posts: 1,198

    from Tulare, Ca

    This is still here......Where's my spam killer.
  21. TT66'
    Joined: Feb 24, 2006
    Posts: 227


    Mittler Brothers bead roller is a good one if your gonna get serious.
  22. badshifter
    Joined: Apr 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,158


    When you knowingly buy crap, you can't complain that you bought crap. There is tons of info out there on these, do a little research before you buy.
  23. I know the economy sucks, but what is your time worth? I spent $350 on a Pro Tools roller, an hour or two putting it together, and it works great. I don't think they still have the "Weld it yourself" model, but they still have one "ready to go" for $429. Baliegh has USA made stuff and is a HAMB alliance member as well.
  24. HellsHotRods
    Joined: Jul 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,336


    YES!!!! I do this all the time with HF... they have already wasted your valuable time and gas give them their junk back!!
  25. I'd rather save my money and do without, I'd beg and borrow before I bought that HF crap.
  26. rick finch
    Joined: May 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,003

    rick finch

    Look up Harbor Freight in your Webster's'll find it listed under CRAP.:rolleyes:
  27. cl350rr
    Joined: Jun 29, 2011
    Posts: 216


    well, I did alot of research before I bought and found not one complaint about the shafts on these things. every post or website I have read complained about the frame being too flexible to work correctly and after it was strengthened, it works fine. go ahead and google it.

    I have no proplem with the frame now, it is strong and straight and will take the pressure needed to do the job. I mainly wanted to let people know that the shafts may be a problem if they buy one of these. I am going to fix the shafts and it will work.

    the only reason i would have taken it back to the store would have been to obtain a set of straight shafts. I have now figured out a way to correct the ones I have and will continue with the mods.
    Bad Henry likes this.
  28. RAY With
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,133

    RAY With

    I bought my bead roller from Northern Tools about 25-30 years ago and used it many years without problems. Most of the crap HF has is junk but if you need a one time use tool there ok.
  29. cl350rr
    Joined: Jun 29, 2011
    Posts: 216


    Turned down and sleeved the shaft so the dies now turn true. finish is not the best but it will hold lube on the surface better this way

    completed frame so it can now handle a 1/2" round bead in 18ga in a single pass without diflection

    added post mount to fit snugly over 2X2 work post I intend to finish soon:rolleyes:

    still gotta fab a wheel for it and a tension adjuster

    Attached Files:

  30. alittle1
    Joined: Feb 26, 2005
    Posts: 314


    I like to see a picture of that modification, got one? Run it here.

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