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I got to thinking about the post regarding the Harbor Freight bandsaw, and thought I would post about the subject of using such tools that you KNOW are cheaply built, but the low price is attractive. Now I'm NOT going to go into the wisdom of buying from countries like China; who are still basically commie dictatorships; and by doing so wiping out our own entry-level manufactruing jobs that are THE TRADITIONAL PIPELINE THROUGH WHICH PEOPLE ACHIEVE MIDDLE CLASS STATUS. I'm NOT going to mention that we are being reduced....over time as jobs go overseas....to Chinese ****** level, thankful-to-have-ANY-job-Wal-Mart-employees......NO, I'm not going to mention that.
I'm going to discuss how you CAN get those cheapo machines to SURVIVE in your shop, and even do some hard work with them. First off, you have to tear the whole machine down and get it to "blueprint". Grind here for a better, closer, fit; add an extra bolt there or a SECOND bolt; in other words, do the stuff that the zippo factory production line couldn't take the time to do. I recently bought a drill press at auction. The thing was really BLAMO, with belt shreads and belt dressing all over the place. Those import drill presses have like sixteen speeds, but the pulley arrangement PRECLUDES doing any real work with bigger bits, because when you are in bottom ratio, there is unsufficient pulley area touching the belt to transmit the required HP. There were several places where bolts were a fairly loose fit in the casting, and the thing had no reverse. Since I bought the machine at auction I still had some leeway on money so I sent the pulley stack to a machine shop and had it reworked to drop the whole cluster down and eliminate the useless tiny pulley on the bottom. Then I had the motor pulley counterbore moved a bit to let IT slide down one complete pulley space. Then I added a Forward-Reverse switch. On assembly, I installed studs into the casting in place of cap screws, and paid particular attention to fit-up, grinding the casting as necessary to get flush fits. Yes, it still a Tiawanese tool, but in it's new configuration, at least it will drill holes. "BLUEPRINTING" the tool and making those little upgrades DOES help. Even with the slave-labor wages that they pay, the Chinese still have to push stuff out the door in a half-baked manner if they want to sell it to you cheap.
 

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Good tip. I was recently tempted to buy a $20 angle grinder from Menards with a 2 year warranty but decided not to cause I figured if I'd really need one that bad I'd get a higher quality one.

And I'm sure glad you didn't mention any of that stuff you mentioned in the beginning of your post.


I do try to buy American.
 

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As usual CJDave - Good Post!!

I really like your ability to downplay the loss of manufactureing jobs here in the good ol USA. I will just add a little bit of wisdom gained from many years of tool purchasing and use. Be careful of the inexpensive name brand tools also. They in all likely hood will need to be "blueprinted" just like the china junk. Good chance it is just cheap asian manufacturing in someone elses packaging.

I have learned to stay away from any and all stuff like that. It may work during the "lets play with it and learn how to use it stage", but always seems to fail when the "BIG" project is in the critical get it done stage. Second, they are usually inferior for doing the job. A good case in point is drill presses. Think about WHY you are buying the tool. I purchased a drill press for the ability to do precision drilling #1, and production work #2 and third being able to handle materials/jobs a hand drill would not work on. I first purchased a cheap name brand drill press. Chuck accuracy (for lack of a better term) sucked. Changing bits, table heights, angles, adjustments in general were dificult. It was not true, so to be accurate on my work, I needed to adjust carefully before each job. Needless to say I don't have it any more.

I have been burned many times by "tools" that in their simplest jobs were succesful, but when the going got tough/technical/out of the ordinary, I was always let down. Then I reverted to purchasing a good tool and loosing my investment in the poor tool.

Yes, my tools are an investment.
 

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As a rule i try and stay away from cheep tools though i do have a tool shop drill and grinder, i got the tool shop grinder to replace my dewalt because the arbor is worn to the point it kills cutting discs. Tool shop tools do have a 2 year warenty which is better than a lot of the big name tools. When i buy big stuff i try and buy good quality stuff. When i was buying my welder i bought a miller isntead of hobart because of the quailty and the price differance just wan't enough to make it worth my while. Tools arn't something to scimp on since they will last for ever if you buy good ones and take care of them, even if i ever get sick of jeeps i can always still use my tools.

BarrelRoll
 

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DId I just read you right,,, You are bashing Hobart that is made with Miller parts in a Miller Factory???

I can't buy cheap tools, I started out in an industrial machine shop and everything I buy I try to use like I used it there which means I come in smiling with this great buy I just made on this tool, and 3 minutes later I am trying to cram it back in the box thinking I may be able to use that for filler in a welding project some day.

Heck I tear up good tolls let alone the crap you can buy from china... I do have a good China made drill press I bought brand new at the auction for 15,oo some day I am gonna have to unbox it,,, but not until I find a project that I can use the parts on.

And Yes I bought a Hobart Mig and have had no problems with it that were caused by the equiptment. No I do not concider it a chepo tool.
 
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In reply to:

You are bashing Hobart that is made with Miller parts in a Miller Factory???

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this is a pretty common mistake. hobart has been a good welder for years just doesn't have the name recognition as say miller. same with alot of tools . hell look at lawn mowers john deere is supposed to be a top brand yet they are made by a lesser brand like mtd or ayp. smaller john deere tractors are made by yanmar. remember when the hand tool kobalt came to be. they were a great tool made by williams (a division of snap-on) now they are a cheap made china tool that breaks under the slightest load. heard of grizzly tools? they are nothing more than a "blueprinted" harbor freight tool.

The moral of the story is don't buy an advertised junk china tool and make sure the name brand isn't a masked junk china tool.
 
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