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Yes, I know HF has its detractors, but when I'm in the area of the store, I usually go to get a box or two of nitrile gloves for the shop, do a lot of clay barring, detailing, etc., just don't want to get my hands dirty.


Well, as usual, I wind up spending more than I had intended, it has a little candy store effect for the mechanically minded. Yes, it does sell some junk, but not a lot, there is some nice stuff in there (country of origin not US of course).

I got away with spending just under a C note, just barely.


Gadget Audio equipment Musical instrument accessory Electronic device Font
Font Receipt Paper Number Paper product
 

· DC PIT CREW BOSS
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I bought an impact gun at HF probably 25-30 years ago when they had just 3 stores. One was in Lexington, KY, I was a rebuilt one. I Paid $5 for it and it had a 90 day warranty. I figured that if it lasted 90 days I got my money's worth. I'm still using the sucker!
 
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I love my Harbor Freight plasma cutter. I have already had it for a small handful of years. It's absolutely awesome..



I mean for a welder I bought a Miller Multimatic 255. But for just cutting the metal this thing was one hell of a bargain, does a great job, and has proven itself to be reliable.
 

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Also I have a 18" bending brake from Harbor Freight. This bending brake: 18" Bending Brake (harborfreight.com)

This tool is quite the thing to see in action:


I don't own that many C-clamps. So using a plasma cutter I drew and then cutout a vertical support..



Then I welded it up and drilled some holes on the ends and slotted them carefully and drilled some holes on the end of the brake and run some long 3/8 bolts up from underneath and tested it all out..



The bending brake is now a tool worth having as we can make a bunch of repeated bends quick and easy..



To finish it off I coated the whole top or handle part with several thick layers of 3M 8115 panel bond adhesive. This process took days as I had to let each layer dry. Then I milled it down a little and the end result is a plastic feel to the handle and holding it but it is solid and heavy. I am happy with this tool now..



I had the boys bend up some sheet metal with it and they didn't have any troubles using it. Even the 12 year old that couldn't put his shirt on right was able to negotiate the Harbor Freight bending brake without any troubles.



Harbor Freight is alright. With a little help Harbor Freight is better. And they are selling safety glasses right now for $1.49/pr.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The HF store I went to get those items is about a 35 minute drive from my place. Just about 5 minutes from me, they're converting an old shut down clothing store into a HF. Yes, I will be needlessly buying stuff I don't need........😁
 

· DC PIT CREW BOSS
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Mine is about a mile and a half from me
 

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That light is really nice, Norm, better than expected, I'll need to pick one up. Being a Half-Ass Backyard mechanic and Smashed-Thumbs Home Repair guy, HF is my Go-To place for tools and supplies. Quality is limited, but the prices right. Whenever I feel down-in-the-dumps I take a ride to HF, fill up a basket and head home feeling so much better. If you've never experienced Harbor Freight, you'll enjoy the experience...............:p
 

· DC PIT CREW BOSS
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We are supposed to be getting a Rural King. I'm waiting
 

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Harbor Freight even sells mini end mills:
2 Speed Benchtop Mill/Drill Machine (harborfreight.com)

They also sell mini lathes:
7" x 12" Mini Metal Lathe (harborfreight.com)

While they are lacking on their own there is this website Tooling, parts, and accessories for bench top machinists - LittleMachineShop.com that has all these upgrade parts for the mini mills and lathes. Apparently there are a bunch of companies that sell versions of these like Eastwood but they are all the same Chinese mill or lathe with few differences. So LMS has these kits to help make these tools more functional. Add DRO's, Power feeders, CNC conversions. Even tramming kits and tooling.
 

· DC PIT CREW BOSS
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I have an old Unimat. It's fun but can only turn small stuff
 
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I have an old Unimat. It's fun but can only turn small stuff
Which model? I was inspired by the harbor freight mill but after doing research on the matter was led to purchase the LMS3990 from The Little Machine Shop. It is the same mill as harbor freight but with all the upgrades already applied and they painted it blue. After having it for a while I am left wishing I got the next step up. There is one that still runs on 110v but has a 1.5hp brushless motor and mine has the .5hp or .75hp brushless motor. It is still enough to cut through weld. Very slowly, but it does.



It has a DRO kit from Amazon, the butcher block came from Home Depot, and the tool cart it is mounted to from Harbor Freight. The chip tray also came from Little Machine Shop. I still have to figure out a way to feed air and oil to the toolhead/work area.

I have been looking at a lathe to add to this and am currently looking at the LMS7550 as it is a step up in size from the smallest ones offered by HF and LMS. This one: HiTorque 8.5x20 Bench Lathe, Deluxe 7550 - LittleMachineShop.com

How long have you had your Unimat and how well does it work on steel? And would you recommend it to others?
 

· DC PIT CREW BOSS
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I inherited it from my uncle who bought it in the '60s-'70s. Does great on brass & aluminum. On steel you have to go slooooow. For a small hobby lathe it is okay but if anyone wanted to get serious for the cost I'd step up a notch. Mine was free so I can;t compain
 
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