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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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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.
 

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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?
 

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Went back to my local Harbor Freight this evening. Their U.S.General 44" x 22" toolbox is on sale for $100 off it's base price. And I have been wanting to get a small lathe to keep my mini mill company so I grabbed one in blue..



Now we just have to find a butcher block to go on top of the box that matches what is under the mill before we chase down that lathe.
 

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So I went to Lowe's and got a butcher block for the Harbor Freight toolbox and got it cut down to fit and I am extremely happy with how this came out..



I was surprised at the quality of the U.S. General toolboxes. They are better than you'd expect for HF. Their other brand for toolboxes, Yukon, is a cheaper thing all around. But the U.S. general boxes are deeper, and heavier, and have ball bearings and are a fraction of the cost of anything with a Snap-On or Mac logo on it.

The above picture is this box that was and at the time I am writing this is still on sale: 44 in. x 22 in. Double Bank Roller Cabinet, Blue (harborfreight.com)

The butcher block I sourced from Lowe's. It is dense wood and weighs a bunch: allen + roth 48-in x 25-in x 1.5-in Natural Straight Butcher Block Rubberwood Countertop in the Kitchen Countertops department at Lowes.com

And the lathe that I intend to eventually bolt down to this box is the LMS7550 here: HiTorque 8.5x20 Bench Lathe, Deluxe 7550 - LittleMachineShop.com
 
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