Tool review - Harbor Freight

(Cross posted to rec.crafts.metalworking and rec.woodworking)
Bought a mobile base for some of my power tools.
http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result/?category=&q288 $ 34.99 at my local store. (Compare to circa $90 elsewhere)
After assembly and try-out, I went back and bought 4 additional bases.
While skeptical at first, I was impressed with the quality of this design. The metal components are well designed and strong. Probably 14 ga steel. You provide your own spreaders for which I ripped 1-1/4 " lumber from framing studs. The instructions call for hardwood, but the metal brackets take almost all of the load. The purpose of the spreaders is, well simply, to spread the brackets out for the width and length of the tool.
The unit is rated for machinery up to 300 pounds. That's 75 pounds per leg. I think it could hold a lot more. I bounced up and down on various corners (adding 250 pounds to my band saw) and saw no damage or deformation of the unit.
When assembled and installed your equipment will have been raised a little more than 1/2 inch off the ground. Almost un-noticeable.
While I am usually very cautious with my expectations of HF tools, this one certainly will serve me well. As usual, I have no relationship whatsoever to said vendor.
Ivan Vegvary
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the crosspeices with wood. One size fits all. This is a good idea.
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HTC for ten bucks more:
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200227174_200227174
Delta:
(Amazon.com product link shortened) 1&pf_rd_i0006S7CE&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0H8GFXRZCA491PRGJK7H
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The base pictured above has a 31" by 31" square limitation in size. All the sears tool bases (granted, many years old) measure 34" by 34". Caution, measure before you buy.
Ivan Vegvary
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On 5/22/10 10:36 AM, Ivan Vegvary wrote:

You could easily add your own spreaders from hardwood scraps to make the size whatever you needed.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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(Amazon.com product link shortened) 1&pf_rd_i0006S7CE&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0H8GFXRZCA491PRGJK7HThe Delta above looks much easier to use. While the front 'spreader' is stressed and will take half the weight of the machine, the foot pedal seems extremely convenient. It (foot pedal) obviates my having to bend over, a task that is becoming more and more uncomfortable as the years pass. (HF model has two large hand knobs at each front corner, that need to be turned in order to activate/deactivate the wheels.)
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I saw those and the thought of bending or crouching crossed my mind :(
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You are correct.
I have a number of Delta bases both custom and universal. They are superior to any of the others because of the foot lift.
Ivan Vegvary wrote:

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Yep.. I really like the one on my Ridgid TS..

mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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I've had a version of the Delta (either Delta, HTC or Jet) that came with a used Jet 6" jointer. The original owner had it for a couple years, and I've had it a couple more. It has worked very well in my shop.
I've also have this one, which is closer to the HF one under discussion.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)74584140&sr=1-4
This has been under a 24" Rockwell jigsaw for about 4 years. The footprint is something like 15 inches wide by a bit over 40 inches long, and the whole saw probably weighs a couple hundred pounds with stand. I don't move this around a lot, but it has worked just fine every time I;ve use it.
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On Sat, 22 May 2010 02:27:58 -0400, "Lee Michaels"

I bought one of their earlier ones, which they discontinued years ago. For $19.99, you got the one side with step-on lift and 2 corners, adding your own dimensional lumber. A bit flimsy, but works.
-- Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. - Blaise Pascal
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On Fri, 21 May 2010 23:04:31 -0700, Ivan Vegvary wrote:

Certainly a good price. But the mechanism would seem to me to be a pain if one moved machines often, as I have to do in my tiny shop. I prefer a similar one that Woodcraft sells (at least they used to) where the mechanism is the common lever that you step on. IIRC, on sale they were not a whole lot more than the HF base.
--
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On 5/22/10 11:51 AM, Larry Blanchard wrote:

I totally agree about the mechanism..... what a PITA. It would be a lot easier to just put two locking casters on it. Two toe kicks and you're locked in place or ready to roll.
--

-MIKE-

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-MIKE- wrote:

Tried that. The locking casters still rotate and cause the machine to slip.
My tool has 2" (fixed) wheels on one end and a 4x4 base on the other. To move it, I lift up the end with the 4x4 and roll it to its new location, then set it down. Boy is it sturdy.
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On Sat, 22 May 2010 17:24:52 -0500, HeyBub wrote:

The one I mentioned locks the rotating mechanism as well as the wheels.
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On Sat, 22 May 2010 23:56:13 +0000, Larry Blanchard wrote:

Oops - wrong terminology. It doesn't "lock" anything. The levers just lift the wheels off the floor.
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On 5/22/10 5:24 PM, HeyBub wrote:

Yeah, I bet that works great.
FWIW, I've seen casters that lock the wheel *and* rotation.
--

-MIKE-

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You loose weight capacity in the wood. The longer the wood the more flex. I use a similar Rockler base on 3 of my mobile tools. The DP being the heaviest tends to test the limit of the weight capacity. Some thing to consider if you want to test weight limitations.
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Since there was a 20% off coupon in this morning's paper, I picked up one of these. Hod a bit of clear maple to make the stretchers and I must say it's easier to move the bandsaw now! (Yes, it's well under the suggested weight limit.)
What the OP did not mention is how wretched the instructions are. HF might just as well have said "Here's a handful of hardware which may or may not match up to the tiny illustrations. Have at it!"
Anyway, as my favorite mentor used to say, "Done is beautiful!"
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said:

Steve, Yes, the instructions are awful!! First one took me a long time. Yesterday I finished my 4th and 5th one. Last one was done within 15 minutes. Of course, by this time, every tool you own has already been in play! (LOL). By the end, after cutting my four stretchers, I had my portable drill ready to start the drill holes. Then quickly to the drill press in order to drill them at a perfect right angle. Then back to the assembly table for a bolt-up. Don't really want to tell you how long the first one took. Don't want to tell you about the extra holes that I drilled that were not needed. Don't want to mention about the bolts I had to swap out because of the bad instructions. etc.
BTW, I think the hardware (all of the metal pieces) were very precise, heavy and well made. The nylon lock nuts were a nice touch and the bolts seemed good quality.
Things are getting better. Compare to HF and Chinese stuff 20 years ago. Remember what we went through with Japanese stuff in the mid 1950's. Quality takes time and of course a discriminating buyer.
Ivan Vegvary
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