Post by RogerN
Currently I'm in Evansville Indiana, the company I work for sent me for
Siemens S7 PLC training.
Anyway, on the way back from supper we saw a Harbor Freight store, I had
never been in one before. We made it to the store at 7:40PM and they close
at 8:00PM so I didn't buy anything yet, but will be going back a time or two
before we leave Friday. My experience with cheap tools is that some are
fine, some are crap, but I've been satisfied with most. If I use a tool
enough that a cheap tool doesn't hold up then I'll get a better quality.
Any recommended Harbor Freight tools to get or avoid for auto body (or
other) metal working, sanding, and painting? I thought there might be some
favorite HF tool recommendations to get while I'm here.
Have a set of their dolly-shaped cast iron lumps. They will work, if
you polish them(spare the turd jokes). Same with the body hammer
sets. For once or twice use, they're great, compared with what the
body-supply joints get for their cast iron lumps. Sanding blocks are
I use the hell out of my micro die grinders, usually $10-15 on sale.
Ditto the 4 1/2" angle grinders, sound terrible, but stand up to a lot
of abuse. Get the ones with the metal gearbox. Test before leaving
town. The Russian grinding disks for same aren't too bad. The local
store also has De Walt disks, usually outlast the imports by 2-3x.
The chink sandpaper is usually junk. They've had some Finnish stuff
that's been pretty good.
The DA sanders are decent enough when on sale, will suck your tank dry
in a hurry, though. Not the most efficient pneumatic tools around.
PSA sanding discs need to be bought elsewhere. Last ones I got were
yellow and Finnish, got from the local discount tool joint.
The HVLP conversion guns can be a good buy, if on sale, get the
stand(s) if you get them. They also have spare strainers, a cleaning
kit, spare parts kit, extra large aluminum cups, might be the time to
get them if you buy into that. Teflon tape is always a good deal.
Ditto quick-connects. They've got a three-in-one female fitting that
takes all of the most common quick-connect types, might be of some
use. The small touch-up/panel gun is usually pretty cheap and nice to
have a couple kicking around. Same with whip hoses and swivel
fittings. Have a swivel with a throttle valve built-in, that's been
of some use. I have several whip hoses, reserve one exclusively for
painting use, same with regular air hose. Keep the oil out of the
paint guns. Their Goodyear rubber air hose is a good deal on sale.
Buy quick-connects at the same time. I get the steel Ampros that are
in bulk bins, not the chink brass jobbies in the bubble packs.
The digital calipers have been on sale lately, the 6" usually is
$10-15. Not the ones in the bubble packs, though, the ones in the
real boxes are what you want. I usually have a 4" in my pocket when
hitting the hardware store. They have also had a triple-threat
caliper, metric/English/fractional. At one time they had a paint
thickness gauge, the real electronic deal reading in microns, ran like
$80 list. I picked that one up on sale for $50. They occasionally
will come up with some off the wall stuff, you need to pay attention
to what's on the hooks. Were selling technical drafting pens for $2
labeled as precision oilers.
I've used their trailer "docking" aids, basically a pair of yellow
balls on telescoping radio antennas attached to bar magnets. Amazing
how easy it makes hooking up a trailer.
A lot depends on whether you've got the back of a truck that you can
fill or are stuck with what you can fit into your luggage if going by
air. Local stores don't all carry the same stuff, either.