Advice on Harbor Frieght tool grinder

I'm heading toward the purchase of Harbor Frieght's tool grinder -- my
first ever contact with HF took place on the past Saturday in their
Portland, Oregon store. The bench grinder appears to be just what I
want for shaping HSS lathe tools. The stock number is 46727. Has
anyone purchased this product and would also be willing to offer an
opinion with respect to whether this is a good or bad idea? I'm a
little bit concerned with the availabilty of replacement grinding
wheels -- I'm new to the concept of grinding implements that are
cylinders attached to a steel backing plate.
This is my first post to a news group since about 1999. I have been
"re-lurking" this news group for about 3- weeks -- it looks like there
is stilll a semblance of what this group was like 5 or more years ago.
Political views seem to have ravaged many perfectly good news groups
while I was away.
J. Hanson
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You don't really need a fancy grinder to shape HSS tool bits. I've used a belt grinder for years for rough-shaping new HSS lathe bits. After rough shaping, I use a diamond hone plate to put a good finish on the cutting surfaces.
Don't get me wrong, the tool grinder will do the job for you, but was probably intended more for sharpening carbide tooling, hence the silicon carbide wheels supplied with it. You'd probably want to replace those with aluminum oxide for HSS. You're probably wise to look for replacement wheels before buying. If it's a standard design, you should be able to find replacement wheels at most any industrial supply place. MSC, J&L and McMaster-Carr come to mind for web sites to look up same.
Grinding belts are a whole lot cheaper, though. My unit is a Delta 1"x42", I've gotten belts as cheap as 98 cents @ off the internet, U.S. made and long-lasting. A lot easier to change grits with a belt than a wheel, too, no balancing needed. I use it for a lot of other tasks, too, the tool grinder is kind of a 1-trick pony that'll just sit there in-between sharpenings.
On any of Harbor Freight's power tools, I make a point of only buying from the retail stores. Saves the hassle of shipping back duds.
Reply to
I use this item and know of several others. It is a decent Chinese clone of the US item that costs 6x the price.
I put an Enco diamond wheel on mine and it works great grinding carbide of all kinds. The green wheels don't cut carbide very agressively, but you can get by. You need a different abrasive for HSS or other steels.
The only problem I have heard is that the wheels and/or motor might be out of balance, which you'll know the first time you turn it on. Mine was quite smooth out of the box. I would buy it from a retail store so you can exchange it should any infant problems arise.
I've made several jigs to hold work precisely. I use a mist cooler. The drip bucket thing was never a good idea, but this was just copied from the original as well.
Reply to
Richard J Kinch
Using the coupon
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bring the cost down to $117
I have the highly rated Woodcraft 1700 RPM grinder, on sale for $69.99 this month.
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This is very useful for grinding wood lathe tools (unlike the HF grinder). But the cast iron table on the HF would make griding tool bits easier than on the setup I use on the Woodcraft.
Reply to
Bruce Barnett
While a belt will move metal quickly, it presents problems of its own. It's quite common for a belt to leave a slightly rounded cutting edge due to the belt stacking up on top of the tool. When working with reduced angles it would be quite easy to generate negative relief right at the cutting edge, or, negative rake, assuming you are altering the tops of your tools. I strongly recommend against finish grinding with a belt, and don't necessarily like using one if chip breakers are involved in the configuration. Nothing beats the use of a properly dressed wheel without a work rest for shaping turning tools.
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos
I recently bought one too after years of admiring it. It is conciderably cheaper than a US made model. Overall impressions:
1 - It is F**king heavy!!! All cast iron. Be prepared to bring a second back along if you pick it up or to render first aid if you have it delivered :-)
2 - For economic reasons theuy only give you 1 drip coolant setup
3 - When I ran mine for the first time, it seemed reasonably vibration free, certainly well within acceptable limits - this is the most important aspectr of a grinder.
4 - Don't worry about wheels, it takes a standard 1-1/4 in dia flange bolt on wheel which is an industry standard. After you buy it and want to go with other wheels, you should find them by the ton on Ebay.
If you want this type of grinder, I'd say go for it. BTW it appears to be on sale for $129 down from $159 so combine that with a coupon and you have a deal!
Reply to
Bradford Chaucer
I have one of these..and an original Baldor. I weighted them both..and the Chicom was about 1lb heavier.
"The importance of morality is that people behave themselves even if nobody's watching. There are not enough cops and laws to replace personal morality as a means to produce a civilized society. Indeed, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Unfortunately, too many of us see police, laws and the criminal justice system as society's first line of defense." --Walter Williams
Reply to
Hey Brad,
Hmmmmm........not sure it's "economic" versus an attempt at a "puhffek copy". The Baldor I have that these are cloned from comes with only one of the drip cups as standard. Fits either end, but only one would be used at a time anyway.
Take care.
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario.
Reply to
Brian Lawson
Okay, so I'm late and catching up, but Gunner wrote on Thu, 06 Apr 2006 09:12:52 GMT in rec.crafts.metalworking :
Some one should mention the marvelous invention called The Wheel, and the application known as "The Hand Truck", useful for moving moderately sized heavy items. Every home should have one. >
Reply to
pyotr filipivich
My experience with HF has been mixed. I've gotten some great stuff and a lot of not so great stuff and more than a little really crappy stuff. I think the main problem of the companys they use is consistency and QA. You can buy the tool grinder and it may be OK or even very good, while your buddy buys the one in the next box and it's crap.
Bottom line is, you pretty much get what you pay for...
Reply to
Jim K

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