Improving a Harbor Freight metal shrinker stretcher
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Thread: Improving a Harbor Freight metal shrinker stretcher

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tuske427's Avatar
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    Improving a Harbor Freight metal shrinker stretcher

    If you're like me and don't have sponsors or deep pockets for high end shop tools and equipment, then you've probably shopped at Harbor Freight. I had purchased their shrinker stretcher with stand, and while the tool itself seems to work OK (I'm saying this not having used high end equipment to compare against) but one thing I quickly noticed was a poor design of the pivot point for the foot pedals. All they provided was a single bracket which won't last long before it starts tweaking and motion is lost due to the pedal moving in directions other than where it should go. To fix this I boxed the bracket with some scrap metal I had laying around and now it works much, much better.

    Future plans may involve adding a thread or coupling nut so I can make the rods adjustable for tuning the shrinker/ stretcher tools so they will activate sooner.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_0210web.jpg   IMG_0211web.jpg   IMG_0212web.jpg   IMG_0213web.jpg   IMG_0214web.jpg  

    Long Live the Muscle Car
    @Tuske427

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Road Angels's Avatar
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    Nice work on the mod....I buy as little as possible from HF there stuff has really gotten crappier in the last 10 years...some things are ok but very little any more
    Lash

  4. #3
    Senior Member Tuske427's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Angels View Post
    Nice work on the mod....I buy as little as possible from HF there stuff has really gotten crappier in the last 10 years...some things are ok but very little any more
    Totally get it, and yeah, some things I won't touch, either, especially if it's something I'd use frequently. This is one of those tools that doesn't get used often, and I'm leery about used professional ones as I wouldn't know if they are just used or used up.
    Long Live the Muscle Car
    @Tuske427

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  6. #4
    Senior Member mmhotrod's Avatar
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    great job with the fix Brendon. nice welds too. Harbor freight in one form or another has its place in everyone's garage. As Clint Eastwood said....."A man has got to know his limitations" or something like that.
    When Im forced to buy out of necessity for the moment I don't have high hopes in long term use and as long as the price was right, Im good with that.
    Last edited by mmhotrod; 07-04-2018 at 08:32 AM.
    Mario





    "I post the work on my hotrod, not because it's the best way, rather it was the way I had to get it done with the resources I had.................
    Of which I might be an encouragement to other hotrodders".

  7. #5
    Senior Member Tuske427's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmhotrod View Post
    great job with the fix Brendon. nice welds too. Harbor freight in one form or another has its place in everyone's garage. As Clint Eastwood said....."A man has got to know his limitations" or something like that.
    When Im forced to buy out of necessity for the moment I don't have high hopes in long term use and as long as the price was right, Im good with that.
    Thanks, Mario! Yeah, other than the poorly designed pivot points, they shrink and stretch metal just fine. I was using this over these past few days again...
    Long Live the Muscle Car
    @Tuske427

  8. #6
    Administrator 1946Austin's Avatar
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    I've got a fair number of HF tools that I'm very pleased with! I'll admit I was a tool snob and wouldn't even look at HF tools for a long time! But when fabricating metal for car builds I found I didn't like constantly changing various discs on my Milwaukee angle grinder, so figured a cheap $15 HF angle grinder might save me time by setting it up with a different disc. I found them on sale for $10, and figured I"d buy two to have cutoff wheel, grinding disc, and wire wheel on each of the three. That was in 2000, and those HF grinders have many hours of abuse, and use on a lot of fab work. They still run like new, and I love them as much as my expensive grinder.
    I've got HF air tools for bodywork that have a similar story. They get oiled with Lucas air tool oil at the start of each day, and they've been loaned out to friends with the caveat of, "toss it if it quits" but they keep coming back with good reviews!
    There are things I wont buy at HF, but there's more I will buy than wont.
    Vall

  9. #7
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    I really like their cutting wheels, I buy the 6 or 7 inch ones. I had one of their cut off saws that went bad but it'd more than paid for itself. I like their new 4 1/2 inch grinders they have out now along with the new 1/2 inch impact. I've had snap on and mac impacts and I wouldn't trade the 2 I got from them for another snap on. Good job on the repair you done, doing this stuff for a hobby makes it kind of crazy to go out and buy the top end stuff, unless you have a ton of money.

  10. #8
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    I am not a fan of HF but I do have some of there junk

    I have the same shrinker stretcher combo with the stand I will have to do your mode to mine! Thanks for the idea!
    I also have one of there older english wheels withstand I had to completely redesign that Noodle still not right still needs more tweeking but its better than it was.

    I also buy there elcheapo Die grinders by the half dozen and just throw them away when they quit. Just recently I took one out of the box chucked up a Hi speed file and it was bad out of the box!

  11. #9
    Administrator 1946Austin's Avatar
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    I have a love-hate relationship with HF tools. Some like their little 4.5" angle grinders are fantastic, and some aren't worth packing home if they're free. I've just learned which ones work, and which to avoid. I bought a HF rivnut tool also and it bent the first time I used it. I tossed it and bought a high quality one that works fantastic. Didn't even bother to take the other back. Just used all the nut inserts on my new tool.
    Vall

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