|Review by JJohnston||posted 02-14-2010 04:12 AM||13406 views||1 time favorited||6 comments|
Like many of you, I’m leery of a lot of Harbor Freight items, but I decided to take a chance on this shop crane to lift a couple of heavy machines onto their stands – an 8” parallelogram jointer and this 14” bandsaw. It’s really nothing more than a hydraulic jack and some welded steel tubing, so what could go wrong?
As recommended, I got a bottle of jack oil at the same time as the crane, and it did need to be topped off. This is normal, and I don’t consider it a negative. It took about 2 hours to assemble, working at a leisurely pace. No individual piece is more than about 40 or 50 lb. Everything attaches to the welded, trapezoidal “pelvis” at the bottom. Assembly consists of bolting casters to the pelvis and to the legs, attaching the legs to the pelvis with two pins (this is the folding mechanism – one hinge pin and one locking), bolting on the column and its braces, and bolting the boom to the ram and column. The instructions were adequate for this.
There are four positions for the extendable boom. As the boom is extended, horizontal reach and vertical lift height increase, while lift capacity goes down. The pin holes for the positions are labelled “1 ton”, “3/4 ton”, “1/2 ton” and “1/4 ton”. I used the 1/4 ton position to lift the bandsaw. I estimate the tip of the boom could probably just touch an 8’ ceiling, and the HF website says 94”.
Lift action is fine. With no load, the boom can be pumped up by hand, without the extension handle. Under load, lift is similarly easy with the handle. The let-down action is gentle and controllable.
All the casters are full swivel. This increases maneuverability, but makes control more difficult – a tradeoff I can live with. It’s just light enough that I can pull it over the pea gravel in my side yard to and from my shed, with some effort. Folded up, it’s about 5’ high and takes up about as much room as a wheelbarrow leaned up against a wall.
The biggest negative is that the legs don’t lock solidly in place when they’re folded – there’s enough play at the locking pin that they can lean either direction from vertical, and they tend to flop over on you, if you aren’t paying attention while moving it. Once you get used to it, it’s not too big a headache.
The website says it’s $179.99. I think I paid a little less at my local store, and with the 20% off coupon in the various woodworking magazines, you could pay quite a bit less.
-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln