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Combination 4 in. x 36 in. Belt / 6 in. Disc Sander Harbor Freight

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Review by Blackie_ posted 08-08-2014 01:00 PM 3589 views 0 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Combination 4 in. x 36 in. Belt / 6 in. Disc Sander Harbor Freight Combination 4 in. x 36 in. Belt / 6 in. Disc Sander Harbor Freight Combination 4 in. x 36 in. Belt / 6 in. Disc Sander Harbor Freight Click the pictures to enlarge them

Anything less then the top name brands you are taking a gamble, some have good luck and some don’t, Myself I’ve to this day with all of the machinery that I’ve purchased from HF have had less then good luck as a matter of fact I’ve wasted more money buying crap from Harbor Freight then if I had just purchased the top name brand tools to begin with… With saying all of this you’d thunk I would’ve learned my lesson by now well this belt sander is the one that put the nail in the coffin for me and HF machinery, it doesn’t mean I’ll stop shopping there it means I’ll be more selective as to what I’m buying but again HF doesn’t always have the best deals or bargains over HD or Lowes either.

Two separate units in review same model number, actually this model number deserves 0 stars but 1 star was my only option.

The first two pictures show the first unit with the broke weld, the last pictures is showing the second unit I purchased where I am using picture frame wire to keep tension on the roller to keep the belt centered since the knob doesn’t work.

Ok on to the review, I will be reviewing on two of the same models, the first model 93981 I purchased lasted about a year and a half before the tension / tracking knob weld broke away from the roller housing thus it became scrap metal as there was no way to tighten the tracking nor to keep tension on the belt anymore as the tension leaver also became useless, plus it lacked in power. The second 93981 model I purchased right after the first crapped out it came with more power but the belt tracking tension knob doesn’t work, once installing the belt and adding tension to the belt with the leaver to tighten it on the rollers then with the knob adjusted to try and center the belt well lets just say there is no centering the belt as with the knob adjusted completely the opposite direction to move the belt off to the right side of the roller the belt still moves to the left so I had to use picture frame wire tying it to the tracking knob bracket and then stringing the wire to a bolt head located on the bottom side of the sander housing and adding more tension pulling the knob down does it then center the belt on the roller, since I have found a solution to keep it working for now I’ll continue using it this way but from now on no more HF machinery for me, I’m done!

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs




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Blackie_

3639 posts in 1259 days



28 comments so far

View Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist

5264 posts in 2055 days


#1 posted 08-08-2014 01:26 PM

Randy…Sorry to hear about your bad luck with the HF stuff. The only HF power tool I have is a rotary drill I bought years ago as a “one-time” use tool for drilling some 1/2” holes in concrete and it struggled to do that.
I also have some HF wrenches and the hold up good for the limited use they get….
Hope your sander holds up a bit longer for you…
I have been considering buying a 6” belt/disc sander and have been comparing different brands but HF NEVER even made it into the comparison.

-- Each step of every Wood Art project I design and build is considered my masterpieceā€¦ because I want the finished product to reflect the quality and creativeness of my work

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

1538 posts in 1014 days


#2 posted 08-08-2014 01:53 PM

Blackie, I don’t go into Harbor Freight. Cheap tools always let you down when you need them most. There are too many sources of good tools and life is too short to bother with less.

My plan has always been to save up my money, buy the best tools, and buy them once. My Delta Unisaw has never needed a repair in 40 years of hard use. My Powermatic planer keeps running. I use my Forrest blades for 6 months and send them back to the factory to be re-sharpened. My 6 inch x 81 inch Northtec sander never needs repair and has run for 35 years. My Miketa 4 inch grinder has worked for 45 years. My craftsman table saw needed new bearings after my dad and I used it for 60 years. Well, you get the idea.

Whether it is a car, or washer, or tool I look for one that is well made, as simple as possible, and sensibly designed. In the long run, buying one good tool is cheaper than buying several poor ones. And you will have the joy of using a tool that is pleasant to own and work with when you do a job.

-- Big Al in IN

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Bogeyguy

499 posts in 815 days


#3 posted 08-08-2014 02:19 PM

HF tools are one use and pitch them, in most cases.

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3639 posts in 1259 days


#4 posted 08-08-2014 02:24 PM

Yes I agree with you all, and thanks Greg but no need to say sorry, I should have known better, this is the last tool in my shop from HF everything else has been replaced with mostly dewalt but all top name brand tools, other tools that I’ve had bad luck and it’s been a learning experience the hard way but I have it all figured out now, Rockwell (crap) Ryobi (crap) skil (crap) these are just a few others that I’ve not had good luck with but I’d rate Ryobi above the three listed.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

12333 posts in 1852 days


#5 posted 08-08-2014 03:28 PM

Harbor Freight tools, like many Chinese tools you buy, are incomplete or poorly engineered to the point that you expect to complete the manufacture or make design changes when you buy them to make them work for you …. or just work!! The one thing I bought from the is they 18V cordless drill that I have in Az that seem to work pretty good.

I have their dovetail fixture which I did a compete rework on to make it work pretty good where I can depend on it.

The thing is that a lot of brand name tools are made in China and are no where near what they used to be- I will not buy Craftsman power tool any more for that reason.

I’m going to concentrate on Rigid because they are pretty good and they give a lifetime warranty- even on batteries ( so far)

Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View mnguy's profile

mnguy

162 posts in 2145 days


#6 posted 08-08-2014 04:36 PM

As a product engineer working in consumer products, sourced primarily from Asia, I can build on Jim’s comments. Even for inexpensive plastic home items, we see a very big difference in the capabilities and quality between different Chinese factories, and to some degree, the prices they quote to us, the retailer, correlate well with their quality; more quality = higher prices. Quality manufacturing equipment and the engineers, technicians and skilled workers to run it cost money, whether you are in America, Germany or China. These ‘better’ manufacturers often have very competitive prices, but quality still costs money. In short, no one can produce consistent quality at the prices HF charges for machinery. They need to skimp on design/engineering, materials, process or some combination to sell stuff that cheaply.

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TheFridge

1031 posts in 233 days


#7 posted 08-08-2014 04:42 PM

I got one from my paw paw that’s a couple years old, but besides being a little underpowered it works fine. It’s a crapshoot.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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sawdustjunkie

225 posts in 464 days


#8 posted 08-08-2014 04:43 PM

I had purchased one of these from Menards some years ago. When I started using it, the belt wouldn’t stay on the rollers. So I took the belt off and found one of the rollers was actually cracked almost completely thru.
I went back to menards and they ordered me a new roller, which I never got. After some time, I simply used epoxy to fill in the crack and it has worked ever since. That was about 15 years ago.
The stuff made in China can be good or bad. It seems like all the tool makers have there stuff made there so even if you buy name brand power tools, they may still not be that good.
Look at the table saws for example. They are all made in China or someplace else, but they are all made overseas.
Powermatic is way more than Grizzly, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out of the same factory.
Just my 2 cents

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

5342 posts in 1589 days


#9 posted 08-08-2014 05:46 PM

Randy,

I am more pro and con on Harbor Freight, but I haven’t been putting heavy daily use on my tools. The stuff I have bought from them that I really like is an oscillating palm sander. I have a very old version of the machine you are talking about but it is really basic and maybe less complicated. It is also pre improved Chinese growth and economy. I have a magnesium hand held large belt sander that works pretty well for floors and such( they don’t sell t anymore?). Also have a 7” grinder that works well on metal. Did buy air tools for a one time furnace installation in my shop.

Older craftsman tools ( power) were different when they weren’t from China.

I think the use factor is important and how deep your pockets go? I have many crappy tools that aren’t HF. LOL! But my thinking (may have been/no probably was) flawed when I said “Well I can buy better when I make money selling furniture.” yep flawed about making money selling furniture. LOL!

But I think you are right in buying something of better design, and quality, for your future needs.
mnguy is right on. Grizzly actually has production standard codes that they put on the equipment they make. Hey just bought a 22 inch hand plane from Grizzly. Made in India?

Good posting.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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HillbillyShooter

4873 posts in 1039 days


#10 posted 08-08-2014 06:51 PM

Sorry but not surprised by your HF experience. I’m not a fan of HF. Back in the early nineties, I bought a 6”x48” Belt, 9” Disc sander from Craftsman—it was a POS, had to adjust tracking and harder to keep on track. I replaced it with a PM version 10 or so years ago and never regretted it. The PM is sweet in all respects. Best wishes in the future.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Tooch's profile

Tooch

694 posts in 623 days


#11 posted 08-08-2014 09:40 PM

After I had a HF C-clamp break on a student because of a poor casting, I refused to shop there again…. if they can’t even sell trustworthy cast-C-clamps, how can anyone trust them with anything?

Like Boxguy said, lifes too short to gamble on tools

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

510 posts in 2064 days


#12 posted 08-08-2014 11:33 PM

I have owned this same sander for about 5 years. No complaints from me.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3639 posts in 1259 days


#13 posted 08-08-2014 11:52 PM

Mark, looks like you’re one of the lucky ones then and that’s the gamble you take, myself I don’t like to gamble unless it’s something worth gambling for :)

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View Rayne's profile

Rayne

184 posts in 286 days


#14 posted 08-09-2014 02:38 AM

I’ve been shopping at HF for years and have a few of their tools. My 8” drill press has been wonderful with no issues whatsoever after 4 years. Their F-clamps are just as good as Bessey’s so far. I just recently bought a corded planer and that seems to work great, although the first one I bought had an uneven surface but that was quickly discovered and quickly exchanged out. Honestly, if it wasn’t for HF’s affordability, I wouldn’t be in woodworking. It’s given me opportunities to continue building up my skill and help save money to get better tools. I now have a Delta contractor saw, a custom router table and lift I built, and a Ryobi Miter saw…o.k. the Ryobi is a cheapo too, but it works great; the 45 degree stops are amazingly accurate…I’ve heard that was rare. Anyways, I guess it really comes down to understanding what HF is offering that can give you the ability to save up to get the good stuff while still being able to create.

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3639 posts in 1259 days


#15 posted 08-09-2014 02:48 AM

Rayne, I guess it really all boils down to what type of woodworking you are into be it hobbyist or professional, if you’re just making small projects, gifts etc… without any extra income then yeah I can understand buying what meets your needs but if you’re dealing with the public and customers then you’re going to need the best as you can’t afford mistakes and or set backs even still the continuous buying tools to replace the broken ones are you really saving money?

You mentioned you have an 8” drill press I too owned one of those, I gave it to my dad as no longer met my needs I needed a floor standing model, and looked at what HF had to offer but I found the 15” floor model the Porter Cable sold from Lowes to be a much better deal plus name brand thus as mentioned HF doesn’t always have the best deals, it pays to shop.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

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