Fan Friday Review – 64 Piece Socket Set

Welcome to the inaugural Fan Friday entry!  Each week we’ll feature some of the hard work our customers and biggest fans have done with and about their Harbor Freight tools.  To kick things off, here’s a look at the 64 Piece Socket Set by Frank Oedeloam.  This great kit is already available for just $29.99 but as Frank mentions, don’t forget to pick up a 20% off coupon to save even more!

Attack of the 580 Lb. Capacity Roller Cart

Looking for the perfect combo of storage space and portability? Well, your prayers have been answered with the 580 Lb. Capacity 4-Drawer Roller Cart from Harbor Freight Tools! Featuring over 6200 cubic inches of storage space, this tough all-steel cart gives you the space to store a wide range of tools with easy accessibility.  Plus, the cart practically glides across your work space on smooth-rolling, lockable casters.  That means your tools are both safely stored and easily maneuverable.  But even when this cart is loaded to capacity, the $154.99 price tag always stays light so you can put your money into your work, not over-priced tools.  But enough of my yappin’.  Here’s Pat to give you an up close look at what other features make this roller cart the perfect choice for your shop or garage!

My Super Sweet 16 DIY Solar Panel Kit Videos

Thunderbolt Magnum 45-Watt Solar Panel Kit

If you’ve been batting around the idea of picking up a Thunderbolt Magnum45-Watt Solar Panel Kit #68751, now’s the time to strike, my friend. This Friday-Sunday, March 8-10, the legendary Harbor Freight Tools Sidewalk Sale is running, with the solar panel kit going for a cool $139.99! And if you miss the sale, no worries– between now and Monday, March 18, the kit remains on sale for just $149.99. Talk about Daylight Savings Time (that’s OK, you’ll get it later…)!

Perhaps you’ve thought that the idea of setting up a solar system would be cool, but also a little intimidating. What’s in the kit? How do you put it together? What else do you need? How much do you need to know? The truth is, you don’t have to be a whiz kid to put something functional and efficient together for your home, garage, barn, shed, RV, camp or bug-out shelter.

First, what’s included in the kit, and what can it do? Not long ago, Dan Rojas, owner of Green Power Science put out a series of YouTube videos, explaining it pretty well.

In his first video, he goes over what the kit includes and also points out that you’ll also need at least one 12-volt battery (2 or more would be better– he recommends deep cycle) and a power inverter to make the system fully useful. For his demonstration he uses the Cen-Tech 750 Watt Power Inverter, but in the spirit of “More Is Better”– that is, if you intend to use the solar system for larger machinery or appliances– I suggest getting the Chicago Electric 1500/3000 Power Inverter. Of course, it depends on what you need the solar energy for. If you’re in a cabin and intend to occasionally vacuum or use a microwave, the 750 watt inverter won’t cut it.

Chicago Electric 1500/3000 Watt Power Inverter

 

Here’s a general guide of determining how big of an inverter you might need:

 

Appliance   Est. Watts   Appliance   Est. Watts
Cell phone 24 CD player 400
iPod 120 Toaster 1200
TV 25″ 175 Jig saw 350
Laptop computer 65-90 Circular saw 1250
Computer & monitor 400 1/2″ drill 700
Printer 75 Refrigerator 500
VCR 50 Vacuum 750
CPAP 200 Sub pump 1000
Blender 400 40″ fan 1100
Space heater 1000 Iron 1000
Coffee maker 800 Satellite dish 75
Microwave 1250 PS2, Xbox 125

Dan posted other informative videos, including 3-Solar Panel DIY Wiring and Solar Panel Wiring Configurations. You can catch his whole YouTube series here.

If you are really considering putting together a solar kit, one of best DIY solar websites to get acquainted with is the Do It Yourself Solar Energy Forum. This terrific site is a wealth of information with tips,  tutorials, videos and plain old general knowledge. Chances are good if you have a question, it’s been asked and answered on this forum. There’s a lot of coverage on the Harbor Freight 45-watt solar panel kit, too. Videos include everything from assembly, set-up, add-ons and plenty of personal mods from folks looking to build the better mousetrap. There are even videos on solar panel kit performance during rain and snow. My favorite video on this site was made by Larry “The Solar Toolman” Taylor:

I don’t think there’s a more practical and informative DIY video on home solar power set-ups out there. Larry followed this first how-to video with a Workshop #2 and a three-part Workshop #3. If you want to get some insight of just what you can do with your newly-harnessed solar power, definitely check these out.

Preppers represent a good number of the solar kit shoppers, which only makes sense. Nobody anticipates contingencies like a prepper. Only two weeks ago I wrote about Chappy from NewSurvivalSkills.com and how he employed a Harbor Freight solar panel briefcase to get power in the wild.

Another prepper clip I came across was from a guy with the moniker, ncprepper1. He uses three solar panel kits to run a 36″ TV (even in the event of a zombie apocalypse, you gotta have your TV), laptop, lights, a camera system, and more. To make room for even more solar kits, he shows how to build a wooden rack that can add three, making a total of 18 solar panels . Not to be outdone, LDSPrepper installed 4 solar panel kits (180 watts) on the side of his house with a 1500 watt power inverter,  and poses a convincing argument for why he decided to go with Harbor Freight solar panels.

Incidentally, LDSPrepper– who actually has a whole series of solar panel videos worth plowing through– repeatedly credits another YouTuber, econewpower, for helping him get started. This guy supplies his own treasure trove of solar panel kit how-to videos: I recommend starting with his How To Install Harbor Freight Solar Panels Part 1 . I think there are five parts in this series, plus he has other DIY solar videos on hand.

With the advent of spring fast approaching, it’s a great time to get started on your solar system project. Whether it be for emergencies, saving electricity costs or going green, solar is a solid alternative energy that, in extreme cases, could potentially save you and your family from losing creature comforts, food supplies or even lives.

Check out these and other videos on DIY solar panel kits and projects online!

Chicago Electric 2.5 hp 10-in. Tile-Brick Saw – Pays For Itself Over and Again!

I can’t believe it’s already March. It was warm and sunny this weekend, and all the garages in the cul-de-sac were open, shop tools howling and humming on new projects as kids took to the street with bikes and razors, and wives clustered in yards, catching up on all those mysterious lady-topics. I love this time of year.

A good friend of mine recently moved into the neighborhood and, for one of his initial projects, he wanted to re-tile his three bathrooms. He also talked about renovating the patio. On my advice, he picked up a Chicago Electric 2.5 HP 10″ Industrial Tile/Brick Saw #69275 at Harbor Freight– with a 20% off coupon, the price dropped to $204. The tool would pay for itself, plus some, after just one job!

Chicago Electric 2.5 HP 10-inch Tile-Brick Saw

While you may be thinking the price is so low, you’ll be happy it lasts long enough to finish the one job, think again– this beast is a keeper! Built in an over-sized steel frame, it comes with a precision linear bar system for smooth operation. The two-position cutting head lets you easily adjust the blade to handle tiles or bricks of various sizes. A built-in 3-gallon-per-minute water pump and a removable, high-impact ABS water tub are also included. Designed with a heavy-duty cast alloy column and cutting head for reduced vibration, this professional grade tile saw cuts tile up to 24”. The head pivots to allow for 22.5 and 45-degree bevel cuts, and the blade is adjustable for standard tiles or bricks up to 3-1/2″ thick.

I came across this video on YouTube this morning, submitted by a customer in 2010 who bought his tile saw back in 2006, and I thought it’d be a good way to show the machine in action. (The guy who shot it uses the handle, “jojuma91″. Out of gratitude, I included a link to his YouTube page)

Strange music compilation aside, this is an excellent illustration of the saw’s consistent, stellar performance.

In the DIY forum GarageJournal.com, the topic of “wet saws” comes up from time to time. Naturally, Harbor Freight is talked about– sometimes not flatteringly, but notice how those comments are from guys who didn’t actually own them. Here are a few I thought were worth mentioning:

“I have no complaints with my HF 10 inch wet saw. I cut all the bricks at crazy odd angles for my wood fired pizza oven and then cut a ton of bricks for my patio. It’s still going strong – and was quite accurate. I then got a new blade and used it to cut my granite counter tops. I bought it on a 20% off coupon when it had already been reduced in price. It looks bad but still runs great. I normally expect HF stuff to last me a single job. The saw has exceeded that expectation.” Chris

This next comment is so full of praise, I think the guy deserves a kickback (but you didn’t hear that from me):

“Another vote here for the Harbor Freight 10″ wet saw. A buddy of mine purchased one in 2003, for $279 I think it was. We have used this saw more than we ever thought we would. He tiled about 1400 square feet of porcelain floor tile with it, and a set of marble steps, lots of diagonal cuts, border, etc. The thought was, “Hey, if it lasts through this job, it will have paid for itself, vs. renting a saw”. Saw worked great.

He then did his whole brick driveway (curved borders) with it. Came through like a champ. I then borrowed it from him, and tiled the entire main “public” area of my house, around 2,000 square feet, in porcelain, with a border stripe, all tile set on the diagonal. It took me about 2 months of evenings and weekends. The saw kept on working like a champ. When I was done with that job, I gave it back to my buddy with $100 and a case of beer.

I just borrowed it from him again last month, to tile the shop bathroom (porcelain, pics at link below). Friggin’ thing is still working great. Keep a good diamond blade in it (as with all wet saws) and it won’t let you down.

My buddy (co-worker) and I were in HF the other day, and noticed that they sell the same saw now, 8 years later, for the same money, and now, it comes with a folding stand, which his did not. We had a good laugh. This saw certainly doesn’t owe us anything, at this point. When it finally dies someday, it will receive an appropriate viking funeral.”  Rob

One more…

“Another vote for the Harbor Freight 10″. I can’t even add up how much tile, brick and concrete it has cut in the last 5 or 6 years since I’ve had it. Just a belt and blade had to be replaced after I made the mistake of loaning it to a friend.”  incubus2432

Central Machinery Mobile Power Tool Table

Also, if you’re looking for mobility with your projects, you might want to consider the Central Machinery Folding Power Tool Stand #40612, also at Harbor Freight.

For more insight into the Chicago Electric 2.5 hp tile-brick saw, check out the customer reviews on our site!

’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 6 – Engine Rebuild

We’re now up to the sixth installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project.

Recapping — HFT invited former Rod & Custom editor, Jeff Tann, to restore a First Generation Firebird using only products from Harbor Freight Tools. The car is all original with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he’s approaching the project from scratch.

Now in Part 6, we come to the meatiest phase of the Firebird restoration to date– the engine rebuild. The Pittsburgh Professional 1/2″ Drive Click Stop Torque Wrench is pretty much the star of the show, a multipurpose tool utilized throughout the footage. That said, check out the great details and tips employed in this installment. Chances are you’ll see a thing or two you’d like to adopt for your next project.

Whatever your labor of love, if it has to do with tools, Harbor Freight Tools has got what you need– and sends you home with extra cash in your pocket!

Enjoy– and stay tuned! There’s still tons more to come!

’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 5 – The Underbody

Welcome to the fifth installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project.

Recapping — HFT invited former Rod & Custom editor, Jeff Tann, to restore a First Generation Firebird using only products from Harbor Freight Tools. The car is all original, with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he’s approaching the project from scratch.

In Part 1, we were given a tour of the original vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff’s challenge. In Part 2, we followed the body-dismantling process and introduced the U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which housed the Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit. Also in this segment, we saw how Jeff made quick business of the job with a Central Pneumatic 3/8″ Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4″ Mini Air Ratchet Wrench. In Part 3, Jeff lifted the engine using a 1-Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane and then removed the tranny from it with a Central Pneumatic 1/2″ Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench before he mounted it on the Central Machinery 1000 Lb. Engine Stand, and proceeded to take it apart. Part 4 took us to the exciting first step of transformation– sanding and priming the car. For the stripping, Jeff used a Central Pneumatic 6″ Dual Action Air Sander and the Jitterbug Orbital Air Sander.  He then laid down the primer like a rock star, using the Central Pneumatic Professional HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun.

We now come to Part 5, which involves the pressure-washing, sandblasting and undercoating of the Firebird. Using a Pacific Hydrostar 4 HP 2000 PSI Gas Pressure Washer and a generous amount of heavy-duty degreaser, he heavily coated the underbody to break down over 45 years of grease, oil and dirt, and then washed it off with water using a high-pressure nozzle. Once the underbody was scrubbed clean, he sandblasted the rust spots with a Central Pneumatic Portable Abrasive Blaster Kit, using highly effective Medium Grade Armex Soda Blast Media, and as a finishing touch, covered the surface with Rustoleum Professional Undercoating Spray.

Whatever your labor of love, if it has to do with tools, Harbor Freight Tools has got what you need– and sends you home with extra cash in your pocket!

Keep watching. There’s still a lot more ahead!

’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 4 – Strip & Prime!

Welcome to the fourth installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project.

As we shared earlier, HFT invited Jeff Tann– car enthusiast and former Rod & Custom editor — to fully restore a legendary First Generation Firebird using only products from Harbor Freight Tools. The car is all original, with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he’s basically tackling the project “from scratch.”

In Part 1, we were given a tour of the original vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff’s challenge. In Part 2, we followed the body-dismantling process and introduced the U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which housed the Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit. Also in this segment, we saw how Jeff made quick business of the job with a Central Pneumatic 3/8″ Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4″ Mini Air Ratchet Wrench. In Part 3, Jeff lifted the engine using  a 1-Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane and then removed the tranny from it with a Central Pneumatic 1/2″ Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench before he mounted it on the Central Machinery 1000 Lb. Engine Stand, and proceeded to take it apart.

Part 4 takes us to the exciting first step of transformation– sanding and priming the car. For the stripping, Jeff used a Central Pneumatic 6″ Dual Action Air Sander and the Jitterbug Orbital Air Sander.  That done, he then laid down the primer like a rock star, using the efficient, low-price Central Pneumatic Professional HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun.

You might be asking, why is Harbor Freight doing this? Because they can! It’s their way of saying they have everything you need to complete this job– and do it like pro– for a fraction of the cost other tool stores would charge you!

So, keep watching. There’s lots more ahead!

 

’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 3 – Engine Removal!

Welcome to the third installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project.

For first-time readers: HFT invited Jeff Tann– car enthusiast and former Rod & Custom editor — to fully restore the legendary muscle car using only discount tools from Harbor Freight. The car is all original, with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he’s basically tackling the project “from scratch.”

In Part 1, we were given a tour of the original vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff’s challenge. In Part 2, we followed the body-dismantling process and introduced the U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which housed the Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit. Also in this segment, we saw how Jeff made quick business of the job with a Central Pneumatic 3/8″ Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4″ Mini Air Ratchet Wrench.

This time we follow Jeff as he lifts the engine, using a 2-Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane. It’s probably the first time the 45-year-old engine’s been taken out since it was on the assembly line, so it’s not gonna be pretty. Jeff then removes the tranny from the engine with a Central Pneumatic 1/2″ Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench before he mounts it on the Central Machinery 1000 Lb. Engine Stand, and proceeds to take it apart.

The HFT ’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 2 – Disassembly!

Welcome to the second installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project. As previously noted, HFT invited Jeff Tann– car enthusiast and former Rod & Custom editor–to fully restore the legendary muscle car using only low-priced tools sold at Harbor Freight. The car is all original, with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he’s basically tackling the project “from scratch.”

In Part 1, we were introduced to the vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff’s challenge. In this segment we watch the dismantling process. As Dr. Albert Hirsch had to break down David Webb before he could build Jason Bourne, so Jeff has to take apart the old, battle-weary Firebird before he can build… a classic, hotter Firebird!

To get the ball rolling, his garage was equipped with a U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which was stocked with a Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit. Also used in this segment, the Central Pneumatic 3/8″ Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4″ Mini Air Ratchet Wrench.

During the display, it was suggested that you should keep the bolts, nuts, washers, etc., for each portion together in ziplock bags– and who doesn’t have a horror story that supports that?

Stay tuned… the best stuff’s still ahead!

The HFT ’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 1

How good is Harbor Freight Tools, really? To find out, Jeff Tann– car enthusiast and former Rod & Custom editor–will fully restore a 1967 Pontiac Firebird using only tools sold at Harbor Freight. Starting today, we’ll follow his progress.

In the first installment of this 12-part series, let’s look at the muscle car as it was originally presented to Jeff. As you can see, the Firebird– all original– isn’t in terrible shape, but definitely has seen the wear of time and use. Even so, we’re looking at an American classic, and wouldn’t it be awesome to see it return to its 100% perfection?


Each week we’ll cover another phase of the project, until we see it through to its completion. Starting next week, we’ll start with removing the engine.

Follow with us and witness firsthand how the affordable, quality tools at Harbor Freight perform in this most challenging exercise.