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Old 02-21-2012, 02:56 PM   #1
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Harbor freight polishers?

As anyone found that harbor freight makes orbital or random orbital polishers that work well for airstreams? I know variable speed is really critical for the first polishing at least. Any experiences or recommendations would be appreciated!

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Old 02-21-2012, 02:59 PM   #2
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I had a harbor freight 7" angle grinder start shooting out sparks and start on fire in my hands.
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Old 02-21-2012, 02:59 PM   #3
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We've used a HF compounder for the intial cuts - works great, but get the extended warranty and keep the receipt so if it fails (it will!) you can exchange it for a new one. We also have a Miwaulkee compounder - the benefit of the HF one is it is much lighter (more plastic) and of course, the cost.

Nothing beats a Cyclo polisher for the final pass though...that mirror-like finish is tough to get any other way.

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Old 02-21-2012, 02:59 PM   #4
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I've used the orbital polisher with variable speed for polishing my AS. I recommend taking out the warranty so if you burn it up, they'll replace it (I went through a couple of them, but the store is right around the corner from me so it's not a big deal) I used a cyclo polisher for the final polish to get the swirls out.
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:23 PM   #5
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Harbor Freight sells super cheap Chinese-made junk that will probably break the first time you use it and burn your house down, too. Spend a few dollars more and get a Porter Cable random-orbit sander/polisher. It will probably last for the rest of your life and will never put swirl marks in your finish. Use it on your Airstream, car, truck, boat, lawn-mower, backside, and whatever else needs polishing...
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:05 PM   #6
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For the record, HF stuff does break more on average than non-Chinese made major brands, but that doesn't mean its all or nothing. There is a value to using these types of things, and honestly not everyone can afford to invest 250% of the lowest cost in every single tool they own. Sometimes you have to settle for a nice drill, a nice saw, a nice sander, and get your 5 hours-per-year tools from other brands.

I've had a HF grinder die... after cutting through copious amounts of steel, aluminum, wood, and even 1" thick solid Stainless steel rails. Not surprised.

I've had a HF handheld jigsaw die after a roommate didn't let it cool down when he tried to cut something like 100 linear feet of 1" thick plywood with it. It cost $20. Not surprised.

I've had a HF 7" electronic variable speed polisher die after doing a coarse cut and a fine cut on all 8 windows/hatches/vents/doors, the entire interior skins on a 18 foot trailer, and 20% of the exterior skins. I paid less than $40, bought an $8 warranty, and just got the tool replaced for free (and purchased a new $8 warranty. This time I was surprised...that it made it that long!!!

I've also had non-HF routers, sanders, and drills die on me, and some of them weren't made in China (gasp).

I'm not saying there isn't a value to buying the nicest version of every tool you can. I wouldn't have a 6 piece DeWalt 18V set if I didn't see the value in some of them, but I just want to provide the counterargument to one of these threads for once, and this is especially true of polishers. They get dirty. The motor gets clogged with polish and aluminum. Buy a throwaway and replace. Pocket the other $70 and save up for new axles.

For the record, this is all my opinion and not worth 2 cents.
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:13 PM   #7
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My 2 cents: save the landfill space. Buy the good stuff instead.

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Old 02-21-2012, 04:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worldinchaos View Post

For the record, HF stuff does break more on average than non-Chinese made major brands, but that doesn't mean its all or nothing.There is a value to using these types of things,and honestly not everyone can afford to invest 250% of the lowest cost in every single tool they own. Sometimes you have to settle for a nice drill, a nice saw, a nice sander, and get your 5 hours-per-year tools from other brands.

<snip>

I've also had non-HF routers, sanders, and drills die on me, and some of them weren't made in China (gasp).

I'm not saying there isn't a value to buying the nicest version of every tool you can. I wouldn't have a 6 piece DeWalt 18V set if I didn't see the value in some of them, but I just want to provide the counterargument to one of these threads for once, and this is especially true of polishers. They get dirty. The motor gets clogged with polish and aluminum. Buy a throwaway and replace. Pocket the other $70 and save up for new axles.
Agree 100%! Couldn't have said it better myself...

Shari
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:48 PM   #9
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Agree 100%! Couldn't have said it better myself...

Shari
Ditto
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:04 PM   #10
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I have found that the brushes are what wear the fastest and clog restricting conductivity on the HF Polishers. Ace hardware has them in stock in my area. 6.00. I regularly check Craig's list for
The Dewalt 804. In the meantime the HF is still working.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:02 PM   #11
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Think I paid $16 bucks for big obital

Did a boat that needed some work, yes they do work well for polishing. There is always 20percent coupon floating around online retailmenot.com. Forget warranty that is suckers bet. All these posts of shine trailers is going to make me remove clear coat on my bambi. I do like to polish must be a car guy thing. Is my trailer too nice to pull clearcoat? Funny I like harbor freight for many items. 16volt orange drill when on sale is good value. I beat the snot out of it and try break it.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starcraft
Did a boat that needed some work, yes they do work well for polishing. There is always 20percent coupon floating around online retailmenot.com. Forget warranty that is suckers bet.
I usually never buy the warranty, but I knew this one would probably die with all the hard labor it would be going through....

The problem with the warranty goes back to something I alluded to earlier. The primary reason I use HF is for those tools that you use for 5-10 hours a year, if that, but you absolutely cannot live without. For instance my rivet nut setter was like $10, significantly less than any name brand one, and although a POS, has been indispensable 5 or 6 times during automotive work. Anyway, I expect those types of tools to last 15+ years because I never use them, so a warranty would be worthless....
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:49 PM   #13
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I used the HF polisher on my 34'. no issues.
I can buy 6 HF polishers for the price of 1 dewalt. I absolutely agree that the dewalt is better by far. But the HF polisher did fine and was 49 bucks.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:58 PM   #14
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I used the HF polisher on my 34'. no issues.
I can buy 6 HF polishers for the price of 1 dewalt. I absolutely agree that the dewalt is better by far. But the HF polisher did fine and was 49 bucks.
I agree. I've picked - up many a tool at HF that I only have one use for and no problem.
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