Harbor Freight Trim Router

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Tronn
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:03 pm

Harbor Freight Trim Router

Post by Tronn » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:23 am

Hey all,
Thought I'd share my opinion of the Harbor Freight trim router as a spindle option. I also have some design files for a mounting bracket for it.

I really like this router as a spindle option. It is much more powerful than the Dremel 300 I was using before. I managed to pick it up on sale for $20 and also bought HF's router speed controller for $20 more. $40 for this spindle option is quite nice. It is a little loud and only has an 1/4" collet though. The second drawback is remedied by a 1/4"-1/8" adapter from MLCS woodworking (only $5).

Only other bad thing so far is that I've completely deformed and pretty much ruined one of the collet wrenches that came with it. The jaws opened up and deformed enough that they do not grab the small flats anymore. I am considering milling a new one out of some aluminum.

As for the mounting bracket, I had been using a 3D printed version, but recently switched to this new design and milled it out of 1/2" HDPE. I also trimmed the Z-motor plates recently for more vertical clearance.

Coincidentally, I found that mounting the Z-max limit switch around one of the screws of the z-axis motor mount to be very convenient. With the trimmed Z-plate, the z-carriage can move all the way up and activate the switch.

The source files are on thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:503637
More pictures and a longer write up on my blog: http://wp.me/p4A3lH-47
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Shapeoko 2 - 300W DC Spindle, Custom Enclosure, Alum extrusion Bed, Homing switches, Trimmed Z-Motor Plates, Drag Chains, GRBL 0.9g
MakerFarm Prusa i3 3D printer, Rostock Mini 3D printer(WIP)
My Blog: http://nateduxbury.wordpress.com/

Schruminator
Posts: 259
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:04 pm
Location: Littleton, CO
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Re: Harbor Freight Trim Router

Post by Schruminator » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:37 pm

Looks slick! For the collet wrench, I'd be worried that aluminum would be a bit soft. For the cost, I'd just buy a small wrench that is the correct size, an adjustable wrench, vise grips or channel locks. It might be a bit less hassle in the long run for minimal cost.
1.8m x 1.0m SO2 #3638 / Vectric Aspire / ACME Z-axis / View my photography at http://www.mschrum.com

AllenM
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:03 pm

Re: Harbor Freight Trim Router

Post by AllenM » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:08 pm

I purchased the 1/4 to 1/8 adapter from MLCS and it is not holding the bit tightly enough no matter how much I tighten the collet. I can pull the bit out with my fingers after it is tightened. Has anyone else had this problem?

WillAdams
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Location: Pennsylvania --- south of the Turnpike, East of US-15
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Re: Harbor Freight Trim Router

Post by WillAdams » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:14 pm

No, but that was part of why I believe the StewMac adapter to be a better choice as noted on the Spindle options page:

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Ty ... ollet.html

Stewart-MacDonald Adapter Collet --- brass with 4 slots for the 1/8"--1/4" size --- the additional slots and symmetry may help reduce runout and allow it to spin truer.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
Nomad 883 Pro #596 (bamboo)

Schruminator
Posts: 259
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:04 pm
Location: Littleton, CO
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Re: Harbor Freight Trim Router

Post by Schruminator » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:31 pm

I have used the MLCS 1/4 --> 1/8 adapter for a year or so and it works great. No runout, no issues with loose bits. Does your Harbor Freight route hold 1/4" endmills tightly to start with? I'm wondering if it's not locking down enough on anything that is 1/4" diameter...
1.8m x 1.0m SO2 #3638 / Vectric Aspire / ACME Z-axis / View my photography at http://www.mschrum.com

WillAdams
Posts: 8514
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:11 pm
Location: Pennsylvania --- south of the Turnpike, East of US-15
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Re: Harbor Freight Trim Router

Post by WillAdams » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:43 pm

Another consideration --- the HF collet is backwards of many --- did you follow the instructions and can you get it to hold a 1/4" bit to start with?
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
Nomad 883 Pro #596 (bamboo)

Tronn
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:03 pm

Re: Harbor Freight Trim Router

Post by Tronn » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:38 pm

Im not really sure if it helped or not, but when I used the MLCS collet adapter in the HF collet, I would always line up the slots on opposite sides of each other. I usually had to take the MLCS adapter out of the HF collet to even get the bits out.
Shapeoko 2 - 300W DC Spindle, Custom Enclosure, Alum extrusion Bed, Homing switches, Trimmed Z-Motor Plates, Drag Chains, GRBL 0.9g
MakerFarm Prusa i3 3D printer, Rostock Mini 3D printer(WIP)
My Blog: http://nateduxbury.wordpress.com/

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