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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-01-2004 12:24 PM Thanx for the update. HF stuff is a little short on the quality control level but the company is so responsive at fixing the occasional bad part that there is no real risk. And when you finally get a good one, they last as long as the name brand stuff. Be sure to add 1/8" x 1" X-braces on the front and back of the stand legs. Otherwise they will get really wobbly!
12-01-2004 12:13 PM

For anyone who might stumble on this thread while shopping for a bandsaw or another Harbor Freight item, here's a brief update.

HF shipped out a new saw and had the defective one picked up by UPS - no cost to me. The entire "exchange" did take a total of about two weeks, but was well worth it.

The new saw makes all the difference in the world. The head and blade drop straight and true and the cuts are fine. I did have a minor problem at first - the blade kept wanting to jump off the drive wheel whenever there was a workpiece in the machine. It ran and tracked fine if there was nothing in the machine, just wouldn't run under power. After making numerous adjustments to the guide blocks, tension, and tracking wheel, I finally discovered the lower drive wheel had simply been installed on it's shaft about 1/8" off (pushed too far onto the shaft). Since making that adjustment the saw has been running fine. Kudos to HF and their Customer Service on this one.

11-01-2004 05:35 PM Toldya'! now try doing that with Sears or other big name tool Co. You will be run around 'til the chickens come home.

Only better deal I can come up with was when I bought a Gateway computer back in the late 80s when they were first getting the company going. I bought a complete system and the monitor was fuzzy. I called them and described the problem. GREAT customer service was their mantra and they really did it. Have become like all the rest if the computer guys lately but back then they really cared. Anyway, I was waiting for the next step when a couple of days later a new monitor appeared on my door step with a request to send back the defective one when I got the chance!!
11-01-2004 05:16 PM
cboy Well now THAT'S impressive. I'm out in the shop this afternoon lamenting over exactly what to do about this saw...and up drives my UPS guy with orders to deliver me a new saw and pick up the old one. Well you could have knocked me over with a feather. I hadn't even asked that it be returned yet. Just told HR customer service what the problem was and asked how it might be fixed.

We couldn't actually make the switch today, however, because I had no clue they were sending me a new saw so the old one has to be disassembled and packed back in the box. So UPS is coming back tomorrow.

One other little note, the UPS guy said they deal with Harbor Freight a LOT and that they are a great company to work with. Just thought I'd pass that along for what it's worth.

Must say I'm very impressed with Harbor Freight on this saw deal, however. Just hope the new one is built right.
10-30-2004 02:23 PM
cboy OMT,

Thanks for trying to help figure this thing out. Kinda difficult doing it via long distance.

It does seem there is no clear adjustment on the head or the blade to remedy the problem. I'm still testing to see if my "shimming the bed" will work as a long term remedy. Meanwhile I'm looking into how I could return the thing without having to make a 10 hour round trip to the store.
10-30-2004 01:42 PM
It was a thought

well..guess you either live with it or send it back..Sorry to hear you have had all this issue with this thing..
10-30-2004 01:29 PM
Re: blade guides

Originally posted by OneMoreTime
Now if you were to open up that slot and rotate the guide until the blade is true 90 to the bed then we should be done with this issue..


That spring on the side..all that is is to hold the head up when you are finished with a cut
Yup, it's the 4 1/2" saw but I'm not sure what would happen when you "open up the slot". The slot does nothing in terms of aligning the guide wheels or the blade. If you remove the guide wheel bracket (which has the slot in it) you will see some angled alignment rails cast right into the head. As the guide wheel bracket is torqued down, the bracket fits itself securely in place over these machinings in the casting and is brought into alignment by the angles cut in those castings . The purpose of the slot in the bracket is simply to allow for the torque bolt to stick through the bracket. If one simply widened the slot (Opened it up?) by grinding or cutting away metal, it would make no difference on the alignment...only a wider slot...since it is the machining on the head casting that actually brings the bracket into alignment.

More importantly, even if one COULD move the guide bracket to one side or the other (by grinding away on the head casting) I don't think it would have any effect on my particular problem. I think we would just succeed in moving the run-out a fraction of an inch to the left of right...but we would still have the same run-out. Even if not, grinding away at these machined in head guides is NOT something I'm inclined to do since I can't imagine HF taking it back in return after I botched up the job.

Regarding the spring and handle on the side of the saw the manual identifies it as the "Pressure Adjustment Handle" and says it is used to "Increase or decrease feed pressure." It is not used to hold the head up after making a cut according to the manual.
10-30-2004 08:44 AM
blade guides




Had to go out yesterday and stopped by HF..If you have the central machinery 4 1/2 in saw the blade guides are attached the the head with 2 bolts ea..the bottom bolt is through a hole and the top bole is in a slot..Now if you were to open up that slot and rotate the guide until the blade is true 90 to the bed then we should be done with this issue..

Course torque it all down good when done..

That spring on the side..all that is is to hold the head up when you are finished with a cut..probably will be necessary to hang a weight on the head to get some down force on the blade..

It does not seem that you are all that much out..just enough to make a guy nutsy..

This type of saw is just pretty good at cutting and I would not find it amiss if I had to touch grind the tubing ends to get the fit I desire..

Take Care
10-29-2004 07:47 PM
cboy Spent some time this afternoon fiddling with the saw and got a couple pretty good cuts by putting a 1/32" shim on the bed opposite the blade and then clamping everything very tight and making sure the uncut end of the stock was well supported so it wouldn't force the piece to move during the cut. Oh, and lubricating during the entire cut. I might be able to live with this solution if I can continue to get decent cuts with it.

I'm still trying to get a better response from HF Customer Service. One problem with the return is I had it shipped here (nearest HF store is 5 hours away) and don't know how they handle that in terms of paying for the shipping.
10-29-2004 10:28 AM

I would concur with Willy take it back and get another one..Harbor Frieght stuff has poor quality control..Some of it is good enough but I do run into this sort of thing from those guys..
10-29-2004 10:22 AM Before you start Rube Goldberg fixes like that, take it back to HF and get one that is right in the first place.
10-29-2004 10:22 AM
Originally posted by Beenaway2long

Is your cut out of square from top to bottom, or left to right?
Top to bottom.

"Once you've established what is out of square, you can add a piece of 3/8" plate to the surface, whether its the bed, or the fence. That plate can be shimmed to square with the blade. Use countersunk screws and thread the cast table/fence. "

I tried that in a makeshift fashion by simply putting a 1/16" piece of steel on the edge of the bed opposite the saw blade. Then I clamped in a piece of 2x3 stock and cut it. It seemed to be a tad better BUT I think the piece worked itself loose in the clamp and moved up a bit so it didn't give me an accurate reading of just how well it worked. I'll have to try that experiment again.

The only problem with laying a piece of flat stock all the way across the bed as you suggest is that the movable end of the clamping device must run up and down a 1" slot that is cut into the bed (the slot splits the bed in a line parallel with the blade). But I think if I could get just a shim piece secured to the side of the bed opposite the blade that I might be able to improve things.

Originally posted by OneMoreTime

Now we are all determined to get Cboy on the square here..GRinnnn
Hey, my kids tell me I'm ALREADY real square.

BTW, just got an email response from Harbor Freight. Useless. They sent me the list of specs for the motor size, blade length etc.
10-29-2004 10:11 AM There is no angle scale on the bed of those saws. Angle is adjustable but must be set with some external gauge.

You are right C, your measurements don't make any senses at all! The blade is attached solidly to the head so both should reflect identical run out on the head/bed hinge. Drink a couple of Buds then recheck those measurements!
10-29-2004 10:01 AM

Originally posted by cboy
Well now I'm totally confused...and have to take back some of the prior theory I was spouting off to 4Jaw Chuck. I just went out to the shop and put a square on the HEAD itself, rather than the blade, as I lifted it. And the head itself seems to be running true, or at the most only about 1/32" of run-out. So how could the blade, which is fixed in the head, show more run-out than the head itself?????

I can't imagine how I could get those rollers any tighter to the blade (and still have the saw run) but maybe I'll try that and a lot of lubrication on a test run or two.
Those guides could be slightly twisted in the head causing the blade to be a bit off and giving an angled cut..I gotta head out today and am going to stop at harbor frieght store..maybe I can see where the problem may lay..

Now we are all determined to get Cboy on the square here..GRinnnn
10-29-2004 09:29 AM
Beenaway2long Cboy-
I'm up for the challenge !

OK, first, I would take a piece of sacraficial plate, and somehow clamp it to the clamping area. Make a scored cut, but not all the way through. Lift the saw. Take a small plumb bob, and drop the bob from the blade. It should be adjacent to the cut line. It should also be consistant across the length of the blade.


Is your cut out of square from top to bottom, or left to right? Is the back fence PERPENDICULAR to the cut line? The "zero" on an adjustable fence is close to worthless until its "tuned". Same goes for ANY chop saw, table saw, radial arm, etc.

Once you've established what is out of square, you can add a piece of 3/8" plate to the surface, whether its the bed, or the fence. That plate can be shimmed to square with the blade. Use countersunk screws and thread the cast table/fence.

Reboring the pivot bore, or machining the pivot will be alot tougher.
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