Harbor Freight mobile base spreader question...

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  • Harbor Freight mobile base spreader question...

    For those that have set them up, you know, the Harbor Freight mobile base uses 1.25" square stock. Not necessarily a bad thing, but an odd size.

    I made my spreaders using southern yellow pine 2x4 stock ripped, and planed to size. I have zero problems with the band saw mobile base, but oddly enough, the one under the drill press, the spreaders are bowing. I know I made it pretty wide as I wanted to add more stability to the base, but did not expect the bowing...

    As I mentioned previously, I am considering chopping the column, but I am starting to think bad idea as the worm gear is basically captive only using a retaining ring. I am concerned about being able to keep it from falling out honestly.

    I have a friend that does weld however, and I am considering having him weld the worm gear to the column to keep it from flopping out...

    Anyway I digress...

    I was wondering if it would be worth it to in the interim, replace the pine spreaders with 1.25" square steel tubing to avoid the flex?
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  • #2
    One of the Delta mobile base designs uses similar wood pieces to connect the corners. That's what I have under my BT3. The Delta version has a single front caster wheel under the foot plate so that particular wood stick is subject to a lot of stress. I used maple for more strenth... regular or hard maple? I don't remember now. But it does flex a little. So far - after many years - the wood pieces have held up. Where the foot plate rubs against the tab that forces the caster into the floor wore out on my unit... it no longer "lifted" the assembly enough to allow the caster to actually caster. A new center foot plate, or fattening up the contact area with a weld bead, are the repair options.

    So perhaps something mid-way between pine material and square steel tubing would be strong enough. Though steel tubing should work just fine if you have the tools to cut & drill it.

    mpc

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    • #3
      Does the head on this drill press swivel? If you weld the gear that ends that. I can’t find a print of this unit, is the gear secured from lateral motion bu lock collars?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by capncarl View Post
        Does the head on this drill press swivel? If you weld the gear that ends that. I can’t find a print of this unit, is the gear secured from lateral motion bu lock collars?
        It is a Northern Industrial 13" 16 speed drill press, and other than colors, the power switch, and the knobs on the lower wheel thingy, it is every bit identical to the current Central Machinery 13" 16 speed floor model drill press.

        https://www.harborfreight.com/heavy-...ess-38144.html

        Click image for larger version

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        Oh and FWIW, I like the power switch on the Central Machinery better, but I digress.

        On my ponderings about shortening it. I may be talking myself out of that. The main purpose behind wanting a benchtop unit, is to have a bench / cabinet to stow my handheld drills, drill bits, forstner bits etc.. in...

        In the new shop, I can bolt the drill press directly to the floor, and build a cabinet that will easily just roll over the foot of the drill press and solve my storage dilema.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by mpc View Post
          One of the Delta mobile base designs uses similar wood pieces to connect the corners. That's what I have under my BT3. The Delta version has a single front caster wheel under the foot plate so that particular wood stick is subject to a lot of stress. I used maple for more strenth... regular or hard maple? I don't remember now. But it does flex a little. So far - after many years - the wood pieces have held up. Where the foot plate rubs against the tab that forces the caster into the floor wore out on my unit... it no longer "lifted" the assembly enough to allow the caster to actually caster. A new center foot plate, or fattening up the contact area with a weld bead, are the repair options.

          So perhaps something mid-way between pine material and square steel tubing would be strong enough. Though steel tubing should work just fine if you have the tools to cut & drill it.

          mpc
          Cutting square steel stock? HF Angle grinder with metal abrasive cutoff wheels. Easy as pie.
          Drilling the holes? Metal marking punch, and a ball peen hammer to mark the hole locations and give me a starting depression. I have a set of admittedly old, but still quite good, USA made kind of old, B&D TiN coated metal cutting drill bits, and cutting oil. Use them for car work mostly.

          Of course the issue is that I have Maple, I do not have steel stock on hand. I'd have to drive to Bacliffe and get the stuff, bring it home, and work it.

          Or just put up with the bowing until I move it into the new shop, bolt the drill press to the floor and forget the mobile base for the drill press ever existed, especially since I will need one for the table saw...
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          • #6
            Picture of the base in use? Is the weight on the wood stretchers or is the weight on the wheel corners? Why would the wood sag?
            Maybe Just remove the wood stretchers, turn them upside down and reinstall and they'll last another few years.
            Loring in Katy, TX USA
            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
            BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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            • #7
              Originally posted by capncarl View Post
              Does the head on this drill press swivel? If you weld the gear that ends that. I can’t find a print of this unit, is the gear secured from lateral motion bu lock collars?
              most drill presses the vertical rack swivels, captured top and bottom by some rings that are clamped to the column. The gear and crank riding on the colum is usually enough to keep the rack vertical.
              Most heads are clamped to the column by one or two set screws, loosening then allows the head to be rotated other directions.
              Loring in Katy, TX USA
              If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
              BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post

                most drill presses the vertical rack swivels, captured top and bottom by some rings that are clamped to the column. The gear and crank riding on the colum is usually enough to keep the rack vertical.
                Most heads are clamped to the column by one or two set screws, loosening then allows the head to be rotated other directions.
                So after my trip to HF today, I looked at their version of the same drill press. And sure enough, the worm gear is indeed the same as my Northern Industrial. It moves if the table gets pushed unless it is completely locked down. I am guessing it is actually supposed to be like this.

                Oh on the spreaders, I 100% admin I am an idiot. I was trying to get the drill press up a bit more off the ground, so I mounted 2x6 stock above to the spreaders, and the drill press to the 2x6 stock.

                I should shunt the load by basically doing the 2x6 supports mounted to the corner pieces of the mobile base. That way the weight is really borne by the wheels more directly.
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                • LCHIEN
                  LCHIEN commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That explains why they sag. Not meant as spreaders to carry loads.

                  Should also make the drill press a lot more solid feeling. Probably flexed and moved a lot when you used it and the stretchers gave a lot.
                  Last edited by LCHIEN; 11-22-2021, 12:27 AM.

              • #9
                So.... Digging through my lumber rack. Found a 2x4 sitting unused. Going to size up, and glue up a large mount panel for the drill press so I can move the load down onto the triangle corner tabes to transfer the load to the wheels more directly.
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