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#1 justwalt OFFLINE  

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Posted October 14, 2010 - 10:28 PM

Had to "put down" the ol' craftsman angle grinder yesterday.
My friend of nearly ten years finally had enough. After many sets
of brushes, a few power coards, a couple of amputated pieces, one
head transplant and a thousand discs later, its number finally came up.

I rescued it from the trash can at one of my "places of employment".
And in fact, I was the one told to trash it after the cast aluminum
head was cracked. (I didn't crack it), but I did trash it, and then I
retrieved it on the way home that night. And it sat in a tool drawer
for some time until I found another dead grinder... with a good head.

Today I wanted to replace it... but with less than $60.00 to spend on
one, I had to find something that could fill the shoes of my old one.

It was cold this morning, and the rain was comming by noon, so I knew
the day was set for "not gettin' much done". Had to shop for mom and
get to a particular far-away hardware store before dark too.

First stop, Mr. Magoo's junk shop.... closed.
WalMart... nothing.
Then Home Depot... no good choices for the money.
Kmart... forget it.
Pep Boys... (a kawasaki), (???), never mind, thank you, goodbye.
I by-passed Harbor Freight... it needs to last more than a week.
Sears reconditioned tool outlet... shut down!!!

My options were running away fast, so I went around to the front
of Sears and into the tool garden... expecting not to find a 4-1/2"
grinder under $80.00 But to my surprise, there were two there...
that I could afford. I bought the cheap one, knowing that I could
return it or exchhange it, if it wasn't good enough.

It was the "EVOLV" line of Craftsman, apparently not an online item.
At the store price... $39.00 plus tax. The specs were in the ball park;
5/8 arbor, fits 4-1/2" discs with 7/8" hole, or the 5" w/o the guard,
spins 10,000 rpm at a 5.5 amp draw... (1,000 rpm and 1/2 an amp less
than most other grinders...you'll never notice it anyway.

The power cord is lacking in strength, and there's no rubber cord
protector at the point where it goes in... I'll transplant the old one.

And the body is of the common wider type, but tapers slightly near the
end... I'll get used to it.

I already amputated 75% of the disc guard, leaving 1-1/2" piece to save
my thumb... just in case.

Overall, I'm happy. And forget the replacement plan for three years @
nine more bucks, it comes with a sears one year replacement if it dies.

I mostly use the thin cut-off discs for a lot of fine-line work, which
takes a steady but light hand, so it should last quite some time.

BTW, the Craftsman brand discs seem to outlast many of the others, but
they're $3.00 each.

Walt

#2 jdslednut OFFLINE  

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Posted October 14, 2010 - 10:43 PM

I finally won the lottery last Christmas from the in-laws with a DeWalt that has a paddle style switch on it. After seeing too many of my students that were unable to turn off their grinders at school I will only be ordering the paddle type for school from now on and will feel much more comfortable using one myself here at home. Thanks for the tip on the cut-off discs. I'm going to have to check into them.

#3 massey driver ONLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2010 - 06:10 AM

I too have a older sears 4 1/2" grinder[10 yrs++] that has the paddle switch.It died on me one time and rather then bother with repair I went and bought a newer sears.It wasn't like the old one just didn't feel right and the thing was way louder.After a few months I took the old one apart and found it needed brushes.Went to sears parts and got brushes put it back to working condition and still going strong today.The new one is just used for sanding with a flap disc on it.I also have a BD 7" for the bigger grinding jobs..Larry

#4 mjodrey OFFLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2010 - 06:29 AM

I know what you mean by "old friend".I have 5" Makita grinder that I have had for 20 some years,and I have had to replace bearings and armatures numerous times,simply because I like it and don't want to replace it.

#5 DMF OFFLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2010 - 08:19 AM

Say what you will about Harbor frieght tools but I have two 4 1/2" grinders that I've used for close to 15 years now without and issue and I think I spent < $30 for the both of them combined. I have used my friend's paddle switch grinder and I definately like that better than the HF switch, but for the money I really can't complain....

#6 justwalt OFFLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2010 - 10:53 AM

The paddle switches are safer for sure, but I have trouble using them...
maybe it's me, but they seem too sticky to depress, especially the air
powered tools, which annoyes me.

The switch on the evolv grinder slides forward and locks okay, but too much
of a bump or too much vibration will unlock it and shut it down.
It also has two pads on the back of the head which allow you to set it down
solidly, face-up, as it winds down... and the exhaust blows straight out of
the top of the head, not in your face, like the old craftsman did.

As for harbor freight, you can't beat the price, I know. I've used a lot
of power tools from them, but it seemed to be hit and miss as for buying a
piece that runs a long time without trouble. Quality control, material and
tolerences seem to vary too much.

One of my employers would buy five of the big 12" chop saws at a time at $35
each. We cut mountains of rebar with them. Some would run a week, some for
more than a year. That saw was not meant for production, on a scale that we
needed it for... but the cost for five HF saws was still less than one brand
name saw.

A quote from the unknown... "A cheap tool is an expensive tool."

Meaning that it would need periodic replacement.

Adding in the costs of gas and time, I can't keep running to town for tools.
I buy the best I can, when I can. Harbor fright has many good tools for many
jobs, but I shy away from the electric and air powered tools there.

#7 DMF OFFLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2010 - 12:17 PM

A quote from the unknown... "A cheap tool is an expensive tool."

Meaning that it would need periodic replacement.

Adding in the costs of gas and time, I can't keep running to town for tools.
I buy the best I can, when I can. Harbor fright has many good tools for many
jobs, but I shy away from the electric and air powered tools there.


I hear yah...I've bought stuff from HF that is just awful....like the solar powered security light I just bought to put on an outbuilding way out back...lasted a day after the required 2 days to charge the battery.

For tools from them, I have the two grinders, a metal bandsaw, and all my pneumatic tools, all of which I have never had a problem with. I did break one of their impact sockets once but I also broke a Sears and an S&K one the same day (finally borrowed a Snap-On and got it off) I have a full set of Craftsman wrenches as well as a full set of HF wrenches and have broken both, more so with the HF but really only at a rate of about 3 HF for every 2 Craftsman and they both give you free ones when you do....

Maybe I'm just lucky. :)

#8 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2010 - 03:27 PM

I mostly use the thin cut-off discs for a lot of fine-line work, which takes a steady but light hand, so it should last quite some time.


Just a note for your safety. I hope and pray that you wear a face shield while using the cut-off wheels. A friend from work had one explode in his face and wound up with 100 or so stitches...and he was wearing a shield! Would've been MUCH worse without it!

Harbor fright has many good tools for many
jobs, but I shy away from the electric and air powered tools there.


I also shy away from the electric tools, but most of my pneumatic tools are from HF. I find that if you oil them before each use and periodically during if it's a long session, they seem to last just fine.

I did break one of their impact sockets once but I also broke a Sears and an S&K one the same day (finally borrowed a Snap-On and got it off) I have a full set of Craftsman wrenches as well as a full set of HF wrenches and have broken both, more so with the HF but really only at a rate of about 3 HF for every 2 Craftsman and they both give you free ones when you do....Maybe I'm just lucky. :)


I have recently started using the "Duralast" brand of wrenches from Auto Zone. They are somewhat cheaper than the Craftsman, more expensive than the HF, however I have yet to break one. The lifetime warranty is great, and I wont buy hand tools that do not have it, but I hate it when a tool breaks in the middle of something! Another thing that I have discovered is that the ratchet wrenches from NAPA (Just brand named NAPA) Are the best I've ever had! We use S-K and Wright at work and I have broken several of them. I did finally break one NAPA, but it took me 10 years to do it! And when I took it back to the store, they just handed me a brand new one off the rack! No-one tried to give me a rebuild kit like they do at Sears and I didn't have to wait for the tool truck to come so I could exchange it. Just my$.02
P.S. I'm really hard on my tools and I expect them to take it and ask for more!

#9 justwalt OFFLINE  

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Posted October 16, 2010 - 05:28 PM

The exploding disc routine is always in mind. And those cheap discs aren't
worth it even if they were free. I try never to have my face or neck in line
with the disc center. But you're right about the face shield. I'll get one at
harbor freight... my glasses don't do much for the sparks eithter.

I was a tough young guy, always patching myself up...a honey poltus, duct tape
and super glue covers a wide range of ouches, but age seems to slow down the
effectiveness a little bit more each year.

And I don't try to abuse tools on purpose, I know I can still break ratchets or
occasionally bend a 4-way lug wrench, so it again amounts to the quality or size
of the tool... which equals more cost. (pay for it now, or pay for it twice)

walt

#10 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted October 28, 2010 - 07:59 PM

It sucks when an old tool finally dies, it is like loosing a friend. I always worry about the disc flying apart and normally try and keep my head/face in a position out of the way.

#11 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted October 28, 2010 - 08:11 PM

5 years ago, I bought a 4" grinder for $12 at HF... I have abused it like I NEVER would a good tool. Someday I will buy a good one, but I will replace this one when it goes, just to have a "beater".

I agree on not taking chances as much as I used to. I have begun to wear face shields & glasses and will find ear protection if dealing with loud stuff for any length of time.

I have Craftsman, SK, Wright & some other sockets... I have nothing but HF for deep well impact sockets. I have never broken one & I can buy the whole set (3/8-to 1 1/2, 1/2" drive) for what one costs at some other places. BTW, a best buy there is their little magnetic 1/4" quick change drivers for cordless drills. I use mine at work every day & they're holding up just fine.

#12 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted November 26, 2010 - 09:48 AM

Just a point btw.... I have one of the Kawasaki grinders, but the larger, 4.5" variable speed one. I burnt up the small one and through 3 sets of brushes before buying the better one. So far the larger one has outlasted the small one night and day, without a brush change! It's a dial VS setting and a momentary switch (not paddle, but not on/off either) I bought the extended program for it to cover it for three years just in case, but it's been working hard and I have ben very happy with it.




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