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Thread: Anybody using the Harbor Freight Trim Router?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Boston, MA USA
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    Default Anybody using the Harbor Freight Trim Router?

    I picked up the Harbor Freight 1/2 hp, 2.4 amp, 26,000 rpm 1/4" collet trim router for under $20 on sale and was wondering if anybody else in the forum is using the same router as their CNC spindle? I must admit, knowing the pitfalls of shopping at Harbor Freight and having done years of commercial construction, I am pretty impressed at the quality of this tool for under $20! I haven't used it as my CNC spindle yet as I am still finishing up my machine but I have used it for some basic routing around the shop and it has worked great so far. The router itself is beefy and well made. It comes with a clear ABS type plastic base that while it has a great rack-and-pinion depth adjustment - seems flimsy and easily breakable. Doesn't matter since you take that off to install it in your CNC machine anyway. Other than that I have no complaints. It even comes with an edge guide and an extra set of brushes - all for around $20 depending on if it's on sale at the time.

    Click here to read a review of the Harbor Freight Trim Router on LumberJocks

    Realizing that 26,000 rpm is not the ideal speed for many materials - I also picked up the Harbor Freight router speed control which I know many people have used to great success and have recommended for just about any similar trim router to be used as a CNC spindle. I got the speed control on sale for $14.95!

    I found free plans for a spindle mount for the HF trim router that fits like a charm and holds the router quite securely (click here to download the plans) . The plans call for the base plate to be HDPE but I used MDF when I built it because that's what I had sitting around. You can also buy the mount pre-made directly from modularcnc.com who also drew the plans.

    I am really looking forward to putting this spindle to the test - I hope it works out. I think it will. I would really like to hear back if anybody else is using the same router.
    Last edited by craigbic; 04-07-2010 at 10:52 AM.
    Building MDF 12 x 18" Model A
    3/4" Dia. rails, 3/8"-12 Acme Leadscrews
    Probotix ProboStep with RF Isolated Breakout
    2 x 400 oz and 1 280 oz. unipolar steppers
    HF Trim Router Spindle w/ Speed Control

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    101

    Default

    I'm running that router and have had no problems so far, but I may only have an hour or two on it at this point. I downloaded those mount plans but just used the dimensions off of them to build the mount since I wasn't cutting anything yet. The old chicken and the egg problem. The muffler clamps are quite secure, but do detract from the overall apperance if you ask me. I'd like to cut a mount for it that was more like the other custom mounts out there. I don't have enough cutting experiance to know the right speeds, but I'm sure the thing will last longer if it's dialed back a bit when possible. Thanks for the heads up on the speed control.
    Last edited by curmudgeon; 05-04-2010 at 12:38 PM.

  3. #3
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    Location
    Boston, MA USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
    I'm running that router and have had no problems so far, but I may only have an hour or two on it at this point. I downloaded those mount plans but just used the dimensions off of them to build the mount since I wasn't cutting anything yet. The old chicken and the egg problem. The muffler clamps are quite secure, but do detract from the overall apperance if you ask me. I'd like to cut a mount for it that was more like the other custom mounts out there. I don't have enough cutting experiance to know the right speeds, but I'm sure the thing will last longer if it's dialed back a bit when possible. Thanks for the heads up on the speed control.
    No problem - yeah the speed control is awesome! I wouldn't want to do any cutting without having one in place. I kind of like the "industrial" look the muffler clamps give to tell the truth - not to mention that I used so many 1/4"-20 hex head machine screws to hold things in place my machine looks like a prop from a steampunk movie so they fit right in!
    Building MDF 12 x 18" Model A
    3/4" Dia. rails, 3/8"-12 Acme Leadscrews
    Probotix ProboStep with RF Isolated Breakout
    2 x 400 oz and 1 280 oz. unipolar steppers
    HF Trim Router Spindle w/ Speed Control

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    101

    Default

    Modular CNC has plans and G-code for a one piece router mount.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/21783114/2...M-Code-Program

    I think I'll cut this one now that I have a working machine.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2010
    Location
    Boston, MA USA
    Posts
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
    Modular CNC has plans and G-code for a one piece router mount.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/21783114/2...M-Code-Program

    I think I'll cut this one now that I have a working machine.
    That is WAY cool! Thanks for the link! I already made the multi-piece, muffler clamp, "Steampunk" router mount but I must admit, this one is WAY sexier! Now that I have a mount for my Harbor Freight router and I'm getting ready to finish my machine, I bought the plans & gcode for this mount so I can use it in my first cuts - cool and useful too! My partner in crime just made a mount for his Dremel but still needs to make one for his HF router - maybe I'll give him one.
    Building MDF 12 x 18" Model A
    3/4" Dia. rails, 3/8"-12 Acme Leadscrews
    Probotix ProboStep with RF Isolated Breakout
    2 x 400 oz and 1 280 oz. unipolar steppers
    HF Trim Router Spindle w/ Speed Control

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