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HF Toolbox - worth a small modification!

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Alan H

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#1
I am not a huge Harbor Freight fan but like most, I buy some stuff there. Yes, I have the usual 2 ton shop crane and the 20 ton hydraulic press that came from there. In addition to these, one of my favorites is their tool chests. You buy them when they are on sale and even when they're not being advertised, you can likely find a coupon via Google.

I now have three of these small ones that are made to hang on the side one of their bigger models. I put wheels under them and use them as roll arounds as needed. I buy the high capacity casters on ebay. (Sorry, not a fan of HF casters).

You put some wooden spacers on the bottom to attach the casters to and you have a very stout and well supported little roll around. Here's the latest one that I bought to store some of the most frequently used lathe tooling in.

Model 68785 Chest (here's the best price I have seen for it):

1518320512026.png

Made to hang off a bigger chest:

1518320594965.png

Here she is upside down to get the wood added the bottom for the casters. Lots of ways to skin this cat, here's mine. Front end has a lip to slid the timber under and you use the bolt holes on the ends to secure with hex head lag screws. Back side has no lip so you add a lag screw in the center as well as lag screwing the ends. A 2 x 4 screwed to a plywood spacer to get the thickness just right:

IMG_20180130_140446.jpg

High capacity casters attached with hex head lag screws:

IMG_20180130_143531.jpg

Here it is in its spot next to the lathe. (@wrmiller - notice the 5C chuck on top)

IMG_20180210_180037.jpg

EDIT: If memory serves me correct, Mark (@mksj) is the one who gave me the tip on these last year. I may need one more!
 
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Alan H

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#4
Pretty slick, I like it, may have to copy you.
I hope you do copy it and do it your way!

My sincere advice is to be sure and put some good wheels under it. This little sucker gets really heavy when you load it up with tooling.

BTW, I call that big chuck up on top the "Herniator". That sucker is waay heavy and now I can roll the chest next to the lathe and move it over to a saddle on the ways and then install it. No more having to tote it around.
 

Alan H

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#6
I had not thought about moving the drawers. Thanks for the tip! Makes sense now that I think about it.

I need the two deep drawers for 5C collets and it would be very nice to have them 2nd and 3rd from the top.

EDIT: Went down to shop and swapped them around while they are not yet fully loaded.
 
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BROCKWOOD

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#7
The thing about Harbor Freight actually happens to be true of most places: Some jewels & some crap. The tool boxes are no different from the Craftsman I bought in the early 90s. I bought the same side box from HF as Alan H & hung it on my Craftsman - dead ringer for Alan's 2nd pic, if you don't mind black drawers. I long for the day when I have enough space to roll a toolbox around though.

TOOLBOX 20170408 001.jpg
 

davidpbest

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#9
I think the HF red toolboxes compare favorably with just about any other cabinet with the exception of Lista or Vidmar. I have a couple of the small ones like yours with a similar addition of good casters.

IMG_7868.jpg

I use the top of the roll-about for my commonly used mill tooling - Royal Quick Change system for R8. Very convenient just to pull this cabinet up next to the mill as needed.

IMG_0668.jpg

I also really like the Schaller red plastic boxes - they can really help out with the drawer organization ( www.schallercorporation.com ).

IMG_8390.jpg
 

BROCKWOOD

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#10
Had to check your link David! I was only familiar with Schaller guitar parts out of Germany. Now both are of use to me!
 

woodtickgreg

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#11
I scored the 44" bottom box for $199.00 It was a floor model and was missing the handle and the lock, so what! For 199 bucks it will work well in the garage for mechanic tools, I never lock it anyway, and I never move it either. I'll add that hf tool boxes are one of those great bargains even at their sale prices. They are well made, sturdy, have decent drawer roller guides, and the deep drawers have double guides.
 

Cadillac STS

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#13
I recently bought one of the side boxes like that for same purpose. Have to put casters on. I was very impressed with the quality. The thing is surprisingly heavy and well constructed. One of the great Harbor Freight items.

NOTE: The coupons for $% off won't work on cabinets usually.
 

Nogoingback

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#14
+1 on the HF tool boxes. I bought one of the 42" roll cabs about 5 years ago for the garage and I'm completely satisfied with it. I think
it's as good as my Craftsman boxes purchased in the 70's that live in the shop. Great idea putting the wheels on the end cabinet.
 

D1005

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#15
I added casters to a Craftsman side box several years ago. Seems it was taller than the base unit of the combination I bought 40 years ago, so it wouldn't hang on it. Oops Figured casters were a better solution than just sitting it on the floor. Did it entirely differently, but bottom line, whatever works is the right way, at least for me. I may have used the wood spacer idea if I'd thought of it though...

When we built a garage a couple years ago, I figured a 72" Harbor Freight box (coupon, $200 off) in the cost. Laid an old, 36x80, solid door I picked up for free on top for a work bench. Yeah, it's high, which is perfect! Working on small stuff bent over just isn't fun with a couple of messed up body parts. Big stuff goes on the tractor lift.

For me, the Harbor Freight unit is a good box, for my Ford Technician brother, he'd wear out the drawers in a year with the repeated, every day, use. Mine sit there closed most of the time, especially in winter, so they'll last forever.

While this is a machinist forum, and I've been dreaming of delving into actual machining for 50 years, so far it hasn't really materialized. My boxes are filled mostly with hand tools, measuring equipment, files, some engine tools, stuff. Other equipment includes a stick welder, acytelene torches for heating and bending in the big vice (after I broke a medium size vice), various angle grinders, chop saw, a newly purchased 4x6 bandsaw (Love those coupons!) and lots of hammers for fine tuning.
 

RandyM

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#16
I take it none of you guys that have casters on the tall tower boxes never worry about tipping them over? Seems like an accident just waiting to happen, particularly if you have one heavy drawer open on the top. Or push it against something on the floor. Kinda too scary for my liking.
 
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D1005

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#17
Well, my side box is every bit as stable as the 26" wide, combination unit, with 2 added middle boxes making it over 6' tall, it sits next to.... ;)

When space is at a premium, vertical is where it's at!

I'm not worried, they are HEAVY, and unless you're silly enough to pull out multiple drawers at the same time, they sit pretty darn tight to the floor.
 

Alan H

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#18
So Randy, you think they need training wheels on them??:)o_O

Certainly your point is a very, very good caution. As with all toolboxes one needs to be mighty careful about overloading them and pay attention to their center of gravity.

While I don't use mine as project carts, they are "roll arounds". That is why I like them so much, they're easy to move as needed. I am mighty careful when moving any roll around and only move and run on smooth and clear concrete floors. My little boxes generally only move a few feet at a time and are stable enough to suit me.

I moved a really tall Kobalt box recently and your point gave me enough pucker factor that I did a JSA before I moved it! It's full and heavy! Of course this one and the two other tall ones I have are not moved often at all though. And if they prone to the wiggles, I won't buy it. I shed a Craftsman because of that.

kobalt.jpg
 
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TerryH

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#20
I had never considered putting casters on the side box but I think I may just have to do one of those to add to my collection! Thanks for the post @Alan H !!

I too love the HF boxes. Can't beat them in my book. I have a 42" bottom box and a 5 drawer cart in my shop. Recently I've bought a couple of the rolling workbenches. Really nice wood tops. I have 2 of them in my reloading room. I've modded one to house my pancake air compressor. I also bought a 4 drawer cart and modded it so I could mount my mini lathe on it.

Usually some sort of coupon for one or more the boxes on the HF coupon database site along with just about every other current HF coupon. Here's that link if anyone needs it.

Harbor Freight Coupon Database

The HF boxes along with my Snap On stuff. I bought the SO boxes new in 1988. HF cabinet that I painted to match on the wall abouve the weling table also.



The HF workbenches and 4 drawer lathe cart in my reloading room...







Might as well throw in a pic of my reloading bench build. :grin:

 

Silverbullet

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#21
Now I want two of those to use under my planer with a box tubing frame it'll be plenty strong with no wasted space. Oh well I can dream and plan. The last shots are starting to feel like they're working in my back. Only trouble no money so anybody want a great surface grinder for just what it cost me ???. If I can't say this crop it or delete I don't have the money to join the elite .
 

T Bredehoft

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#22
I've looked every where I can think of, and can't find the answer.... What is the dimension of the side box, from to p to bottom, nevermind the wheels. I want to know if it will go under a particular work bench.
 

bfd

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#23
I have 4 of those boxes installed on the sides of my 2 harbor freight tool boxes they are full bill
 

solo

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#27
I second getting high end casters. I was out in the shop, dropped something, bent down, and what the....? I have a wheel that just shattered. The box doesn't move, so I'm going to make a solid base for it to sit on. I'm glad both wheels in front didn't go at the same time. That would be a mess.
 
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