Thursday, February 19, 2009

Harbor Freight 2" Mini Scroll Chuck Review

Vendor: Harbor Freight
Item Number: 65723-1VGA
List Price: $89.99


I've been turning without a chuck and have been very limited on what I can accomplish with just centers and a face plate. So I decided to see what was out there for my MT#1 lathes (Harbor Freight mini, Craftsman tube). The chucks were all around $100 for a basic small chuck. Harbor Freights, being $90, had no price difference worth bothering with.

Until I got a 20% off coupon. Now the price difference was VERY workable.

This chuck arrived yesterday. Here's how it looked when it arrived:

As usual, the parts were covered in a smelly brown oil to protect the parts from rust during shipping and storage. Once the parts were removed from the baggies and wiped clean, here's what I ended up with:

Included in the box:
  • Chuck Body
  • Round Jaws
  • Pin Jaws
  • Stepped Jaws
  • 1" x8tpi to 3/4" x 16tpi adapter
  • Screw Chuck
  • Allen Wrench
  • Tightening Levers
  • Pack of screws
First Impressions
The chuck body appears nicely made. The nickel plating is well done, and the machining is decent. It has a good heft to it as well, a bit heavier than I expected (a good thing). The blackened parts: jaws, tools, etc; are rougher. The jaws where they would actually touch the workpiece are smooth, but anyplace that doe
sn't impact functionality is roughly machined.

Note that the faces that rub against other parts, or must be square for alignment, are done well.

The parts are square to each other and fit tightly
. There is no apparent issue with things being concentric or out of balance.

I screwed the adapter to the chuck and the chuck to my Harbor Freight mini lathe using only hand pressure, no tools. I spun the lathe on its lowest setting and got no vibrations. I then moved all the way to the lathe's fastest setting and still no vibrations. Good.

I chucked up my spur center just to have some
thing protrude and see if the chuck spins true. Yep. Nice.

Here's a shot with the round jaws opened fully:

And mounted with my spur center sticking its rear out:

I haven't turned anything with it yet since, as you can see by the mess, my lathe really isn't ready to be used. I'm building a new dining room table and that's taking up all my available garage space. I'll be sure to post when I do use it though!

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