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Harbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?

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Mark SuszkoHarbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?
by on Jul 14, 2009 at 3:44:06 am

Harbor Freight is a chain of hardware stores selling low-cost, middling-quality imported tools and related gear for the weekend mechanic/handyman on a budget. Today I was there and came across something that might be good for the gaffer truck... an expanding bar with a pump trigger mechanism.

It expands to something like 118 inches ( I didn't have anything to write down exact figure at the time). Uses the same squeeze trigger action as the fast-acting one-hand expanding/retracting clamps seen in home improvement stores. It is designed and marketed as a quick-deploy cargo retention bar for the bed of your van or pickup, but also can be used vertically to help jack up some overhead drywall into place when your assistant is taking too long coming back from a food and bathroom run at White Hen...


Anyhow, auto-poles are super useful as portable light bars and as a basis to hang other grip tools from. If the overall length is reasonable, these Harbor Freight knockoffs might come in handy. They certainly would work great to hang a light in a doorway or window, for example, or vertically or horizontally in a car, to lock a small camera to the frame of a car for stable interior shooting. Who knows what else you could adapt them into, at that price you can afford to experiment. That's part of the fun. I'll try to get a picture, next time I'm there, if anybody's interested.




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Mark SuszkoRe: Harbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?
by on Jul 14, 2009 at 4:15:02 am

the url:

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=66172


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Todd TerryRe: Harbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?
by on Jul 14, 2009 at 2:00:39 pm

Ten bucks??? Can't beat that.

Yeah good call, Mark... I LOVE Harbor Freight. Yeah, it's mostly a bunch of cheap crap, but sometimes cheap crap is what you need.

By they way, they sell large quilted furniture moving pads... we picked up a whole stack of them a couple of years ago to use as sound blankets, etc. Not quite a Matthews blanket, but darn near close enough... and at seven bucks a pop you can't go wrong. Oh, and even better, they are black.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93156


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Mark SuszkoRe: Harbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?
by on Jul 14, 2009 at 2:51:57 pm

Yeah, HF is often sketchy quality, but sometimes "meh" is good enough.:-) They do have a lot of stuff handy for use in a grip truck, though. I lust after one of their tiny trailer kits to put my mini scow on, but the kits still cost more than the boat did, never mind the cost to put a hitch on my car:-)

They have the nighteyz brand of carabiners and rope clamps and these are very cool indeed.


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Todd TerryRe: Harbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?
by on Jul 14, 2009 at 3:20:48 pm

Generally their more "hardware" oriented stuff is at least adequate or better. Sometimes surprisingly good for the price.

It's generally their power tools or pneumatic tools that get pretty dicey at best.

Although, I'll admit that I have one of their cheapo "Chicago Tools" sawzall knockoffs. True it's nowhere near the quality of my buddy's $300 Milwaukee, but it was 19 bucks and has never let me down.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Vince BecquiotRe: Harbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?
by on Jul 15, 2009 at 1:28:28 am

Thanks as well, I was looking for a few of these.
Just don't buy any rotary tools, plastic can only spin so fast :-)

Vince Becquiot

Kaptis Studios
San Francisco - Bay Area


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Mark SuszkoRe: Harbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?
by on Jul 15, 2009 at 2:04:25 pm

Okay I broke down and bought one. It won't put Bogen out of business any time soon, but for light duty work in somewhat smaller spaces, it seems a workable auto-pole substitute. When collapsed it is still too wide to fit a standard door frame horizontally... unless you apply a hack saw to one of the ends. But then you lose the maximum extension ability. Maybe for nine bucks plus tax you shouldn't worry?

The thing is rated at sixty pounds, but I would cut that in half if you have it really extended as far as it will go. I would feel comfortable hanging up to three Lowel omnis on it, or a single Rifa, but maybe not at the fullest extension. Then I'd think 30-40 pounds, to be safe.


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Bob ColeRe: Harbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?
by on Jan 11, 2011 at 6:01:09 am

[Mark Suszko] "Anyhow, auto-poles are super useful as portable light bars"

Just noticed this old thread, looking for posts about car interior lighting. A cautionary note about auto-poles: wasn't there some famous incident with a network interview with the Clintons, where the auto-poles fell down and nearly changed recent history?

iow- this may be one area where saving money isn't such a great idea. I may be totally wrong.... but I'm not trying it.

Bob C


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Mark SuszkoRe: Harbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?
by on Jan 11, 2011 at 8:59:50 pm

That could as easily have happened with a light stand or what-have-you, that wasn't properly set up. While you can't use them for a chin-up bar, auto-poles, properly used and deployed, and not overloaded, are generally quite reliable. If you are truly worried about something like that happening, you could always add stands to the far ends, out of shot. Or even screw stoppes into the wall, if the stakes were really that high. And in the Clinton's case, the pole was mounted behind them, to hold back lights, so they were not underneath the unit when it fell.

All it is is an expandable, portable truss that can be used horizontally or vertically, to hang some lights from. You have to take some care in how you put it up but really how is this different from learning how to deploy light stands and etc.?


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Bob ColeRe: Harbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?
by on Jan 11, 2011 at 9:22:08 pm

[Mark Suszko] "And in the Clinton's case"

So you've heard that story too? I thought I saw a clip, but I have not been able to find it again.


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Larry VaughnRe: Harbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?
by on Sep 7, 2011 at 8:23:34 pm

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1986-01-04/news/0190030277_1_hawkins-ch...

Similar accident.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Harbor Freight Tool version of Bogen auto-pole and Lowel giant clamp?
by on Sep 7, 2011 at 10:51:36 pm

Maybe similar, maybe not. The article is short on details and describes it more as part of a set decoration than a lighting rig.

I did see the Clinton thing happen on a tape replay: the lighting truss falls right behind them with a clatter, and the now-Secretary of State cries out: "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!". Which is something that more pious older Catholics might yell instead of $%#^$ if suddenly and violently surprised.

Again, auto-poles are not dangerous if used correctly, any more than any other piece of gear. After just once seeing a busted globe leak molten quartz drips onto our carpeted set, all the fixtures got safety screens permanently attached. You have to take reasonable precautions in all things.


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