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Harbor Freight "Professional" 1600 watt Heat Gun
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Whitcoatsyndrom
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Whitcoatsyndrom
Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 178
Location: Roanoke, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser
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Drip: Newco-OCS 12
Roaster: HG/BM
Posted Thu Oct 3, 2013, 7:04pm
Subject: Harbor Freight "Professional" 1600 watt Heat Gun
 

I recently outgrew my popper.  It was a mixture of wanting more volume and fearing the 25-30 year old machine's inevitable combustion.  On a very low budget, I spent a great deal of time researching heat guns for roasting.  Every day over a few weeks I would decided that I needed xyz feature and durability standards.  Despite those desires, I tried my luck with a very low cost, but seemingly robust Harbor Freight gun.  It feels remarkably similar to other higher quality units, mainly the Wagner 775.  Although I love gadgets with neat features such as LED temp control, I like the feel of altering heat and air flow with the bellows.  I was very surprised when I searched and searched and found absolutely no remark to this specific heat gun.  There was plenty of other stuff on the plastic HF heat guns, but nothing on the full metal "professional" one (I put professional in quotes bc I have the feeling a professional using a heat gun isn't buying it from Harbor Freight, but I digress).

I'll try to update this as I continue to use it, but here are some first impressions after the first 1/2lb roast.

I discovered the airflow on this unit is listed as 6 SCFS.  I know the recommended range for roasting and this is far below it.  If you correct for the S portion of SCFS I believe the airflow does increase significantly (standard temperature vs actual temp in the CFS measurement), but I'm no engineer so someone might want to check my math.  Regardless, the airflow is too low to stir the beans itself unless you want to fry them with the high heat of this gun.  I worked around this by using a long-handled wooden spoon in a higher-walled metal bowl to stir.  The metal bowl was actually a double boiler that I will now use every time.  The shape makes it a better roasting vessel than double boiler anyway (link to a similar shape below).  

The gun is hot hot hot, even with the bellows open.  I ended up holding the gun further away than I initially thought I would.  The specs list 1000 to 1100 but I find that hard to believe, haven't measured it yet bc I fly by the sound and color of the product.  I was worried that the combo of lower airflow and holding further away from the bowl would mean inefficient heating but this was certainly not the case.

Adjusting the bellows and range from the beans got me a first crack at 10 min.  This was a little late so I'm going to get a little closer next time and see if I can get it around 7.  I backed off after first crack, again perhaps too much, and didn't catch second till 13.  Second crack was wonderfully distinct and separated.  I stopped and cooled around what I believe to be halfway or a little thereafter through second crack at 15 min on the dot.  Sounds were still strong.  Despite my complaints about the timing of cracks, I was on target for final roast time.

The roast was even, far superior to the popper I was using.  I'm 24 hrs out and I'm going to give them a run through the vario and gaggia tomorrow to see how it turned out.

The gun was heavy but i was not bothered by it.  If some extra heft is more of a burden to you, I would recommend against this unit.  The cool down switch was great and the gun was cool in about 6 min; I hope this extends the life of it.  The gun seems tremendously solid for the roughly $23 I paid for it (had a 25% off coupon, you can find them all over the internet).  

All in all, I'm tremendously happy with everything right now.  I'll update with some pics of this roast and hopefully get back to you all with the second when I'm able to do so.  Links below are to the HG and a double boiler that looks like mine.  

Click Here (www.harborfreight.com)

Click Here (www.amazon.com)

*One note on the double boiler, the handle stayed cool to the touch throughout the roast.  A serious plus to me.
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winkie
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winkie
Joined: 29 Aug 2013
Posts: 32
Location: china
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Oct 3, 2013, 7:58pm
Subject: Re: Harbor Freight "Professional" 1600 watt Heat Gun
 

Oh,Are you promoting here?

 
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Whitcoatsyndrom
Senior Member
Whitcoatsyndrom
Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 178
Location: Roanoke, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Newco-OCS 12
Roaster: HG/BM
Posted Thu Oct 3, 2013, 8:10pm
Subject: Re: Harbor Freight "Professional" 1600 watt Heat Gun
 

Really?  That's what you took away from all of that?  If by promoting you mean giving an item I like a positive initial review, then yes, I'm promoting.  If by promoting you mean I am advertising, then I think you may read into things too much.  One of the first things I said was that no professional would buy a heat gun at HF...implying that their usual products are low quality.  Next time I find something I like that other roasters aren't talking about, I'll keep it to myself.  Maybe we should just use to forums to beat up on poor products so we can then take guesses at which other products might be alright.

Excuse my sarcasm, but this is a forum where we talk about our thoughts on roasting styles, strategies, and equipment, correct?  If not, I'll stop paying attention to positive reviews and assume the authors are getting spiffs from companies selling the products.  Clearly this is all a conspiracy.

I saw that your other posts have some translation problems so maybe you are not actually asking if I am advertising, which would be against forum policy.  I also realize that if you put the above into google translate, the sarcasm will most likely be entirely lost in translation and turn into a very confusing statement.
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rmongiovi
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Joined: 7 Feb 2006
Posts: 406
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Ditting KR805
Drip: Technivorm; Bonavita...
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Posted Fri Oct 4, 2013, 7:44am
Subject: Re: Harbor Freight "Professional" 1600 watt Heat Gun
 

Do not feed the trolls.
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PeteHunter
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PeteHunter
Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Posts: 41
Location: Republic, MO
Expertise: I live coffee

Grinder: Grindmaster 835
Vac Pot: Silex - Cory
Drip: Bodum Santos
Roaster: Caffee Rosto - HG/BM - Hot...
Posted Fri Oct 4, 2013, 4:53pm
Subject: Re: Harbor Freight "Professional" 1600 watt Heat Gun
 

Get a used bread machine at a Thrift store to stir the beans with and you'll have a real roaster with much more consistent results.   Paired with a heat gun it's a heck of a roaster.
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Whitcoatsyndrom
Senior Member
Whitcoatsyndrom
Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 178
Location: Roanoke, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Newco-OCS 12
Roaster: HG/BM
Posted Sat Oct 5, 2013, 8:02am
Subject: Re: Harbor Freight "Professional" 1600 watt Heat Gun
 

I've been keeping my eyes open for one at my local Goodwill but nothing has popped up in the last week.  Yesterday I tried upping the bean volume a bit to 12 oz and suffered some unevenness.  I would have to get a wider diameter bowl for anything above 8 oz but plan on getting a bread machine as soon as one becomes available.  Thanks for the advice, hopefully I find one soon!
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PeteHunter
Senior Member
PeteHunter
Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Posts: 41
Location: Republic, MO
Expertise: I live coffee

Grinder: Grindmaster 835
Vac Pot: Silex - Cory
Drip: Bodum Santos
Roaster: Caffee Rosto - HG/BM - Hot...
Posted Sat Oct 5, 2013, 8:30am
Subject: Re: Harbor Freight "Professional" 1600 watt Heat Gun
 

Whitcoatsyndrom Said:

I've been keeping my eyes open for one at my local Goodwill but nothing has popped up in the last week.  Yesterday I tried upping the bean volume a bit to 12 oz and suffered some unevenness.  I would have to get a wider diameter bowl for anything above 8 oz but plan on getting a bread machine as soon as one becomes available.  Thanks for the advice, hopefully I find one soon!

Posted October 5, 2013 link

If you have a Salvation Army Thrift store check there to.  Some places have a DAV Thrift store or others also.  You can easily roast 20 oz of beans in a HG/BM roaster if you make a cover for it to keep the heat in.  There is a lot of info on several of the coffee forums about it so I won't go through it again now.  Happy Roasting!!!!
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pagres
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Jan 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Florida
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Estro Vapore
Grinder: whirrly, braun
Vac Pot: Bodum santos
Drip: B&D brew-n-go
Roaster: hg/bm, sc/to, pop II
Posted Tue Oct 15, 2013, 5:56pm
Subject: Re: Harbor Freight "Professional" 1600 watt Hea
 

+ 1 on the bread machine stirs 16oz easily. I prefer the el cheapo harbor freight heatgun for 7.99. to adjust heat input I use the harbor freight router controller on heatgun. to help with repeatability I have a kill a watt telling me how much juice I am putting on the beans. with a thermometer in the beans and a timer I feel I have awesome control of my roast profile, all for less than $ 100.
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