Harbor Freight Dividers Mod

  • Originally published April 14, 2019.

Harbor Freight sells a pair of Wing Dividers for $5.99 that are pretty rough. You can see them here:

I bought a couple of them as they are only six dollars and I had some good coupons. As I looked at them I started feeling like a sculpter staring at a block of marble. I could see that there might be a nicer set buried inside of the rough form.


The tips weren’t ground very precisely.


The legs were just haphazardly ground in a few seconds.


So I took one and started carving, er, grinding and filing. This is what I found inside. They are a very nice pair of dividers.


I think I shaped them to a more pleasing form, both visually and tactilely.


Most of the tool can be efficiently worked with common files.


I used a hand grinder, coarse and fine files, sandpaper, and my diamond stones to work them. The tips are hardened and need a grinder or diamonds. The files just glide over them and don’t cut. That’s how I confirmed the tips are hardened.



I like the way they turned out.



I removed the pencil holder. I’m an architect’s son, I have many compasses for drawing circles. I don’t need my dividers to do that.


With the locking knob removed they open up wide to make working them easier.


The tips are more refined now. Since they are hardened they can be used on most metals.



By the way, Harbor Freight also sells a 12" version for a whopping $7.99. I’ve started working on those too.


The rounded legs feel much nicer.


This cheap tool no longer feels cheap. For six dollars and a little time you can have a nice set of dividers.


This is good.


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