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"Good As New" Home-Built Bandsaw
Cutting metal with a hacksaw gets old fast. That's why building a metal cutting bandsaw seemed like a good idea to Bruce Chandler, a former auto mechanics instructor who likes to build miniature engines. He already had a lathe and milling machine. He just needed a bandsaw with multiple speeds.
His first step was to take the dimensions of his wood bandsaw and draw up plans. He made wheels out of wood by glueing two plywood disks (larger than his desired final size) together and sandwiching them between Formica sheets, clamping the entire affair to an automotive flywheel.
Chandler used his lathe and mill to make a drive shaft for the lower wheel and bearings for both wheels.
"I drilled holes in the discs to fit the bearings and drive shaft, installed them on the discs, and used them to turn the wheels in my lathe," he says. "This ensured the wheels were perfectly round rather than having to turn them first and then try to find the center."
Chandler built an E-shaped main frame out of 1/4-in. thick 4 by 4-in. box iron. The drive and idler wheels as well as the motor were mounted to this frame.
To create a channel in the wheels for the saw blade, he simply ground down a bit.
To ensure correct speeds for cutting metal and alternative speeds for different types of metal, he employed a speed reducer with a 9-in. pulley. The 1 1/2 hp electric motor had a 2-in. pulley and ran at 1,750 rpm. Connecting the motor and the reducer gave him a15.3:1 reduction. Four stepped drive pulleys on the speed reducer give Chandler four different speed options for different metals.
"I can even cut cast iron with this saw or up to 3/4-in. sheet iron," he says. "Its speed varies by pulley from 57.72 to 240.99 surface feet per minute."
Chandler milled out blocks of aluminum and built bearings to use for guides. They are fully adjustable for thicker and thinner blades and guide from side to side as well as front to rear. The upper blade guide has a maximum height of 7-in. for large projects.
"I made boxes for the upper and lower wheels using 16 gauge iron and a 12 by 12 by 1/2-in. piece of steel for a cutting table," says Chandler.
The base of the saw is fabricated from 1 1/2 by 1 1/2-in. angle iron. Like the rest of the saw, it is built to last. Chandler also added a couple of extras to make metal sawing even easier. A small wire wheel rides the blade. It has a light and flexible tube that supplies compressed air to blow chips away from the cutting blade.
"I started out the process with a set of plans and took lots of pictures," says Chandler. "If anyone is interested in doing something similar, I would be glad to sell them a set of plans and discuss it with them."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, A.B. Chandler, P.O. Box 253, Big Arm, Montana 59910 (ph 406 849-5678; sweett@in-tch.com).

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2007 - Volume #31, Issue #1