Brake Drum Band Saw

Ron Van De Walle used old auto brake drums and bearings, 5-in. channel iron, and steel plating to build a band saw for his shop that he says works as well as any he could have bought.

Van De Walle's first step was to build a stand with the channel iron that would hold the two drums, the 1/2 hp motor that powers the saw, and a cutting table. Each of the brake drums, which he salvaged at a junkyard, has a 6-in. shaft in the center that would ordinarily have fastened to a car axle. He bolted this shaft to heavy flat iron plates which are welded to the channel iron. The motor is mounted below the bottom drum and a belt running from the motor to the drum provides the power.

The 5/8-in. saw blade is wrapped around the outer edges of each drum, resting inside a 1/2-in. groove which Van De Walle cut out around the edge of each drum with a metal lathe. The groove is 1/8-in. narrower than the blade to prevent the saw teeth from running against metal.

There's 12 in. of clearance between the blades on the slick formica cutting table on Van De Walle's saw. He uses the saw for cutting home-butchered meat and wood. He's also in the process of building a metal cutting band saw using the same used parts.

Van De Walle has built about 10 of the heavy-duty saws for neighbors.