Alex’s Homemade Bandsaw
The project has taken a while, I started last year and since then, off and on, I have been working on my homemade bandsaw. I have just recently finished the bandsaw at the age of 16 and it is a great addition to the workshop. It is really rewarding using a machine which you built yourself. I found the design at Woodgears and although I don’t usually follow plans, these were really comprehensive.
Well done Alex! This give me an idea of attaching a treadle to something like this just for fun. Now I’ve gone too far.
Very nicely done and you will not have to worry about where to obtain replacement parts! Slightly off topic, but I enjoyed your music choice for the video.
Good for you! I like your gumption to take on a project like this at your age. I have a friend who built his own Band saw and he’s still using it 40 years later. DD
That thing is awesome. I’ve seen a few kicking around the net in the past and have always wondered what they really would be capable of. Great videos showing the processes.
I saw that first video after the first videos from woodgears.ca. I wonder how difficult it is to make without a bandsaw or a large lathe to make the wheels true? If the plans are in Imperial Units, I may consider purchasing and building my own provided I can find a sizable motor for a reasonable price. Nice work, Alex.
Hi I’ve also made this bandsaw (see my website, in french). It’s not very hard to make, and doesn’t requires a bandsaw to do it. The plans are metric, Matthias (the autor) explains why, but all the bolts and screws are imperial… I’ve powered mine with a 500W Motor, and it works fine ! I recommand everyone to make one !!
Making a Homemade Metal Cutting Bandsaw
Well done Alex, its a great achievement to make a machine that complex, so well, and all the more impressive at such a young age. Congratulations!!
I’m very impressed! Thank you for sharing. I understand how difficult it is to film the planning and build progress of a project. You have inspired me to do just that in my current project. Steve
Well done Alex. You should be very proud of your accomplishment. Thanks for sharing your build with our little woodworking community. Keep up the good work and I look forward to following you in the future.
Alex, Totally awesome. That is what “woodworking” is all about. I have a very old woodworking book with similiar plans and have always thougth it would be fun to build one. A word of safety advice though. When you are cutting a log like that shown in the video you need to hot glue it to an ” L ” shaped scraficial jig so it will not roll on you. Cutting a round object like that on a Band saw can be extremely dangerous. [I know from personal experience]. The blade can bind and roll the log and pull your hand into the blade. I was lucky but have learned a lesson even at my ripe old age of 59. You are an inspiration to woodworking!
Thanks Gary for the tip, I do not want to take any more risks than we already to. Also thanks to everyone else, your Комментарии и мнения владельцев and feedback has been really great!
Alex, that is amazing idea and awesome job. I would have never thought to make a bandsaw. I do understand the feeling of using a tool that I made. If you look back under workshop projects, you’ll find my Brad’s Router Table. I use it on just about every project I make. On a side note, I’d love to feature your project on my website. It will also put you in the running for a Gift Card from Rockler in August. Again awesome job!!
Thanks, really appreciate it. Love to feature on your website, just so you know though the plans for this did come from woodgears.ca.designed by Matthias Wandel who desrves credit.
Awesome job, Alex. I was busy getting into trouble at age 16. Wish I did something similar back then!
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” bandsaw build: Things learned
This 14″ bandsaw is my third homemade bandsaw. For the most part, the design is based on my 16″ bandsaw, but with a number of changes to experiment with simplifying the design.
In the picture, from left to right, you can see my first 18″ bandsaw, my 16″ bandsaw, and my new 14″ bandsaw.
Not shown are my 20″ bandsaw and 26″ bandsaw that I built later.
When building your own bandsaw, it makes more sense to build a larger one because larger bandsaws are much more expensive to buy, but building a bigger bandsaw only adds marginal material and effort over a smaller one. I wanted this bandsaw to be relatively light and portable, so this one has only a 14″ (35 cm) wheel size.
One-piece wheel mount
This eliminated the need for a frame around the top wheel mount, simplifying construction. It also makes room for more robust parts and allows the shaft to be lowered closer to the beam of the frame.
A disadvantage is that it relies on the force of blade tension to firmly fix the top wheel mount in place, so it’s a bit loose without a blade.
People have often asked me if the bandsaw wheels can be made out of MDF.
Personally I really don’t like MDF, but I had some MDF lying around, and for the sake of determining the suitability of it, I figured I’d use it to make the wheels.
The way the chips came out when I drilled the holes reminded me of the fact that MDF is really just compressed cardboard. The dust from turning the wheels is also kind of awful. The turned outside edge came out very consistent, though not smooth. An advantage of MDF is that, unlike some cheap plywood, it has no voids. Another pleasant surprise was that the MDF wheels needed very little balancing.
I used Baltic birch plywood for the wheel flanges. The flanges need to have the bearings press fit very tightly into them, and I didn’t think MDF would be up to the job.
I don’t de-tension the saw when I’m not using it, and I have not had any problems with it so far. So my conclusion is that MDF is suitable for bandsaw wheels. Though personally I still prefer plywood.
Plumbing pipe as shaft
My next experiment was to use plumbing pipe for the shaft material. Sometimes people don’t know where to get the shafting material for their homemade bandsaws, so I thought I’d explore using plumbing pipe as an alternative. Regular plumbing pipe has an outer diameter just smaller than 7/8″, so with a bit of shimming, a snug fit in a 7/8″ (22.2 mm) bearing can be achieved. With the wheels turning on stationary shafts, a super exact fit wasn’t that critical.
Overall, the plumbing pipe worked out OK, though it adds more work because you always have to insert shims. Searching my house for suitable shim material, I found some plastic food containers whose plastic was just the right thickness for a snug fit.
Overall though, I think it’s worth getting proper shafting material. it makes the build much easier. But if you can’t get shafting material and are an experienced tinkerer, plumbing pipe is a workable substitute.
That troublesome belt drive
I figured I’d experiment with using a flat belt for the drive belt on this bandsaw. Because I was using a 3500 RPM motor, I needed quite a bit of reduction, which meant a small pulley on the motor, which in turn means that a V-belt would be relatively inefficient.
I have to say, using a flat belt was the least successful design aspect of this saw, and my advice is: Don’t use a flat belt!
It was very difficult to get that belt to track properly. Also, with just a 4 cm diameter pulley, it takes a lot of tension to transfer the motor’s torque to the wheel. Worse yet, if the saw stalls in a way that the belt slips, it will slip on the motor pulley. The wooden pulley doesn’t conduct heat very well, so a stalled belt will heat up to the point of smoking within one second of stalling (speaking from experience!)
The belt I am using is an old Honda Civic timing belt, turned inside out and with the teeth shaved off with a chisel. I had a lot of difficulty getting that belt to track on the crowned pulleys.
Looking at different types of V-belts, there are some belts that will bend with less resistance than others. At left, topmost is a smaller V-belt from my drill press. Such a belt would bend more easily. The middle belt is one that only has the reinforcing fiber on the outside edge and teeth on the inside. This belt bends much more easily and would probably work on a small pulley without as much loss in power as a regular V-belt (bottom belt in the picture).
Big DIY Bandsaw
All this only an issue if you use a 3500 RPM motor (or a 2900 RPM motor if you have a 50 Hz electrical grid). For a 1750 or 1450 RPM motor, you would use a 3″ or 4″ (7.5. 10 cm) pulley on the motor, so the belt wouldn’t have to bend around as small a radius.
I eventually switched to a V-belt. I used a 2.5″ vbelt pulley, and the middle of the three belts in the previous picture. With about a 11″ pulley on the wheel, and a 3450 RPM motor, that makes for 550 RPM on the wheels, or about 2040 FPM (about 10.2 meters per second). This is a good speed with a 1 HP motor, though my 16″ bandsaw only runs at about 1500 FPM (7.5m/s) because I only have a 1/2 HP motor on it. The drive on the 16″ saw has never given me any troubles. So a V-belt is really the way to go, and in the plans for this bandsaw, I’m drawing this as a V-belt.
In terms of blade speed, I really like the slow 1500 FPM of my 16″ saw. It runs smooth and quiet, and is good for those detailed cuts. Higher blade speeds are better for resawing, but you need more than 1/2 HP for the motor.
Hinges instead of trunnions
On my 16″ bandsaw, I made wooden trunnions to tilt the table on. These worked out quite well, but I figured they might be an intimidating aspect to tackle for some.
So on this bandsaw I experimented with using hinges for the table mount. The hinges simplified the construction a fair bit.
A downside of using hinges is that the axis of tilt is now on the bottom of the table, whereas trunnions allow the table to tilt about an axis that is level with the top surface. The advantage of using trunnions is that the slot in the table insert stays aligned with the blade even as the table is tilted.
To make an insert that accommodates all tilt angles requires a relatively large hole.
The insert is just a rectangular piece of plywood, so it’s easy to make an insert for a specific angle. But then there is the risk of forgetting to remove the insert before tilting the table and damaging the blade.
Most bandsaws support the front trunnion with an arm that reaches through between the wheel, blade, and table. But I wanted this table as low as possible, and with just 14″ wheels, there was not enough room to reach through there. So the support for the front hinge reaches around the right side, where there is much more room.
With the support on the right side, this means the blade must be inserted from the left side. Inserting the blade from the left turns out to be no more difficult than doing it from the right, so that design change worked out well.
With the table mounted as low as it can go, and my upper wheel mount giving more clearance to move the upper beam up a little bit, I was able to get 30 cm, or almost 12″ of resaw height out of this bandsaw. That’s almost as much as a 14″ bandsaw with a riser block, but this 14″ bandsaw doesn’t have the extra height and only uses a regular 93.5″ blade.
Even using my improvised upper blade guide trick I was only able to get 9″ of resaw capacity out of my 14″ saw, so this is quite a bit more than is possible with regular 14″ bandsaws.
I have sliced up quite a bit of wood with this saw already. Not so much to make veneer but just to put it through its paces.
The photo at right unfortunately doesn’t give a sense of scale, but the widest pieces in this photo are 25 cm (10″) wide.
The saw, including the 1 HP motor weighs 82 pounds, or about 37 kg.
That’s a bit of a hefty lift, but it’s only 10 pounds more than one of those portable thickness planers (pictured at right) without the stand. So it’s still relatively manageable to carry. I made this saw so it would be easy to move around, and could even be used as a benchtop bandsaw.
The table can be removed by removing three bolts.
Also relatively easy to remove are the upper blade guide and the whole upper wheel and mount. Without those, the saw is under 60 pounds. Taking the motor off would reduce it by another 18 pounds.
With the table removed and the lower blade guide mounted in its lower position, the guides are a full 35 cm or 14″ apart.
And this finally brings me to one of my main reasons for building this bandsaw: To experiment with using it as a sawmill for cutting boards straight from logs.
Although in this photo, I sliced the log across, because a neighbour needed some disks cut off the end of a log.
Build a Bicycle-Powered Band Saw
Except for the “drive motor,” my bicycle-powered Band saw is similar to any standing Band saw. No alterations to the bicycle are necessary, and it takes only a minute to switch from riding to sawing mode.
To make a flywheel, start by lacing baling wire through the spokes of your Band saw’s lower bicycle wheel.
The table and blade guide supports are just pieces of flat stock welded to short tabs on the frame collars. The factory-made guide shown here fastens to a shoulder mounted perpendicularly to the end of the support.
The upper wheel can be tilted on its horizontal axis by adjusting the threaded rods that are linked to the upper collars. The degree of tilt governs blade tracking, and Band tension is controlled by the amount of collar lift.
I’m a carpenter, and for years I assumed that the best way to cut wood was to plug in and “go with the flow.” For small jobs I’d still use my trusty handsaw, but for long, straight cuts I’d grab my two-horsepower circular saw and seek the nearest three-prong outlet.
That was OK when I was at a contract job site, but when I was working at home — especially through our mean, lean Wisconsin winters — it seemed as if a goodly share of my profits was being metered away to the local utility company while I was left with the crumbs.
And, of course, the cold season also kept me from my favorite pastime, bicycling. So, in order to fit one solution to these two seemingly disparate problems, I researched — then built — my “bandcycle” … a bicycle-powered Band saw that makes accurate crosscuts, rip cuts, and miter cuts through soft- and hard-wood, and — with a simple blade change — saws through mild steel and aluminum as well!
Because the tool is made almost exclusively of common materials and salvaged bicycle parts, it cost me a good deal less than a commercial model with similar features. And though I’m not about to claim that it’s as convenient or powerful as an electric saw, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper — and even sort of fun — to operate.
Band Saw Basics
I didn’t reinvent the wheel when I pieced together my bandcycle. In fact, I just patterned my design after a conventional Band saw. Typically, the lower wheel is held rigidly on its axis, while the upper wheel axle can be tilted a few degrees from horizontal to keep the blade from wandering off the rim.
That toothed steel Band passes through a slotted table and is held in line by two guides, which keep the blade in position when it makes long, straight cuts and also prevent it from twisting on a curved slice. In addition, the guide above the table is adjustable to accommodate various thicknesses of stock, and both guides incorporate a thrust roller that runs against the back of the blade to keep it from being pushed off the wheels under pressure. Finally, Band saw wheels are usually fitted with flat rubber tires to protect the set in the teeth and to prevent blade slippage.
So, the only significant differences between any old Band saw and my cycle saw are these:  I’ve done away with the drive motor, and  I’ve added a set of brackets to hold the rear wheel of my three-speed firmly against the lower wheel of the saw.
A Material Matter
To construct your own pedal-powered version of my invention, take a look at the Assembly Diagram and Materials List and begin gathering the necessary parts. When scrounging for the 24″ pipe that will serve as the various bracket collars, make sure it slides easily — but not too loosely — over a sample piece of the 1″ tubing that’s to be used for the saw’s frame; a good fit here will assure an accurate cut later on. (While 1 1/4″ iron pipe will come close, it’s not the best choice. Try to find some chain link fence rail or mechanical tubing like that used on scaffolding or implement frames.)
Also, be certain the wheel assemblies you choose are fully spoked and straight. Though you could probably buy the flat rubber tires for the rims at an industrial supply company, you can make do by stretching sliced sections of truck inner tube over the wheels or even using a couple of bike rim strips to make rubber “pads” for each wheel.
At 26 a pair, commercially made blade guides might be a bit pricey for your budget, but you can make your own, using the instructions I’ll provide later. As for the blade, you’re going to have to buy that, so pick something that’ll handle general woodcutting chores to start — a 3/4″ x 14′ Band with 4 or 6 teeth per inch suits my needs. (A saw-sharpening shop should be able to fix you up, but double-check the blade length required by your tool before you put down your money.)
A Fitting Proposition
The biggest part of the bandcycle is the tubular frame. Buy or borrow a conduit bender with a 1″ jaw capacity and do your best to form two identical elongated S-shaped members. Again, refer to the Assembly Diagram. Ideally, the uprights should be nearly 6′ long, the legs 15″ in length, and the horizontals 12″ between bends.
With the frame formed, drill a series of holes in the outside of each upright, starting about 4″ from what will be the top end. File these to create elongated adjustment slots in the tubing. Next, cut part of your scrounged 2′ collar pipe into four 3″ lengths and weld them (or have them welded) to the legs of each conduit upright so they’ll protrude perpendicularly from the same side the slots are in. Drill two 1/4″ holes — parallel to the uprights and about 2″ apart — through each piece, and, using one of the bike wheels as a spacing guide, fasten the frame members to the center of a 3/4″ x 21″ x 30″ section of plywood with 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ carriage bolts.
Next, you can tackle the collars that hold the axle brackets, blade guides, and table supports to the frame. Cut the remaining 12″ of collar pipe into eight 1 1/2″ lengths, and weld a 1/8″ x 1 1/2″ x 2″ tab to one side of each collar. Then drill and saw 3/8″ x 1 1/4″ slots into four of the collar tabs (clamp them together to form pairs, then cut one set vertically and the other set horizontally).
Now take the four unslotted collar assemblies and the two horizontally slotted ones and weld 1/8″ x 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ strips to their sides. By drilling two 13/64″ holes through each of these built-up areas and threading them with a 1/4-20 tap, you’ll be able to place 1/4″ x 1/2″ hexsocket set screws into the holes and use them to lock the collars into position on the tubular frame uprights.
The remaining vertically slotted collars get a different treatment, but all it involves is drilling a 1/4″ hole through the outside of the collars and bending each of a pair of 1/4″ x 6″ threaded rods into an L shape. The shorter part of each L will pass through its frame slot and collar hole to be held with a nut, while the longer shaft will protrude through the top of the frame and be drawn upward with a nut pushing against a flat washer.
To finish up, you’ll need to weld the 1/8″ x 1 1/2″ x 14″ table supports to the tabs on two of the tapped collars, then bolt the 1/8″ x 1 1/2″ x 2″ angle iron brackets to the ends of these supports. Also, after installing the lower axle brackets and slipping the wheel in place, you’ll have to determine the exact length of the 1/8″ x 1 1/2″ blade guide support by lining it up with the recess in the rim. Be prepared to make some minor adjustments to suit your particular blade guides; the manufactured type will require a 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ shoulder at the tip.
If you want to make your own blade guides, you can do so easily, using a 4″ length of 1/8″ X 1″ angle iron, a 1/8″ x 1″ x 1 3/4″ piece of flat stock, four No. 10 x 1/2″ machine screws, a 1/4″ x 1″ bolt with two nuts and three washers, and a 1/2″-bore, 1 1/8″ OD (No. Z99R8) sealed bearing.
Cut a 1″ section from the angle and drill two slotted mounting holes through one side of it. Bolt it against the face of the remaining piece at one end, then fasten the hunk of flat stock in line with the protruding side of the 1″ angle. Mount the bearing just above these two flat “fingers,” allowing it to ride on a 1/4″ nut threaded against a washer and the bolt head. Then trim the lateral guides so they don’t disturb the set of the blade teeth, adjust the gap to suit its width, and bolt the assemblies to the guide supports.
While the rim’s still in place, determine the proper position for the 1/8″ x 2″ x 3″ axle brackets that’ll support your bicycle’s rear wheel. Hold your bike tire up against the rim and mark where the axle falls on the saw frame’s horizontals. Make 3/8″ x 2″ slots in the bracket plates and weld them with their midpoints over the marks.
Finally, cut the 18″ x 18″ table from your remaining piece of 3/4″ plywood and position it for mounting. Remember to slice a groove in the board to accommodate the blade. Once you’ve gotten the proper length Band, place it around the wheels — with the teeth nearest the table pointing downward — and tighten the lower axle. Draw the upper adjustment shafts upward as necessary to make the blade “track” near the center of the rim.
To lock your bike to the frame, let some air out of the rear tire and press it against the blade with its axle in the brackets. Tighten the axle nuts and fill the tire until you achieve good traction, then just let ‘er rip!
The pedaling half of your team should maintain a steady, even pace while the cutter guides the stock into the blade. Intense bursts of pedal speed won’t cut the wood any faster, and feeding the wood too fast will just bog down the “motor.” Sixty revolutions per minute at the pedals (a reasonable cruising rate) moves an impressive 1,025 feet of blade through your work every minute, enough to slice any board.
About the only low-buck improvement that I could suggest for the bandcycle is the addition of a flywheel, which I incorporated right into the lower wheel a few months after building the saw. The added mass discourages bogging, smooths out the cut, and in general makes this unique tool nearly as practical as its current-hungry cousin!
One Good Turn Deserves Another
A flywheel is a simple rotary device used to store kinetic energy. Its mass, once set in motion, has enough inertia to continue that motion at a fairly steady rate. If mass — in the form of concrete — is added to one of the bandcycle’s wheels, the moving blade will be more resistant to velocity changes brought about by knots or dense grain, and thus won’t snag or bog.
To make the flywheel, simply lace about 15 feet of baling wire through the spokes of your truer wheel. Distribute the wire evenly and wrap it around the spokes, crossing from right to left sides at various places to create a network within the wheel that will support the concrete disk.
Next, cut a sheet of cardboard to the exact diameter of your rim, pierce its center to accommodate the axle and hub shoulder, and use some duct tape to seal the perimeter of the cardboard circle tightly to the edge of the rim. Now coat the exposed axle and hub shoulder surfaces with grease or petroleum jelly to protect the threads and bearings.
Set the wheel, cardboard down, onto an old car tire, and prepare to mix your mud. I found that a 60-pound bag of pre-blended mortar mix was just about perfect for the job. Be sure to wear rubber gloves throughout the casting process, or you’ll learn, as I did, that the highly alkaline cement will damage your skin.
Add water slowly to the mix to achieve the perfect consistency — one that flows slowly and easily and that can be formed with a trowel or straightedge. Scoop the batter gently into the mold, and use a stick to dislodge and fill any hidden air s. Once the wheel is “topped off, ” smooth the mortar with a straightedge and scrape away any excess, being careful to use the rim edge as a guide to avoid exposing the spokes.
The concrete will take from one day to a week to cure, depending upon the temperature. In hot climates, you may have to mist the casting occasionally to keep it moist, while a freezing environment will require that you cover the mortar with plastic and a thick layer of straw. Once it’s set, you can bolt it to the bandcycle’s lower bracket and start throwing your weight around!
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DIY Band Saw Circle Cutting Jig
There are a lot of different ways to cut a circle in wood. One of the easiest methods is with a Band saw. The narrow blade is perfectly suited for navigating curves, but trying to follow a line freehand can be tricky!
But with this simple Band saw circle cutting jig, you can make repeatable cuts at any diameter just by moving the pivot pin! You’ll get perfect circles every time, without the wobbly edges and imperfections of freehand cutting.
Best of all, you can make this jig just with scrap wood you probably already have laying around the workshop! I whipped up my version in less than an hour, and had a 12″ diameter circle cut out of 1 ½” hard maple butcher block in minutes!
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How to make a bandsaw circle jig
Cut the platform and attach a back stop
The size of your platform will depend on the size of your bandsaw table, as well as how big of a circle you want to make. Cut the platform to fit the width of the bandsaw table, and as long as you want the radius of your circle to be, plus 3 inches.
My Rikon bandsaw is pretty small, and I needed a 12″ diameter circle for the hairpin leg plant stand I’m planning to make. I scrounged around my scrap wood storage and dug up a piece of melamine that was about 12″ x 18″ and a scrap of 1×2 poplar that was about 12″ long. Melamine is preferable, since the slick surface will allow the circle to rotate smoothly with less friction.
The 1×2 is attached to the back of the platform with wood glue and brad nails. The top edge should be flush on one side, and stick out ¾” on the other.
Cut the zero clearance slot
The zero clearance slot will prevent tearout on the underside of your circle and give you a cleaner cut. The blade will slide into the slot and stop when the back of the platform hits the Band saw table edge.
Measure 3 inches in from one edge of the platform, and mark a line with a square.
Set your Band saw fence to 3 inches, and make sure the blade lines up with your mark.
Turn on the Band saw, and push the platform along the fence until the stop hits the table. Then you can turn off the saw and remove the platform.
Drill the pivot pin holes
Now that you know where the blade will be, you can mark out the pivot points for your circle. Stick the tab of your measuring tape into the slot, and draw a mark at one inch intervals (or whatever dimension you want to use).
A brad point drill bit is preferred for these holes, because it won’t wander on the slick surface and create inaccurate measurements. The drill bit should be the same diameter as your straight shelf pin. Use painter’s tape to mark the halfway point of the shelf pin so you don’t drill too far down.
Drill a hole at each pivot point on the platform, stopping when the tape flag brushes away the sawdust. You could also use a drill press with a depth stop for this step.
Label each hole with the diameter of the circle it will create. Remember that the pin will be in the center of the circle, so 1″ from the blade will create a 2″ circle. Test the fit to make sure the pin sits snug and straight in the holes.
Attach the runner
The runner will sit in the miter slot on the Band saw table and prevent the jig from turning along with the circle. I used calipers to measure the inside of the slot, but a regular measuring tape would do. Make sure to measure the depth of the slot as well.
Cut a strip of wood to the same dimensions as the slot. I used ¼” MDF because it was the perfect thickness and I was in a rush, but hardwood is a much better choice. The runner should slide smoothly in the groove without any side to side movement.
Apply a few dabs of CA glue to the top of the runner, and spray CA glue accelerator on the underside of the bandsaw circle jig.
Slide the blade into the slot of the jig, without the platform touching the Band saw table. When the glue touches the accelerator, they will instantly bond, so make sure to keep the two halves apart until you have everything aligned!
When the blade is at the end of the slot and the back stop is against the table, carefully lower the platform down onto the glued up runner.
Carefully pull the jig back out and check that the runner is square to the edge. Mine was a little crooked the first time, so I pried it off, flipped it over and tried again.
Once it’s in the correct place, you can attach it more firmly with brad nails.
Drill the pivot pin hole for the wooden circle
I had a narrow strip of maple left over from our butcherblock countertop laying around the shop that was perfect for a small wooden circle. I cut it in half and glued the two halves together to form a square approximately 12″ x 12″.
To find the center, draw diagonal lines from corner to corner. Where they meet, drill a hole with the same drill bit you used for the bandsaw circle jig pivot points. Make sure to do this on the underside where the hole won’t be seen.
Place the shelf pin into the hole in the jig that matches the diameter you want to cut. Then place the wood onto the pin at the hole in the middle.
Cut out the circle at the Band saw
Slide the circle cutting jig with the wood on top onto the Band saw table with the runner in the slot. Keep the cut straight until the stop under the platform hits the edge of the table.
Slowly rotate the board on the pin into the blade. This hard maple was almost too much for my tiny Band saw, but as long as I kept a slow pace and didn’t force the wood through, it didn’t bog down too much.
Keep turning the wood on the pin until you cut a complete circle. I was pretty impressed with how clean it came out!
With a little sanding, I was able to get all the blade marks and burning off the edge for a perfect circle! Just make sure not to sand too long in one place, or you’ll get a flat spot.
Now I have a perfectly circular top for my plant stand!
I wish I had this Band saw circle cutting jig back when I made all those dots for my son’s Lego table! The hole saw was such a pain to use (literally, the metal was really hot!) and the cuts weren’t nearly as clean.
What will you use your circle cutting jig for? I’d love to hear about your project in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below!
Check out these other woodworking jigs!
Homemade Band Saw Blade Guides, Insert, and Tires
Posted 7 years ago on Friday, December 11th, 2015 by James S.
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Homemade Band Saw blade guides, insert, and tires on the cheap
I bought a really cheap bandsaw from a friend’s friend for 20. It’s a small 10″ from a brand I hadn’t heard of, in the strange 3-wheel design. On the whole, it’s really a pretty crummy bandsaw – not a whole lot of power and it doesn’t cut that straight. That said, it was only 20, and it does allow me to do some rough cutting of curves prior to routing without having to break out clamps and my jigsaw. For the money I spent, I’m very happy with it.
However, it definitely needed a tune-up. As I got it, it worked OK, but the blade would wander everywhere. Between the excess play in the blade, as well as the worn out rubber on the tires, the blade tended to fall off the wheels with regularity. I didn’t have any intention to sink much money into this bandsaw, though, so I came up with some fixes on the cheap.
Improvised blade guide
The upper blade guides were actually in halfway decent shape, with a little tweaking. I was able to adjust them close enough to the blade to make it work.
The lowers, however, had a huge gap. Also, upon attempting to tighten it up, the blade guides simply cracked in two as pictured. I’m sure it was a pretty cheap part to begin with, and 20 years of wear didn’t help any. This solidified my decision to go ahead and make my own replacement.
Notching the lower blade guide and test-fitting before installation
I chose to fix it using a scrap piece of UMHW plastic. There are plenty of options for this piece – anything that the back of the blade can rub on without hurting it will work. The stock setup used a roller bearing. I liked dealing with plastic because it’s easy to cut, cheap, and doesn’t require any moving bearings. I cut out a good-enough sized square of plastic and ran it partially through the bandsaw to make a kerf. Then, I flipped it around to verify the kerf was the right depth as pictured.
Test fitting the block before drilling
I attempted at first to make something to connect to the original lower blade guide bracket, which is the steel piece to the right of the blade. However, doing that with wood and having it be strong enough was difficult. Instead, I just punched two holes through the back of the Band saw case. By holding up the plastic block and tracing the outline where I wanted it, it was extremely easy to put the holes in the middle of where the block would go. I made them a little over-sized so I had some wiggle-room to adjust the plastic block to fit properly.
At that point, I simply put some small pilot holes in the block and sunk the screws. And there you have it, easy peasy lower guide block that fit nice and close to the blade.
Creating a zero-clearance insert
Measuring the outer size of the insert location
The next step was to address the complete lack of an insert plate. Having a zero-clearance insert helps keep small pieces stable, which a bandsaw this size would get used for fairly often, and also keep the blade steady and prevent wandering. I used my calipers to measure the depth of the rabbet in the insert location, as well as the diameter.
With the blade out, I cut some scrap oak to fit the insert location. I cut the block slightly too big, and then snuck up on the right size to get a tight fit. At this point, prior to rabbeting the block, it is intentionally a little too thick.
Knowing the block’s exact thickness using calipers and the tablet rabbet depth using my handy depth gauge, I was able to set the router table up to rabbet the block. The depth gauge pictured is only 10 or so on Amazon, and it has come in handy many times.
Block after rabbeting – got chewed up a bit
The router grabbed and dug the piece a little bit, chewing it up slightly, but it wasn’t visible from the top, so I let it go. After rabbeting, the piece sat perfectly flush in the table.
Once that was done, I put the blade back in and carefully fed the insert through the saw to cut a kerf for the blade. This ensured the kerf matched the blade exactly. I would use some manner of small-piece grabber or clamped contraption to hold the piece while doing this, especially on a larger bandsaw. And with that, the blade rode much better.
Replacing worn tires
The final step was to do something about the tires on the bandsaw wheels. They were all cracked and dry-rotted, but a replacement set of urethane tires was 30 online. I really couldn’t justify spending more on the tires than I did on the whole bandsaw.
A little bit of googling showed me that a lot of people in the same boat had used ordinary grip tape as an impromptu, cheap replacement. It wouldn’t last as long as a real tire, but it is 1/10th the price, so I was sold.
Start with a half-sized strip down the middle
So here’s the part that was counterintuitive to me: when you wrap the tire, you start by putting a half-size length (or two) around the wheel down the middle. The purpose of this is to [i]raise[/i] the [i]center[/i] of the tire so it is shaped like a lowercase ‘n’. You would think you want it flat or even with raised edges to hold the blade to the middle, but it doesn’t work that way. As the wheel spins, the blade will naturally gravitate towards the highest point. By making the highest point in the center and having it slope off to the sides, you actually ensure the tire stays centered during operation. Physics is neat.
Horrible picture, but I promise the center is higher than the outsides
I tried and mostly failed to get this on camera, but the center is raised just a bit from the outsides. These replacement tires will need replacement much sooner than rubber ones, but you really can’t beat the price.
And that’s it. The entire procedure only took an hour or two, and probably cost less than 3, considering everything but the grip tape was scrap I had in the shop. The bandsaw is still cheap, but it’s a usable tool in the shop, especially with only 23 invested.
Personally, I plan to get a real 14″ bandsaw from a reputable manufacturer eventually, at which point I will likely turn this into a disc/belt sander. Still, if you have an old 9 or 10″ bandsaw lying around, you might be able to get it going again more inexpensively than you think.