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Posted: 11 Aug 2016 20:31
by okayfine
After 15 years of cutting metal with a 4-1/2" angle grinder, I got tired of the noise, sparks, dust, and the jankety cuts I'd sometimes make. I needed a bandsaw.

But metal cutting bandsaws are, at least in searching Craigslist in the greater LA area, expensive, big, and run on 220V. Sure, there are horizontal bandsaws from China...but I didn't want a horizontal saw, or one from China. What to do?

There are lots of 14" Delta wood-cutting bandsaws around. They're fairly cheap. They're made in USA. You can still get parts for them. What's not to like? Well, stock, the blade speed is way too high to cut steel, and with metal saw blades ~$25 each, it's not like I can throw a saw blade at it every week. What to do?

There are a couple electrical solutions to this, but I chose to swap out the A/C motor that came with it for a DC motor from a treadmill. Anyone owning a 510 knows that something like this isn't quite as simple as it sounds.

So, first, my 14" Delta bandsaw. In nearly-new condition off CL for $225:
IMG_6881.JPG (126.8 KiB) Viewed 1820 times
Might as well get rid of the A/C motor first. This big, huge, heavy thing was rated at 1HP:
IMG_6882.JPG (183.67 KiB) Viewed 1820 times
Next I needed to be able to move the bandsaw around. It came with the 14ga steel enclosed base, but no wheels. Some 1" box tube, some casters, and a piece of diamond plate gave me the base:
IMG_6888.JPG (191.18 KiB) Viewed 1820 times
Then it was a matter of finding the right motor. Treadmills come in all shapes and sizes, as do the motors and controllers. I could drive around my neighborhood on trash day and probably come up with an entire treadmill for free, or just search local CL for people selling them for $50. So I did. But I didn't find what I wanted, which was a simple dial speed controller (potentiometer). Locally everyone seemed to have very fancy treadmills with a NASA-esque feel. Did not want.

Ebay turned up a guy who parts out treadmills for projects, and one of his auctions had exactly what I wanted. $150 later, it was at my door. Here's the motor controller and other bits. We'll get to the DC motor in a bit.
IMG_6886.JPG (269.36 KiB) Viewed 1820 times

Re: Bandsaw

Posted: 11 Aug 2016 20:39
by okayfine
Next up was to mount the motor. It would seem from my limited searching that all treadmill motors turn clockwise when looking at the face of the pulley. Which was a problem since the original motor for the bandsaw turned CCW. Which meant I had to mount the DC motor on the other side of the v-belt. Because of the depth, it was either going to stick out of the middle of the stand, or sit on the back of the bandsaw. I picked the back of the bandsaw and made a mount for it:
IMG_6883.JPG (143.66 KiB) Viewed 1819 times
I mounted the electrical bits inside the stand:
IMG_6887.JPG (118.03 KiB) Viewed 1819 times
Them mounted the motor (rated at 2.5HP) and ran all the wires:
IMG_6924.JPG (147.99 KiB) Viewed 1819 times
I also made a box to mount the potentiometer in. Once I dial in the speeds I'll make a sticker as a faceplate to mark steel, aluminum, and wood cutting speeds:
IMG_6890.JPG (138.56 KiB) Viewed 1819 times

Re: Bandsaw

Posted: 11 Aug 2016 20:41
by okayfine
Lastly was the test. I swapped on a new metal blade and made the necessary adjustments. Then I cut some 1/8" plate at a slower speed:
IMG_6925.JPG (186.4 KiB) Viewed 1819 times
And then turned up the speed and cut some 1-1/2" Doug Fir:
IMG_6926.JPG (191.36 KiB) Viewed 1819 times

Re: Bandsaw

Posted: 11 Aug 2016 20:55
by 2DoorJim
Can't tell from your pictures but does that saw have a gear reduction box?

Creative. Well done!

Re: Bandsaw

Posted: 11 Aug 2016 21:52
by two_68_510s

Re: Bandsaw

Posted: 11 Aug 2016 22:52
by duke
Nice Julian. A good bandsaw is a welcome addition to any shop.

Another relatively inexpensive alternative to re purposing a wood cutting saw is getting a portaband with a bench top stand. I got one a few years ago and I have used the hell out of it! With a good blade it powers though anything. The only downside is that the throat is pretty small so you are limited on cut length, but honestly I don't thing I have run into a situation where this was a problem.

Re: Bandsaw

Posted: 12 Aug 2016 06:06
by okayfine
Jim, no gearbox. Even with the gearbox, keeping the A/C motor meant I needed a 30" pulley on the bandsaw wheel to bring the blade speed down, so I kinda gave up that avenue.

Duke, I hear you on the portable bandsaws. I had one once, before I knew about the benchtop stands. I will use the big flat table of the Delta as I cut sheet, though, and thinking back to the 3-wheeler build how much easier it would have been to cut all that stuff on the bandsaw versus angle grinder. The throat depth will come in handy down the line.