Make A Bandsaw


Thinking of buying a new bandsaw? Stop it. Make one instead. Not only could you save some money, you could customize it to be exactly what you need. There is a step by step breakdown of the entire construction with tons of great pictures. He even has some great info for general bandsaw use if you’ve already got one.

[via makezine]

37 thoughts on “Make A Bandsaw

  1. That guy has got a big pair, I’ll give that to him. I’d be too afraid to use it just knowing that a bandsaw is easily one of the most dangerous tools in the shop.

    I wonder if he’s done some controlled tests by breaking the band on purpose to see how well the wood parts handle it. I do like that he thought through the sawdust collection it could be fairly dangerous with his nearly all wood design if dust accumulates in the moving parts because it takes a lot of heat to cause metal parts to burn but the heat caused by friction + sawdust + wood parts could quickly become an inferno. I’d suggest keeping an extinguisher and have a kill switch somewhere away from the machine body itself (you don’t want to be reaching into flames to hit the switch) – maybe put it on the cord somewhere near the plug.

    So, if anyone thinks to build one, carefully consider these things and keep the machine clean! Saving money is a great thing, and hacking is nirvana, but losing limbs or burning down your home because you didn’t think through the safety aspects of your design will certainly put a damper on your excitement later.

  2. Awesome job, I’m impressed.

    On the other hand, I’m also surprised he still has thumbs with the way that things slides when he was running that chunk of maple through by hand.

  3. Another thing I just thought about – another safety test which would be a good idea would be to take the bearings he uses (rollerblade bearings) and intentionally run them with the same force and RPM until they fail and figuring out the mean fail rate of the part. Then, keep a maintenance schedule and replace certain parts well before they would fail under torture tests. The bandsaw tires would be another good candidate for tests like those.

  4. Hello Mathias!

    We are building a log band saw and made a lot of thinking about how to build the tension part?
    Your solution is just genious!!!

    I would hope that you would live nearer us, so that we could invite you to our Handcraft-village. Unfortunately we are living on the other side of the globe. :-)
    I will make a post in our blog about you, if yoiu do not mind? It would be easier to describe everything, if we could use your photos? Please write to us, if you permit us to use your photos. (We always copyleft all our pics, so that people have easier to write about our “Robinson Crusoe living on a Junk-yard Island”.

    We will write about you in Finnish, maybe also in Russian. To write in Chinese is no use, as the Chinese are barred from WordPress-blogs.


  5. Obviously not meant for a commercial shop, but most likely will out last the builder, who uses it in the typical home workshop.Any weakness in this design are grossly overstated IMO. As power saws go I always though the band saw the safest, other than a scroll saw, but the scroll saw wouldn’t be used for cross or rip cuts either.

  6. His site has a wonderful page explaining how crowned pulleys work- I’d always wondered how all those belts on lineshafted pulley powered workshops held onto the leather belts without channels- his page totally makes sense of it all now.

    Such a simple principle, but without any explanation, it quite baffled me. Now I know how they kept workshops running from mill power without all the belts shooting off and killing people! Cool stuff.

    This project too, substitute horse power for the motor, and you’d impress the hell out of the Amish, that is, if they read the internet. It’s like it would be the ultimate Woodwrights’ Shop project from PBS- I love it!

  7. Addendum: Nice job though, but I don’t know about putting a bandsaw with limited security mechanisms on rollers that don’t seem to have a locking mechanism..

    And I’d like to add an idea, he should make a piece of metal of 1mm thick that slides (and out) in between the guide-rollers and saw to quickly and precisely adjust them to the right offset, seems from the video that doing it on sight is a bit fumbly, just make sure that it can’t slide in by accident :)

  8. Cool idea, but I’m with Sam and the other guys who are commenting about safety — this is bound to fall apart in your face someday.

    I’d suggest exercising your metalworking skills instead, and utilize some steel parts for your bandsaw instead of wood — while wood is cheap compared to steel, it’s also more likely to send you to the hospital.

    Most of the time — you get what you (don’t) pay for.

  9. Having built and rebuilt my second and third bandsaw
    from kits in the 80’s (you remember, when woodworking became America’s hobby, or so it seemed)
    I’d have to say ‘Congratulations’ to all of you who squirmed seeing the author ignore safety protocols.
    Bravo ! I have repaired (see above) far too many homebuilt machines whose entire purpose was a boastful “I built that” and NOT “It’s very safe and my kids could use it.”
    You guys are the future.
    Keep up the good work !

  10. Great project!

    A thing that would give the band saw a bit of extra ti it, could be a frequency converter to adjust the speed of the engine that powers it.

    Sure it would cost some more, but its a nice thing to be able to do, if you really are an enthusiast.

  11. “He should put some plastic underneath it, and a phone with speeddial buttons that you can press with your nose near it, won’t cost much.”
    you made me LOL

    I’m impressed and horrified at the same time.

  12. All kidding aside he should put some metal guard-arcs around the boom for the time the saw breaks and lashes out, and another risk is the saw getting hot because the guides lock up or the saw hitting a piece of metal (staple/old nail/old screw/etc.) and causing sparks, and heating up, that ignite the fine sawdust in that wooden box underneath causing a flashfire (see old mythbuster episodes in which they ignite dust with spectacular results to get what I mean, or this one for example), so he needs some sort of automatic cutoff on that engine too when either the thing locks up or sparks causes fire.
    And a fireextinquisher a few feet away can safe the house one day.
    Such safety measures should not be too hard to implement.

  13. hey Mathias good to see you again.

    man you guys would be terrified of my james brothers lathe made in 1875 from wood.

    oh and a bandsaw isn’t that dangerous. If the blade comes off basically the blade stops. tension is what causes the blade to ride against the pulley. no tension, no blade movement.

    all of his rotating parts are on bearings so the possibility of friction fire is minimal. when the maple guide blocks wear out, he has a piece of lignum vitae to make them out of that probly will never requir replacement.

    overall good design and awesome engineering feat.

    to all the deuchebags downing him. glad to see your projects are as good as his.

  14. This isn’t any less safe than any other band saw!!! My dad built his own bandsaw more than 20 years ago, and it still works great today. It looks very similar to this one. He didn’t have the money then, so he built it from scrap wood, a tire innertube (not from a bicycle, he had to cut it in strips and glue it on the wooden wheel), a scrap motor (from a broken dryer I think), and other various hardware he picked up for free. It still works today! I personally used it a couple of times last year when I was visiting my folks. And we’ve never had an accident with it.

  15. I have this old bicycle at my place, A room mate may leave it behind… well, you can see where this is going.. wonder if its a good idea?.. gear shift = multi speed?… wouldnt want to throw a chain.

  16. GREAT WORK! ! ! ! Great saw, I’d be glad to put it to use in my shop! Good work, don’t worry about those who say that they are “scared” of it, they just don’t understand. And the ones complaining about the way you cut the wood on the saw, saying you’re going to end up in the hospital, just ignore them. When a man is scared of tools, he has no business running them, and no business suggesting that someone else is doing running their own homemade tool wrong. They should go watch some paint dry or something else that doesn’t cause trouble, and annoy people.
    You did a great job! Keep up the good work!!

  17. Home built tools like this are as safe as the person who builds/uses them .Why would you have more faith in an imported commercial tool made with castings of dubious quality? We got this far because of people who used their brains and built themselves tools from scratch to do the jobs they envisioned.When you build for yourself you have a greater understanding of the tools capabilities.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.