Air-Tensioned Bandsaw Simplifies Woodworking Life


If you’ve ever had the pleasure of owning a band-saw you’ll know exactly how much fun it is to try to replace the blade, or properly tension it even. [Richard T] got tired of it and decided to upgrade his band saw with a bit of pneumatic power.

To remove the band saw blade or tension it you have to turn an adjustment knob on the top of the band saw — it’s kind of awkward and really annoying. [Richard] has taken the lead screw out and replaced it with a pneumatic cylinder. He’s added a little control panel with a main valve, and pressure regulator. To remove the band saw blade, he bleeds the system with the valve, and to tension it, he turns up the regulator! It’s simple and super effective.

This is especially convenient for tensioning because you can watch the blade during the “Flutter Test” while gently turning up the regulator.

If you look in the right places you could probably build a system like this for less than $50. For a complete explanation stick around to hear it from [Richard] himself!

24 thoughts on “Air-Tensioned Bandsaw Simplifies Woodworking Life

  1. I would prefer a solution where a pneumatic cylinder acts against the tension of a set of conical disc (Belleville) springs.
    But maybe omitting the pneumatic stuff in favor of a knee lever to disengage the springs would be even simpler.
    Nevertheless: Well done and nice video to watch.

    1. There needs to be a failsafe, I’d hate to have my hands working a piece of wood and experience a catastrophic loss of air pressure. Im fairly certain they make locking cylinders for scenarios like that but quite expensive.

      1. That’s a really great point. Would a positive lock be the only way to go with this? What about switching the setup, permanent springs keep the tension with pneumatics working against the to adjust it and loosen the belt when necessary?

        1. Not having much experience with quality and or properly maintained pneumatic valves, all of the control valves I’ve ever touched in industrial applications leaked like a sieve so I cant say if a oneway before the valve would be reliable or not in the long term but it’s better than nothing.

      2. Is that much different then having a band break while you’re using it? There’s no fail safe for that. The only thing I can think of is that when a band breaks, it can’t keep spinning once past the motor wheel. In the case of a failure of pressure, the band might be able to keep spinning while loose.

        The blade however, would still be in tact so it can’t go very far and you still have the guide lowered to approx. the height of the material your cutting so it’s not like the blade is going to lash out at you.


        1. If the blade loses tension, it will no longer track properly on the wheel and will move forward or backward off of a wheel. This will cause the blade to run in to one of the various guards or doors. It’s also possible that the blade can catch on the work piece while continue to be driven forward, resulting in a kinked blade.

          It all depends on how quickly it loses tension.

        2. You’re right it’s not much different at all but you can take precautions to lessen your chances. The similar point being made here is if you had opportunity to ensure that a blade will never snap on you for as long as you live via means of installing a failsafe, would you?

  2. I don’t get it. It takes less than a minute to put a new blade on. $50? I’ve put on hundreds and think there are better things to worry about. How about variable speed for a band saw? That is useful and saves money on blades. Or better way to weld blades. Most blade welders I’ve seen don’t work very well.

  3. I think it needs a guitar tuner and a plucking mechanism (connected via Arduino, of course) to pluck the band, listen for “G”, and increase or decrease tension, and pluck again until it sounds “just right” and then have it detension the blade when the power is shut off.

  4. Band saws are great for making an arc cut in wide planks of wood. I built a curved fence using the Jet Band Saw that my friend had. I have been curious about the other ones and appreciate good comprehensive reviews on the fine points of these various models.

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