Hand Drill To Band Saw Conversion

Need a band saw but only have a drill kicking around? That may not be a common problem but if you ever run into it, [Izzy] has got you covered. He’s on a mission to make a drill-powered workshop and in his YouTube video, he shows a small bench top band saw he made that is powered by a corded hand drill.

The main frame is made from doubled up 3/4″ plywood. The saw blade is strung between two wooden wheels. Those wheels have tape applied to their outer diameter to create a crowned roller. That crown keeps the saw blade tracking in the middle of the wheel. The bottom wheel is mounted to an axle that is supported by bearings in the main frame. That axle pokes out the back and is connected to the drill. The top wheel has integrated bearings and ride on a stud mounted to the frame. The blade seems to be pretty tight although there is no noticeable tensioning system.

The video shows that this DIY band saw can cut through 1.5 inch wood fairly easily. Even so, there are clearly some needed features, like guide bearings for the blade and an overall cover to prevent accidental lacerations. But we suppose, even professional saws can be dangerous if not treated with respect.

23 thoughts on “Hand Drill To Band Saw Conversion

    1. He does mention it is a test setup and “not a permanent build”. Obviously something like this could be improved upon considerably to make something quite versatile.
      Sounds like you have some areas of improvement you might be willing to share.

        1. For starters, crowned pulleys are somewhat fickle.

          When the belt is free to run, it centers itself, but if you apply torque to one pulley to the point that it starts to slip, it tracks off center and throws the belt. That means, if you get something stuck between the pulley and the frame, it will hurl a spinning sawblade at you.

      1. Even for a test, he could at least implement some basic safety like some guard for the damn saw on the other side of the wheel and generally for the non-sawing part of the saw blade.

    1. Seconded- just found him thanks to HaD, took a quick look at what he does- very ingenious dude. That collapsing table is amazing!

      Comments about drill duty cycle seconded. I don’t think drills running constantly like that under load are a good thing. Impressive build, none the less. I like how he even used crowned pulleys- not a lot of people realize you need that feature on a flat pulley to keep belts or blades on.

      This is the situation I am in right now though- no bandsaw, but I have a drill. My solution will be converting a new Dewalt handheld bandsaw to stationary use, probably with a 3D printed swing frame and hinge. Not sure if it will work though.

      Ironic, this build almost needs a bandsaw to build the bandsaw…

        1. Those things were built to be able to drill into granite, pump water/fuel with an attachment, become lathes or winches, and generally act as a all-around motors.

          Today they come with plastic gears and melt.

          1. ” You can certainly expect a full price drill to not have plastic gears, even today”

            Yes I wouldn’t.

            Originally they were all metal gears, but the price was a bit too high for the casual consumer and a bit too low for what the professionals could pay, so they made a consumer version with plastic gears and a professional version with metal gears. One was cheaper than before, and the other more expensive.

            Then they figured, hey, we’ve got a gap in the middle, so they made a regular priced version with plastic gears as well.

    1. Unless constantly loaded, it shouldn’t have too much trouble, all the hand drills I’ve seen had an integrated fan which kept them reasonably cool… can’t say the same about the chinese drill press we have, the motor gets too hot to touch after only 20 minutes…

  1. yike, bandsaws have blade guides and wheel trimmers, and casings to make sure that the blade dosn’t come off and if it does, it dosn’t go anywhere.
    Lower speed it good to keep the blade cool enough to not burn cuts (cool blades stay sharper longer too). to do metal you want to bring the speed down really far.

  2. You can pick up a used, pre-2006 Milwaukee bandsaw for well under 30 dollars. Fixing it up (replacing the brushes and checking the grease) takes a few dollars.

    Doing this will give you a superior tool that is tons safer, and cheaper in the long run.

      1. Flea markets or used tool shops. If you go that route, be sure to go for older tools, as most of the big name US brands have swapped to poor quality Taiwan or Chinese plants. I haven’t bought a single new power tool since I’ve found a few good shops.

        If you have contractor friends, you can get their old tools every few years when they swap them out. Unfortunately, if you go that route, you’ll end up with really beat up tools.

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