From Handheld Bandsaw To Shop Bandsaw

If you grow up around a workshop then the chances are that you’ll have the most respect for saws. Formative years being constantly warned by parents about their risks leave an indelible mark on the nascent maker, and leave them visibly less cavalier on the matter than for example other hackspace members. The fact remains that saws offer some of the most ready opportunities for danger in your workshop. But which are the least hazardous? In the workshop near where this is being written, definitely a bandsaw is far preferable to a circular saw when it comes to finger retention.

[Making Stuff] has a portable bandsaw, contained in effect within a large handheld power tool. He’s put up a video detailing how he modified it to serve as a more conventional vertical or horizontal bandsaw, with the addition of a sturdily built welded tubular frame and table.

The video starts with the removal of the plastic surround to the trigger and  hand grip, then proceeds through the various stages of cutting, measuring, drilling, and welding. The pivot point is the crank bearing from a bicycle, and in a slightly overcomplex touch the switch is a solid state relay rather than something conventional. The metal work is well executed, and while the engineering is noting special and most Hackaday readers could do similar, it has the compelling quality of a workshop video in which everything is done right and the results are well presented. You might not make this saw, but if you had one it wouldn’t disappoint you. The full video is below the break.

If this bandsaw is still too manufactured for you, you can always have a go at making your own.

19 thoughts on “From Handheld Bandsaw To Shop Bandsaw

  1. Having worked with hand held band saws, I think that this is an excellent idea. They are very heavy, awkward, and cumbersome to handle unless you have forearms like Popeye. What you lose in portability with this build, you gain in usability. Modify the cart to have wheels and a handle, and you’re all set.

    1. This concept has been around for quite a while, so it’s nothing new. I’ve not seen a good hybrid version I’ve liked though (has a base, but remains removable for portability).

      1. I have to agree with Jason. I have also small portable bandsaw and DIY stand for it.
        This small portable bandsaw is only for small diameters and there is big problem cut 45deg. angle becouse this cut is longer then 90degree. Another issue is how you starting cutting steel. If you jumping with bandsaw at start you can damage teeths on Band Saw Blades etc… I highly recommend bandsaw which is capable cut metal minimum 100x100mm in 45deg or 120x160mm in 90deg.

  2. I’d love to have a stationary horizontal/vertical bandsaw, but can’t justify storing one. Doing something like this was the reason I got one of the portable bandsaws from Harbor Freight. I’m hoping to make something where switching between portable and stationary is relatively quick and easy. These little saws are a great compromise between size and capability.

    1. Check out Swag Off-road. They have a stand that’s really affordable and works great although I find using mine in stationary mode more than portable. I use a Velcro strap to keep the trigger depressed all the time and use an extension cord box with switch to cut the power to the saw

  3. It seems to me that most people understand the risk of saws very well. There is something rather graphic about sharp teeth zooming by, just waiting for an unsuspecting finger to come a too close. Some people don’t even want to deal with table saws at all. In my experience, the innocuous looking tools are the most dangerous. People let their guard down sooner or later and that’s when things go awry.

    A good example would be the belt sander. A piece of cloth with sand glued to it does not look too impressive, but when you inevitably lose your grip on a workpiece and it shoots off, just when you were leaning in to apply more pressure, you will quickly discover how effectively the device removes finger tips. Obviously, proper workshop ettiquette should all but eliminiate that risk (proper workpiece support, not leaning in and letting the machine do the work, replacing worn belts when required), but people seem to more lax with a belt sander than they are with tools with teeth.

    1. HF has a bandsaw like that right now for $139, minus an easily obtainable 20% coupon it’s just over $110. I doubt the steel on the shelf costs $170 :-)

      As for the time/effort…that’s called ‘learning process’. Of course you can go old school and build one of these

      Though per $20 in 1964 is about $153 today…

    1. Nope, The scar is the diploma for that important lesson you learned, go forth and get the nice things you need, just don’t forget the lesson you learned and end up with a refresher course diploma.

  4. I want to buy one because more tools.

    But honestly I’ve never had a problem just using my angle grinder.
    If Im cutting box or plate I draw a line and follow it.
    If I’m cutting tube I use something a bit like a V block and clamp the grinder stationary – similar approach to above.

    I also have a metal cutting chop saw which sometimes is better than the grinder and sometimes not.
    Usually used when cutting angles in tube/box.

    Still want a bandsaw tho :)

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