3D Printing Restores Bandsaw

A great addition to a home shop is a bandsaw, but when [Design Prototype Test] got a well-used one, he found it wasn’t in very good shape. The previous owner put in an underpowered motor and made some modifications to accommodate the odd-sized blade. Luckily, 3D printing allowed him to restore the old saw to good working order.

There were several 3D printed additions. A pulley, a strain relief, and even an emergency stop switch. Honestly, none of this stuff was something you couldn’t buy, but as he points out, it was cheaper and faster than shipping things in from China. He did wind up replacing the initial pulley with a commercial variant and he explains why.

The red and green buttons use a Sharpie, although we’ve been partial to oil-based markers lately which do a great job of coloring 3D printed plastic.

He wasn’t able to 3D print the saw blade, of course. Maybe one day. We do like to see 3D printers in use for something other than keychains and figurines.

The saw is from the 1950s and while it is older than most of us, it is nice to see it still working with a little help from modern technology.

If you have a bandsaw, you know you need to keep the blade under appropriate tension.

24 thoughts on “3D Printing Restores Bandsaw

  1. Upping the power and twice rpm? I hope those (pot metal?) wheels hold up. I’ve got an old Delta that I did an axle repair in ’80 and the switch moved from a do dad rod hooked to the motor box to a wall toggle switch on the left side support at work height. The switch also turns on the work light. I will stick with a up/down toggle switch over over press here-or-there flat Decora style.

    Bearings Incorporated has stores all over the US. Pulleys too.

  2. HACKaday.com

    The site is not about how to do thing right, but how to make things work one way or another. However dangerous it may be or not.

    No one is stopping anyone from doing the right/correct thing, but there are better sites for that kind of material.

    1. A hack is a hack is a hack.

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

      I didn’t encourage anyone to do anything.

      We come here to see how people have solved their problems.

      Worrying about whether they run the risk of chopping their willies off while doing it entirely a bonus subject but not required.

    2. That’s exactly the reverse of a “hack”.

      To come up with fix is to fix, to solve a problem is to invent or innovate; throwing crap at it so it just works is hacking.

  3. For small band saws the danger ends when the blade breaks or the motor stops. Once the tension is off the top wheel springs up and the blade is no longer getting traction and quickly stops. I suppose the blade could fold out sideways, but users don’t typically stand there. The biggest danger is just pushing one’s fingers into or through the ordinary operating blade. The more defective, the safer it is from that danger.

    Wonky table saws are a hazard and can do a lot of damage even after the power is cut. Unlike bandsaws, tablesaws can chuck heavy things and suddenly expose the still turning blade. The items that get pinched and chucked are often lined up with the person using the saw.

    On a scale from 0 to 10 for table saw a bandsaw in any condition rates a 2.5 for danger.

    1. Agree with you on all points, but at least most bandsaws (including this machine) have covers.
      Just go onto Youtube and look at people’s home-made linishers and belt sanders and just about all of them are open-frame jobs with no covers or guards in sight. It’s no fun being lashed by a breaking belt, I can say.

    1. You’re on a plane.with a band saw, a 3d printer and some raw material. On the way to wherever, the pane crashes in a deserted island. You have everything in the plane to fix the damage to the wing. But you have to 3d print the pulley that broke in the accident, repurpose some wrong size wires for the ones that ripped away and got lost in the middle of the trees.


      1. hack the things even though you know you really should use the right size wires and get a new metal pulley, but you get back to civilization alive.


      2. Sit and stare into the ocean in despair until you die of starvation, and then the seagulls pick the last bits of rotten flash from your bones that the crabs have not eaten yet, because the band saw might have chopped your finger off if you had fixed it with a plastic 3d printed pulley.

      Apparently, a lot of people in this site would rather be safe and die to become dinner for crabs and seagulls.

      1. Wrong: most are so safe in their life and have risk assessment / safety culture so deeply embedded (which is a good thing) that they notice upfront what can go wrong and raise their voice (which is a good thing),
        And I´m sure 100% of them being in the setup you describe would choose the solution 1) because they would wisely balance the risks/benefits and you save their life that way. They would even succeed more at saving their life because knowing the risk they would do all to avoid it while taking still the risky but life-saving path.

        On the other hand, those who consciously ignore the risk and minimize the danger and blindly promote risky practice should silently disappear, stricken by Murphy Law and eaten by crabs in a Darwinist way. But please, either from the public eyes, not to lead ignorant to repeat their mistake, or in a educational way, exposed in a failure demonstration.

        1. The guy who found an issue with a hacker who might have used a DIN rail to prop up a board with some electronics on it and a few cables in the channel

          “Please. Don´t abuse DIN rails for hiding cables.”

          is trying to talk to me about common sense. Hahahaha

        2. Also, you’re so hell bent on being right on the internet, that you didn’t even care to suggest the other possibility, that you could just have printed out a new part of the plane and left the bandsaw alone.

          I have not read any other comments from you in these posts, other than the one I mentioned, so I’m going to be a bit prejudiced here and say that you’re only point in this site is to seek attention and feel good by pointing out how people are wrong when they do “stupid” stuff.

          I don’t know if you care about it or not, but in case you do, that’s exactly what you come across to a bunch of people, not as a smart person, but as a jerk.

          Meanwhile, the majority of us come around here to see how people solve problems with whatever means they have.

        3. I live in the desert and out here its a half day drive to town. Mcgyvering is a way of life ( i know its spelled wrong. Don’t judge me). Personally i would be leary of a plastic pulley but knowing that ads extra attention and caution while using.

        1. I did say it was a deserted island, but I’ll give you credit since I did not say there was no village, and if there is a village there could be a phone, food, or even another plane ready to go :)

  4. so many things bother me about this video–

    off brand/untested lever nuts are potentially dangerous for mains power so I’m glad he couldn’t jam the 10AWG conductors into it. BUT that Leviton 5601-2 is only rated for 12 amps (nominal 15 because the backstab connectors are for 14AWG) and 12AWG on the screw terminals. Furthermore, it is specifically only rated at 1/2HP-120V; 2HP-240V-277V. He also says that it is a HF 3HP motor– he himself went into a detailed explanation of these concepts with the house wiring, the circuit breaker etc. Using a switch as a current sink is very not safe, especially when it is not in a properly rated box with proper strain relief.
    a properly rated and tested e-stop for this application (like a powertec #71007) is under $15 dollars.

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