Introduction: The Flat-Pack Bandsaw | DIY Woodworking Tools #6

Picture of The Flat-Pack Bandsaw | DIY Woodworking Tools #6

Even before I started woodworking, I wanted one of those tiny Circular-Saws. I also wanted a Bandsaw. Unfortunately (As always), It was pretty expensive, And I couldn't afford them.

But... What I did later remember, Is that I did have a Jigsaw that my dad bought almost 10 years ago. I decided to use that.

My plan was to mount the Jigsaw under some kind of enclosure. That failed quite a bit in the beginning, But I then found a way to make it. Here, I'll show you how I build it!

The end result produced a mix of both of them-- I can use it as a Bandsaw, And if I add a fence, I can also use it as a Table-Saw!

Another advantage of the Flat-Pack Bandsaw is that it can't produce any dangerous kickback, So it's great for beginners, Like me!

Let's get started!

Step 1: The FAILED Plan - (For Good!)

Picture of The FAILED Plan - (For Good!)

As I mentioned before, My original plan was to build a custom box/enclosure, And to mount the Jigsaw inside.

I started doing that several months ago-- I cut all of the wood to size with my Jigsaw, And put it together with screws and brackets. I wanted to attach my Jigsaw to the top with screws, But didn't have any.

At this point, I stopped, And just left it in my room.

Several months later...

I was organizing my room, And just felt that... I HAVE TO BUILD IT ALREADY!

It was taking up too much space, And I really needed it for several projects...

That made me think-- If I don't have room for it when I'm not done, How will I have room for it when I am done?

And that's what inspired me to make it. Mounted onto a thin metal plate, And used inside of the grip of a vise. Now, I can also mount it onto a wall!

And "The Flat-Pack Bandsaw" is what I came up with! (If you know how big, Heavy, Expensive, And Non-Portable Band-Saws are, You'll know what I'm talking about...)

I guess it's a mix of a Scroll-Saw, And a Band-Saw, But most importantly, Built to be free, Not take up space (Hence: "Flat-Pack"), And be easily transportable!

Step 2: What You'll Need:

Picture of What You'll Need:

Hardware & Materials:

34.5 X 37.5cm Metal Plate (Salvaged from a Desktop Computer Case)

Scrap Piece of Wood

Chemicals & Adhesives:

10mm Double Sided Tape

Silicone Tape

3 Alcohol Pads

Tools (+Attachments):

Jigsaw Blades

Vise

Scissors

Permanent Marker

Punch (Awl)

Tape Measurer

Hammer

1-10mm Metal "Twist-Bit" Drill-Bits (The more, The better...)

Small Round File

2 Bar Clamps

Tweezers

Electric/Power Tools:

Jigsaw (Black & Decker, JS500, 18mm, Type 2)

Drill

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Why: I need The Flat-Pack Band-Saw!

Safety Gear Needed: Ventilated Area, Respirator, Ear-Muffs, Safety Goggles

Cost (for me): FREE!

Difficulty: Medium

Approximate Time: <2 Hours

Step 3: Wrapping Silicone Tape on the Handle

Picture of Wrapping Silicone Tape on the Handle

As I mentioned before, My vise will be gripping the Jigsaw's Handle pretty tightly.

I decided to wrap some Silicone Tape onto the handle for two reasons:

1. To provide cushioning-- So the Vise's Jaws wouldn't mar the surface, Meaning that the wouldn't leave marks.

2. I'll be able to have the same clamping (Gripping) force, While tightening the jaws less. Because the Silicone Tape acts like something sticky...

Now did you understand what was that clearish-whitish thing that was wrapped onto the Jigsaw's handle in the "What You'll Need" Step? ;)

By the way, I recommend doing this to Jigsaw anyway-- Even if you don't build this. It's more comfortable this way. Speaking of Soft-Jaws, Silicone Tape actually works pretty well!

Step 4: Mark a Hole in the Center of the Metal Plate

Picture of Mark a Hole in the Center of the Metal Plate

A quick trick* for finding the middle of a square (In this case), Is to draw an X, From each corner, Like I did in the second picture.

(Almost) As always, I didn't take my time, And didn't mark it precisely enough-- I was off ~1cm. That didn't really matter because I moved my punch to the correct place (More on that in the next steps).

*I think I might have learned this from Pinterest, But unfortunately I cannot credit the author because I cannot find it :(

Step 5: Punch, Drill, and File a Hole in the Metal Plate

Picture of Punch, Drill, and File a Hole in the Metal Plate

After Drilling, I can definitely tell you that it isn't very easy to get a clean hole.

I started by marking a hole in the middle with a punch, And then started Drilling. I started with a 1.5mm Drill-Bit, And finished with a 10mm Drill-Bit. Every time that I switched a Drill-Bit, I Drilled from the other side. I don't know if this is a known method for Drilling into fairly thin metal plate, But it worked very well for me.

For best drilling results, I recommend putting a small scrap piece of soft wood, Such as Pine.

I then used a hammer to break off (The tiny bit of) tearout that happened. After a couple of hits with the Hammer, I filed the rest off.

Step 6: Wipe & Clean Off the Jigsaw's Shoe, & Metal Plate

Picture of Wipe & Clean Off the Jigsaw's Shoe, & Metal Plate

I used an Alcohol Pad to clean, And remove any possible dirt, Dust, Or oil from from the Jigsaw's Shoe, And Metal Plate.

You'll soon see why this is very important

Step 7: Center, & Trace the Outline of the Jigsaw Onto the Metal Plate

Picture of Center, & Trace the Outline of the Jigsaw Onto the Metal Plate

First, I inserted a blade into the Jigsaw, And then used two Bar-Clamps to Clamp the Metal Plate onto the Table.

I then made sure that the blade was exactly in the center on the hole. I knew I was safe because this blade has absolutely no flex in it.

After I made sure that it was resting square to the edges, I traced around it with a Permanent Marker. This can be pretty confusing, So I recommend referring to the pictures

Step 8: Cover the Bottom of the Jigsaw's Show With Double Sided Tape

Picture of Cover the Bottom of the Jigsaw's Show With Double Sided Tape

I don't know if you know, But Double Sided Tape is EXTREMELY strong. It is also very cheap.

There isn't a lot of explaining to do here-- The picture is pretty much self explanatory. I covered every possible part of the Shoe with Double Sided Tape.

Step 9: Peel Off the Double Sided Tape, & Stick to the Metal Plate

Picture of Peel Off the Double Sided Tape, & Stick to the Metal Plate

After a couple minutes, I peeled of all the all the tape. I don't know if you've seen my 8 Unusual Uses for Tweezers Instructable, But over there, I show how to peel the release liner off Double Sided Tape with Tweezers. Go check it out!

I stuck the Jigsaw onto the Metal Plate-- Inside of the outline. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of this process in action because I was very careful to do it accurately, But this shouldn't be very hard.

After you think that everything it aligned properly, apply a lot of weight onto the Jigsaw for around a minute. This serves as a clamp for the best possible adhesion.

For results, I recommend leaving it to cure overnight. I use A LOT of Double Sided Tape, And believe me, It takes it time for it to adhere well. After 10 minutes in adheres strong, After a day it is very very strong, And after a couple weeks, It is extremely strong. Don't even try ripping it off!

Step 10: How to Use "The Flat-Pack Bandsaw"

Picture of How to Use "The Flat-Pack Bandsaw"

Here is a full "Tutorial" on how to use "The Flat-Pack Bandsaw":

1. Secure the Jigsaw in your Vise's Jaws. Tighten enough so It doesn't move, But DO NOT over tighten. You don't want it to break.

2. Insert the a Blade into the Jigsaw: Pull down the Blade Clamp, And insert the Blade from above.

3. Plug it in. Plug the Jigsaw into a wall socket

4. Hold down the trigger, And press on the Lock Button. Your Jigsaw will now stay on-- Even when you let go of the Trigger.

See? It isn't complicated! AT ALL!

Step 11: Safety Warnings: Keep Hands Away, & Gloves

Picture of Safety Warnings: Keep Hands Away, & Gloves

WARNING: Do not put your hand in front, Or anywhere near the blade at any time! This is a dangerous tool ONLY when used incorrectly!

Well, I guess that's kind of obvious... I'll get into a bit more detail:

Never apply pressure. Let the blade do the work.

If there was some sawdust on the ground, And you slipped. What would you like your head to fall on? The blade? No... Adjust your posture!

When you finish a cut, Can your hands slip into the blade? If yes, Adjust your hands like I show in the picture. This way, You are safe.

Never touch a blade after it has been used. Let it cool down for a couple minutes.

Always wear shirts with tight sleeves.

Remove all necklaces and bracelets when using the saw.

Make sure to wear proper safety equipment: Use a Respirator, Safety Goggles, And Hearing Protection.

In the future, I will also build Push-Sticks, A Fence, Different types of Sleds, And more.

I also recommend watching a few YouTube videos on Bandsaw Safety before attempting to build The FLat-Pack Bandsaw

With all of that said I want to hear YOUR opinion: Would you use gloves while operating the saw?

If yes, Why?

If not, Why not?

Step 12: DONE! But... Does It Work?

Picture of DONE! But... Does It Work?

Okay... I've showed how to build it, How to use it, And how to operate it safely.

Time to show the results! (Keep in mind that all of the pictures that were taken here were my first tries, Meaning that I did not have any experience when beginning. I will get better at it!)

In the first 3 pictures, You can see me cut off a piece of scrap plywood that I found. I used the Flat-Pack Bandsaw to remove a part that had been drilled into.

In the last 2 pictures, You can see that I drew some random lines onto a piece of wood, And then cut them out. Not bad for the first try!

Of course it can do a lot more than just that! That's only the beginning!

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DONE!

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Comments

SherylinRM (author)2016-08-15

I have been using saws since age 8 and never have and never would use gloves.

My hands are not as strong as a machine.

Also for the hole one can also use a flat disk on a dremel.

Just an idea :)

Thanks for this :)

Yonatan24 (author)SherylinRM2016-08-16

Thank you, I didn't think about using my Dremel

SherylinRM (author)Yonatan242016-08-18

You are welcome.

I use a dremel for many things. Mostly because I am a girl and a wuss lol.

I leave the macho stuff to the men lol ;)

zappenfusen (author)2016-05-19

I've retired my jig saw in favor of a Roto-Zip. The Zip saw seems to be more accurate although it's as limited as a Jig saw in the thickness of materials you can reasonably cut. My Jig saw was continually breaking blades.

zapp

Yonatan24 (author)zappenfusen2016-05-24

I've heard of something similar to that Roto-Zip, It looks to me pretty much like a Router...

How did you even manage to break the blades? I've never broken one before :)

zeuxis (author)2016-05-19

This is not a band saw, it's just an upside down jigsaw. When you go around a corner, the saw blade will not stay perpendicular to the wood. This will give poor results, unless you are using really thin wood. I don't see many advantages compared to using the jigsaw as is. If you would construct a guide at the top, to make sure the blade stays at 90 degrees, then you'd have something. It wouldn't be hard to make. Use a small piece of teflon or POM as guider material, preventing the blade to turn.

Yonatan24 (author)zeuxis2016-05-19

"This is not a band saw, it's just an upside down jigsaw."

Yes, I agree. 100%

What I mean by this, Is that it can cut similar to a Band-Saw, But be very conservative of space, And "portable".

There is a blade guide inside of the Jigsaw (You can see it in Picture #1 of Step #8), Which I think has worked pretty good, So far... I'll build a guide if I need it :)

The advantage of using a Jigsaw this way, Compared to holding the Jigsaw in my hand, Is that It is usually easier to move the workpiece, And not the tool (Like a Bandsaw). It is also easier to cut small pieces-- It's almost impossible to cut small pieces of wood with a Jigsaw.

How would I use Teflon to guide the blade? What is POM?

zeuxis (author)Yonatan242016-05-19

POM is a hard lubricating plastic. If you make a block like the attached drawing and screw the low part underneath the table with the cutout hanging over the saw blade, you can allign the piece of POM with the saw blade and screw it underneath the wood. Mind you: this block must be very sturdy. Hard wood, screwed and glued together should do, a metal construction is preferable. The top should hang over the table like an arm, just like with a band saw.The longer it is, the larger cutouts you can make but the more it will move under pressure. I'd say 10" is an optimum. This way, you can prevent the saw blade from moving sideways and you don't need guides with wheels and ballbearings.

Yonatan24 (author)zeuxis2016-05-24

Yes, I think I understand...

Looks like it should work, But I don't know if I'll make it-- It'll interfere with its storage. Thanks for the idea! :)

billbillt (author)2016-05-19

GREAT!!!... I tried to vote but it won't let me..

Yonatan24 (author)billbillt2016-05-24

Thanks!

I wasn't able to reply when you commented, But the contest was still open. I don't know why (It might be some kind of bug), But sometimes when I try to vote for other people, I'm not able to vote too...

The contest has already closed, But I really appreciate that you tried voting! :)

markburgesser (author)2016-05-19

Outstanding idea. There are ways to improve/customize it, but kudos to you for planting the seed. I'm going to build one differently, for my needs, but hadn't thought of it before. Well done!

Yonatan24 (author)markburgesser2016-05-24

Thanks! Looking forward in seeing your attempt to it, I'd love to see pictures of it when you're done!

Jugfet (author)2016-05-19

I knocked up a similar rig some years ago and had a loop of cord passing over the switch, and then down to just short of the floor. Then I laid a piece of 75 x 25 timber into the loop, and this acted like a foot switch....Very controllable!

Yonatan24 (author)Jugfet2016-05-24

Awesome! I'd be awesome if you shared pictures!

pmshah (author)2016-05-19

I see a huge advantage of using this setup. The jigsaw is stationery and you have both your hands free to maneuver your work piece as well as use you foot for power control, preferably by a properly rated momentary switch. Since all of the mains powered power tools are universal type if you rig up a sufficiently capable phase control switch in your foot switch you also have speed control.

Yonatan24 (author)pmshah2016-05-24

HUGE Advantage!

That was the whole point of making it! It's so much easier to use this way!

I wanted to add speed control, But it's a bit difficult to control the speed of these fairly high Amp Power-Tools with an external Dimmer. I published a question about that back in February:

https://www.instructables.com/answers/Using-a-Dimme...

sos22 (author)2016-05-20

I don't think anyone has mentioned Rockwell's "Blade Runner." It's basically an upside down jigsaw mounted in a base, with a fence and miter gauge. It sells for about $100. Do a search for "Rockwell Blade Runner."

Yonatan24 (author)sos222016-05-24

Interesting, No one mentioned that so far...

It's a little too expensive for me, But I like the idea :)

desertwalker (author)2016-05-19

Cmon mate, is that all you can say?. We were taught not to use gloves when operating saws. I think you are just causing troubl

amclaussen (author)desertwalker2016-05-20

It depends... When using a saw with medium to large teeth, gloves that have any strong textile will "grab" immediately and the strong threads of the glove will cut through the flesh and then pull the flesh causing a much larger injury! One employee at my workplace was using a nice looking "Kevlar" light yellow color pair of gloves when the pulley setscrew on a 2 HP electric motor catched one Kevlar thread close to the wrist, on the palm side. The entire hand has removed cleanly form the forearm! He underwent surgery and the hand was reimplanted, but lost a lot of control and sense.

The ONLY situation where these type of gloves (or steel cloth ones) should be used, is when handling very sharp knives (such as a butler). Other wise, a plain leather glove will provide some protection, provided the open end of the glove is closely fitted to the wrist to prevent it from catching or allowing something nasty to go inside (like molten metal!). Amclaussen.

Yonatan24 (author)amclaussen2016-05-24

Owww...

Good to know :)

rlongfield (author)desertwalker2016-05-19

causing troulbe? No, I was answering Yonatan24's question at the end of step 11.

GeneH22 (author)2016-05-21

I think if you make everything as you've shown, it's a good start. I'm going to use my clamping work table instead of the vice. It will more stable and I can clamp in the jaws OR glue/tape dowels on the bottom to align with the peg holes on the workmate top.

Just my 2 cents.

Yonatan24 (author)GeneH222016-05-24

Wow! I just saw a picture of a Clamping Table (Never heard of those before), I need one of those!

Makes sense-- Looking forward in seeing your attempt! :)

Yonatan24 (author)2016-05-24

I'd love to have that, But I don't have storage space for that :)

Thanks for your tips, But they won't work very well for me, Though they definitely will be useful for other viewers :)

MartyG4 (author)2016-05-19

It's ok if you can't remember who to credit on pinterest for how to find the center of a square or rectangle. Some dead guy back in anciet Greece deserves the credit if not someone before him.

Yonatan24 (author)MartyG42016-05-20

Hmmm... :)

It just annoys me when people don't give credit. There are tons of "YouTubers" that steal other people's work. Not only do they not say that they were inspired by someone, They steal it, And earn money from it. That is DISGUSTING, In my opinion.

I can give you many examples.

That's why I said it :) I always make sure to credit the original source of inspiration :)

MartyG4 (author)Yonatan242016-05-20

I think it was Archimedes who figured out how to find the centroid of all kinds of 2d and 3d shapes and volumes. Anyway, we stand on the shoulders of giants who lived long ago without google! :)

zeuxis (author)2016-05-19

You use gloves not for protection against the saw blade but for the wood. If you work with wood all day every day your hands dry out really badly. Also many hardwood types have splinters that will give you infections. There are plenty of gloves that will not get caught. And stay away from the blade. Not an inch away, but much, much more. I've been building guitars for nigh on 30 years and I have all my fingers. Working with gloves will feel natural in a matter of weeks.

Yonatan24 (author)zeuxis2016-05-20

For guitars don't you use a Bandsaw?

Good to know... :)

zeuxis (author)Yonatan242016-05-20

Of course I do! I have a bandsaw, I was just giving some advice on this project.

Meglymoo87 (author)2016-05-19

Nice :)

Yonatan24 (author)Meglymoo872016-05-20

Thanks!

bignail1954 (author)2016-05-19

One fellow had an upper guide to blade so it will not move to each side. A little more engineering but it makes for straight cuts. Your way is just fine kuddos!!

Yonatan24 (author)bignail19542016-05-19

I haven't been needing it, But I'll figure out how to add it if I need it :)

mrandle (author)Yonatan242016-05-19

Yes, this is my one gripe with jigsaws is how much the blades wiggle around. I think for thinner materials this will work amazingly but thicker material might cause some not so straight cuts.

Yonatan24 (author)mrandle2016-05-20

I haven't had it wiggle around a lot, But I don't really have another option... :)

Still, I like it a lot!

Yonatan24 (author)2016-05-19

*Gulp*

How did he lose it? With the Table-Saw?

rlongfield (author)Yonatan242016-05-19

yes it was a table saw, it grabbed the glove and pulled his hand in.

SinAmos (author)2016-05-18

I have this exact saw and created a mount just like this. This jigsaw will not cut straight upside down. I suggest not using this build for this purpose.

Yonatan24 (author)SinAmos2016-05-19

What do you mean that it won't cut straight while upside down? Why not? :)

sobecksk1 (author)2016-05-19

I would suggest using galvanized/metal hardware instead of plastic.

Yonatan24 (author)sobecksk12016-05-19

Where plastic? What plastic are you talking about?

LukaP6 (author)2016-05-19

there is no glove to protect you from the saw blade.

Yonatan24 (author)LukaP62016-05-19

That's exactly why I asked the question...

A glove might get stuck a power tool's blade or bit, Which can result in a more serious injury...

I know you should never use gloves with a Drill-Press, But I think the glove can't really get stuck in this saw... I don't know!

Yonatan24 (author)2016-05-19

*Gulp*

How did he lose it? With the Table-Saw?

maKACS (author)2016-05-15

I like how simple You solved it.

I plan to use a jigsaw upside down like this, but I want to make it detachable to be able to use it in the common way too.

I like the idea to use a side of a common PC case as a surface. But is it strong enough? Isn't it bending, wobbling, shaking this way nearly floating with a small support underneath?

Anyway, I like it, voted.

Yonatan24 (author)maKACS2016-05-15

Thank You, I appreciate your feeback :)

If you want to build this, But want it to be detachable, You can use thin (but very strong) Plywood, And countersink screws. A better option would be to attach small but very strong Neodymium Magnets to the Jigsaw's Shoe, And them make it detachable...

The PC Case is strong enough, But does wobble slightly. It hasn't bothered me much, But if it will, I can easily reinforce it by adding some wood onto the sides (Somehow like a picture frame).

Thanks for the vote, Glad you liked it!

maKACS (author)Yonatan242016-05-15

Here is the main idea as an inspiration:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCkEzdjJyGg

I plan to use laminated floor for that purpose (thin, strong, durable, easy to work with and cheap). I want make it as an interchangeable insert, the same way as on the router tables have.

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