Introduction: How to Make a Mini Laser Cut Band Saw

This all started when I learned that my friend Raouf Sarwari, who has his shop down the hall from me, has a laser cutter. Brooklyn is great for cross-pollinating ideas and skills with each other. Anyhow I have always liked models and thought it would be fun to build a wood wood shop. I spoke to Raouf and he agreed and we worked together to make one for the Crest Hardware Show.

 http://cresthardwareartshow.com/ 

It is an annual art show that takes place in the midst of a running hardware store. The only requirement is that the art must be hardware related. This then is our how to make a mini band saw. Since then we saw that there was a laser contest and thought we should enter it.

Since working with the laser I cannot stop thinking of ways to use it, jigs, toys, tools the list keeps growing.

Step 1: PDF Drawing

You can do what we did and mentally reverse engineer the band saw or you could measure an existing saw and draw it. Either way, draw out the parts to the band saw. We used Adobe Illustrator for the initial drawings then refined them for the laser cutter using Corel Draw. If you want to save yourself some time you can use the attached PDF file for yours.

 

While in the Photos you will see different colors they are not required in fact if you look at the last photo you can see Raouf and I built a mini wood shop and a mini plastic shop.

 

Separate the parts into thickness and color groups; you can see we put basic assemblies together as well

 

Next separate into cut groups by thickness. It may see a bit redundant but it helps to familiarize you with the parts.

 

In addition to cut lines in the drawing there are laser-etched areas. These serve as glue guides and also help shape some parts. They are cyan in the PDF.

Step 2: Materials and Tools

Materials

Plastic .01-inch thick acetate sheet

Plastic 1/16-inch sheet

Plastic 1/8-inch sheet

Plastic 3/16-inch thick sheet

Plastic in 1/4-inch thick sheet

Plastic in 1/8 inch diameter round rod

Plastic solvent glue

8  1/4 inch #4/40 Allen screws

 

Tools

Laser cutter

Painter’s tape

Small paintbrush

Utility knife

Needle tipped glue bottle or syringe

Several clothespins

Square

Fine flat face file

#4/40 tap

Drill and drill bits

Fine  #120 sandpaper

Step 3: Components

As you cut the parts place parts on a flat surface so you can see them all. Double check your cut parts see that you have them all. You might want to cut extra of the small parts like washers, as they are easy to loose.

Step 4: Base Table

We will begin at the bottom and work our way up.

 

Lower Shelf/Motor Rest

Gather the parts to the table base and peel the protective paper off.

Add the 4 side skirts to the lower shelf/motor rest.

Always dry fit first incase you need to sand the edges to fit.

Line up tabs with slots and glue using your needle applicator.

Put aside and let glue set.

 

Upper Tabletop

Gather and peel parts.

Dry fit 4 sides parts, tabs to slots.

When you are satisfied glue assembly together.

Put aside and let glue set.

 

Table Legs

Gather all 4 legs and peel.

Dry fit legs onto to tabletop, tabs to slots. Some flexing may be necessary here and be sure you have them in the proper orientations with their notched sides out.

Position lower shelf in place making sure smooth top is up and pulley holes are aligned.

When satisfied tape or hold in place and glue the parts together.

Before the glue sets check that table sits flat. Fix if necessary.

Put table aside and let set.

Step 5: Band Saw Frame

Gather all 7 of the frame parts and peel paper

The 7 parts are left to right, front plate; rear plate, brace, spacer C, foot and the two blade tension slide parts not pictured in the group.

 

Frame

Align and glue front and rear plates together first making sure that the etched side on the rear plate is on the inside between them. This will leave a slot for the wheel slide later.

Let set.

Attach the brace to the frame and glue.

Tap your spacer C part now, not like we did after gluing. Be careful it may break; a bit of soapy water will help lubricate the Tap.

Clamp the spacer onto the frame and glue it in position. Check that edges are aligned and glue in place.

Let set.

Stand frame upright on foot and check for square. I suggest you lightly clamp tape it to the square before gluing the foot on.

Let frame assembly set.

 

Slide Tensioner

Gather and peel slide parts.

Align them using etched lines and 1/8-inch rod as guides

Glue and let set.

When completely dry slide into frame slot. Some sanding/filing may be required. We want a snug fit not a loose one.

Step 6: Blade Guides and Trunnions

Gather blade guides and trunnion parts.

 

Upper Guide

Score and cut the 1/8-inch rod into three 2-inch sections. Set two aside for wheel assemblies. Save the other for the upper blade guide.

Sand the end of the rod flat and insert it into upper guide. Check for square and glue together, let set.

After dry insert the guide up into frame brace. DO NOT GLUE.

 

Trunnion

Gather trunnion parts and peel. They are bracket, arcs and glide guides

Dry fit trunnion bracket and arcs with slanted edge going outward away from bracket bridge, narrow edge of bracket should be on the your left with bridge at your stomach.  The etched side of arcs should be outside. When satisfied with fit glue into arcs into place.

Let glue set.

Pick up glide guides and glue into place using etched lines as a guide. REMEMBER GUIDES ARE GLUED TO OUTSIDE EDGE.

Let glue set.

 

Trunnion to Frame Assembly

Bring frame and trunnion assemblies together.

Position the trunnion onto frame in notch with its narrow side on the rear, under the frame brace. Check that it is tight to frame on the side and forward. Check it is level and glue into place.

Let set.

 

Lower Blade Guide

Find lower guide, it is a small rectangle with a slot halfway through it.

Position it into place on frame with slot outward on wheel side of frame.

Glue it into place and let set.

Step 7: Wheels

Gather and peel wheels. You will notice that two have square holes and two have round.

The square holed wheels are your drive wheels and are the lower wheels. The round are your upper wheels.

 

Upper Wheel

Stack and align 1/16-inch round holed wheel with 1/8-inch round wheel. The 1/16- inch wheel will be inside against the frame. Glue them together.

 

Lower Wheel

Repeat alignment and glue with square holed wheels.

 

Axels

REMEMBER 1/16-INCH WHEEL SIDE IS INSIDE FRAME AXEL WILL PROJECT THROUGH FRAME FROM IT.

 

Take one of your precut 1/8-inch axel rods and file the ends to fit into square hole of lower wheel. File enough that it projects a tiny bit out of the other side.

Glue into position checking for square and let set. Trim excess axel after glue is hard.

 

Take your remaining rod and use it for the upper wheel.

Insert the 1/8-inch round axel rod into center hole and glue in position, checking for square.

Set aside.

 

When glue is set glide wheels through their respective frame holes. NOTE the upper wheel goes through the frame slide.

 

Washers and Pulleys

 

On upper wheel slide 1/8-inch washer over axel until up against outside of frame.

Score axel at this point and remove from frame and snap to length.

Reassemble and glue washer onto shortened axel spinning it to ensure it doesn’t glue itself to the frame.

 

On the lower wheel slide three 1/8-inch washers onto the axel then the pulley wheels from large to small.

Score and cut axel at outside of pulley and reassemble. Glue pulley to axel again ensuring wheel spins freely.

Let glue set.

Step 8: Blade

Find Blade, it is delicate so you may want to cut more then one.

 

Wrap blade around itself and overlap about six teeth, this is the approximate distance around the wheels on the saw. This is why the frame has a slide for adjusting blade tension.

Glue the blade together and let completely set, we don’t want it to pull apart on us.

 

Put blade on saw by gently slipping it between the blade guides and turning the wheels to seat it around. We will be tightening it after the covers and cutting table are assembled.

Put aside for now.

Step 9: Cover Plates

Gather and peel all 4 cover plate parts, upper plate, lower plate and 2 middle plates.

Check to ensure that holes are large enough for #4/40 Allen bolts to pass through. If not drill to fit.

 

Join middle plates together at right angles. Let glue set.

 

Screw bottom plate into position it’s the one with the corner rounded over.

Screw middle cover into place.

Screw upper cover into place.

Step 10: Cutting Table

Gather and peel remaining cutting table parts, 1/8-inch cutting table top, 1/16-inch cutting table bottom, 2 table tilt braces and 2 table tilt guides.

 

Cutting Table

Align cutting table top with bottom making sure etched sides are up.

Glue together and let set.

 

Table Tilt Guides

Align tilt braces with guides along etched lines and glue into place.

Let glue set.

Dry fit tilt brace and glide onto table bottom filing if necessary. REMEMBER TO PUT GUIDES ON THE INSIDE OF THE TABLE.

Glue table tilt brace into place and repeat for other side.

Let glue set.

Step 11: Final Assembly

You should now have the Band Saw, the Table Base, the Cutting Table and the Small Red Blade Guard in front of you. All that remains is to put them all together.

 

The Cutting Table

Gently but persuasively slide the Cutting Table, with miter slot outside, up inside the frame and guide it down over the trunnion until it glides into place. It can be tricky, if need be take the covers and blade out for ease. It will sort of snap slide in.

 

Mount Saw to Table Base

Check to see that your bolts will fit through the frame foot holes and tap the Table Base.

Screw the Saw to the Table base and make snug.

Make sure pulley is aligned with table openings incase you want to add a motor.

 

Blade Guard

Place the red blade guard into the center hole with the slot facing 90º from the Cutting Table slot.

 

Blade Tension Adjustment

Lift frame slide until blade is taut and if necessary wedge a small piece of scrap under it to hold it in place.

Step 12: Finished

Congratulations! it been along haul with lots of parts. You have just made a Mini Band Saw if you want you can attach a small motor to it. We haven’t got around to it but we dream.

 

Extras

Raouf and I have also made a Working Table Saw. Roubo Work Bench with vises and bench dogs. We also have the plans for a Lathe and Drill Press. We thought we might sell some pre-cut kits if anyone is interested please let us know.

Comments

author
hoangtrong001cho made it!(author)2016-01-11

Really good job on the
site, Keep up the good work!

author
Gizmo-Guy made it!(author)2014-04-28

Should be clearly named as a "MODEL" in the title.

Looks pretty for a toy, nice work!

author
Halphinian made it!(author)2013-10-15

does it work? ;)

author
fred27 made it!(author)2013-03-06

Whilst you've made a neat little model I must admit I was a little disappointed that it was just that. I thought from the title (and the fact it won quite an impressive prize) that you'd made a small working bandsaw.

author
kpomerleau made it!(author)2013-01-03

How much for kits i would love to display these on my man toy shelves in the man cave.

Thanks!

author
wires made it!(author)2013-01-14

So sorry for the delay getting back to you. I've had the Flu for the last two weeks urggg.
Thanks for your interest.
The Kits in wood or plastic are $100.00 for one and $75.00 ea. for multiples.
We have more than just the bandsaw. we also have a tablesaw, work bench, drill press, lathe and soon others maybe a radial arm saw, buzz saw or .........?
Kits come with instructions but you will have to supply your own glue and hand tools.
Again thanks for asking.

author
Virusvp made it!(author)2012-10-15

How much are you willing to sell for those pre-cutt kits? Im interested in having a mini band saw around for random home and custom build projects. I dont have access to a shop or have a lot of money to throw around for huge expensive machines so it would be awesome to have. It would be easier on me to use for making straighter and cleaner cuts than I do by hand as I usually do. haha.

The world of DIY is endless!
Thanks!

author
wires made it!(author)2012-10-19

Hey Virusvp
Sorry for the delay getting back to you. I would be willing to sell you a kit but I need to make sure that your really not thinking of using it as a tool. I don't think the tolerances are fine enough to be suitable for active cutting. You might want to look at proxxon mini tools if you want desktop power. You might be able to use a scroll say as well.
PS I couldn't tell if you were serious regarding using it. Let me me know if you're still interested

author
Virusvp made it!(author)2012-10-27

Well yes I was planning to use it, but as hearing from you that it wont be able to be used that well for say typical plastics and wood then I probably decide not to get it.

author
arronsparrow made it!(author)2012-09-24

I feel like attaching a pulley system to one of the flywheels/gears and then connecting that to a motor so the force would equal the force of a regular band saw XD, hey i can dream.

author
vess00075 made it!(author)2012-09-21

Please sell pre-cut kits. I work with wire and thin sheet copper and silver. A band saw would be the perfect tool for me.

author
Edgar made it!(author)2012-09-20

This is a good day for Instructables watching! :)
Voted!
Put it on my Blog, along with other good news for Gizmo Makers.
Keep it up!
http://faz-voce-mesmo.blogspot.pt/2012/09/um-makerbot-serio-um-robot-espanhol.html

author
wires made it!(author)2012-09-20

Thanks for blogging it forward. I'm working on putting up a short video of it turning.

author
Edgar made it!(author)2012-09-20

Warn me when it's done :)

author
belsey made it!(author)2012-09-20

It's beautiful! I love that plexi table saw in the last picture too...

author
wires made it!(author)2012-09-20

Thanks for that I'll tell Raouf, he made it.

author
INTHERMA made it!(author)2012-09-20

Simply incredible! Congrats.

author
bschuck made it!(author)2012-09-18

very cool!! as Joseph Cornell said " Tiny is the last refuge of the enormous" wonderful piece, great addition to any shop!

author
gregario made it!(author)2012-09-18

I would definitely be interested in seeing a shop for this, some videos of the parts working would be interesting too along with some idea of what sort of materials they could work with!

author
rachel made it!(author)2012-09-17

Oh man this hits the "awesome tools" part of my brain AND the "squee so cute" part! Well done you guys. If there were a motor, would the band saw be able to cut or is the blade not strong enough?

author
wires made it!(author)2012-09-18

The blade is thin acetate sheet, like a notebook cover, aside from the overlap edge and as long as your only slicing butter, I see no reason why it wouldn't "cut"

Your response is precisely what made us want to make it, them.

author
Warlrosity made it!(author)2012-09-18

This is great! Do they work?

author
wires made it!(author)2012-09-18

Thanks to everyone who has liked this ible. It is really great to hear.

To answer some questions,

Yes they do "work" meaning they spin and blades move appropriately, however we haven't put motors on them to fully test them. I am thinking they would need tiny bronze bushings etc if they were to really take on a workload.

If anyone wants to make the band saw and power it up please post an instructable on it.

There is no scale to it but the band saw was designed around the idea of a 14" .
It is actually about 8" tall, sorry i have never measured it.

Again thanks

author
Mrballeng made it!(author)2012-09-17

Very cool!

author
desertsniper made it!(author)2012-09-17

that is awesome! please build me a mini shop too!

author
wire-nut made it!(author)2012-09-17

You can sell per-cut kits, I'm sure people will buy them. They look cool anyway, that just cool.

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