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.
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
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
Needle tipped glue bottle or syringe
Fine flat face file
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Repeat alignment and glue with square holed wheels.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.