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I recently got a portable band saw for cutting metal.

In order to get the full potential out of it, I built a metal stand so I can use it like a traditional vertical bandsaw.

My stand is essentially a metal version of this wooden one made by Honus, coincidentally made to use with the same model of saw (DeWalt DWM120 Portable Band Saw).

If you're looking to make a metal stand for your portable bandsaw, hopefully this will help you out. It's a great project to practice some welding as well as a bit of precision metalwork. Thanks for checking this out.

Step 1: Remove Saw Handle

To begin, the top handle of the saw is removed. The plastic inserts are left in place as shown in the 2nd photo.

The handle mount is 3 3/16" across -- keep that in mind.

Step 2: Design

After a little calculating, I drew up a design that calls for 8 feet of 3/16" thick 1 3/4" angle iron.

Two pieces of this size are butted together to make a channel that will be the vertical arm that holds the saw.

If there is no movement in the metal from welding, the finished gap should be 3 1/8" across. In theory you'd have to grind away about 1/16" total from the inside of the arm for the saw to fit.

However, in my case the saw actually ended up fitting perfectly without any adjustment needed.

Step 3: Material

I got my metal at a local fabrication shop where I live, as the big home stores don't carry this size and the prices there are ridiculous anyway.

Here are the pieces required to build the stand:

  • 2 at 20" - vertical arm
  • 2 at 16" - front and back base
  • 2 at 12" - base cross pieces

Step 4: Prep Metal

My metal was covered with surface rust, so before I cut the individual pieces I used a wire cup brush in an angle grinder to clean it off.

Step 5: Cut Metal

I clamped the angle iron to a pair of saw horses with the cut area in the gap between.

Cut locations were marked with a paint pen using a framing square to mark them squarely.

The cuts were then made using the portable bandsaw that the thing being made was being made for.

Step 6: Clean Up for Welding

All areas that were to be welded were cleaned up with an angle grinder using a 50 grit sanding disc. Clean, bare metal results in much nicer welds.

One of the longer, outer edges on each of the two 20" pieces where the butt joint will be made (these pieces will be the vertical arm) were ground down with a grinding disc, to make a small valley for the weld bead.

For a great introduction to mig welding, you should check out audreyobscura's Welding Class. Lesson 4 covers welding joints, several of which I used for this project.

Step 7: Vertical Arm

I began by tacking the two 20" pieces for the vertical arm together on the inside.

Then I flipped it over and ran four beads evenly spaced apart on the outside in the little v-groove made earlier. I staggered the welded areas to keep the heat down and hopefully keep the piece from deforming.

Step 8: Vertical Arm

With the four beads done on the outside, I ran three beads on the inside (hidden in these photos) in the areas between where the four outer beads were.

Then I returned to the outside and completed the full external bead.

Step 9: Vertical Arm Done

It may have splayed out a tiny fraction, but the saw fit the gap perfectly so I did a little happy dance and moved on to the next step.

Step 10: Bolt Holes

The holes for the new bolt that the saw will hang on in the vertical arm were done next.

I measured and marked a line 1 1/2" down from the top of the arm on both sides, and made mark in the direct middle of each line (7/8" in from front and back).

I used a punch to make a dimple on these marks to help keep the drill centered as I drilled the bolt holes in the next step.

Step 11: Drill Bolt Holes

The bolt size is 1/4" thick and 5" long.

I drilled these two holes with a standard black oxide multipurpose bit. A little bit of Tap Magic cutting fluid (this) helps this process go smoothly, and is highly recommended.

The holes left little burrs on the inside of the arm, which were cleaned up with a carbide bit in a rotary tool.

Step 12: Speed Dial

You may notice that the speed control dial is hidden within the vertical arm.

But it's not a problem: the saw pivots upward on the bolt to access the speed dial when needed. Nice huh?

The saw hangs on that bolt alone in the completed stand and it does not vibrate or shimmy or anything. It's rock solid! (Just in case you were wondering.)

Step 13: Back Base Piece

One of the 16" pieces is welded to the bottom of the vertical arm at this point.

When viewed from the front, the bandsaw blade is positioned on the right side of the saw unit. I wanted the blade to be in the middle of the stand when the whole apparatus was completed.

In order to do this, (when viewed from the front) the vertical arm is attached to the 16" base piece with its right side lined up with the direct middle of the 16" piece. See note in first photo.

I began by tacking the base piece to the back of the vertical arm. The bottom edge then got a full bead, as shown in the second photo.

Step 14: Welding, Grinding

A couple of full beads were then put on the top edge of the base piece where it meets the vertical arm.

The bottom bead was ground down flush.

Step 15: Tacks and Beads

The 12" cross pieces of the base were added first with tack welds and then with full beads.

Step 16: Welding Completed

This is the stand with welding completed.

All welds on the bottom were ground down smooth and flush, and any spatter was gently ground off. All the welds were wire brushed to clean them up for painting.

Step 17: Paint

The stand was wiped down with denatured alcohol and then painted with black spray paint.

Step 18: Table Plate

The table plate was made from a piece of 3/16" thick steel plate that is 10" by 12".

The specific measurements for the mounting holes will vary depending on the model of saw you use, so just measure and make locations accordingly. For my saw, this plate is mounted to the saw with a pair of countersunk screws that originally attached a much smaller plate for portable use.

Step 19: Countersunk Holes

I measured, marked, and punched the specific locations in the plate where I needed countersunk holes for the screws.

The plate was clamped to my drill press table, and for each hole I first drilled a 3/32" guide hole to help keep the countersink bit inline. I used cutting fluid for all of these holes.

A countersinking bit was used to make the countersinks. I worked very slowly and used a lot of cutting fluid for this, and followed the drill press speed guidelines for this type of cutting.

Step 20: Finish Screw Holes

With the countersinks cut, I used a 1/4" bit to complete the holes.

However, the screw heads sat proud just a little still, so I chucked the countersink bit into my hand drill and made them a little deeper until the screw heads sat below the table surface.

Step 21: Blade Slot

The slot for the bandsaw blade was marked and very carefully cut with a 1.6 mm cut-off disc in an angle grinder.

This was done with several light passes, and as straight and precise as I could manage.

I could have used the bandsaw itself to do this, but I wanted the slot to be slightly wider to prevent any contact with the blade once the plate is in place and in use.

Step 22: Foot Pads

I added foot pads to the stand made from scrap pieces of foam floor matting.

The pieces were cut and attached to the stand with double-sided foam tape.

Step 23: Put It All Together

The saw was mounted into the stand with a 1/4" bolt with a pair of washers and a nylon locknut.

The table plate was screwed in place.

A power strip was fastened to the back base piece with double-sided foam tape. The saw trigger is zip-tied in the "On" position and the cord is plugged into the power strip. The power strip switch is used as the On/Off switch for the saw.

The saw cord is tidied up and hung on the saw's belt hook.

Step 24: Afterthoughts

If I were to do this again I'd weld on a handle of sorts to the top of the vertical arm, and maybe one to the front of the base. I'll likely do that at some point as it's definitely needed.

Also, I will probably use an awl to scratch ruler-like measurements onto the plate to the right and left of the saw blade. Or I could just draw them on with a marker. Either way, I think that will be very helpful for some of the future projects I have in mind.

Thanks for reading!

Worked great! Made a couple spacers the width of the handle to hold it spaced right while welding. Added a foot switch. Used it every day since we finished it last week. Thanks for the instructable!
<p>Excellent! Glad you found my instructable useful. Thanks for the comment and photo : ) </p>
<p>Thanks for a truly great idea! I am so making one of these for my next project.</p><p>Thanks again!</p>
<p>Thanks for the comment, glad you liked this! </p>
<p>Thanks for the plans, I used aluminium for the stand and steel for the table plate.</p>
<p>Looks good! Thanks for the note and for sharing the photos. I love mine and use it all the time, it's been great.</p>
<p>Looks great!</p>
Can you get narrow blades for curved cuts?
<p>I'm not sure. These are generally intended for straight cuts, but using it upright with a table like this allows the user to cut smaller things precisely.</p><p>It would be interesting to try to cut down one of the blades to make it narrower though! </p>
Simpler to weld a narrow blade to the right length
http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/aQsAAOSwXeJYI1lH/$_57.JPG?set_id=880000500F
<p>Made one, after see this I looked up my portaband and found even more ideas so this is based of a few other things I found, but our's was the one that got me started. Thanks!</p>
<p>A suggestion. Use one of the Harbor Freight foot switches to activate your saw. They sell two styles; one a momentary contact that activates the circuit as long as your foot presses down on the pad and the other a on/off version that turns power on when you step on it and power off when you step on it again. Just a thought. Nice project by the way. I never thought about getting one of the portable saws but I have now changed my mind. </p>
A really good idea for the foot paddle.
<p>Great idea. Someone else suggested repurposing a sewing machine foot switch, so if that option weren't available, it's good to know that HF sells these.</p>
<p>Excellent article and presentation. However, I built my stand out of plywood and designed the cradle to hold the saw without dissembling anything. My saw is held in place (Very securely, it's totally rigid.) with a simple tarp strap. The only metal add-on was the table, similar to yours but clamped to the original with a bottom cleat, bolts and wingnuts. I can use the saw independently like originally intended or stationary table top tool. Setup and take down is less than a minute each way. For anyone with a small shop, this saw has greatly increased the crafting and output of my blacksmith shop.</p>
<p>Sounds like a great design and setup. Can you post pics?</p>
<p>I bet an old sewing machine foot switch would work, for those who want to re-purpose/recycle something...</p>
<p>Great idea.</p>
<p>What a great way to repurpose a tool! My local craigslist always has portable band saws for cheap, so this would be a fairly inexpensive way to get a small benchtop band saw.</p>
<p>I have not made it yet but I intend to, I cannot help wondering why you did not use channel rather than angle for the upright to save on time welding. all in all good presentation and an inspiring instructable.</p>
<p>Thanks. Using channel is a good option if you find the needed size. I did it this way to just simplify my material purchase.</p>
<p>Nice. Is that a tiltable feed plate? I would definitely want a front mounted kill switch in there.</p>
<p>Thanks. No, the table does not tilt.</p>
<p>Good job! Placed favorites. </p>
<p>Very good, love how you have the pic's and every little detail.</p>
Nicely done ?
<p>put a swivel on the desk to cut in angle would be great. tks for sahring</p>
Simple and effective! Nice work!
<p>That is awesome! thanks</p>

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Bio: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is ... More »
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