Introduction: Electric File From a Jigsaw

About: I've always liked pulling things apart - it's the putting back together again that I have some issues with!

Make an electric file out of a jigsaw.

I’ve been using brass and copper a lot lately in projects and I wanted a way to quickly file and shape the parts. There are times that you need to be delicate and careful when you file and I would do this by hand. There are times however when you need to smooth out an edge or remove a chunk of solder and for this I made the electric file.

You only need to slightly modify the jigsaw to be able to use it as a file and it really does a great job at reducing the time it usually takes. The project isn’t a hard one to do but definitely will save you some time if you use a file a lot in your projects.

The jigsaw I used has a variable speed controller which is very handy. I did however make a speed controller out of a dimmer switch which has worked well so far. If you have a jigsaw you want to use but doesn’t have a way to control the speed, then I would suggest making one of these.

Step 1: Parts and Tools


1. Jigsaw. You can buy these cheap at most hardware stores or on-line. If you can get one with a speed control then use that. If not, you can make one by following this ible’ here.

2. Files. I used small files that I got from my local electronic store. You could also use larger files but would probably need to modify the ends so they fit into the jigsaw.

3. Nuts and bolts – some way to secure the jigsaw to the bottom of the table.

Step 2: The Jigsaw

I managed to find a used jigsaw at the tip which was great as it didn’t cost me anything! The great thing about the one I found was it had a variable speed controller. This really helps with controlling the speed of the file and ensures you are able to control the file better.

The other important thing that your jigsaw will need is the base plate that they come with. You will need this to attach the jigsaw to the table.

If you can’t find a cheap jigsaw with a speed controller, don’t worry too much as you can make your own. I published an ible’ on how to do this which can be found here.

Step 3: Moding the Jigsaw and Files

To enable the jigsaw to be able to hold the file, you need to slightly modify it and the files.


1. The blade is held in the jigsaw by a couple of small bolts. Remove one of these.

2. Try and place the file into the hole. If it doesn’t fit (mine didn’t), then you will need to modify the end.

3. Remove the rubber coating on the handle of the file

4. With a grinder, flatten 2 sides of the file.

5. Place again into the jigsaw and modify more if it still doesn’t fit.

6. Next, you need a way to hold the file in place. I used a tap and added a thread into the first hole that the bolt goes into. Use a bolt the same size as the thread and screw it into the hole.

7. Place the file into the jigsaw and tighten the bolt. If the file is secure you can remove it and move onto the next section.

Step 4: Drilling the Holes for the File and Jigsaw


1. Remove the base plate from the jigsaw. These are usually held into place by a couple of bolts.

2. Place the base plate onto the table and mark out the sections that need to be drilled. You will need to make about a 20mm hole for the blade to go through along with a couple of holes to secure the base plate to the bottom of the table. The base plate should already have a couple of holes which are threaded so it should be easy to attach it to the table. I also added a couple of extra nuts and bolts to the hole in the back of the base plate to make sure the jigsaw was secure.

Step 5: Secure the Jigsaw to the Table


1. Secure the baseplate back onto the jigsaw.

2. Push a couple of bolts through the holes that you made in the table. I counter sunk mine so they wouldn’t get in the way when I was filing.

3. Place the jigsaw under the table and secure with the bolts.

4. Add a couple more bolts to the back of the jigsaw to make sure it doesn’t move. I had to add a couple of large washers to the back of the base plate to make sure the file was vertical.

Step 6: Add a File and Get to Work


1. Place a file into the hole in the table and secure it in place with the bolt in the jigsaw.

2. Make sure you tighten the bolt up as much as you can.

3. Turn on the jigsaw and lock the trigger in place. If you can’t do this then use a cable tie to hold it in place.

4. Start with having the speed controller on the lowest setting

5. Place a piece of metal against the file and see how it works. I find that the bottom section and the top section of the file work best. Each one will probably be different so work out which sections of the file work best for you.

Lastly, be careful when you use this – the file does move at high speed and you don’t want to get your finger caught!

Step 7:

Workshop Hacks Challenge 2017

Runner Up in the
Workshop Hacks Challenge 2017