Band Saw USB LED With Slinky Cord

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Band saw lighting is tricky. The ideal light position varies based on the height of cut. In addition, the blade guard casts a shadow on the pencil line you're trying to follow.

Most band saw lightsuse a long flexible arm. That's fine for a large shop, but was super annoying in my 2 car garage. It took up a considerable amount of elbow/arm/shoulder space and I kept bumping it.

My ~$20 solution from about 2 years ago has turned out to be quite ideal, so here I am writing about it.

Solution: Mount a removable low-profile LED on the guide assembly. That way, it will raise and lower automatically.

Approach:

  1. Mount USB power adapter on top of the band saw
  2. Run coiled/slinky USB extension cable behind blade guard
  3. Mount the female USB socket on the guide area
  4. Plug in a short, flexible LED light


You and I probably don't have the same band saw. Therefore, you may need to experiment with other ways to mount things. I'll show what I did for mine, and will make note of alternate ideas. If you find other ways to mount things, please be a decent person and leave a note for others to see.

Step 1: Parts Needed

Here are the basic parts:

USB Power Adapter: https://amzn.to/2Fba4lUUSB

Save a few bucks if you have one lying around from an old phone.

Flex LED 5-pack: https://amzn.to/2VqTunQUSB

You only need one of these, but they seem to only come in packs of multiples. Originally, I tested 5 or 6 different models and this one was the clear winner. It's not super bright, but it certainly is sufficient, it's the perfect size, and it has appropriate flexibility. If you want it brighter, you can pop out the diffuser, but I have not found that to be necessary.

Slinky Extension Coil Cord: https://amzn.to/2VqTunQUSB

Be sure to get a slinky cord long enough. You can always wad some of it up to achieve proper tension (which is not much). The one in this link is the one I use for my 17" band saw.

Etc Mounting Parts: Depending on how you mount it (see later post) - zip ties, glue, etc.

Step 2: Mount USB Adapter Atop Band Saw

I wrapped the cords around an eyelet and bolt. If you don't have those available, here are some ideas that may or may not work:

  • Double-sided duct tape
  • Magnets?
  • Velcro
  • Drill small holes for zip ties to go in<-- probably this

I'd probably drill tiny holes for zip ties, and use a dab of hot melt glue to seal the holes.

Again, if you did this a different way, a limited subset of people of the internet would appreciate if you shared how.

Step 3: Run Coiled USB Cable

When running the cord, consider the following factors:

  • Tension:
    • Raise guard all the way. Make sure coil isn't loose enough to cause snags.
    • Lower guard all the way. Make sure to avoid excessive tension on coil.
  • Make sure cord won't get snagged by wood passing through
  • Make sure cord doesn't interfere with (or get pinched by) adjustment knobs and levers

Step 4: Mount USB Socket

Find A Spot. This will depend on your saw. I had the perfect spot behind my guide bearings.

Other Possibilities:

  • Blade guard (see photo with blue note)
  • Behind guide fixture
  • Side of guide fixture

Double-check:

  • It's tucked away so wood passing through doesn't get caught on it.
  • You can still plug/unplug the LED. (I first mounted mine too close to a screw and couldn't fit the light in)

What if the socket falls off? Will the light, socket, or cord get caught up in the blade? Position the socket and cord so that if something falls off, the coil will pull things away from the blade.

Tips:

  • Test first with a non-permanent adhesive/tie. Test the range of motion.
  • If using adhesives, cover the hole in the bed so adhesive doesn't fall down on anything important.

Step 5: See! Saw!

I have a fairly big list of home shop related content that I'll be posting over the next few weeks/months. If you'd like to follow, subscribe to my YouTube Channel Keith's Test Garage, or follow me here on Instructables.

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    4 Discussions

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    jessyratfink

    7 days ago

    Super clever! The slinky cord is a great touch to make it more permanent. I use USB booklights for lots of crafting, and now I need them in the shop as well. :D

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    keith204Beagles

    Reply 10 days ago

    Somebody mentioned that in a forum as well, and here are my reservations:
    1) Do you want 120V that close to the blade? I feel safer with only 5V that close.
    2) The length of the arm may make it awkward to mount
    3) You'd still need to figure out a way to make a retractable cord.

    But for saws, sanders, lathes, etc that don't need an auto-rising, auto-lowering light, that sewing machine light looks quite ideal.

    As for the band saw, I just can't seem to figure out (yet) how to mount the sewing machine light in a way that's unobtrusive and the cord retracts.

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    chefspenser

    10 days ago

    Bravo - what a simple great idea! Thanks for the post!