In this instructable, I show you how to use aluminium profiles to make a simple yet awesome bandsaw stand.
You can use these technqiues for all kinds of structures. Have fun!
Tools you need to work with aluminium profiles:
Materials I used:
Step 1: Chose Your Profile.
These aluminium profiles are often called "Item" profiles, because that was the company that came up with them. But that patent is not current anymore, so anyone can build them. Some are made in China, some in Germany, but in my experience they all work fine. They are labeled by their size in mm as well as their slot width.
20x20 Typ 6 for example is 20x20mm with a 6mm wide slot. There is also 30x30, 40x40, 45x45 and so on. I use mostly 20x40 profiles. They also come in light and heavy. Let the price decide, the thickness really doesn´t matter, if you want more strength, get a bigger profile not a heavier one.
Step 2: Plan Your Build.
I always put down some rough dimensions to get an idea of where I want to end up. If your structure is more complicated, I recommend CAD software from Autodesk : ).
Step 3: Cut Your Profiles to Length.
A mitre saw is by far the best tool to cut these profiles. They make very precise and square cuts. Something that no other saw can do. They are also not very expensive. If you buy one, make sure it´s as rigid as possible.
For the sawblade, you can use pretty much anyone, since aluminium is so soft and saw blades are at least made from steel. 99% of the blades you can buy in Germany, the UK and the US are carbide tipped anyway which is awesome. For best cut quality you should get as many teeth as possible. 60ish is good.
To get consistent lengths, a stop block is extremly convenient. You cannot accurately allign a pencil mark with the sawblade. It is difficult to see and you could potentially get your fingers or face near the blade. The stop block makes it easier.
WATCH SOME MITRE SAW SAFETY VIDEO IF YOU NEVER USED ONE!
Step 4: Cut Threads Into Profile Ends.
For alumium I recomend a spiral tap and a cordless drill. The force is minimal, so your drill is good enough and saves a lot of time. The spiral bit makes cutting threads much easier and you only need one tap not three. Spiral tabs are also better for square holes.
Buy HSS not Carbide! Why? because HSS will not snap as easily. It doesn´t last as long as carbide, but how many holes are you threading in your home workshop? Its more likely that you snap a carbide and ruin your part.
Step 5: Assemble Your Frame.
There are a ton of fasteners out there to assemble these profiles. All have pros and cons, but I settled with 2 since they are the cheapest, easiest and strongest.
Cut a thread into the end of the profile and a whole into the mating profile. Put a long machine screw through the hole and screw it into the other profile. This is the strongest joint and also the cheapest. It is also very quick to assemble this and take it apart again. The cons are that you cannot adjust the position, but lets face it. You won´t ever adjust the height of anything unless you are building shelfs.
90° corner connectors. These connectors are not very strong, but convenient because you don´t need to drill holes. They are also cheap, but very fiddely. There are other connectors too, but they are even more fiddeley.
Step 6: Add Accessories. (Boxes in This Case.)
I am using T-nuts to add accessories. These can be twisted into the slot and are quite strong. Even stronger are the bigger nuts that you slide in, but often times, the end of the profiles are not open due to other parts or screws, so you cannot easily slide them in anymore. So I use T-nuts most often.
In this build, I used them to attach the shelves for the boxes.
Step 7: Add Some Cross Bracing.
Rectangles are not very strong shapes, but triangles are. So I added some cross braces to stiften up the frame in all planes. For this I used some aluminium angles that I screwed into the profile using T-nuts. I cut some reliefs on the bandsaw so they sit flush.
Rivets are a very stable and convenient way to join sheet metal. They are also cheap and easy to apply. Give it a try!
Step 8: Add Feet for Leveling.
These leveling feet screw right into the profile. Leveling such a tall furniture piece is important to keep it stable. You could also use rubber feed or these plastic endcaps available for profiles.
Step 9: Add a Plywood Table Top. (Optional)
I used 32mm baltic birch plywood for this. First I cut it to size, then I rounded over the edges and painted it black.
I don´t like the look of raw plywood.
Step 10: Screw Down Your Bandsaw.
If you can screw your tool to the table, you probably should. This makes it a lot more safer and convenient in most cases. I want to move this bandsaw around the workshop, so it needs to be attached to the base. Otherwise it would fall off.
I drilled and tapped holes straight into the plywood.
Step 11: Wheels? Not on This One.
I am using a hand truck to move this thing around. I tried some wheels, but this structure is too top heavy and too long for that. The hand truck makes it safer. I will only move this occasionally if I cut very long pieces. So that is ok.