Let's get the most versatility out of our portable bandsaws (PB). Many DYI approaches to the stand that I've seen over the years seem to be along the lines of bolting the saw to a permanent table, which in turn converts the PB into a unitasking table bandsaw (not bad if you have two bandsaws) or worse yet a bench vise hogging table bandsaw (not a problem If you have vises to spare). Hey, why not have both portability and table action? I present to you my PB cradle which holds the saw upright and sturdy so that you can use the saw as a small table saw, but when the saw is needed to do the cutting it's designed to do, well it can do that too, without unscrewing hardware and/or cumbersome brackets interfering with handheld cutting activity.
Remember, I'm sharing a concept here. You will have to build this to fit your particular saw and to your needs. A clever extension of the saw's table can be a feature of the cradle as well. I may do a fold-away table extension in a later instructable so follow me if you want to see it.
My fabricating approach was dictated by the usable materials I had on hand as well as my preference to build shop fixtures out of bits and pieces laying around the shop. My priorities on this project were functionality, safety and completion.
This is my second cradle. The first one was made was over a decade ago.
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Step 1: Replace the Existing Work Stop With a Proper Table.
I could not locate the aluminum plate that I thought I had, so a steel plate will have to do. The plate has been lightened by drilling holes on the bottom side. I built the table last because I was sure I would find that aluminum plate. However, when you tackle this project, the plate should be made and mounted on the saw first for leveling the bracket later on.
Step 2: Building the Cradle Harness
The completed harness was made by forming components then clamping or holding them to the saw and tack welding. When tacking parts down, weld two tacks quickly then unclamp the work immediately from the saw so the plastic will not melt. Finish welding parts off the saw and let them cool before you move on to the next part. Your hooks should keep the saw from moving side to side and from front to back. If there is play the saw will shift while cutting (not safe). The two side tabs keep the saw from moving side to side also but at a lower point on the harness. Gravity, or the imbalance of the saws weight hanging on the hooks, keeps the saw seated in the harness. Some tips to remember: clean splatter and de-burr sharp edges as you go; smooth the inside surfaces where metal and plastic meet; and take care not to cover up the air intake port, exhaust port, trigger switch and adjustable speed control dial.
Step 3: Pick the Location of the Saws New Home and Connecting the Harness to the Mounting Brackets
My location is not Ideal but it's temporary and will work fine for now.
It's best to have the saw's table level; this is my fast, build in-place method. It starts with mounting one of the brackets to the wall--note that it's hanging loosely off of one screw. Once I know the approximate location for the harness on the bracket, I make one strong tack at the top where the two meet. Next, gently hook the saw onto the tacked harness while supporting its weight so the tack doesn't brake. With the level on the saws table (I should be doing this with my new table), cold-set the tacked joint moving the harness towards or away from the wall, which, in turn, will level the table. Once set in place, pull the saw out and tack the harness to the bracket at the bottom. Then, tack the other bracket to the harness. Put the saw in the cradle again and twist the bracket clock-wise or counter-clock-wise to achieve a plumb blade or level table. Then, screw the bracket in place. Finish the cradle by welding the harness and brackets together at logical locations.
Test for proper fit up by dropping the saw in the cradle and pushing the front edge of the table towards the wall to the left and right. If there is shifting in the cradle, more material is needed to stabilize the saw during cutting. It is unsafe to leave the cradle in this condition.
I prefer to mount my saw so that I can be seated while cutting. Additionally, I like to level the top of the saw's table with a mobile table so that I can shape large sheet metal or cut long stock that would be awkward to hold up to the saw (kind of like having an infinitely adjustable table surface). Hey, maybe you need an adjustable hight feature, too? The cradle in this instructable is mounted a bit high on the wall in my work space (48") due to availability of space. Later I will mount it at 38" to match the top surface of a rolling cart that I own. At 38" I can work comfortably while sitting on a stool or standing. 48" is not bad for small intricate work while standing.
Step 4: How I Keep the Saw Running in Table Saw Mode
I like to use a modified spring clamp to hold down the switch. It's not pretty or elegant, but it's quick, simple and effective. Take a bit of time and modify the business end of the clamp. You're looking to optimize alignment of the clamp tips and to lessen the tension required to open it. Do not tolerate a clamp that moves or falls off during operation; you can and should have this setup working 100%. I had a switch clamp retention problem on my old set up. I can't believe I put up with a bad switch system for so long when it's so easy to set up right.