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.
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.
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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!