Modified Milwaukee portable bandsaw and stand

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AlanS

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I suppose we could argue that this is a machine. It’s certainly modified. This isn’t something I’ve owned for ages and modified over the years, I just bought this a month ago with the full intention of making the changes.

It’s a Milwaukee portable bandsaw, corded model and the separate stand, also made by Milwaukee. They are both very well-made pieces, bought to relace a very old (35 years at least) cut off bandsaw.

As a cut off saw I wanted a better vise, not the chain vise it came with but something resembling a real machine vise. I also wanted not to have to use tools to remove and replace the saw in the stand. Another change was the pivot bolt which passed through two HDPE bushes which lacked rigidity, they were bored out and a new pivot bolt made with a more precise fit.

For the saw alone I wanted a larger more precise table and the ability to clamp the saw upright in my large bench vise at a good work height and with better lighting.

The two pictures show the saw in the vertical position in the vise and the stand modified with better pivot bolt and a machine type vise. The saw works very well in both positions and should the need arise, it still works well as a portable saw without removing the pivot parts. A minor change was removing the tacky pressure screw which pressed on the plastic blade guard to stop juddering, it was replaced with a strap which is bolted on to metal parts on saw and pivot arm.

I resolved a minor design/ assembly error when I replaced the attachment bar for the saw table.

The trigger is secured in the open position with a ZipTie, the saw is now controlled with a pneumatic foot switch.
 

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Here is my crude but effective vertical Portaband, made from scrap steel that I had laying around.

I would guess that I have used this piece of equipment more than anything else in the shop, for fabricating my foundry equipment.

I cut all sorts of shapes and curves with this, including circles.
I could not work without this item.
I need to rebuild it and make it a bit more refined, but it works very well like this.

.
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Here is my crude but effective vertical Portaband, made from scrap steel that I had laying around.

I would guess that I have used this piece of equipment more than anything else in the shop, for fabricating my foundry equipment.

I cut all sorts of shapes and curves with this, including circles.
I could not work without this item.
I need to rebuild it and make it a bit more refined, but it works very well like this.

.
View attachment 154666View attachment 154667View attachment 154668
I use the Milwaukee saw lots, more than my previous cut off band saw. And the blade doesn’t come off like on the old one. I can cut very thin slices and it doesn’t jam in the blade guides. I’m still on my first blade.
 
I have one of the typical import cutoff saws, and had a lot of problems with it, including keeping the guides in the right place, breaking blades, blades jumping off, not cutting straight, etc.

For cutting large stock, there are not many good options.
I did purchases a draw-cut saw, and intend to get that operational one day.

I broke one chain in my Portaband, but it was easy to replace.
I have since cut countless pieces in it without any problems.
The blade can be replaced in perhaps 30 seconds.
The blades last a long time.

I can't imagine using a hand-held hacksaw to cut metal.
I don't even know where my hacksaw is.

This is my drawcut saw.
I need to make a missing piece for it (the rod that runs horizontally and releases pressure on the blade when it draws backwards), and change the motor to a single-phase unit.
I know I can use a vfd to derive 3-phase, but I just don't like solid state devices.
I may end up using a vfd, since I don't really have time to replace the motor, and replacing the motor is not really simple.

I bought the Marvel to cut large bulk stock, such as large aluminum ingots, or large round steel or gray iron pieces.

.
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I have one of the typical import cutoff saws, and had a lot of problems with it, including keeping the guides in the right place, breaking blades, blades jumping off, not cutting straight, etc.

For cutting large stock, there are not many good options.
I did purchases a draw-cut saw, and intend to get that operational one day.

I broke one chain in my Portaband, but it was easy to replace.
I have since cut countless pieces in it without any problems.
The blade can be replaced in perhaps 30 seconds.
The blades last a long time.

I can't imagine using a hand-held hacksaw to cut metal.
I don't even know where my hacksaw is.

This is my drawcut saw.
I need to make a missing piece for it (the rod that runs horizontally and releases pressure on the blade when it draws backwards), and change the motor to a single-phase unit.
I know I can use a vfd to derive 3-phase, but I just don't like solid state devices.
I may end up using a vfd, since I don't really have time to replace the motor, and replacing the motor is not really simple.

I bought the Marvel to cut large bulk stock, such as large aluminum ingots, or large round steel or gray iron pieces.

.
View attachment 154669View attachment 154670
That’s a quality machine, nice castings and a real balanced ball handle on the vise. I’ve used a power hacksaw lots in the past, it’s probably hard to get the proper blades. I thought about making one before I bought my first metal cutting bandsaw.
 
I have - rarely, but it worked - used a portable jig-saw inverted and held in a bench vice so I had the blade vertical and was able to cut the parts I wanted easily with that. But nothing big.
I also had/have (now work out!) a small battery hand held branch saw. Fitted with a proprietary metal saw blade use it to cut a rusted section of 2" square tube on my conservatory structure, to replace with a new piece welded in.
Strange how you can find many solutions to difficult problems?
K2
 
I bought my bandsaw about 15 or 17 years ago, it continues to be my most used tool.
Not long after I got it it went from cutting perfectly straight to cutting more and more on a slope..
I worked out that the teeth on one side were slowly loosing their set. The teeth were running on the drive pulleys and the blade tension was sufficient to deform the teeth on one side.
A quick bit lathe work to create a step on the edge of the pully fixed it, it's been trouble-free ever since.
Except when I learned the hard way that it didn't have a thermal cut-out on the motor. I left it unattended on a long cut and came back to find the motor had stalled-and then overheated and melted into scrap!!
 
And Steamchick, you have given me an idea- I wonder if a jigsaw modified to hold a small file ,and upsidedown in a simple stand, could be pressed into service as a poor mans filing machine?
 
I bought my bandsaw about 15 or 17 years ago, it continues to be my most used tool.
Not long after I got it it went from cutting perfectly straight to cutting more and more on a slope..
I worked out that the teeth on one side were slowly loosing their set. The teeth were running on the drive pulleys and the blade tension was sufficient to deform the teeth on one side.
A quick bit lathe work to create a step on the edge of the pully fixed it, it's been trouble-free ever since.
Except when I learned the hard way that it didn't have a thermal cut-out on the motor. I left it unattended on a long cut and came back to find the motor had stalled-and then overheated and melted into scrap!!
My previous bandsaw had been rebuilt and modified many times over the 30 plus year I owned it. I replaced the blade guides with my own design but the blades still occasionally took a trip off the wheels. The only part I never had a problem with was the gearbox until the worm gear shed a tooth about six weeks ago. New start with a different approach which solved all my previous hassles with sawing. Although I’m not afraid to use a hacksaw.
 
this is one I built for small cutting things, the 10" Carolina does the big work, it is a Harbor Freight Saw, make the bracket to make it take up less space, milled the slot on the table and for the variable speed control that is a Cam shaft out of a Twin Cylindered engine, removed one of the cams, Joe.
 

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I also wanted not to have to use tools to remove and replace the saw in the stand. Another change was the pivot bolt which passed through two HDPE bushes which lacked rigidity, they were bored out and a new pivot bolt made with a more precise fit.
Hi Alan:

It never crossed my mind to modify the stand that way--that's brilliant! Could you supply a little more detail on how the quick release feature works?

Also, where did you get the foot switch?

I'm just a newbie metalworker. My portable bandsaw and stand are an import package that I got insanely cheaply through an online auction. Nevertheless, it was worked really well for me. It munches through metal at a perfectly acceptable rate and the cuts are as square as I think it is reasonabe to expect. If I could easily convert it for vertical sawing, that would just be icing on the cake!

Craig
 
Related, Quinn on the Youtube channel Blondihacks did a related modification to a portable bandsaw. She made a larger table that bolts on in place of the existing part. It simply has a flange on the back that can be clamped in her bench vise and it supports the saw in the vertical orientation:



She's used this setup regularly in the past couple of years. AFAIK, however, she doesn't have a stand for this saw. She either uses it freehand or with the table-in-the-vise.

Craig
 
Hi Alan:

It never crossed my mind to modify the stand that way--that's brilliant! Could you supply a little more detail on how the quick release feature works?

Also, where did you get the foot switch?

I'm just a newbie metalworker. My portable bandsaw and stand are an import package that I got insanely cheaply through an online auction. Nevertheless, it was worked really well for me. It munches through metal at a perfectly acceptable rate and the cuts are as square as I think it is reasonabe to expect. If I could easily convert it for vertical sawing, that would just be icing on the cake!

Craig
The foot switch came from Lee Valley Tools. I have them on my drill presses as well. The connection from saw to stand isn’t exactly quick release but it’s a lot faster than stock and doesn’t require a 3/4 wrench and an Allen wrench. Too many parts too, a socket head screw, three Belville washers two HDPE bushings and two nuts. I’ll take a picture of the parts and post them. My setup has three parts.
 
The foot switch came from Lee Valley Tools. I have them on my drill presses as well. The connection from saw to stand isn’t exactly quick release but it’s a lot faster than stock and doesn’t require a 3/4 wrench and an Allen wrench. Too many parts too, a socket head screw, three Belville washers two HDPE bushings and two nuts. I’ll take a picture of the parts and post them. My setup has three parts.
Here’s two shots of the parts for the revised saw pivot lying on the stand. The stand pivot and the saw pivot extension were both bored out to eliminate the plastic bushings and to get rid of a cast holes.

The three parts are basic: a stepped shaft with a fine thread for adjusting the tension, a capstan style handle which can be spun off and a large stiff spring. The spring gives the same spring rate as the Belville washers provided.

The handle is the same style as I used for the vise modification. These handles are my “shop standard” for any tools made or modified.
 

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