New Tool Fridays: Bandsaw

I really like bandsaws. They’re way quieter than chop saws, and don’t spray dust and metal everywhere. This week’s NTF is about my Harbor freight bandsaw. I bought this thing when I got tired of walking around my gigantic Carolina that took up twice as much space. The funny thing is, they have the same capacity, 8 x 12.

My favorite things about this saw are:
-It’s an extremely common model called the RF812 that’s sold under a lot of brands, so spare parts are very easy to come by.
-It has a 3/4″ blade instead of a 1/2″ blade, and I find that the blade just doesn’t deflect as easy, and makes cleaner cuts. You’re limited to a finest TPI of 14 though, unless you make your own blades.
-It’s an extremely efficient design. It’ll cut up to a 10″ piece of metal with the vise as it is normally set up, but you can move the stationary jaw and get an extra 2″ out of it. I like being able to cut big stuff if I have to.
-It’s available from HF for $700.

My least favorite thing was the motor. So I removed the enormous, cast piece of junk motor it came with and made a new motor mount. It’s spring loaded so it’s easier to change speeds. Then put a nice Baldor 1HP I got from the salvage yard on it, and now it just sings.

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It was also really low to the ground as it came, so I whipped up a steel stand and put some real wheels on it. I hate having to bend over to use tools, and I use this one a lot. Now it rolls over stuff pretty easy and I can move it when I need to.

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They say everything Harbor freight sells is just an incomplete kit, and you have to finish it. This saw is a perfect example.

New tool Fridays: Belt sander

I started doing New tool Fridays a while back with the Buttfeeler. I haven’t had a chance to continue the tradition, but I want to because I really like the idea. When I buy or make a new tool, I’ll post a few pictures of it on a Friday!

This Friday’s new tool is a belt sander that I made this winter for the shop. It’s modeled off of a “Kalamazoo” double 2in belt sander. My version also has 3 different speeds. I painted it a nice soft blue.

I like how it turned out, but as usual, I can think of some things I would do differently next time. I’ll bet this isn’t the last belt sander I make.

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I keep 80 grit on the left, and 120 on the right.

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Keep an eye out for more New too Fridays!

Frame jig – Bench mount

After building the jig, I needed somewhere to mount the damn thing, since it weighs about 100 pounds. This part actually took quite a bit of thinking before I was ready to commit to a design. My design parameters were:

-Mounted to my welding bench so that it didn’t move much, but could still be rolled around if I needed it elsewhere.
-To rotate 360° to give me the most possible access when welding while in the fixture.
-To swing left and right so that I could get behind both the front and rear of the fixture for welding, and also so that I can swing the whole thing to the left and out of my way when I need to use the welding bench for other things.
-To raise up and down by quite a bit so that I can raise it for fitting all the tubes, and lower it to weld in my chair.

I decided to use bronze bushings to go between the two pieces of steel pipe. This gave me a nice smooth rotation, and also conducts electricity so that I don’t have to use a ground clamp on the fixture.

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The bronze bushings installed in the larger tubing with machine screws to keep them from rotating.
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Binders for the clamps.
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The clamps with their extensions welded on.

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I used 309L stainless filler and it came out very nice.
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This is the part that bolts to the frame fixture.

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Clamp slotted.
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And here it is all assembled. 2 Axes of rotation, ability to raise and lower and fairly modular. I might add or remove things as I figure out more about what I want.

Frame jig

I haven’t posted in a while because for the last 6 weeks I was working on a pretty huge project. I decided to build a real frame jig. I built my first few bikes with the 80/20 beam style jig, and it did great for how little work it was and how much it cost. However, I really wanted something that was easier to set up and that I could do at least more than 50% of the welding inside the fixture. I spent a couple months drawing up different designs that I liked, and didn’t like, for various reasons. The jig I ended up designing and building was kind of a cross between an Arctos and an Anvil. Maybe I’ll call it the Arcvil.

It was a huge commitment to go in on this project, but I was pretty confident I could finish it. Luckily, I was right. I finished the jig a couple weeks ago and have already built my first bike in it. It’s downright dreamy.

I didn’t get many pictures of the actual building of it, but I’ll share a few here.

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I started with a lot of rough cutting of all the MIC-6 tooling plate. I didn’t get pictures of it, but most of the long rough cuts were done on my boss’s table saw. Then I was able to cut those long pieces down with my bandsaw.

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I clamped the long pieces down to the Bridgeport table in just the right spot so that I could take one continuous cut from one end to the other without stopping. Turns out a Bridgeport can take a cut that is 25″ long, as I learned on this day. I wanted both sides to be parallel and straight so that I could reference them.

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Getting ready to cut the T-slots and 1/4″ slots for the guide rails.

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T-slot in the center is done, and cutting the guide rail slots.

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Different piece, but this is a guide rail being drilled and countersunk.

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Just drilling holes.

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A lot of my days ended looking like this. That pile is like 6″ high.

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Done! The white walls in my shop make for horrible photos.

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Like I said, not many pictures. Up next, the bench mount.