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Another Modifying of a 4” 6” Harbor Freight Bandsaw

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Torque Monkey

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#1
I have had my Harbor Freight bandsaw for about a year now. In that time I have found a lot of room for improvement. I spent a lot of time reading about other people’s modifications so I figured I would share my own here.

The first, and probably the most useful was to make a hydraulic ram to control the cutting speed.

The cylinder is made from an old brass drain pipe salvaged from a claw foot bathtub my Mom uses as a flower bed in her yard.

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The ends an the piston is 6061 aluminum and the round stock for the piston rod and the 4 tie rods are made from stainless steel.

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Here it is for testing.

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Torque Monkey

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#2
It worked very well but there were a few issues I noticed.

The first was when the saw was brought up to the vertical position it was hitting the vice jaws. This was my solution for that.

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markba633csi

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#3
Now that's DIY! Good job
It would be interesting to see your piston design- did you use a seal of any kind? Or a seal on the piston rod?
Mark
 
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Torque Monkey

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#4
Next I decided an open/closed valve was going to me necessary so I didn’t have to keep messing with the flow control valve.

This is what I decided to do for that.


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Torque Monkey

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#5
I added a piece of plate with a V-groove cut into it cut into it to cut smaller round stock and a couple of 1/2” bolts towards the back side t clamp on smaller parts.

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That picture also shows the plastic mud tray from Home Depot that I put in to catch the swarf.

The last modification was to add an extension and hand wheel to the vice so it could be loosened once the saw was completely lowered.

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I was also concerned about chips sticking to the shaft on the hydraulic ram and fouling the O-ring seals so I installed rod wiping seals on each end.

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I copied the design of the hydraulic ram from Halligan’s video on YouTube but I made a couple design changes. The one thing I really liked was he installed a check valve inside the piston that allows you to lift the saw with the ope/closed valve closed. I did the same.


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Torque Monkey

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#6
I have already changed the the oil in the gear box. Next on the list is to modify it so I can change the vice angle without tools and to pin the vice at 45* and 90*.


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Torque Monkey

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#7
Now that's DIY! Good job
It would be interesting to see your piston design- did you use a seal of any kind? Or a seal on the piston rod?
Mark
The piston seals and rod seals are both just from the Harbor Freight O-ring box.

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I don’t have any good pictures of the check valve but it is a stepped hole through the piston with a ball bearing that “ floats” and is secured by a set screw with a groove cut in it so oil can get around it. Don’t forget to set the ball with a hammer and punch before you put the set screw in.

The piston is loctited into place but I didn’t trust just that so I also put a set screw in between the O-rings on the piston.


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Bob Korves

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#8
Looks good. For next time or for others following along, an air cylinder works just fine and is available cheap and ready to install. The o-rings in the cylinders will be happy with most common oils. You do not need to reinvent the wheel unless you choose to.
 

Torque Monkey

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#9
Looks good. For next time or for others following along, an air cylinder works just fine and is available cheap and ready to install. The o-rings in the cylinders will be happy with most common oils. You do not need to reinvent the wheel unless you choose to.
I looked at air cylinders at length. I just wasn’t sure on the length to get. Also I decided I wanted a cylinder that had the shaft exiting from both sides as I was worried about the displacement of the oil. Also I had the material, time and tools. I really just wanted to see if I could do it. LOL!


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markba633csi

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#10
The check valve in the piston is a clever idea- I think it's as much fun to modify these saws as it is to actually use them! :p
Mark
 

Silverbullet

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#11
It's like your first car , mud flaps , Hurst shifter , stereo system. Oh 8 track of course. Helper springs . We all add to our machines too. I have a mister on my saw and a brush to clean the teeth . Thinking of making a wire brush set up to revolve under the teeth if angled right the blade should turn it .
 

FOMOGO

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#12
Nice! I know generally speaking, every time I screw up, I look forward to learning something. Not always, but most times. Mike
 

Bob Korves

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#13
My 4x6 HF band saw is about 5 years old and still in the same configuration it was when it came to me new, other than a bunch of adjustments to make it work correctly and cut straight. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of cool mods for those saws, it is just than none of them have overcome my laziness yet...
 

markba633csi

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#14
Not even a chip catcher pan on yours Bob? That's at the top of my "must-do" list- sweeping up gets old real fast I've discovered
Mark
 

Bob Korves

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#15
Not even a chip catcher pan on yours Bob? That's at the top of my "must-do" list- sweeping up gets old real fast I've discovered
Mark
Nope, Mark. I actually am pretty happy with it like it is, after getting it adjusted properly. Probably the first things I will change on it are some vise modifications, to have a reliable and repeatable 90 degree stop and a support for the far end of the jaws when cutting short pieces, which I do more often than longer ones.
 

markba633csi

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#16
The far-end jaw support is on my list too. And possibly a v-shaped jaw accessory to cut very short round pieces..since I hate parting off :)
M
 

Downwindtracker2

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#17
Mine replace a worn out one. Both were bought used, the first one very. The two things that had me looking on CL were very sharp worm teeth and almost completely stripped vise nut. The gearbox had been filled with grease, so the second one got a gearbox fill plug and oil. The vise flopped around like a fish in the bottom of the boat ,so for clamping it wasn't great. I made a brass spacer slightly proud so the load was taken by the nut instead of completely by the threads.
 
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