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HARBOR FREIGHT HORIZONTAL BAND SAW

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RIMSPOKE

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#1
NO TELLING HOW MUCH TIME I HAVE WASTED IN MY SHOP BECAUSE
I DIDN'T HAVE A PROPER SAW TO CUT STOCK TO LENGTH .
A SAWZALL & A VISE WORKS WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING ELSE BUT REALLY IS A RIDICULOUS WASTE OF TIME .

THIS IS PARTLY BECAUSE I AM A CHEAPSKATE BUT MOSTLY BECAUSE THE IS NO PLACE TO PUT ONE .

I SOLVED BOTH PROBLEMS WITH ONE OF THE INFAMOUS HARBOR FREIGHT 4 x 6 HORIZONTAL BAND SAWS .
IT IS SMALL ENOUGH TO FIT IN THE CROWDED SHOP AND ONLY SET ME BACK $208 WITH A 20% OFF COUPON .

THE SAME SAW IS SOLD UNDER A HALF DOZEN DIFFERENT NAMES BUT NOTHING CLOSE TO THAT PRICE .

SO HERE IT IS IN THE SHOP . I WILL BE MAKING SOME USEFUL MODIFICATIONS TO IMPROVE IT .
FOR NOW , I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER .

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Bamban

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#2
Mine served me well for the last 2 years. What mods were you thinking about doing?
 

RandyM

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#3
You'll wonder why you waited so long. Happy cutting. :encourage:
 

ddickey

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#4
This looks to be an almost exact replica as the Jet I have except I paid almost triple the price.
 

Mr Mike

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#5
Paint it white... place a Jet Tools sticker on it, Bam its worth 499.00.
 

JPigg55

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#6
I bought one a couple years back. Sure makes cutting easier.
I found the OE blade was crap and broke after a couple uses.
Based on post on this site, I bought a couple better blades at Harbor Freight. No complaints thus far.
 

RJSakowski

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#7
Seven years ago, I had an interesting experience with a horizontal band saw. At work, we bought one from Enco. When it arrived, it had an MSC brand label. Nice, I thought. We assembled it and plugged it in. The motor was running. Went to shut it off and the motor still ran. It turned out whoever had wired the switch had done it wrong. I rewired the switch and called Enco the next day. They apologized for the error and offered me a discount on my next order.

I can understand an error in manufacturing but not why final inspection wouldn't have caught the error. I would certainly make sure my product functioned as intended before slapping my name on something.

My saw at hiome is a Buffalo, made in Taiwan in 1981, and still going strong. It is arguably the most used piece of equipment in the shop. I replaced the drive belt for the first time last year and a few years back, I made a metal hand crank for the vise to replace the plastic one that had failed. Other than that, it has seen numerous saw blades but no other repairs.
 
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Robert LaLonde

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#9
Holy crap! YES! The very first time I used mine I was happy I bought it. Mine sits on arms extended from the end of a roller table now, but just being able to rough a piece of metal to length with it is a joy. Even before you adjust it. For many people a lathe is the first piece of "serious" equipment they own. This should be the second.
 

ddickey

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#11
I made a nice table for mine although I use it in the horizontal position 90% of the time.
Made a blade brush for it also. Mikey helped me with that sending me pics of how he made his.
Mine doesn't cut very straight. I have the adjustments cams or whatever they are called to the extreme. When you lift the saw up it does not track straight which is probably most of the problem. I don't really care as the cut portion gets cleaned up in the mill or lathe.
 

RIMSPOKE

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#12
Mine served me well for the last 2 years. What mods were you thinking about doing?

WHAT MODS ? GLAD THAT YOU ASKED . I AM DOING THE EASY STUFF FIRST .
THIS IS WHAT I HAVE IN THE FIRST TWO DAYS .

FIRST OFF , I CAN'T STAND THE CRAPPY STRIP-A-MATIC 4.8 HARDWARE THAT COMES ON THE SAW
SO I AM SYSTEMATICALLY REPLACING MOST OF IT WITH GRADE 8.8 STUFF . WORLD's EASIEST UPGRADE .

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THE VISE WOULDN'T OPEN FAR ENOUGH TO HOLD 3" STOCK AT A 45° ANGLE . THE SQUARE CORNERS OF THE
MOVING JAW's NUT HIT THE RADIUS OF THE ROUND SLOT SO IT WAS AN EASY LATHE JOB TO
ROUND THE CORNERS AND GAIN A QUARTER INCH OF VISE TRAVEL .

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THE FIXED/ ANGLE JAW HAD A THRU BOLT TO SET THE ANGLE . THIS REQUIRES TWO WRENCHES TO ADJUST
AND THE M8 SIZE SEEMED A BIT WIMPY FOR THE JOB . I MADE A NEW TEE-NUT FROM STEEL THAT TRACKS THROUGH
THE .530" CURVED SLOT . IT IS THREADED M10 AND THE ANGLE CAN NOW BE ADJUSTED WITH ONE WRENCH ON THE TOP .
I HAVE A M-10 KIPP HANDLE ON ORDER SO I WON'T EVEN NEED A WRENCH FOR THIS ADJUSTMENT .

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I HATE HAVING CHIPS ALL OVER THE PLACE SO I MADE UP AM ALUMINUM BUCKET TO CATCH THE SHAVINGS COMING OFF THE SAW .
IT IS MADE FROM TWO PIECES OF ALUMINUM HELD TOGETHER WITH POP RIVETS
IT STICKS UP FAR ENOUGH ON THE BACK SIDE TO CONTAIN THE CHIPS THAT FALL THROUGH THE SLOT .
IT ATTACHES WITH A SIMPLE SPRING LATCH SO I CAN POP IT OFF AND DUMP IT EASILY .

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I HAVE A FEW MORE THINGS IN THE WORKS LIKE PINS TO FIX THE STATIONARY JAW AT 45° & 90° AND
A REMOVABLE FENCE TO KEEP PARTS IN PLACE WHEN THE BLADE CUTS THROUGH .
 
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Doubleeboy

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#13
Best to open up gear box and examine oil for chips and grit, if its clean button it up and forget if for a few years, if its suspicious, drain and put in fresh 80w-whatever and be happy. My Jet 4 x 6 came with grit my 7 x 12 HF was spotless inside, one Taiwan the other China, go figure.
 

Groundhog

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#14
Do yourself a favor and go buy a good, (brand-name?), bi-metal blade (with teeth to suit your particular needs). The one that comes with the saw (and all HF in my opinion) are just plain worthless.
 

markba633csi

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#15
I like your little bucket, that's something I've GOT to copy!
Mark S.
ps I like all your ideas: the pins, the fence, it's all good. HF should pay you to be a consultant
 
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Mr Mike

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#16
I had the wet version of that saw, and I made a bazillion cuts with it, never had issues. Blade and spring tension are key to how long your blades will last, and how square the cuts are.
 

RIMSPOKE

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#17
What mods were you thinking about doing?

HERE IS ANOTHER . I HATE THE WIMPY LITTLE CRANK THEY GIVE YOU TO CLOSE THE VISE .
YEARS OF RUNNING A BIG KALAMAZOO SAW SPOILED ME . IT HAD A HAND WHEEL .

SO HERE IS MY HAND WHEEL . IT STARTED OUT ON AN ENCO ARBOR PRESS .
I UPGRADED THE PRESS WITH A MUCH LARGER WHEEL & THIS LITTLE ONE WAS LEFT OVER .
SIMPLE LATE JOB TO MAKE UP AN ADAPTER FOR THE SAW .

IT GIVES ME MORE TORQUE AND IS ALWAYS IN THE RIGHT POSITION .
BEST OF ALL , THE ROTATING MASS MAKES IT EASY TO "SPIN" THE VISE OPEN OR CLOSED .
IT ALSO ADDS SOME NEEDED WEIGHT TO THE LIGHT END OF THE SAW .
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markba633csi

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#18
Another good mod is a blade brush- planning to add one to mine. Maybe an oil dripper too
Mark S.
 

Silverbullet

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#19
A couple cheap tooth brushes clamped in a wood block work to clean chip out of the teeth. Can be made where a zip tie can hold it on the back roller assembly. And a mister really helps in a few ways. Oil drippers are good too. If I don't find a vertical bandsaw I like ill get one of these and just make it vertical. The prices people want for old worn out ones is obscene there iron or steel not gold.
 

RIMSPOKE

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#20
What mods were you thinking about doing?


THIS KIPP HANDLE IS THE CAT's MEOW . ( 6 BUCKS ON E-BAY )
IT IS INDEXABLE AND HAS A M10 STUD .

1/2 TURN UNLOCKS VISE FOR RE-POSITIONING .
TURN IT BACK AND THE VISE IS LOCKED IN PLACE FOR CUTTING .

THIS ADJUSTMENT REQUIRES TWO WRENCHES THE WAY THESE SAWS ARE SOLD .
CHANGING THE VISE ANGLE IS NOW A FAST & EASY ONE HAND , TOOL-FREE OPERATION .

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SSage

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#21
I picked up an older mint green, maybe light blueish colored version at a Pawn Shop for a steal. It came with a coolant system and a custom stand, finnally started using it wet and the blade life increased by triple or more when cutting mild steel. Has a Baldor motor on it too. Gave up on cheap blades, the name brand ones work better for me. Haven't broken a blade in a long time, sure beats using a porta band as my main steel cutter. :cool:
 

RIMSPOKE

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#22
What mods were you thinking about doing?

FIRST JOB WITH THE SAW IS TO BUILD SOME SMALL TRAILER HITCHES .
THE CROSS BRACES GET CUT AS A 45° ANGLE .

I FOUND THAT THE SOLID VISE JAW WOULD MOVE A BIT EACH TIME I CLAMPED IT DOWN
AND MY ANGLE WAS WALKING . I DIDN'T EXPECT THIS WITH THE KIPP HANDLE , BUT HERE WE ARE .

THE EASY FIX WAS TO DRILL A HOLE AND PUT A 1/4" AIRCRAFT PIN THROUGH THE VISE & FRAME .
I DRILLED A SECOND HOLE FOR QUICK 90° ALIGNMENT WHILE I WAS AT IT .

I USED A GAUGE TO SET THE ALIGNMENT . LIKE TO SEE IT WALK OFF NOW !

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RIMSPOKE

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#23
I WENT BACK TO HARBOR FREIGHT FOR THE NEXT UPGRADE .
I BOUGHT SOME OF THEIR 4" URETHANE WHEELS . 2 SOLIDS & TWO SWIVELS WITH BRAKES .

THE COST WAS UNDER $20 WITH A DISCOUNT COUPON . I HAD THE REST OF THE MATERIALS ON HAND .
I MADE A FRAME OF 1/8" THICK ANGLE IRON , CUT ON THE SAW OF COURSE .

THE WHEELS WERE WELDED TO THE CROSS PIECES AND THE FRAME WELDED TO THE EXISTING BOLT HEADS .
THIS DID WONDERS TO STIFFEN UP THE FLIMSY STAND THAT PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT .

NEXT I CUT SOME ALUMINUM SHEET TO MAKE A FULL SHELF AT THE BOTTOM FOR TOOLS & BLADES .

THE SAW NOW ROLLS AROUND EASILY AND CAN BE LOCKED IN PLACE .
SPACE IS SO TIGHT IN THE SHOP THAT I HAVE TO MOVE THE SAW OUTSIDE TO CUT ANYTHING LONG .
THIS IS SO MUCH EASIER & SAFER WITH 4 WHEELS AND A STIFFER STAND HOLDING IT UP .

THIS UPGRADE WASN'T EXPENSIVE OR INVOLVED BUT IT WORKS SO WELL THAT I WILL THANK MYSELF
FOR DOING IT EVERY TIME I HAVE TO MOVE THE SAW .

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gman10259

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#24
Nice mods to your HF Saw. I just picked one up yesterday with their 25% off coupon. I saved a couple hundred bucks when compared to the same saw sold by grizzly plus shipping.
Now I have to put it together:cool:
 

RIMSPOKE

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#25
HARBOR FREIGHT SAYS THESE SAWS CAN CUT 4 1/2" ROUND STOCK
BUT HERE IS MINE CUTTING THROUGH A 5" HUNK OF ALUMINUM .

OK , THE SAW DOES NOT HAVE THE DEPTH TO FINISH THE CUT
YOU CAN SEE IN THE 2nd PICTURE WHERE IT BOTTOMS OUT .

SO I TURN IT 90° AND FINISH THE CUT . STILL WORKS .

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ddickey

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#26
How ling did that take?
 

RIMSPOKE

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#27
How ling did that take?

ABOUT AN HOUR BUT I HAD IT RUNNING ON THE SLOWEST SPEED .
I WAS DOING ANOTHER PROJECT ON THE LATHE WHILE IT WAS RUNNING .
I CUT OFF TWO PIECES THIS WAY .
 

RIMSPOKE

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#28
MY NEXT EASE OF USE ITEM FOR THE SAW IS A PAIR OF LATCHES THAT SECURE THE BLADE COVER .

THE STOCK COVER IS SECURED BY A SINGLE CENTRAL SCREW .
IT IS DIFFICULT TO SQUEEZE THE COVER TIGHT WITH ONE HAND WHILE YOU GET
THE SCREW IN PLACE AND STARTED WITH THE OTHER

THE SPRING LATCHES MAKE THIS PROCEDURE MUCH EASIER & IT CAN BE DONE WITHOUT TOOLS .

THESE LATCHES WERE MADE FROM OLD VW AIR CLEANER PARTS AND FABBED BASES & HOOKS .
I JUST PUT A NEW BI-METAL BLADE ON THE SAW NOW SO I PROBABLY WON'T BE USING THESE FOR AWHILE .

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D1005

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#29
Mine is a General brand from Home Depot (let's not get into how Horror Fraught changed dates on coupons and ripped me off, local check out staff balk at taking any coupons, etc., therefore I don't shop there anymore) for very little more than the Horror Fraught version. Too bad too, as they just recently opened a store within a reasonable driving distance from me.

I really like some of these mods, though some require tools beyond what I have. Might be able to make do though, as some of these modifications are definitely desired, it not outright required.

I also like the one with the closed in cabinet underneath. That will definitely be part of the added base I have planned to get that sucker up so I can use it. In the stock form, it's so low I can't make the bend down to reach it, not to mention my roller stands to hold longer stock won't go that low. Currently it's spaced up on 2x4's, yeah, that works, sorta.

The best part is, it cuts dead straight, imagine that!
 
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