Tooling Up – Horizontal Band Saw

I recently ordered a horizontal/vertical band saw for cutting metal stock to then be either milled or lathed. Buying long stock of metal is typically cheaper and it’s always good to have extra on hand for an unexpected part that needs to be made impromptu.

I was researching which saw to buy, shying away from the cheapest, smallest model that was offered at Harbor Freight –4×6 inch– when I noted there was a $60 sale online. Being cheap, I started investigating the use of this specific saw, which is sold under a myriad of different brand names: WEN, Hobart, Eastwood, etc.

I found it to be quite the prolific little saw that could… with what is akin to a cult following in many respects.

As with many Harbor Freight tools, the mods and upgrades are countless… again, one starts with a baseline Harbor Freight tool that isn’t that great coming out of the box, does a few tweaks and upgrades that typical results in a very capable machine.

Having just visited a Harbor Freight store for other stuff, I knew that this saw was mounted on very short base… which meant two important things to me: A) a lot of bending over to use it and, B) finding a spot to put this thing in my shop.

Nonetheless, having checked the local used market (Ebay, Craigslist, etc.) the price was just too good to pass up (under $200) and I pulled the trigger to have one delivered.

Having had it in the box for a good week while I assembled the plasma cutter and got it online, when it came to unboxing this small but heavy beast I discovered that somewhere along the supply chain it had been obviously dropped… hard. The entire lower end of the motor was crushed.

So after a few calls to local Harbor Freights I found the store in New Bern had one on hand, so I loaded up the smashed-up one and ran up to New Bern to swap it out for one in good condition . . .

You’ll note in the video (below) that I decided to mount it up higher on my mobile work bench in the spot just recently vacated by my lathe. My mounting choice resulted in ZERO added footprint in my shop for this new capability!

Testing out the saw as I had it temporarily clamped to the workbench it made quick work of slicing through 2″ x 2″ x 1/8″ angle iron. Call me impressed! I’m actually using the 4 pieces I cut to make brackets to mount the saw to the top of my mobile work bench.

Moreover, I have to note that this saw was dialed-in pert near dead on right out of the box!

Enough banter. Here it is:

In other news, I received my new Z-axis Ball Screw that I spec’d out and then special ordered for the lathe CNC conversion. This is the last externally supplied component that I’ll need to convert the lathe to CNC as I’ll still need to machine parts for it in house.

So the push continues to get the shop insulated, equipped, outfitted, tooled, up and running to finish this protracted airplane build.

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