I had a guy on an airplane building forum request pictures of this project, but it's easier to post pictures here, plus it's just as relevant to the Jeep forum as the other place, so I'll just send them here...
So, I have one of those Taiwanese metal cutting bandsaws that I bought for $200 ten or fifteen years ago... I mainly use it in the vertical position for cutting out small brackets and stuff from flat, including a lot of thin 4130 for aircraft and related work. Horizontally, a chop saw is usually better since the Taiwan unit doesn't cut very straight like that. It's a piece of crap, but it works, mostly. Biggest problem with it is it takes up a lot of floor space for what it does. My brother can use it in his bigger shop, to get it out of my way, but in the meantime I still need to have a metal cutting bandsaw in my shop.
The "easy button" that many of you are probably familiar with, is to buy one of the Milwaukee or Dewalt portable bandsaws, and then buy the benchtop mount from SWAG Offroad
. The cost is reasonable, and it appears to be a quality product. The only problem I could find with it, is that all the saws which fit the SWAG unit share one flaw. The motor is located pretty poorly for maneuvering a piece of metal when you are cutting a part out of it. They work fine for cutting off structural beams, bars, tubing, etc, which is what the saw is designed for. I'm not really planning to use mine that way, so I wasn't satisfied with that.
The original Porta-Band saw was invented many years ago by Porter Cable (AFAIK). It was configured differently from the newer model saws, in that its frame was a single piece of cast aluminum, and more importantly, its motor was located in a different position, which allows for more cutting versatility in doing odd shapes. Porter Cable doesn't make the Porta-Band anymore, since they were bought out and their line of super high quality power tools has been replaced by a line of cheap Chinese crap that is sold at one of the big box stores.
That's really a tragedy for anyone who appreciates good tools, but the good news is that you can still buy a brand new Porta-Band saw; the only difference is that the plastic parts are yellow and it now says Dewalt on it instead of Porter Cable. I'm not sure of what corporate machinations resulted in this turn of events, but the Dewalt DW328 bandsaw
is, as far as I can tell, the exact same thing as the old Porter Cable saw. It has a variable speed control so I can slow it down for doing things like 4130 and stainless, and speed it up for softer steel and aluminum alloys. It will even run off a 115V DC power source (think: Premier Power Welder) if you are out in BFE and need to cut metal.
The only problem with it is that it doesn't fit the SWAG table mount, so you have to build your own. I came across this video
showing how one guy built his for an older Porta-Band unit, and I largely copied his design, making a few changes of my own.
Here are a couple of pictures showing both sides of my stand, without the bandsaw installed:
The vise-grip looking thing on the side is a drill press clamp that is used to secure the saw in place. I put a rubber pad on it where it contacts the saw. There is a plain 3/8" nut welded to the side of the frame for it to attach.
Some pictures with the saw installed:
It seems to work fine, although it isn't totally finished yet. I still need to find a piece of 4"x4" x 1/4" thick or so steel to make the cutting table from. Unlike the one in the video, it is going to attach to the stand rather than the saw, so I don't have to remove the blade guide just to remove the table. And I'm going to turn it around so the slot is to the rear. I'll have to remove the table to change blades, but I think it will be easier to use that way. I know a wider table is popular, but I have found the smaller ones to be easier to use when cutting out small or intricate brackets and you are maneuvering the work piece. Especially when wearing leather gloves. At some point I will probably add a foot control, also.