Making bandsaw wheels

In this video, I’m gonna cover
how to make the wheels for a new bandsaw
that I’m building. Now for the ball bearings in the
wheels, I bought four of
these ball bearings. So I got these, reasonably
priced, locally at a surplus store. And they have a 52 millimeter
diameter spherical outside.
Because they’re meant to mount in one of these bearing flanges.
And this is a self-aligning sort of flange.
So that the bearing can rotate according to how the shaft
lines up. So it lines itself up with the shaft. And a lot of people like to
use these for homemade bandsaws. I’m not gonna use these
for two reasons. One, the flange is too thick. And it’s also quite heavy. And I’ve also had bad experience
mounting that because when it’s mounting on the wheel
and the wheel is rotating it’s like that shaft is pulling
in every different direction at about 300 pounds if I
put 150 pound blade
tension on there. So, if there’s any play at all
this will work itself loose
eventually. Now I didn’t bolt these fully
through. So, some people have
had more luck than I’ve had. If you do use flange’s like that
I would recommend you get a good glue that
can glue steel and you glue them straight to the
wheel so that there’s less chance of it becoming loose.
Because if you just bolt it in and the wheel shrinks a
little bit from humidity changes that’ll come loose.
So, instead of these I’m gonna make some wooden
bearing flanges. And I’ve already experimented
So, I drilled some test holes and I pressed this into here
and it’s really tight. That hole is about half a
millimeter smaller than the
bearing. So, it really needs to be
pressed in there and it stays
in there nice and tight. And, I’ll be able to glue this
to my wheel. So, that’s never gonna
come loose. And this
whole thing is quite light. And, I didn’t have to buy
extra flanges. I don’t have a drill the right
size so I’m using a circle cutter
to cut out those holes. Problem is my circle cutter
didn’t go quite deep enough. So, I have to now counter
bore it out from the other
side with forstner bit to open the hole completely. Inserting the bearings in here
would ideally be done with
a press. I don’t have a press. So, what I have is a less
than graceful operation. Whoops. After all that pounding, I had
the idea of using the vice
to squish it in. I should have thought
of that earlier. So, let’s check how flush that is. Four sides. Well… That side might be a bit high.
But it’s within a couple of thou. And I think that’s close enough. So, some people don’t know
where to get a shaft for
these bearings. I got mine at the metal
supermarket and it really didn’t
cost very much. But, I thought just to help
people, I’d try something else. So, I’m gonna use a piece
of plumbing pipe instead of a solid shaft.
And this plumbing pipe it’s a standard size and it’s got
a little bit of play with this
7/8th inch bearing. But it only takes a little
bit of shimming so if I just wrap a piece of
paper around this pipe and then let’s put the
bearing on here. See that becomes very
tight here already so
there’s no play. And, it’s not as critical as it
is for a spinning shaft. This shaft is not gonna spin.
This bearing is always gonna
push on it the same way. So, it’s not the same problem
I have with my flanges where
I have to make sure there’s absolutely no play.
Because the shaft is stationary. It’s not gonna…
Even if it was loose on there
it’s not gonna be a problem. Because the blade tension
will just hold it tight
to one side. The wheels for this bandsaw
I’m gonna make out of MDF. I am not a fan of MDF
myself but people often ask
if it’s ok to make the wheels out of MDF.
And I’ve got some scrap MDF
lying around, so I thought I’m gonna make them out
of MDF so I can tell you
it’s ok or not. So, I’m gonna have to mount
the bearing flanges on here
like that. The flat side towards the
outside so that the bearings
are offset as much as possible. And these holes here are
really important because they
allow me to clamp the flanges on there
while I’m gluing it. The other purpose of these
holes is when the bandsaw is finished
and you put a blade on there it helps to have a place to
grab the wheels, just to spin
them, to make sure the blade is tracking correctly. With the bearing glued down
on this side. I now need to
glue down a bearing on the other side.
So that when this thing spins
in the shaft it won’t wobble at all.
So, I need my shaft to actually
fit fairly precisely on here. And, it’s a bit loose.
And I can’t really shim it up
with paper very well right now.
So, I’m gonna put some
shim in there. Now, I could have cut
some shim from a pop can. But, I didn’t actually have
any pop cans handy. So, this is
actually some brass shim stock. You put the shaft in here with the shims. That gets a much closer fit.
And now I can spin this on here. And verify that it runs true.
And then glue this on there. I wasn’t really happy with
how true this one was.
But most of the variation is actually radial.
It doesn’t wobble by that much. Now, to avoid having to turn
off too much material I’m using a set of trammel
points to mark the radius according to where the
bearings actually are. I made the wheels big enough
to allow for that. Now, next I’m gonna spin this
wheel to turn down the edges. And to do that, I’m fastening
a temporary pulley to it. Which I’ll use to power
the wheel. So, here’s my setup for
putting a crown on the wheel. I’m just gonna use it like a
lathe with a chisel
against here. And I’ve got my temporary
pulley attached to this side. And I’m turning this shaft
on it’s own bearings. And, I’ve put lots of shims
in there because this pipe is a bit smaller
than the bearing hole. But, I don’t want this to
have play while I’m turning it. So, it’s full of shims in here. And, I’ve got the hose from
my dust extractor here
to suck up the dust Because this MDF dust is
kind of awful. The best way of checking
whether I’ve turned it down
to the right size is to just put a tape measure
around the circumference
and check it that way. So, done with the wheel
turning and… that’s running nice and true. So, this is a 12 inch bicycle
tube. And my bandsaw that
I’m building is 14 inch. So, this is deliberately
a bit smaller so that it will
stretch around the wheels. And I have to now cut this
open so that I just get a band. So, the thing is to start around
the valve.
Just cut around here. And I’m actually gonna cut
away a fair bit of this tube because this is much wider
than I need it to be. So, just cutting all the way
around, like that. Now, the inside of this tube
has got this powder on it. I need to get this off. Because I want that inside
just to be rubber so that
it’s sticky. So that when I put it
against the wheel that will prevent it from
sliding around. With the inner tube washed
now it’s a matter of pushing
that over the wheel. I’ve already put a little bit
of varnish on there, just to make
sure that the inner tube can stick to it a little bit.
But, I’ll varnish that more later. So, stretching that over is
a little bit tricky. Helps to clamp it on one side. So now the next thing to do
is to make sure that the tension is roughly
even all around so I just
like to lift it a bit. And then the thing to do is
I like to make sure that the seam. that little
ridge, follows exactly along
the crown. Because sometimes the blade
likes to followthat ridge instead
of the crown. So, if I put it on top of
the crown, that just
improves the tracking. And it’s all there is to it. Now that seems to be
running fairly true. Now the other thing is
I switched to using some
plastic for the shim stock. What I’d been using previously
was this brass shim stock. But if you know where to
get this kind of shim stock you probably also know where
to get shafting so it’s kind of
pointless to use this stuff. So instead, I looked around
and I found this plastic
food container. Actually had just the right
thickness to make a shim out of.
Basically cutting out the
sides of that. And that makes for a
very snug fit on the shaft. And, you usually have lots
of plastic food
containers around So I’m sure you’ll find one
the right thickness. So, that’s the best thing
to use, if you’re using
plumbing pipe. Though ideally, if you can
get proper shafting,
use shafting. Because it’s much easier.

About the Author: Michael Flood

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