How to build a 10″ disk sander from an old band saw.
Quite a few years ago I found an ad online for a used band saw. It was dirt cheap. Like I mean $10 cheap. The ad said it was her ex-husbands who had left her, and it needed a guide wheel to run.
Excellent I rushed out to pick it up, and unfortunately for me when I arrived, it was not missing a guide wheel, but an actual blade track wheel.
I figured I could probably get a wheel somewhere, and $10 was super cheap so I bought it anyways.
3 weeks later another band saw deal came up, and I got a similar one for $60 in working order with a nice blade on it.
Then it sat, and sat and sat.
This past year I decided to bring it to work, deconstruct it and try to salvage what I could from it to give it a second life as a disk sander.
Disassembly began on the saw. The case was no longer needed, although I contemplated on trying to use it as a shield as it had a dust port on it, but for my purposes I went without a guard.
Taking the band saw apart was quite easy. As I was not planning on re-assembling it in it’s current form, it was just “find a fastener, remove that fastener” in no time it was broken down into pieces.
Planning and mock up.
There was (and is still) no plans for the project. I went to the scrap metal pile in my garage and found some angle iron to use, and brought it to work for some nice welding. (not on my crappy welder).
One piece had some holes filled out to bolt to the original base. 2 more pieces were butt welded together to create a riser / motor mount. Some relief cuts were added to the mount in order for the disk to have clearance to spin later.
The meat and bones of a disk sander: The Disk
I searched online for months to find a 10″ disk to be used with my project.
There were ads online & eEbay listings for replacement parts of other sanders which were almost as much as buying a new sander. (this wouldn’t work).
I found some steel disks. These would have been perfect but the weight was kind of heavy, and shipping was quite a bit causing the same price issues as before.
There were some Aluminum disks that could have worked. But the price was insane on these as well.
I even contemplated molding and casting my own blank, but since i don’t have access to a lathe, i would have to pay someone to clean up the casting for me.
It was at this point i decided to use some scrap Baltic birth plywood I had laying around. Iy was thick, flat, and lightweight. (Also free). Utilizing the motor wheel from the band saw, i drilled 5 holes through the aluminum spokes and through the plywood. I attached the plywood to the wheel with 5 5mm nuts and bolts. I also had to clearance the wood a little to allow the original wheel to but up to the wood without any gaps.
Electrical and buttoning up the final details
Since the band saw originally had a safety lockout button, i wanted to re-use that feature. In all honesty this was the easiest part of the whole project. I was able to simply attach a metal receptacle box to the capacitor cover and put the entire factory wiring inside this box. The original rectangle cover plate fit almost perfectly into a designer style switch cover plate. (only 1 hole didn’t line up) so i drilled out a small pilot hole and tapped it to receive the original screws from a receptacle.
I just wired the switch EXACTLY how it was wired in the saw. If you are not comfortable with this step PLEASE seek some help from someone who is capable. Don;t mess with electricity if you are not sure what you are doing. and DON’T FORGET TO GROUND IT
The saw was not a working disk sander at this point. However I needed a table to go with the sander.
I contemplated for a longtime how to get the original trunnion and table to work with this sander. It was just not going to work with that specific trunnion. I didn’t really need a pivoting table. (Although it would be nice). So a fixed base was assembled. I just made a crude mount and fixed the original table (Cut down a little) to that base and welded it in place. The table is bolted to the mount so it can be slightly adjusted in and out.
I added a sheet of Peel and stick aluminum oxide sanding disk paper to the plywood and was finished with this project. It will sand wood and steel easily) However with heavy pressure it can easly bog down the motor.
Conclusion / Final thoughts
This saw has a couple small issues that can be improved upon, however they dont hinder my use with teh machine.
- The motor runs clockwise which is towards the little indent int he table. At some point I will reverse the motor, but the wheel needs to come off which means the sand paper will be destroyed.
- The motor is under powered. There is no information on the motor regarding rating or power. It’s not worth replacing because the mount and table would have to be re-designed. So if it started to be bothersome i would just rebuild with a more powerful motor from scratch.
- If you want a precise bevel, then having a tilting table would be helpful. Perhaps on version 2.0?
Have you ever build a tool from something else? If so I would love to hear about it below in the comments. I’m always looking for my next project.