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Author Topic: Home made band mill  (Read 706 times)

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Offline Ginwacker

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Home made band mill
« on: July 16, 2017, 12:42:07 pm »
Hello all, First off I want to say thanks for all the Ideas (I've been reading as a guest for a while now) But recently joined the forum.I am in the early stages of building a band mill and would be interested in any input on do's and don't on my build.I will post pics soon of what I have so far.Thank you all in advance.

Offline paul case

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Re: Home made band mill
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2017, 03:57:52 pm »
Welcome to the forum!

PC
life is too short to be too serious. (some idiot)
2013 LT40SHE25 and Riehl edger,  WM 94 LT40 hd E15. Cut my sawing ''teeth'' on an EZ Boardwalk
sawing oak.hickory,ERC,walnut and almost anything else that shows up.
Don't get phylosophical with me. you will loose me for sure.
pc

Online ljohnsaw

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Re: Home made band mill
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2017, 04:49:34 pm »
I've had my home-built mill for three years now (or so...) and what I would do different today:

I used donut spare tires on hubs I got from the junk yard (rear hubs from a front wheel drive).  First choice would be to use steel wheels.  Second choice would be to use front spindles from a rear wheel drive car to allow for easier wheel alignment.  Or maybe a front wheel drive and you could power it through the CV-joint.  With steel wheels, you can use diesel as coolant/lubricant to keep sap off the blade.  Too slippery on the rubber and would probably break it down.

I made guide bearing only to later replace them with Cook's.  Do it right and use theirs from the start.

I used a chain drive to lift the head.  Works but a powered option would be better.  Cranking get old, especially if you have to move it a LOT.  I plan to add an electric motor to move it.

I used 3" non-bearing pulleys as wheels for the carriage only to replace them with ball bearing 4" wheels - rolls soooo much better.

I started with a 2 hp DC motor, then a 7hp gas and now a 18hp (electric start) gas.  Go big from the start.  Also, a big drive belt.  Using a 5L v-belt now.  Want a 6L to fit the altered pulley I have on there.  Also, blade speed needs to be ~ 60mph so do the math on your pulley sizes.

I tried to make some leveling legs from All-thread.  Just buy some screw jacks.  I came across twelve free 2,000 lb jacks and put 4 on each separate section.  Make your track longer than you think you will need.  I made three sections that total ~38' and will be adding another 20' of 5 foot "temporary" bridges between the sections (each free-standing) and 5 foot on each end to park the saw head to make some big, long timbers.

That's all I can think of right now.

Welcome! (post pictures as you go...)
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline Den-Den

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Re: Home made band mill
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2017, 05:16:14 pm »
I have been using (and up-grading) my home built mill for just over 3 years.  I used tires (195-14s) which are 24" diameter, they work OK if pressure is close to 40 psi but I am sure that steel wheels have some advantages.  I got a good deal on some 40mm pillow block bearings and turned shaft to fit them.  No bearing failures yet, glad that I did not go smaller.  My mill uses acme threaded rods to control vertical travel.  I can NOT recommend that unless they are powered, not efficient enough for hand cranking.  The threaded rods do provide for precise control of height and gave me a path to a DIY set-works.  I have had good results with home built guides but they would have cost as much as Cooks guides if I had not had the bearings already.
Build the frame that holds the bearings / wheels stiff and strong with adjustment in every direction.  Plan on tinkering with alignment to get it right, a slight adjustment makes a big change in blade tracking.  I had trouble with tracking until I came up with a repeatable way of setting blade tension.
You may think that you can or may think you can't; either way, you are right.

Online ljohnsaw

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Re: Home made band mill
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2017, 06:46:36 pm »
Build the frame that holds the bearings / wheels stiff and strong with adjustment in every direction.  Plan on tinkering with alignment to get it right, a slight adjustment makes a big change in blade tracking.  I had trouble with tracking until I came up with a repeatable way of setting blade tension.

Set blade tension BEFORE you adjust your tracking and set the tracking BEFORE you set your guide bearings position and down pressure. 

I had my head crash when I was taking it home to do some other repairs.  Never gave it a second thought (don't know why) but it landed on the guide on the drive wheel side (along with the drive wheel).  I had to re-bend the guide wheel bracket back to its normal position.  That both loosened the whole guide frame (just a little) and somehow moved it up about 1/4".  That reduced the down pressure (to zero) and allowed just the drive side (away from my view) to dive a LOT.  Did a bit of had scratching and finally had the a-ha moment.  Once re-adjusted, cut great again.

I have 2 bolts that I loosen to adjust both the height and angle of the bearing.  A pair of other bolts that you could use to make the adjustments (and hold it there) while I re-tighten the main bolts would be a great improvement.  However, once the guides are set, you shouldn't have to move them very often if at all.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: Home made band mill
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 12:18:03 pm »
Invest in a good quality set of blade guides.  I went with Cooks guides.  Originally I had homemade guides, that "worked" but not particularly well  they required lots of maintenance.  I eventually went with the cooks guides and and a very stiff way to mount them.  Once I did that the mill cut many times better/straighter then it ever did before. 

I had one log that with my old guides I just could not cut,  the blade would raise or dive till it bound up.  I put the cooks guides on and using the same blade from before that same log was cut into the straightest lumber my mill had ever cut up to that point.


Unfortunately the cooks guides aren't the cheapest thing in the world.  I think they cost about 1/3 of what it cost to build my mill (but I scrounged everything on my mill except the battery and about 8 feet of steel, so it was a cheap mill to begin with)

Offline Ginwacker

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Re: Home made band mill
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 01:32:17 pm »
Haven't made it out to take pics yet but here's what I have going on,I decided on a two post mill with the carriage built from 4x4x1/4" square tubing.Cross head is 4.5 x4.5x 5/32" wall which leave the slide a lil sloppy but I plan on using some brass shim stock to make a couple wear plates/shims to tighten it up.Now is wear I'm indecisive I have a couple 6' x 1" ball screws I can't seem to get out of my head lol for raising and lowering or do I want to go with cable system.Either would be easy to power but the ball screw is 4 tpi and that sounds really enticing when sawing lumber.I have a set of 18 3/4" cast iron wheels/sheaves and I have several feet of 1 3/8" shaft material with 6-8 new pillow blocks to match.I have a 15 hp kubota diesel I plan on using for power.Havent gotten into the torque and speeds yet,cross that one when I get to it lol.I hadn't really thought of how long of a bed I want but why not go 30-40 ft may want build a log house some day.I am using hydraulic blade tensioner already fabricated that one and was surprisingly easy to build,weather it works or not is yet to be seen.I will have one fixed wheel and one 4 way adjustable wheel for tracking most of which is fabricated already.Thanks for all the input I will try to get some picks this evening.

Offline Kbeitz

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Re: Home made band mill
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 01:38:26 pm »
Invest in a good quality set of blade guides.  I went with Cooks guides.  Originally I had homemade guides, that "worked" but not particularly well  they required lots of maintenance.  I eventually went with the cooks guides and and a very stiff way to mount them.  Once I did that the mill cut many times better/straighter then it ever did before. 

I had one log that with my old guides I just could not cut,  the blade would raise or dive till it bound up.  I put the cooks guides on and using the same blade from before that same log was cut into the straightest lumber my mill had ever cut up to that point.


Unfortunately the cooks guides aren't the cheapest thing in the world.  I think they cost about 1/3 of what it cost to build my mill (but I scrounged everything on my mill except the battery and about 8 feet of steel, so it was a cheap mill to begin with)

How did you build a mill so cheap?
My Cooks rollers cost me $60.00 each.
1/3 of $120 = $40.00
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Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: Home made band mill
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2017, 02:29:53 pm »
Invest in a good quality set of blade guides.  I went with Cooks guides.  Originally I had homemade guides, that "worked" but not particularly well  they required lots of maintenance.  I eventually went with the cooks guides and and a very stiff way to mount them.  Once I did that the mill cut many times better/straighter then it ever did before. 

I had one log that with my old guides I just could not cut,  the blade would raise or dive till it bound up.  I put the cooks guides on and using the same blade from before that same log was cut into the straightest lumber my mill had ever cut up to that point.


Unfortunately the cooks guides aren't the cheapest thing in the world.  I think they cost about 1/3 of what it cost to build my mill (but I scrounged everything on my mill except the battery and about 8 feet of steel, so it was a cheap mill to begin with)

How did you build a mill so cheap?
My Cooks rollers cost me $60.00 each.
1/3 of $120 = $40.00

I bought more than just the roller I also bought the arm that goes with it.  I think they were around $119 each (I just looked at there site and there price has gone up since then)  Then I also had to buy 5 feet each of telescoping tubing.  I figured it was around $250 for all the parts.  I don't know how much the original mill cost to build but in the first year I had $1700 into it including a tractor I bought to go with it and at least $300 replacement parts for the engine that I damaged once it was already running and working (new flywheel, new starter, new entire ignition system and a second new battery.  The electronics were fried when the keystwich got stuck in the start position while the mill was running and the flywheel was damaged when the mill tipped over while running.)  So I guess I had around $800ish into my original mill build.