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Modifying the 7in. x 12in Metal Cutting Band Saw From Northern Tool / Harbor Freight

In our shop we’ve got a 7in. x 12in metal cutting bandsaw affectionately dubbed the “big ass bandsaw”. It reliably chews through just about anything you can imagine, including MacBook laptops

Bandsaws like this can be had at Northern Tool, Harbor Freight, or even Amazon. But one universal problem is that even though they’re supposed to be semi-portable, the wheels on the stock bases are unidirectional. So you can’t really move them around without having to physically pick one end up. And they weigh hundreds of pounds.

We solved that problem, and a couple more, by building a mobile platform that works like a charm!

Built Like A Brick… House

Our new base is fabricated out of extremely heavy 2″ tubular steel with 1/8″ wall thickness. The top was cut from a sheet of 1/4″ steel, as were the bottom wheel support sections. The frame of this base could support thousands of pounds. The only limiting factor is the load capacity of the wheels (in this case 1,000 pounds).

The additional heft of the base helps give the overall tool more stability by lowering the center of gravity, though to save some material, the wheel supports were cut from the top in an area that would fall under the bandsaw! (Steel is very expensive!)

Rather than cutting large holes for the wheels to mount and threading nuts and bolts through them we used our Mag Drill to drill directly into the base and tapped the holes so the bolts thread directly into the steel plate and tubular steel.

The wheels are all locking swivel casters, with the added bonus that they lock directionally.

More Problems Solved!

One other problem these bandsaws have is that although they are supposed to be able to operate either horizontally or vertically, when they are lifted into the vertical position they tend to flip over! All of the weight is on one end, and raising just a little too fast can result in damage and / or injury. This was solved by ensuring that our new base protruded under the vertical position.

Finally, the additional height of the base and wheels means we no longer have to bend over uncomfortably to cut material on the bandsaw! All in all, it’s a worthy hack for any horizontal bandsaw. 🙂

We use ours daily for cutting all kinds of things in the shop, like the railroad spikes used in our newly released Texas Star Coat Rack!

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