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Thread: The humble Port-A-Band

  1. #16
    Registered User Joe Fisher's Avatar
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    Glad you guys brought this up I have been thinking of a metal cutting band saw and hadn't thought of one of these. Went to Orschlands and was impressed I will save up for one.

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  3. #17
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    For you builders reading this it pays to buy quality when buying a port-a-band. Some of the offshore brands are just not worth the headache. If the price of a good one gives you sticker shock think of the term, "buy once, cry once".

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  5. #18
    Registered User Little Scrapper's Avatar
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    I'm a big fan of the "cry once" mantra like Kevin said.

    Just to reinforce what Kevin said about quality, I can tell you this......

    Before I opened my own plumbing business I was a Forman who had between 20 & 40 guy crews running high rises and hospitals. As you can imagine we had a lot of tools to make this happen. Of all the different tools that make up a job site the Milwaukee brand Port-a-band was pretty much the toughest tool on the site. Each plumber had one and each plumber abused the hell out of them daily. They are about as bullet proof as it gets.

    Things may have changed but I remember 2 different sizes. Get the bigger one. Blades are cheap.

  6. #19
    Registered User Joe Fisher's Avatar
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    At the Orschlands They had Milwaukee and DeWalt. The Milwaukee has a trigger and a button that both have to be pushed to turn it on. The DeWalt just has a trigger. I really hate these stupid tools that need both my finger and thumb to operate. Also I expect to put it in a vice and mostly use it stationary, so I would just rap a rubber band around the trigger most of the time.

  7. #20
    Registered User billyvray's Avatar
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    When using mine as a stationary saw, I clamp the handle in a vise on the bench, and use a spring clamp to hold the trigger. I've seen guys wire in a foot pedal but that seems overkill to me. The clamp works great.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Fisher View Post
    At the Orschlands They had Milwaukee and DeWalt. The Milwaukee has a trigger and a button that both have to be pushed to turn it on. The DeWalt just has a trigger. I really hate these stupid tools that need both my finger and thumb to operate. Also I expect to put it in a vice and mostly use it stationary, so I would just rap a rubber band around the trigger most of the time.

  8. #21
    Registered User Winginit's Avatar
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    While I normally think its not worthwhile to make some power tools, I'd like to offer a cheap exception to my self-imposed rule. First I'd like to say that the port-a-bandsaw is a heckuva tool and will provide you with long service even when abused. Like Scrap says, it will do a lot of things and get you through a lot of difficult and hard to reach/hard to get to/and hard to cut situations. If used for what it is designed for, it will last a long time even if abused.
    What it is not designed for is to be used as a vertical saw. The clearance for the excess stock often won't clear body of the saw. The continual running to make long cuts will eventually wear themotor, brushes and moving components out, and you will have ruined a very very very handy tool. Yes you can use it occassionally as an upright, but I don't think you should depend on it for that kind of cutting. As rugged as they are, its asking a little bit much to hold up over time doing that. There are cheap cut-off saws that can be had which will stand straight up and can be used for a vertical bandsaw. Used ones can be found cheaply. The alternative I'm going to offer is a combination of a 10 speed bicycle and a cheap wood bandsaw. You can buy the used wood bandsaws for $100- $150 all the time with little use on them. Just about everybody has an old 1/2 hp motor stashed somewhere. If done properly you can disconnect the gearing and use it with higher speed wood blades, and then hook up the gears to slow it down for metal cutting. Probably $200 will get you enough stuff to build one. SAVE your expensive Port-a-band and it'll last you forever. (PS you might check the pawn shops for used portaband saws. Don't buy the beat to crap ones though)

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJJBYPK3WYk
    Last edited by Winginit; December 16th, 2016 at 05:33 PM.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdY9s9kxv14

    Everything I post is just my misguided personal opinion !
    Look for Torque and you will find HP !

  9. #22
    Registered User BJC's Avatar
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    When was that motor made?


    BJC

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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band


  11. #24
    Registered User Little Scrapper's Avatar
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    Quote Originally Posted by Winginit View Post
    While I normally think its not worthwhile to make some power tools, I'd like to offer a cheap exception to my self-imposed rule. First I'd like to say that the port-a-bandsaw is a heckuva tool and will provide you with long service even when abused. Like Scrap says, it will do a lot of things and get you through a lot of difficult and hard to reach/hard to get to/and hard to cut situations. If used for what it is designed for, it will last a long time even if abused.
    What it is not designed for is to be used as a vertical saw. The clearance for the excess stock often won't clear body of the saw. The continual running to make long cuts will eventually wear themotor, brushes and moving components out, and you will have ruined a very very very handy tool. Yes you can use it occassionally as an upright, but I don't think you should depend on it for that kind of cutting. As rugged as they are, its asking a little bit much to hold up over time doing that. There are cheap cut-off saws that can be had which will stand straight up and can be used for a vertical bandsaw. Used ones can be found cheaply. The alternative I'm going to offer is a combination of a 10 speed bicycle and a cheap wood bandsaw. You can buy the used wood bandsaws for $100- $150 all the time with little use on them. Just about everybody has an old 1/2 hp motor stashed somewhere. If done properly you can disconnect the gearing and use it with higher speed wood blades, and then hook up the gears to slow it down for metal cutting. Probably $200 will get you enough stuff to build one. SAVE your expensive Port-a-band and it'll last you forever. (PS you might check the pawn shops for used portaband saws. Don't buy the beat to crap ones though)

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	57111 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mavM220SV0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJJBYPK3WYk
    I have a regular bandsaw. An old 40's Sears a guy was throwing out in his garbage. I was driving by and asked if I could take it. Rebuild the bushings and bearing, new belt, some paint and less then $30 it's a great saw.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I just don't use it much because the Porta Band works so well. For homebuilders there's no real long cuts that would burn it out. These porta bands run all day on job sites, there's no way a homebuilder would put it through more stress than cutting mass quantities of bundled unistrut, 4"steel pipe etc. In a commercial setting we cut sch 40 gas pipe.....all day.

    I think the biggest upright challenge would be long aluminum cuts on spars like the Sonex tail. Still, pretty short piece but accuracy within the length of cut is the larger issue. For wood? Definitely a regular bandsaw.

    A hobbiest builds 1 airplane and the cuts are short for the most part.

    With that said, a regular bandsaw in used condition is pretty cheap overall. The problem many face is room or ability to share tools in a garage. The porta Band will do most things a hobbiest builder will need.

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  13. #25
    Registered User Winginit's Avatar
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    Quote Originally Posted by BJC View Post
    When was that motor made?


    BJC
    I have no idea. That was a picture of someone elses solution to an inexpensive bandsaw. I was just putting it out there for other builders to see. I have a Powermatic that I bought at auction and converted the motor to single phase. I also picked up a Craftsman wood saw off Craigslist for $125 that I use for wood cutting. That way I don't have to switch blades back and forth. The Craftsman will always be worth at least $100 to someone if I ever decide to resell it, so it really costs nothing to have it around. Its really handy for just quickly sawing wood or soft materials quickly.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdY9s9kxv14

    Everything I post is just my misguided personal opinion !
    Look for Torque and you will find HP !

  14. #26
    Registered User Little Scrapper's Avatar
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    Quote Originally Posted by Winginit View Post
    I have no idea. That was a picture of someone elses solution to an inexpensive bandsaw. I was just putting it out there for other builders to see. I have a Powermatic that I bought at auction and converted the motor to single phase. I also picked up a Craftsman wood saw off Craigslist for $125 that I use for wood cutting. That way I don't have to switch blades back and forth. The Craftsman will always be worth at least $100 to someone if I ever decide to resell it, so it really costs nothing to have it around. Its really handy for just quickly sawing wood or soft materials quickly.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    You must have a big shop. That's a pretty stout saw.

  15. #27
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    OK, are we going to start showing off our saws?

  16. #28
    Registered User Little Scrapper's Avatar
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    Sure.

  17. #29
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    Well I don't have a great shot of my saw but here is one to get the idea. In the back of the picture. I built a seat that is perfect height to sit in front of it and saw fittings out for hours and hours. Now, somebody,anybody post a pic of some cassutt fuselage sides.
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  18. #30
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    Re: The humble Port-A-Band

    Click image for larger version. 

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