# The humble Port-A-Band

### Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes.com:

#### Winginit

##### Well-Known Member
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) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mavM220SV0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJJBYPK3WYk Last edited: #### BJC ##### Well-Known Member HBA Supporter When was that motor made? BJC #### Little Scrapper ##### Well-Known Member HBA Supporter Log Member 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)

View attachment 57110 View attachment 57111 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mavM220SV0

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. 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. #### Winginit ##### Well-Known Member 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. #### Little Scrapper ##### Well-Known Member HBA Supporter Log Member 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.

View attachment 57145
You must have a big shop. That's a pretty stout saw.

#### Kevin N

##### Well-Known Member
OK, are we going to start showing off our saws?

HBA Supporter
Log Member
Sure.

#### Kevin N

##### Well-Known Member
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.

#### Attachments

• 67.1 KB Views: 28

HBA Supporter
Log Member

#### Winginit

##### Well-Known Member
You must have a big shop. That's a pretty stout saw.
Decent size. The only real negative to the saw is that it isn't portable, but I make do anyway ! :gig:

Kevin's got a nice shop there, populated with lots of good stuff too. I noticed your shop has a nice checkerboard floor.
I could never have a nice floor like that in my shop. I guess it depends a lot on what all a person does there. Mine tends to
gets lots of hot stuff ,oil, chemicals, frog turds, etc . What I hate most is when I spill gasoline and the sealer raises up and
Becomes glue for a day or two. But it eventually goes away.

#### Little Scrapper

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Decent size. The only real negative to the saw is that it isn't portable, but I make do anyway ! :gig:

Kevin's got a nice shop there, populated with lots of good stuff too. I noticed your shop has a nice checkerboard floor.
I could never have a nice floor like that in my shop. I guess it depends a lot on what all a person does there. Mine tends to
gets lots of hot stuff ,oil, chemicals, frog turds, etc . What I hate most is when I spill gasoline and the sealer raises up and
Becomes glue for a day or two. But it eventually goes away.
My situation is unique. My shop is for my plumbing business and I made room to build a Cassutt inside it as well as my motorcycle addiction. It's about 900 square ft and has a bathroom and utility room. Customers come inside and we review construction plans etc so I keep it clean, hence the floors. the flooring is industrial VCT from Armstrong and I get oil and metal chips on it all the time. I just clean and wax it when required.

It's tight but I'm happy because it's a tax expense and a lot of fun. My shop is blast to work in even though it's small. Many people work in a tight garage so I feel blessed.

I rebuilt my shop to accomodate a Cassutt and I'm still waiting for final occupancy actually.

#### Kevin N

##### Well-Known Member
Same here, when I squirt brake kleen and some of it gets on the sealed floor it gets sticky. After it dries up its smooth again like nothing happened, which is a good thing. Sealer sure makes for easier sweeping, which I get to do a lot of.

#### Mark Z

##### Well-Known Member
The smartest move I made was sealing my hangar floor. Just wipe it up!

#### Winginit

##### Well-Known Member
My situation is unique. My shop is for my plumbing business and I made room to build a Cassutt inside it as well as my motorcycle addiction. It's about 900 square ft and has a bathroom and utility room. Customers come inside and we review construction plans etc so I keep it clean, hence the floors. the flooring is industrial VCT from Armstrong and I get oil and metal chips on it all the time. I just clean and wax it when required.

It's tight but I'm happy because it's a tax expense and a lot of fun. My shop is blast to work in even though it's small. Many people work in a tight garage so I feel blessed.
View attachment 57155

View attachment 57156

I rebuilt my shop to accomodate a Cassutt and I'm still waiting for final occupancy actually.
Shop looks pretty Kool, and I love the little Christmas tree. Tell me thats NOT your skateboard though.

"Crash course" in applied physics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZeJ7CcyKkM

Last edited:

#### Little Scrapper

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
I'm 45 and still skate vert ramps and bowls.

That skateboard I got from pro skater Steve Caballero. He won the Vans Tour 15 years ago with that board. That is the actual personal board he used to win the competition.

I've been hitting ramps for 35 years. I grew up with a full half pipe in the back yard.

#### Little Scrapper

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Steve Caballero

My oldest son Henry.

When I got it my Son freaked. Couldn't believe it. Instead of hanging it up we took it out and hit a skate park. Felt pretty good although my board feels better. Lol.

#### Kevin N

##### Well-Known Member
I recently took down my sons half pipe in the back of the shop. It was torn up anyway. He moved on to lifted 4 wheel drives and girls. I like the athleticism of the skaters but the culture is not anything I want to be around. My son kept his visiting skaters in check. "pull up your pants and don't call my dad dude".

#### Little Scrapper

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
I'm not sure what you mean by culture but my son and I have a blast. The skate parks here are full.of really good kids. I seem to be the only parent that skates though, which is funny sometimes.

One of the best secrets to life I've ever learned was to never let the old man in. You can feel him creeping in, biting at your heels. Don't let that SOB in, I'll skate till I'm either dead or my legs don't work. Every single skate friend I had growing up stop skating, got fat, lost the mojo to a bag of potato chips. Screw that, life is too dam short.