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I Forge Iron

Harbor Freight portaband mod

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Here's a cheap new addition to my shop that has made life easier.  I took a Harbor Freight portaband and converted it to serve as a bench bandsaw for cutting out handle profiles and trimming blade profiles.  Works a lot faster and with more control than an abrasive cutoff wheel in an angle grinder.




I built it to clamp in my vice.  I took off the carrying handle and laid out the holes on a piece of angle iron, ground some clearance for the handle, and bolted it back together.  Clamp it up in the vice and it's at a nice working height.




Since it's built to be hand held, it didn't come with a cutting table, just a little stop to butt up against the piece you're cutting.  I took a small piece of plate and used the saw itself to cut out a square.  I then detached the stop, laid out the holes on a piece of angle iron, welded it on the plate, and cut the notch for the blade with my chop saw.




Nothing is modified on the saw itself and everything can be taken off easily to take the saw back if it burns out (yes, I got the warranty).  It works well and was darn cheap.  I run it at full speed ever since trying low speed and letting some of the smoke that motors run on leak out.  :D


An example of its work:





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  • 5 months later...

Great idea.  It will take the place of my horizontal band saw that I rarely use.  But, I'm not clear on how you attached the table and how it's kept stationary, level and securely attached.  I'm a picture guy so if you could take a few photos that would help.  Thanks.

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One thing I found out about the HF warranty though is it's a one shot exchange.  So if you exercise the option to exchange something the new item no longer carries that same warranty unless you buy the same warranty again, which they give you the option to do so.  I found this out when I returned a DC inverter welder when it began action strangely.  That and if you decided before your 90 days are up you want to return the item, whatever money the warranty cost you are out of.


I like the profile of your knives btw, might have to do some like that.

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