Bandsaw upgrade, part 1

(Part 1 of a proposed 3)

It’s starting to finally feel like fall in Georgia, and that means less work out in the shop since it’s not heated, or particularly well insulated. The insulation part I hope to have remedied by next winter, but we’ll see. That involves getting the low side jacked up and on a skid, then putting insulation under the floor, since I’m sure there’s not any. Plus, a new window and new doors. I think everything but getting it level is realistic, and could probably get done this winter if I really set my mind to it. But the point is, I’m not going to be doing a bunch of projects out there for a few months. So my attention is turning to continuing the shop reorganization and some upgrades to some of my tools.

I have a Central Machinery 14″ bandsaw. This is a decent basic bandsaw, but at the price point it’s lacking in a couple of things that the pricier versions have. One of those things is a decent power switch.

On the CM, the power switch is located on the base, a very awkward position to turn on. I suppose one could use their foot to turn it off, but it’s not natural. So, I ordered a push-button paddle switch from MCLS. There’s already mounting holes for it, since the saw is a copy/same thing of the other 14″ import saws elsewhere available. Installation is fairly straight-forward, but can be time consuming thanks to the strain reliefs and any holes you might want to thread it through. A thirty minute job can stretch into two hours easily when you figure out you have to backtrack some to get one little connector on. And so it did for me, although it turned into two days because I had almost finished when it got too dark. Then I almost finished again when it was time to eat lunch.

The switch is located on the C-arm of the saw, between elbow and shoulder height. Much more usable, and it comes with a paddle off switch, and a lockout for the on position. Meaning, you have to pull the paddle out and then hit the on button for it to work.

What I did was I removed the stock switch from the base, and disconnected all the wires. The power cord connects to one side with a standard 16/3 cord, as does the wire to the motor. I completely removed the power portion (to the wall) and set it aside. I purchased some additional 16/3 cord and used it to extend the (from) motor cord up to the new switch position. I utilized a predrilled hole near where the cord would exit the stand for ground. I ran it up to the new switch and connected both cords up. I utilized one of the mounting holes for a ground. I realize I technically have two grounds, but it doesn’t affect operation. I left myself plenty of slack for the next upgrade to the saw, which will be done and detailed TBD. I probably could have saved a buck by buying 2 feet less of cord, but I wanted plenty to work with. I reinstalled the old switch and box to close up the hole temporarily. I need to replace the painter’s tape that is covering the holes with electrical tape. These holes were made accidentally because the instructions were poor.

Total cost of modification: $23 – switch, + $7 16/3 cord and connectors = $30

Saw upgrades to date: switch, V-belt, nylon washers for motor, zero clearance insert, cool blocks, duplicator pin.
Next up: riser block

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