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Have you ever had a video that you just can't edit... this was one of those. So, instead I'm just going to blog about the construction process. 3 months without a post is too long.

If you haven't seen the bandsaw stand video yet, here it is again so you can see some context for this drop down table. Here is the link. SYN Shop received this well used horizontal/vertical metal cutting bandsaw without a stand. Since I have a similar saw in my home shop, I know how useful one can be when making anything out of metal or plastic. My own saw had a stamped sheet metal table that had to be bolted on to use it in vertical mode and had to be removed if you wanted to use it in horizontal mode. This is really a chore when you're in the zone and building something.

I happened across this website in my research on modifications to the bandsaw and immediately made some of the mods to my own saw. Since I didn't need the original table anymore, it sat in my shop waiting to be upcycled. This isn't the only way to make a table like this, just my own take on it, using materials I had lying around.

Flycutting the hinge material:

Flycutter Set THUMB The Mill Setup THUMB Cutting THUMB Close Up THUMB Chips Everywhere! THUMB
The pictures show the setup of my Taig micro mill for the flycutting. The flycutting set was purchased from and is of good quality. I needed to make this block of 7075 aluminum plate 1/2" thick. This operation could have been done with an end mill as well, but the largest diameter endmill the Taig mill can hold is 3/8" so it would take longer to do.

Squaring up the edges:

The Mill Setup THUMB Cleaning Up the Top THUMB Flying Chips THUMB
I set up my Burke horizontal mill to clean up the edges of the workpiece. This is the first real job I've ever used this mill on.

Tramming the workpiece:

Tramming the Workpiece THUMB Tram Close Up THUMB
...Consequently, I totally forgot to tram the vise and the workpiece to be perpendicular to the spindle before I started rounding the edge (see below)... Luckily, I caught the error early and it didn't cause any problems.

Making the hinge:

Woodcutting Bits THUMB Rounding the First Edge THUMB First Edge Close Up THUMB First Pass Done THUMB Finishing Pass THUMB
Rounding the Other Side THUMB Squaring Up the Ends THUMB
I used a standard 1/4" shank wood router bit to round over the edges of the hinge. Most aluminum can be machined using wood bits or cut on a table saw. It's a bit like working with hardwood.

Once I finished tramming the workpiece, the cutting went smoothly. I did find out that the spindle speed was much too slow for the aluminum and the finish was a little rough on the first couple of passes. I sped up the spindle and got a much better result. This sort of thing happens when you are getting comfortable with a new(-ish) tool.

Drilling the hinge holes:

Drilling Setup THUMB Drilling Close Up THUMB
Once the edge was rounded over, I turned the vise 90 degrees to drill the hinge holes. I set up a 3/16" drill bit for the operation and went a little deep (you'll see why in the section on the hinge pins). After the holes were drilled, they were tapped 1/4-20. Aluminum is easy to tap, but always use tapping fluid. Dry tapping makes it more likely that you will break the tap off in the hole and ruin your work.

Preparing the new table:

Grinding the Holes THUMB Finished Grinding THUMB
The donor table was the one that came with my Harbor Freight horizontal/vertical bandsaw. I made a new one for home, but it seemed a shame to not re-use this for something.

The original mounting holes were pressed into a countersink for the bolts and needed to be ground flat on the back side. My plan was to weld and fill the holes, cut off the little "wing" on the side of the table and add a mount for the hinge.

Welding and filling the holes:

Close Up of Holes THUMB The MIG Welder THUMB Touch Off THUMB Detail of Weld THUMB Almost Filled THUMB
Filled Hole THUMB Starting the 2nd Hole THUMB 2nd Hole Finished THUMB All Done THUMB
With the paint cleaned off the table, the holes are ready to be filled. Using my MIG welder, I filled the holes and ground the welds flat after everything had cooled off.

Cutting the table to size:

Cutting the Table THUMB Removing the Wing THUMB Trimming to Length THUMB
Now the holes are filled and ground flat, I cut the table to size. All measurements are taken from the saw so the table won't interfere with the operation of the saw.

Installing the hinge pins:

Hinge Pin THUMB Close Up THUMB Close Up 2 THUMB Front View THUMB Pin Inset for Install THUMB
Hinge Set Into Place THUMB Pin Extended into Position THUMB Opposite Side Pin THUMB
To make the hinge pins, I took a piece of all thread (1/4" - 20) and, on my lathe, turned down the threads on one side. The adjustment slot was carefully made with a regular hacksaw. The pins were screwed into the holes and one side was inset flush to install. After the hinge was in place, I backed out the pin to create the pivot. I put some high-strength threadlock (red) on both pins before I put them in.

The hinge mount was fabricated out of the wing that I cut off the table and the tabs were bent in my bench vise. It was attached to the table top by aluminum rivets which were peened into place. They hold very well and can be replaced fairly easily should they break off from heavy use.

Finished table:

Table Down THUMB Table Up THUMB Table Up Close Up THUMB Table on the Lower Bearings THUMB Close Up of Table Up THUMB
Side View THUMB Other Side View THUMB Other Side View Up THUMB Completed Table THUMB
Here is the table attached to the lower bearings of the saw. The slot is lined up with the centerline of the bearings where the blade rides.

Installed on the saw:

Finished Table in Up Position THUMB Table Up Close Up THUMB Finished Table Down Position THUMB
Here is the finished table installed on the saw. In vertical mode, you can flip down the table and use it to hand cut metal just like with a wood bandsaw. In horizontal mode, the table flips up and out of the way. This makes it very convenient to use. After adjusting the blade so that it cuts straight, I noticed that when you flip the table down, it catches on the blade on one corner of the slot. It's a bit annoying, but doesn't take away from the usefulness of the table. You just push the blade to the side when dropping the table to use it.

1 comment

Chris Oremus's picture

by Chris Oremus on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 08:47

That was my bandsaw before donating it and it's never worked so well. It was a time wasting hassle to use before you guys at the shop fixed it up. Good work!