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Author Topic: Building your own band mill  (Read 25572 times)

Offline bandmiller2

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Building your own band mill
« on: February 17, 2016, 06:59:01 AM »
Many of the folks here have built their own, myself included. If your the type with some metal working skill and have at least a welder and chop saw and the temperament to do a job right, you have all you need. You will get out what you put in, cobbled togather with odd parts and your product will reflect it. I built my band mill many years ago at the time cost me about $500.00 as I had a lot of stuff, hydraulic pumps and motors, valves est. There are many ways to build a mill some better than others. If you attend forestry shows you will notice most of the mill brands are alike that's no accident, it would be prudent not to deviate too far from those designs. Cantalever head, it can be done, but it adds a lot of complications, if your up to it do it. I put home built mills in three catigories light, medium, and heavy duty, mine I consider medium. Three head designs cantilever, two post, and four post, I recommend four post as it gives you the room and option to change power plants at a later date. I will get into building later but don't cheap out on the steel and parts. I have seen some crappy home builts that I would hide in the bushes and I've seen super duty mills better than you could buy. I built mine before forums, only getting ideas from mills I've seen and things I dreamed up. I've been very pleased and its paid for itself exponentially. As with many things a fella should really built two mills one to learn and one to keep with everything you want. Frank C.

Offline red oaks lumber

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2016, 12:55:39 PM »
my hat is off to anyone that builds their own mill ! i don't have the nessasary patience required >:( i would love to see pics of you guys mills.
follow your heart, the rest will happen

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2016, 07:25:24 PM »
I really should bone up on this picture posting thing, I don't even own a cell phone and would have to ask the wife where the camera is. It would sure save my trigger finger a lot of pecking. Frank C.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2016, 05:55:58 AM »
If your going to start a bandmill build first thing to do would be to look at as many mills as you can find. Take many pictures and measurements. It helps if you have a band to build the mill around. Its tempting to say I want a mill that will cut a four foot dia. logs but that length of unsupported band brings on other problems. Bands can be made any length but your better off with a common length used by common mills in your area. I had a guy that would give me his once used bands, I built my mill to use that length. 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" that's up to you I went 1 1/2" and never looked back, both will do the trick. Frank C.

Offline red oaks lumber

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2016, 07:51:34 AM »
frank
 with your skills,mastering the picture posting feat will be a breeze compared to the many things youv'e mastered in your life.  ^-^ how's that for putting pressure on you? :laugh:
follow your heart, the rest will happen

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2016, 07:18:59 PM »
Red Oaks, putters and real life nuts and bolts are two different things. When I can I'll corral my son in law, grandson is too young still fudging his rompers. Frank C.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2016, 06:30:07 AM »
The only eyes I can see through are my own and all I really know that works is what I've tried myself, your mileage may vary. Band wheels are the biggie their are automotive tires, crowned steel wheels and "VEE" sheves (pulleys). They all work. I chose tight belt vee pulleys they are the cheapest and easy to work with. Most smaller band mills use 19.5" single groove I did because it was the largest single groove Browning sold, "B" series. By the way "B" series width belts are the handiest to use. Their are many "great truths in stone" you will hear, most have a sliver of truth and sound good. One of these is 19.5" wheels overflex bands and they soon break. I've been running bands on mine for close to 15 years and have never broken a band. Bigger wheels are probably better but their also big bucks. I run .042 thick 1 1/2 wide bands and get long usefull life from them. I would not use .055 thick on smaller wheels. Its my belief that too much tension and forcing dull bands is what breaks them. Frank C.

Offline red oaks lumber

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2016, 08:22:03 AM »
frank
 you have a way with words which is hilarious ;D
i completely agree about tension and forcing a dull blade. running an electric motor,you can't tell when it "bogs"down like with a gasser or diesel.i have recently changed how long i run a blade before changing.it use to be every 2 hours but,now it's every hour. with a 30 hp electric i can force a super dull blade with out any real noticeable sawing defects :(
 i truly believe that running a lower tension rate will greatly increase your band life.when i had a 40 super i would watch my tension dropping as the blade was getting warmer or hotter depending what you were sawing.increase the water and the tension would rise as the blade shrank.the bigger your band wheels are the longer your blade should last as well.
follow your heart, the rest will happen

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2016, 05:08:20 PM »
Red oaks thanks for the complement mate, my problem is spelling. Your right about electric motors, their just about perfect mill power and sure easy to start when its cold. Saw and band speed droop can cause problems, you don't get that with electric. My band mill has a three phase Baldor 15 hp. I have made repeated 18" cuts and felt the motor,  barely warm. Wish I could say the same for pacific rim motors, their name plates lie. More folks with band mills should try electric, especially in buildings, low noise and no fumes. Frank C.

Offline red oaks lumber

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2016, 05:34:27 PM »
spelling ? i spell like it sounds,right or rong ;D i really didn't realize how sweet running with electric was until we started running electric.quiet,no odors,plus not messing around with fuel jugs.
you just can't go very far to do a custom saw job.the power cord dictates your distance ;D ;D
follow your heart, the rest will happen

Offline furu

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2016, 07:31:43 PM »
The other BIG limitation with electric motors on band mills is the lack of 3 phase in many/most non-industrial settings.  Some older farms had 3 phase to them but try to get your electric provider to get you three phase and if you can even get it, it is VERY expensive for the connection.  Great once you have it however.
 A phase converter is always an option but the HP loses in your motor are pretty steep from everything I have read (could be wrong)
Integrity is not just doing the right thing.
Integrity is not just doing the right thing when no one is looking.
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one else will ever even know.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2016, 05:52:57 AM »
The largest commonly available single phase motor is 10hp. I would go out on a limb and say that would equal a 25hp gas engine and be enough power for a light or medium band mill. My milling machine is three phase but I've run it 30 years with a rotary phase converter. I'am not an electrican but I don't see why other than price a fella couldn't hook up two large single phase motors for more power, start one than the other. At one time I owned a 50 hp single phase motor, it ran an old cider mill, being a cheap yankee I swapped it for a steam engine when I saw the amp draw. Frank C.

Offline Stevem

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2016, 03:50:18 PM »
Rule of thumbs:

Quote
As a "rules of thumb" amps horsepower rating can be estimated to

    115 Volts motor - single-phase : 14 amps/hp
    230 Volts motor - single-phase : 7 amps/hp
    230 Volts motor - 3-phase : 2.5 amps/hp
    460 Volts motor - 3-phase : 1.25 amps/hp
Stevem
Because you can doesn't mean you should!

Offline Skymonkey1

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2016, 01:03:41 AM »
I had planned to buy, but done my research on parts and designs and found that I can build a bigger machine that will handle bigger logs for about $1200 vs $7500 if I bought one that could do a 36" X 18 ft logs. I have almost all my parts ordered and plan to start building the head and carriage this weekend and once completed I will build the track to fit it...lol. I've been a mechanic for 22 years working on the specialized railroad track maintenance equipment so this should be a breeze, hope I didn't just jinx myself...lol

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2016, 05:57:30 AM »
SM1, it should be a cake walk for you. I would build it just like a track maint. machine self propelled with a seat. Three or four cylinder Detroit diesel driving a big pump, all hydraulic. Some sections of RR track and you could make it as long as you want. Build a shed at one end of the track for storage. Make everything adjustable. To turn the log/cant have a four wheel cart with a winch on top. Roll over the log and run the cable under and hook so as to flip the log or cant to handle the big ones. Frank C.

Offline Skymonkey1

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2016, 12:58:17 PM »
Lol that's to much saw for me, to much money and work just to saw lumber to supply my furniture building hobby. On second thought that sounds like a challenge... Lol

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2016, 07:00:09 PM »
SM1, you were talking about cutting 36"x18' logs, your playing with the big boys with those requirements. My band mill will cut to 30"x18' and that's a large heavy log, well over a ton probably 1 1/2 ton. I don't think its possible to build a mill too heavy duty. Oh, double dog dare build a good one mate. Frank C.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2016, 06:37:14 AM »
The best thing I've found to build a band mill out of is new thick wall square tube. You can find square tube that will just slide over another piece that helps solve a lot of problems. Picture in your mind a letter "H" laying on the ground with long legs, in the middle you weld a plate for your engine mount. On the bottom of each leg is a pillow block bearing with a short shaft going through a vee pulley. Your band goes around on these pulleys with a belt in one side and the drive belt from your engine on the other. The engine has a centrifugal clutch with the band riding on that pulley as it goes around the pulley. more to come. Frank C.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2016, 07:44:30 PM »
Logs are heavy and we're not getting any younger, a good back is worth protecting. If your clever enough to build a functioning mill your clever enough to include a  hydraulic log turner. Don't get sucked into low voltage devices like wheel chair motors and cutsy little toggle switchs they don't feed the bulldog. Hydraulics cylinders and motors are the way to go their strong and weatherproof. A two plain clamp will do all functions or the Piney woods turner. Two plain is easier to understand and build, its all I use to clamp and turn. This is my opinion for what its worth, a prominent manufacturer uses a lot of low voltage devices but if you research forums their are alot of problems you just don't get with a spool valve and hydraulic motor. In industry when theirs heavy work to be done its with hydraulics. Frank C.

Offline Skymonkey1

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2016, 10:16:27 PM »
Yep I understand about the heavy logs, the main reason I want this capability is solely for cutting stuff like tree roots for tables and such. I don't have the equipment to handle big ole monster logs. Hydraulics for turning and clamping is a definite add on later, I do hydraulics and electrical for a living and understand them very well (except schematics, I suck at reading them). I was really hoping to start building this weekend but some of the key parts won't be in because of the weather further north so next weekend is when the magic will happen. My best buddy and the other mechanic that I work with runs a metal working shop in his free time, he is helping me with this build in his shop and he's as good with metal as I am with wood (novice 😂). Oh and the reason I'm doing a 20 foot track is because when I go buy metal, it comes in 20 foot sticks so I thought I'd just go ahead and make it 20 foot because it's a stationary unit that's going to be low to the ground to make it easier to load it. I have a ton of stuff to learn about sawing and mills in general so I'm very appreciative of you taking the time to volunteer your info, I hadn't even considered adding hydraulics but it would be a simple and back saving idea to add them and for me it will be fairly cheap to because the company I work for has recently replaced a bunch of our old equipment that they don't even have anymore but we have lots of spare parts for that will eventually end up in the scrap bin so it's a win for me.

Offline Skymonkey1

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2016, 10:30:37 PM »
I do have one question that I am just diving into, how important are blade guides? Is it something I can get by without for a little while cutting small stuff or is it something I need to add while building? This project is going to be way cheaper and better then buying outright. I have nearly everything ordered except the metal which I'm picking up sometime next week and I'm at $825 so far and have just about everything I need including a brand new 13 hp engine and 18.75" sheaves for the band wheels and the centrifugal clutch. I'm very excited about this project...lol

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2016, 05:57:54 AM »
SM1, I have never tried cutting without saw guides. They perform a couple of important functions they press down stabilizing and leveling the band and the flange keeps the band from being pushed off the wheels by knots or something that pinches the band. I made my first saw guides from small sealed ball bearings two togather underneath and one behind the band. I upgraded to Cooks guides with flanges. One guide is usually fast and the one on your side of the mill moveable, you want the least amount of unsupported band. You could try without guides I'am sure some have but they should be in your future plans. Frank C.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2016, 06:06:52 AM »
SM1, your 13hp engine will turn the trick. You will be best off with 1 1/4" wide bands. I would not have any parasitic loads on your engine, you will need all those ponies to pull the band. When and if you decide to have hydraulics I would run the pump with 110/220 motor. Frank C.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2016, 06:44:35 AM »
The band mill saw head must travel on some sort of track the best I've found and the cheapest is angle iron. Angle iron with the Vee up (^) and Vee groove castor wheels to ride on it. 1 1/2x 1/4" seems to be just about right. Frank C.

Offline HaroldCR - AKA Fla.-Deadheader

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Re: Building your own band mill
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2016, 08:17:12 AM »

 Frank has good info on this bandmill building, so, I will start adding options, seeing as how I am building a repurposed metal bandmill, using used "I" beams and an old metal frame I bough cheap for heavy angle and channel. It's not ideal, but, free/cheap left over metal is good for me.

 I need to get photos before I start sawing, so, if Frank agrees, I can add here or start another thread.

 It's raining today, so, I need to get a bench table built for my homemade metal lathe, so, may as well get that started. Soon as I get the crate, I need to get my wind turbine and water turbine built. Got a few projects going on here.  ::) ;D