Porter Cable 14" Bandsaw

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  • dbhost
    replied
    While I am not about to unplug all my stationary tools when I close up shop for the day, I do have a dedicated sub panel with a main breaker I simply throw off. So far so good, My power switch upgrade on the band saw was for usability and osteoarthritis of the back issues, not due to any fault. I just didn't want to stoop to turn the saw on and off...

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  • nicer20
    commented on 's reply
    All of this makes sense. While most power tools with rudimentary motors etc. which are not running might be more resilient to power line surges or spikes etc. anything powered with electronic power supplies will be quite susceptible - One prime candidate would be Battery chargers for all these cordless tools.

    Also, regarding using a circuit breaker for turning off ceiling mounted appliances: I would recommend installing a separate switch. I don't believe Circuit Breakers are designed for cycling on and off regularly as a switch. Just my $0.02

  • mpc
    commented on 's reply
    I also unplug everything at the end of the day. I have an overhead air filter unit - operated by a remote control - that had an electronics issue early in its life. Any device with electronic on/off or remote controls is always drawing power (called "vampire power"). If something goes wrong with those electronics you can have signifcant electrical energy being wasted and significant heat build-up in the device. Such a device located in a shop building could be smouldering for days before you go out there again and notice something is amiss. In my case, I heard a humming from the overhead dust filter... when I felt the metal casing it was rather warm. The humming was the main motor being fed improper energy; it thus was not turning and instead got really hot. I had been in the habit of unplugging stuff before that incident but, because this thing was ceiling mounted, unplugging it was impractical. Now I turn the circuit breaker OFF for that circuit at the end of each day. Another reason to unplug everything, besides power surges, is safety of people/kids going into the shop. My shop building is locked when not in use but having everything unplugged adds another safety layer. I also run table saw blades below the table; I tend to pile stuff on the table saw sometimes (who doesn't need more work surfaces?) so having the blade tucked away means I won't damage wood or my hands dragging stuff across the blade. (Yes, I have and use the blade guard when possible but often it is not installed because of the last cut... I do have a riving knife that is installed for such cuts.)

    With the tool unplugged as I enter the shop, that is also a reminder "first use of the day" when I plug it in... so it's a reminder to do the safety checklists. Bit/blade changes should always be done with the tool unplugged (or the battery removed) so unplugging the tool at the end of the day makes it ready for whatever blade change might be needed next time. It'd be quite easy to "forget" the tool is plugged in when swapping blades/bits, at least in my case.

    mpc
    Last edited by mpc; 05-18-2022, 04:35 PM.

  • capncarl
    replied
    Another thing that I do and encourage others to do is to unplug the tool when I lock up the shop. The reason I do this is the risk of electrical spikes caused by lightning or transformer problems. While it is not a common problem I have lost several air conditioners, TVs and a couple of microwaves due to close by lightning strikes, and one that took out every electrical device that was plugged in when the power company did something with their transmission lines. It may never happen again but it is less likely to happen if the tool is unplugged.

    About releasing the blade tension, I do that religiously and when I unplug the cord for the night I drape the cord over the back of the saw so by chance I might actually tension the blade when I plug it in for the next use! About half the time I forget and start up the saw with the blade relaxed….. and I get to go through the motions of putting the band back on the wheels!

    I’m not sure how much difference it makes by releasing the tension, if it lengthens the band weld life or not. But I do know that when the band breaks it can scare the heck out of you. If you are really concentrating on your cut and it breaks you probably will have to go clean up and change your clothes.

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  • dbhost
    commented on 's reply
    The Carter release is REALLY nice but cost more than my Grizzly piece together the service parts version, and you still have to drill and tap into the cast iron frame I think. There is a guy on youtube that made a spinner for his OE handle / knob to make it easier to tension / detension. And yes I forgot to detension a blade for far too long and caused the weld to fail...

  • nicer20
    replied
    Thank you so much mpc - Great insights. Got to get into these habits. I am going to print the Bandsaw checklist and stick it next to the bandsaw. For now just rushed to the garage and unwound the tension by 5 turns. Hopefully not much damage done between Saturday and now

    I have run into no. 9 a few times with my table saw cross cut -

    Now I have to also add the tension release for my belt sander, coping saw and hacksaw

    Thanks a million for all the guidance.

    Last edited by nicer20; 05-17-2022, 07:09 PM. Reason: Noticed my post got this weird metalink when I used the # sign in front of no. 9.

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  • nicer20
    commented on 's reply
    Thanks - I will definitely read through that thread "Hot Rodding the Central Machinery Rockler Coping Sled Band Saw" !! For now just rushed to the garage and unwound the tension by 5 turns.

  • mpc
    replied
    Yup, de-tension the saw when it won't be used for several hours. Otherwise the tires get distorted: the crown slowly gets flattened out and the portion of the tire actually subjected to the overnight blade tension develops a flat spot, similar to how tires on trailers that sit for months at a time end up D-shaped. That D-shape will lead to increased vibration. Bandsaw tire damage does not occur quickly - forgetting to release tension one night is not going to kill them for example - but leaving them tensioned for several days or between weekends will make a noticeable difference. Letting the saw run with moderate tension for a few minutes will undo some of the damage.

    Your idea to back off the adjuster a specific number of turns is a commonly recommended technique. It's a good habit to get into. Having some sort of reminder to re-tension the saw is good too; after the first time you turn it ON with no tension you'll never make that mistake again! On some bandsaws, especially the small and medium sized Euro frame saws, the tension knob sits loosely on the shaft so you can simply lift it off and rest it on the table when the saw is de-tensioned. Larger saws with the tension knob hanging from below the upper wheelhouse can't do this... and most "Delta" style (cast iron "C" frame saws) don't have removable knobs either. My practice is to wind the power cord around the tension knob on my small bandsaw, and around the quick-release lever on the larger bandsaw, at the end of each day.

    It is a good habit to release tension on any tool with a tensioning mechanism: belt sanders, scroll saws, coping saws, hacksaw blades, etc. Leaving things tensioned subjects the tool structure to a continuous stress that could, over time, cause it to bend/flex out of shape. Continuous tension on sanding belts can cause the glue/tape at the seam to weaken and fail prematurely too. As you put away such tools at the end of a workday, release the tension.

    Another good habit to get into, with any power tool, is a mental checklist before turning the tool ON each time. Airline pilots, even though they fly the same type of airplane over and over, have paper or electronic checklists of things to do before every major operation: before starting the engines, before taxiing, before starting the takeoff run, before starting the descent, before landing. Such checklists reduce the possibility of overlooking something and help get your mind on the job at hand. A bandsaw checklist might be something like:

    1. Is the blade tension correct?
    2. Manually spin the upper wheel: is the blade is tracking properly? If the tracking is different than normal (e.g. the blade is suddenly riding close to the front or rear edge of the lower wheel when it normally runs in the center) then something has loosened, broken, or otherwise fallen out of adjustment on the saw and you need to fix it before using the saw.
    3. Are the guide assemblies a) tight, b) adjusted properly, c) the blade isn't contacting the guides when tensioned but not making a cut, d) guide bearings actually spin freely when you move them by hand.
    4. Is the table tilt mechanism properly locked?
    5. Is the pin, bar, bolt, whatever, that holds the table level/flat across the blade change slot properly installed?
    6. Are all doors and blade guards closed and locked?
    7. Have an adjustable base on the tool? If so, is it in the locked position? For benchtop tools, is the tool properly clamped/bolted in place? This is especially important if you plan to work with large/heavy workpieces that will cantilever off the bandsaw table.
    8. Is the throat insert installed properly: not rubbing on the blade and flush with the tabletop? It is not uncommon for the insert to be pushed upwards during blade changes... thus it becomes a forward-facing step blocking your workpiece.
    9. Look at your workpiece size - is there enough infeed and outfeed clearance? It sucks to be part-way through a cut and find your workpiece smacking into a wall or other object.
    10. Got your safety gear on? Eye and hearing protection, dust mask. Are any necessary push sticks or push blocks nearby?
    11. Is the dust collection hooked up, and are the blast gates open? Forgetting to open the appropriate blast gates, and closing all other gates, is a common oops. Is the dust collector ON?


    That checklist is most applicable to the first-use of the bandsaw each day or after blade changes. Once you know the saw is still healthy, subsequent uses that same day can skip to step 9. The owners manual for a tool likely has similar safety checklists or steps. Example: For a lathe, double-check the locking levers for the tailstock, the banjo, and the tool rest are tight, then rotate the workpiece by hand to make sure it clears the tool rest, are commonly recommended checklist steps before turning the lathe ON each time.

    Another good habit to get into is to never store a tool, or even leave it on the workbench overnight, in a "half ready" state. A prime example is stopping part-way through a blade or bit change: either remove the blade/bit or completely finish the changing job including guide adjustments. Starting a table saw, circular saw, or router with a not-tight blade/bit is hazardous! It's too easy to pick up a tool that "looks ready to use" and forget that you still need to tighten the blade lock nut or router bit collet until it's too late. Airline mechanics have big red tags to hang on jobs left unfinished... just to make sure the job gets finished before the airplane is flown again. Pilots, during the pre-flight walk-around, can easily spot these tags and know "this airplane is not ready for service!" People working with power tools and sharp bladed instruments need similar processes to remind them of a not-quite-ready-to-use situation. Having the blade or bit not installed is a pretty obvious "not ready for use" indicator. Blade tension somewhat contradicts this rule: a bandsaw with an installed blade should be de-tensioned prior to overnight storage... so you must remember to re-tension it prior to use. Having some sort of reminder - in my case winding the cords around tensioning knobs - helps.

    mpc
    Last edited by mpc; 05-17-2022, 05:05 PM.

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  • dbhost
    commented on 's reply
    I retrofitted my Harbor Freight bandsaw with a Grizzly G0555 tension release mechanism. Carter has one as well although it isn't cheap, it IS low risk on the install unlike the Grizzly where you have to drill and tap bolt holes in the cast iron frame... If you want to see the thread on how I modded my HF bandsaw (initially, since done other mods as well). https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...32208-band-saw

  • nicer20
    replied
    Hey all Gurus,

    One question to all of you - I adjusted the tension on my bandsaw blade as a part of tune up on Saturday.

    I read/saw some recommendations that I need to release the tension everyday after work. My saw doesn't have one of those quick release features. It seems like a pain to release the tension every time I am done using the saw for the day. That would mean I have to go back to adjusting the tension and rechecking the alignments again before I can start using the saw next time.

    Doesn't look practical to me.

    What do you guys do? Or should I just unwind the knob a certain number of turns and re-tension by winding exactly that many turns?

    Thanks in advance,

    NG

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  • nicer20
    replied
    Thanks Hank - I will check these out.

    Thanks Loring. I will explore these riser block options on the side. As far as planning on cutting taller than 6" I am not sure I will get there right now. I was not even looking into getting a bandsaw when an opportunity just presented itself. So I might need some time to outgrow the capabilities. On the other hand I am sure I will always encounter a situation that will push the limit of the tool no matter how capable it is. It will always require some thinking to overcome the limitations. But I guess that is where part of the fun is .....

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  • LCHIEN
    replied
    There may be some options for the riser block other than porter cable.
    Grizzly tool and HF in the past and other makers have copied the delta design so close that many parts are interchangeable with no or very slight mods. Some research may save you money or time. I did no do this but recall others having done so. If you don't plan on cutting anything taller than what 6 inches don't waste your time! It sounds tantalizing but in reality I never needed it.

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  • leehljp
    replied
    Throat plates available on amazon:
    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=14+inch+b...f=nb_sb_noss_1

    Several shown on that link.

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  • nicer20
    replied
    Thank you all for the guidance.

    Porter Cable won't send the missing parts for free and they are on backorder. So ordered the missing tires and a blade on Amazon. Got the setup done and tuned the saw after watching a few videos on YouTube.

    Here it is - I think it is running pretty smooth and passing the Nickel test as I read somewhere (please check the attached video).

    mpc, LCHIEN : I will look into getting the Riser Kit soon but wanted the basic saw going before plunging more $$. For now I just bought a 1/4"-6 TPI blade. Got a Bosch blade for ~$10. I hop to learn some basic stuff.

    Now got to find some basic projects to make wife happy - (just kidding I am lucky - she is pretty cool !!).

    PS - I think the first thing I should make is the missing throat plate which is anyway is also out of stock so can't buy.
    Attached Files

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  • nicer20
    commented on 's reply
    Thanks - currently trying to find out the missing parts from PC. Will also ask about the riser block kit. BTW, The power safety insert in the switch is missing too - mentioning this in case you have one of your nifty workarounds :-) TIA.
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