I finished cleaning up the upper guide post and blocks and replaced the upper thrust bearing. This was all pretty simple stuff after doing the others already.
I put it all back together and ran it. Everything seemed to be pretty good, but there was a fair amount of vibration in the lower wheel pulley and it looked like the upper wheel was pretty wobbly too.
I was concerned about the upper wheel since I’d been banging on the upper wheel bearings so hard to get them out. I picked up a nice cast-iron pulley. This one is only 6” vs. the 8” original pulley, but the 6” one was only about $17 on amazon and anything bigger was going to run more like $55. The change in blade speed is insignificant, so I decided to go with the smaller wheel and save the money. It arrived after just a few days and made a HUGE difference in the vibration on the saw.
I also added the link belt. The decision to go with the link belt was driven primarily by the fact that I’m not 100% sure I”m keeping this motor on it and want to make sure that any future motor won’t require the purchase of a new belt as well. This gives me flexibility. Also allowed me to buy the smaller pulley without worrying about the size of the belt I have.
In the meantime I had made another call to Louis Iturra to verify a few questions I had about the entire thing.
1. I asked about that extra shim that appeared to be for the upper wheel. He said it should be placed behind the wheel (shim, wheel, nut, in that order). The only purpose of the shim is to prevent the wheel from scraping on the back of the upper wheel cover. He said if there’s no scraping, then not to worry about it. I put the shim on anyway.
2. I asked about the fact that the new upper wheel bearings didn’t snugly press against the spacer that goes in between them. He said this also wasn’t a big deal. But if I wanted to attempt to press the bearings in deeper, to use a large socket or something that would only put pressure on the outer edge of the bearing and not the inner edge(s). I decided that they were fine as-is, being flush with the wheel hub.
3. I asked about the wheel wobble and if it was something I should be concerned about or if it was possibly something caused by the fact that the new bearings weren’t seating all the way in. He said that the wheels aren’t necessarily machined to be perfectly flat. He said the only machined parts are the hole for the bearings and the groove that holds the tire in place around the outer edge of the wheel. The rest is cast. At first I didn’t understand what the significance of any of this was. So I just mumbled something and hoped it would sink in at some point down the road. Which it did. He was implying that the groove that holds the tire and the hole that holds the bearings are the only really important parts of the wheel. If they are aligned, then the rotation of the wheel at the shaft (point of rotation) will align with the rotation of the tire, and by extension the rotation of the blade. So the blade will run true if the groove that holds the tire is aligned with the center of the wheel. Granted, there are a lot of other variables here, such as, “what if the wheel is oval and not round?” but his point was that there are some variations in the wheel itself that were considered acceptable and therefore should be an issue in running the blade straight.
4. The new Iturra Tension Spring came with a guide on how to set the spring tension, but it is a little confusing. So I wanted to verify with him exactly what the grid meant. The short version is that the spring (in theory) allows you to set the tension to the original gauge marks on the tensioner and it will be reasonably accurate. In other words, if you have a 1/2” blade, you can set the built-in tensioner to 1/2” and it should be tensioned correctly. I know there are a lot of threads on this topic, so I won’t comment on whether this is a good way to do it or not, but I wanted to relay the information as I heard it. Bear in mind Iturra sells a lot of gadgets for checking tension so I’m sure this using the built-in tension guide is far from perfect.
So after getting it all set up (I followed the Snodgrass video), I was ready to go. Only issue was that I didn’t really have any specific use for the saw now that I was done getting it ready to use. I’ve just been looking and looking for months (almost a year) for the right saw, primarily knowing that when I did need it, I’d be glad to have it. But after all this effort I wanted to do something. So I knocked out this bandsaw box. Took about 15 minutes. I used a scrap of 4×4 (doug fir I think) that was about 6” long. Not the prettiest work I’ve done, but was a good exercise in using the box. The crack on the front is just a crack that ran through the wood. Since I was just messing around, I didn’t pay much attention to the quality of lumber (or the workmanship for that matter).
If anyone is reading this to try to get some answers on assembly, disassembly, whatever, feel free to comment or shoot me a PM. I have lots and lots of photos so if you need some “before” pictures to know how something goes together, I may have a shot of what you need that I can provide.
-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ