Motor choice for home-made bandsaw...

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by Cosmicsniper posted 11-06-2012 06:56 PM 3782 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3124 days

11-06-2012 06:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: motor home made bandsaw wendel matthias

Okay, LJs:

The recent postings about home-made bandsaws made me look more closely at Matthias’ site and videos, so I have purchased those plans and will probably give it a go!

I will probably opt for a 3hp 220v motor. Matthias told me via email that he thinks 2hp is enough, but the design should be fine with 3hp. I want the extra power for resawing and I do not want to dedicate another 110v line solely for the bandsaw.

I’ve been looking on eBay and Craigslist for the typical GE, Baldur, and Leeson motors, but have also seen motors like Marathon Electric (Tractor Supply Co.) and Smith & Jones (Harbor Freight). I’m inclined to do something super reliable, like the Baldors and Leesons, but the temptation is great for cheap.

I’m particularly wondering about your opinions about the type of motor required. Compressor duty or farm-rated? 1750 rpm geared at 1:1 or 3400 rpm reduced 1:2? Any concerns that YOU would have that I am overlooking?

-- jay,

7 replies so far

View Loren's profile (online now)


10262 posts in 3613 days

#1 posted 11-06-2012 07:09 PM

I’ve had some Marathon motors and they worked fine.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2936 days

#2 posted 11-06-2012 07:29 PM

Need to know which size saw you are building to say which speed motor is best.
Mathias has plans for a 16” and a 14”.
My initial response would be a 3400 RPM and reduce it as needed via the drive pulley ratios.

You want a blade speed of ~ 1600 FPM for non ferrous metal cutting and ~ 3000 FPM for wood.

IE: 14” diameter wheel spinning at ??? RPM is = 3000 FPM?
(14 x pi ) /12 = 3.66 ft per revolution.
3000 FPM / 3.66 = 820 RPM required speed of 14” wheel.
With a 3400 RPM motor you need a 4.15:1 ratio to get 820 RPM
A 2” motor pulley and a 8.3” wheel pulley would do that.

A 1750 RPM motor would be better.
Would need roughly a 2.1:1 ratio.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3124 days

#3 posted 11-06-2012 09:01 PM

Thanks guys!

I’ll be building the 16” for cutting wood, Michael. Thanks for the math. I’m figuring a 4.81:1 ratio in that case for a 3450rpm motor. That’s a pretty big pulley on the wheel if I go with a 2” motor pulley. I’m thinking 1750 RPM makes more sense.

Thanks for the help on that!

-- jay,

View Wally331's profile


350 posts in 1990 days

#4 posted 11-09-2012 02:29 AM

Hi, first post here, but I have just recently finished my home-made bandsaw from Matthias’s plans, I just got done writing the article as we speak! Well anyways for some advise on the motor, currently I have only a 1/3 hp motor on the saw and it will cut through 5/4 maple pretty easily still with only a 1/4 inch blade. I would definitely recommend 1hp through, for most resawing tasks 1hp will be enough, especially on the wooden bandsaw. You can go up to 2hp, but I can’t image myself ever having to need power like that.

Also I wanted to say that I’m using a 3 inch pulley on the motor and maybe and 11 inch ish pulley on the wheel.

- Chris

View woodworker59's profile


560 posts in 2166 days

#5 posted 11-09-2012 02:39 AM

I will agree with the post above concerning the Marathon motors, I have had a couple of them and have no complaints… have one running my band saw right now and has not given me any reason to look elsewhere.. make sure to post some pics of the band saw when finished.. Papa

-- Papa...

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2808 days

#6 posted 11-09-2012 02:47 AM

My Matthias design 16” saw has a 1 1/2HP variable speed motor I salvaged from an old Shopsmith. I have resawed through 11 1/2” pecan with no problems. So I’d say that is more than enough.
If possible, I do recommend some kind of variable speed system. I could work mine without variable speed, but having the ability to speed it up when needed makes life easier.


View MrRon's profile


4717 posts in 3209 days

#7 posted 11-10-2012 08:30 PM

Don’t forget Baldor motors are now made in China. I would go with HF or one from

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics