How can I tell what kind of belt to buy for my bandsaw?

Discussion in 'Tools' started by Flyover, Dec 14, 2018.

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  1. Dec 14, 2018 #1

    Flyover

    Flyover

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    A few years ago a friend picked up a vintage Craftsman bandsaw at a garage sale or something for like $5 and gave it to me. (If it isn't this exact same one, it's pretty darn close.) Now I finally have a project I think I could really use it for, so I want to get it working.

    Everything seems to function properly -- meaning, the motor turns on and spins fast without making any weird noises, and the bandsaw wheels turn smoothly when I move them by hand, and they can be adjusted in various ways apparently as they're meant to be -- but it needs a new blade and a belt.

    I figured out what kind of blade to buy because it already had an old rusty one I could just copy the measurements from. (Stupidly, I threw the blade out after I'd written down all the measurements. Oh well.) But it didn't come with a belt at all and I have no idea what I should be looking for.

    It seems like the length of the belt isn't too important, since within reason I can mount the motor any distance from the bandsaw that I want/is convenient, but I don't know how the belt is supposed to sit on the pulleys, so I don't know what the cross-section should look like, how wide/deep it should be, etc. and I don't know what it should be made of, if they come in different materials or flexibilities or whatever else.

    Is there an established method of determining this? And, where's the best place to find them? Menards, Home Depot, and Lowes don't seem to carry bandsaw belts at all.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Dec 14, 2018 #2

    Snoonyb

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    "V" belts are defined by the sheaves, or pulley, they operate. Set the motor in the middle of it's adjustment range and wrap a length of rope or string around them and measure the length, before you remove one of the sheaves and take it to a vendor that sells them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
  3. Dec 14, 2018 #3

    Flyover

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    When you say to measure the length, do you mean the circumference around the two pulleys and the distance between? Because like I said, that depends on where I place the motor, which I haven't decided yet. It's an independent unit and I could mount it basically anywhere.

    Right now I'm trying to figure out what the cross-section of the belt is supposed to look like, how wide/deep it should be, etc.
     
  4. Dec 14, 2018 #4

    Snoonyb

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    Don't mount the motor in the neighbors attic because you'll need several tensioning reducers.

    "you remove one of the sheaves and take it to a vendor that sells them."
     
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  5. Dec 15, 2018 #5

    nealtw

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    Just be sure the pulley on the motor has a V shape the same as the one on the saw, you can do some research on pulley sizes to get the right speed for what you are cutting. Slower for metal and fast for wood. Don't get lost in the length of the drive belt math, figure the size of the pulleys you need mount the motor with some adjustment and wrap a rope around the pulleys and measure the rope.
    The blade length is as simple as measuring the old blade or measuring with a string around the wheels in place of a blade. That saw is factory made so you should be able to buy a blade off the shelf for it.
     
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  6. Dec 15, 2018 #6

    joecaption

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    Looked all over the saw for an ID plate, with the model number you could find a parts list online.
    Vee belts also come in different widths, and they drive from the center of the shive.
    Here's a real simple calculator to use.
    http://www.calculatoredge.com/mech/vbelt length.htm
     
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  7. Dec 15, 2018 #7

    nealtw

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    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Dec 16, 2018 #8

    Eddie_T

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  9. Dec 16, 2018 #9

    nealtw

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    I spent a few years working for an outfit that sold industrial V belts, we had hundreds of feet of that stuff in 3 sizes, never saw and inch of it going over the sales counter. I always thought it would be good to have if you had a gold mine a 1000 miles from anywhere and you could make it any length but for anyone else I would find a real belt.
     
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  10. Dec 16, 2018 #10

    Eddie_T

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  11. Dec 16, 2018 #11

    nealtw

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    I think most people that replace an old wore out belt will think the new one is better.
     
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  12. Dec 17, 2018 #12

    mabloodhound

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    I have link belts on all my shop equipment; works as claimed.
     
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  13. Dec 17, 2018 #13

    Eddie_T

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    I am considering one for my lathe, the belt is tensioned by motor weight and has some vibration. At a woodworking show I saw the nickel test performed on a Kity bandsaw but I didn't think to ask what kind of belt they were using.
     
  14. Dec 17, 2018 #14

    mabloodhound

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    I have the same motor mount and put one on my lathe and vibrations are gone.
     
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  15. Dec 18, 2018 #15

    Eddie_T

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    Thanks, I am going to try it on my lathe which brand did you use?
     
  16. Dec 18, 2018 #16

    mabloodhound

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    I got mine from Rockler but check around, you may find it cheaper at Amazon or elsewhere.
     
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  17. Dec 19, 2018 #17

    Flyover

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    I saw one of those link belts at Harbor Freight. It seemed more expensive than I would have expected - something like $30. I see the one on Amazon is $40. Are normal V-belts similarly expensive?
     
  18. Dec 19, 2018 #18

    Snoonyb

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    Not usually.
     
  19. Jan 3, 2019 #19

    pjones

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    From my experience with 3L, 4L, A, and B size belts typically purchased over the counter from supply houses....
    I've found vibration caused by belts are usually because the belt seam (where the two ends join) is poorly made. In addition to the linked belt you could also consider a grooved belt. They are probably much cheeper than the linked belt and typically (I've never seen one that wasn't but the internet finds interesting things sometimes) have the advantage of being machine ground so the seam is smooth. Alternately you could source a higher quality belt but that may be hard to verify if buying online. You could try getting a matched set since those would be of high quality but then the cost will probably be creeping up closer to that 30-50 mark so it's a wash as to what one you end up getting. I've only seen the linked belt in use once but wasn't convinced it was any quieter or smoother than a grooved belt (in its application) so if grooved is cheeper then you may want to try that first.

    I've also had problems with cheep aluminum pulleys causing vibrations because the belt wouldn't ride true in it. In that case you would need a new pulley.
     

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