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What a difference 10 thou makes ...

Where could I get some non-standard metal stock?

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Banjoman04/01/2018 12:05:11
1059 forum posts
2328 photos

I recently bought a new bandsaw in the form of a Record Power BS250, a fairly small 10" table top machine, to complement my old Proxxon micro bandsaw. The latter will still be very much used, as it is perfect for cutting really small and/or thin stock; however, one very quickly hits its limitations in the form of cutting height and throat depth. Also, the Proxxon cannot take blades wider than 5 mm or so.

After some fairly extensive research, my primary reason for choosing the BS250 was that it came across as one that would give a fair amount of bang for a fairly limited buck. It is not that I could not have afforded a somewhat more expensive machine, but my tool wish list is much, much longer than my pockets are deep, so in order to continue saving up for further aquisitions later on, I decided to go for a more modest option that will sufficiently well meet my immediate bandsaw needs for my projects over the next few years, until I can hopefully get the one that I really want: **LINK**

Anyway, after getting some top notch after market blades from Tuff Saws in Wales, and generally setting up, running in and getting to know the machine, I am happy to report that it fully lives up to my expectations. That is to say that it is not perfection on a plate, but that it does what it said in the manufacturers description that it would do, does it well enough and, in my view, is of better than average quality and precision for a PRC-built bandsaw in the price range in question (UK list price is £269.99; I got it from a German dealer for +/- £255).


So much for background. Now to my question. One of the uses to which I intend to put the machine is to resaw not-too-large wooden stock. To this end, I wish to put together a cradle to run with the mitre fence groove (on the right-hand side of the saw table in the photo above) as a guide, so that the initial cuts can be made in a piece of rough stock to establish the necessary datum surfaces against which subsequent cuts can be squared off using the parallel fence.

This is where the 10 thou come in. One of the few things that came with the machine that clearly is not up to snuff is the mitre fence: it is very cheaply made, but as they say in one of my favourite cartoons: "What do you want for 10 cents? Gasoline?"


I knew beforehand from various reviews that this was a weak point, and it doesn't really matter. What in particular makes this mitre fence pretty useless is that there is too much play between the fence guide and the walls of the groove. The fence guide is made from aluminium, and while not of perfectly even dimensions, in most places it is from 15.86 to 15.88 mm wide, i.e. close enough to the 15.875 mm that equals 5/8" for me to conclude that it is made from what is meant to be a piece of 5/8" alu stock.


As already mentioned, the groove, however, is that much wider that there is sufficient play for the mitre fence to not necessarily run true. I've checked the difference in as many ways as I've been able to, visually ...


... with a feeler gauge ...


... and with the slide calliper ...


... and have found that within a tolerance of one or two thousandths of an inch, the groove is 0.635" wide, i.e approximatly 16.129 mm. This makes the difference with the mitre guide pretty much exactly 10 thousandths of an inch, or approximately 0.25 of a mm.

This difference may not sound like much, but the amount of play between the mitre fence and the groove is really quite noticeable.

My question is thus: does anyone hear know of a good source for non-standard metal stock? I would like to get my hand on, say, two feet or so of (preferably steel) flat metal, about 3/16" thick and 0.630" wide. Given that 0.630" is within a gnats whisker of 16 mm, I might have more luck looking in Germany, but I thought it worth asking the question here, too. My ususal source of metal stock, Macc Models, carries ground gauge plates, but has nothing in the measurements I'm looking for. I could easily get 5/8" wide mild steel from them, but as already suggested I then fear there would be too much play.

Any advice or suggestion would be warmly welcomed


Edited By Banjoman on 04/01/2018 12:05:33

Edited By Banjoman on 04/01/2018 12:07:15

Dave Milbourn04/01/2018 13:24:30
3345 forum posts
199 photos


I've not had the time to look into their lists for you, but this company always seems to be able to help me with stuff I need and they are very quick with delivery, too **LINK**

Dave M

Banjoman04/01/2018 13:56:00
1059 forum posts
2328 photos


Thank you very much indeed! They do for instance carry mild steel flats in 16x5 mm, which I think is a close as I'm going to get to 16.129 without ordering a piece ground to measure. It is in lengths of 2 or 4 metres only, though, and at least from an initial look, it seems that they only deliver within the UK.

I'll have a better look later today, though; sometimes, it might be worth one's while to send them an e-mail and see if they are willing to do the odd delivery abroad ...


Banjoman04/01/2018 14:03:29
1059 forum posts
2328 photos

In the meanwhile I've been googling on, and found this German company, ProKilo (**LINK**), that at least from a quick look seem to offer cut-to-measure metals, including ground stainless steel and in small quantities ... I might drop them a line, too, and see if they're willing to ship to Belgium, and what a suitable piece would cost ... ?!


Edited By Banjoman on 04/01/2018 14:04:03

Ray Wood 204/01/2018 14:10:48
708 forum posts
407 photos

Hi Mattias

Sounds like a vertical milling machine should be your next purchase Then you can make any size you require.

Regards Ray

Dave Milbourn04/01/2018 14:23:46
3345 forum posts
199 photos

Don't encourage the guy! He already has a multitude of sledgehammers to crack most nuts, but I know he'd like nothing more than an excuse to buy some more.

If you could get them to deliver say a 2m length to me then I could cut it into say 500mm lengths and send it on. PM me for further chat if required.
Nah - I've just seen that the minimum length for that size is 3m and the delivery charge just to here is eye-watering! You could probably get a bespoke job done on a scrap length of mild steel by a skilled surface grinder in Belgium for about a tenth of that.

Dave M

Edited By Dave Milbourn on 04/01/2018 14:32:01

Telstar04/01/2018 15:09:37
309 forum posts
32 photos

Hi For a similar use on my s/hand bandsaw, I used 'Key steel' to make a guide. Over a length of say 200 mm a piece of 16mm key steel would have freedom to slide without excessive side play 0.002mm over 200mm should be ok, if the slide is too tight it does not slide easily. For my guide, I used 1/2 " square and cut it lengthways on the bandsaw (with a metal cutting blade), to give 1/2 x 1/4 then used it 'rough side' down after cleaning it up with a file. 200mm lengths of key steel is easy to get, being a standard engineering material

Hope this helps Tom

Edited By Telstar on 04/01/2018 15:11:18

Edited By Colin Bishop on 04/01/2018 16:42:49

Telstar04/01/2018 15:54:05
309 forum posts
32 photos

Don't know how to edit again missplaced a decimal point,. side play would be 0.002mm not 0.2

.630" being 16.002mm,.

Sorry Tom

Colin Bishop04/01/2018 16:43:34
3894 forum posts
5961 photos
388 articles

I have corrected your original post Tom. Thanks for contributing.


Cookie04/01/2018 19:05:44
94 forum posts

hi Mattias , i have the exact same band saw and had the same issue as yourself . i made a new tenon to suit the slot to correct this , however if you do not have a milling machine you could try and bond some shim strip to the undersize tenon supplied ,this is available in thickneses from 0.05mm and above ,it is quite expensive as it mainly comes in large packs however i have plenty to hand that i could send you if you want F.O.C. just tell me the thickness you require

Dave smiley

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