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Author Topic: Seeking source for education in "sound" bandsaw mill design and construction.  (Read 2299 times)

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Offline MikeySP

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Hello Gentlemen.
 
While a new member, I have been on the board many times reading threads on homemade sawmills. I am about to pull the trigger on building one myself, but I need wisdom to I minimize costly errors.
 
Seeking education in "sound" bandsaw mill design and construction.
 
Is there a book, booklet, build thread, set of plans that teach the why and options, or any other media that would help me to avoid errors in the build and to understand design options and pros/cons of the different options. To get smart, so I do not make a boat anchor, or spend several hundred hours in reading and distilling the pure gold and silver from the dross.
  
I am planning on building a portable mill with the production capability of something on the magnitude of a TimberKing 2000 or Woodmizer LT40 with all the hydraulics or electric powered feed, etc.. but not the computer control… yet.


--------------------------------------Detailed Minutia Below-----------------------------------------------------
 
I do not need it to look sophisticated or pretty. It can look like a dying duck, but it has to perform with close to the corresponding speed and dependability.
 
Learning K-I-S-S (simple) techniques is very appealing too, as some designed elements are very impressive, but "complicated" and others appear to  work just as well, but are very simple and this is most desirable to me. Spending 8 hours building a powered up/down or chain log turner is much more appealing than a week, or more, on the same section.
  

I have access to many free items such as steel, hydraulic parts, etc, etc...  I will buy items used, cannibalize a mobility scooter as needed or anything that will save my out of pocket costs. I will trade some of my guns/ammo/etc.. for an engine, band wheels, etc.. I plan to make parts work that I can get for free or as close as possible as I have plenty of time, but pockets are not deep…. The mill must perform.  I will make decisions as I plan as to where/when to spend vs sweat more.
 
I have access to a fairly well equipped welding/fabrication shop with welders, saws, iron worker, and limited access to a Bridgeport sized  mill and lathe.
 
I have been reading threads and watching videos on homemade sawmills for several years off and on. I have not seen one yet that is a production machine and most require mining to find gold, silver,  and gems of info to get educated. I have not seen "Tips, best build practices, or the common errors and how to avoid, etc.."
 
I just learned yesterday how to use cross strings to make the carriage flat for example. This was something I could see as a problem. I am concerned about those area I cannot see potential problems.
 
How many men have watched a bunch of videos and read a bunch of threads and went at it, only to spend so many hours and result in a big boat anchor because of one or two significant errors?  Thus my appeal for a pathway to education that is more streamlined than  the path I have piddled in for several years.
 
Also, more ignorance means not knowing where tolerances are "very critical" for excellent results and where an 1/8" is not a big deal. This can turn a few week project into a several month project because of over engineering.
 
Use: My children and I will use the mill for income and wood to build our houses and shop on our newly acquired land where we currently live in our camper. We have plenty of big pines and several acres of mature hardwoods. Manual mill is not an option as my body is broken somewhat from my previous career, so I need a machine that does  the heavy lifting. We happen to have a skidsteer we purchased to develop our property and it has a very HD grapple that easily lifts 3000lb logs, so log handling on our land is handled easily enough.
 
Well, that was a lot of wind on my part gents. What say ye? Where is the tips of design booklet, or the right thread(s), or?
 
Thank you for your wisdom.

Offline Hilltop366

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Welcome MickeySP!

I have not built a Bandsaw mill but have been looking at many factory made and DIY's from what I can gather for a heavy duty mill you need heavy duty parts and steel.

Take a look at the Cook's Saw Mfg. web site there is lots of info to be gleaned from there, also look at their online store section for info on band wheel size and minimum shaft size etc.


Offline 1938farmall

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To avoid the "don't tell me - show me" dilemma, the most obvious approach would be to copy the mill of your choice.  the engineering has already been done for you and the design is proven, so all you have to do is put your fabrication skills to work & get 'er done.
aka oldnorskie

Offline charles mann

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Youtube search Matt Cremona bandsaw build. 
He built an electric powered stationary mill with a huge (67”) cut width. I bought his plans and will be tweaking it a bit for a diesel powered mill, but with the same cut width. 

He used parts from cooks saw and and a few other places and fabbed the rest himself. 
Temple, Tx
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Offline mike_belben

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For a second i thought i was reading some post i forgot ever making.  Im building junk, live in a camper and am wearing out too. And log with a skidsteer. 

Anyhow, one tidbit i can tell you on any cutting or milling machine is mass.  Whether its a mill, lathe, bandsaw, whatever.  A dainty machine can make a nice dainty pass.  Whe  you start ramming wood or metal through and adding horsepower to cut it, you need to be adding mass to the tool, the tool holder, the framework, the base.  If you look at commercial band mills from 50yrs ago and compare to current band mills.. Other than vertical vs horizontal, the biggest difference youll note is physical size and mass.   No different then a tractor, dozer or excavator really.  Wanna cut more dirt, you just need more horsepower and more mass.
Revelation 3:20

Offline Southside logger

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Welcome to the Forum.  Where are you located?  I hear you and can greatly appreciate your desire to build a mill, I looked really hard at doing that, but came to realize that it was not going to be a quick process and in the end what was I really going to have?  I can also appreciate the beat up body issue, sawing is hard, it's even harder when you are manual.  

What is the budget you think you can build an accurate, production mill for?  

You can learn a lot about sawing while producing lumber for your house, if you are willing to accept the learning curve issues that will come with learning to be a sawyer.  If you want to saw lumber to generate income you will have to learn to saw quality lumber, all of this takes time, and time is money. 

I guess what I am getting at, without trying to discourage your idea, is that a lot of really smart and talented folks have spent many, many, hours solving the riddle of building a quality, production, sawmill, and they have sold plenty of them for many years.  A depressing number of which sit in dusty old barns, out in a pasture with shrubs and trees growing up around them, and in any number of sales yards.  Many have been attacked by the demons of time, lack of half decent maintenance, wire chewing mice, and UV rays on hydraulic hoses.  The good news is that these demons can be exorcised from a mill with a little elbow grease and by posting questions here on the Forestry Forum.  There are deals out there to be had, quite a few members have successfully gone down that exact same road.  

You have a skid steer and logs - can you sell some to generate some cash which can be used to purchase a mill that needs some TLC?  Can you hire skid steer work as a way to generate cash?  Can you trade logs to another mill owner for custom sawing at the same time so you have material to build your house?  At least this way you would be making progress on that project at the same time.

One other thought is a decent, used manual mill that you buy right, knowing that it is not going to be around for very long.  The ones that are not abused hold their value, and often sell for almost as much if not more than you paid for it.  It gives you the chance to begin to learn to saw, it gets you house lumber, and nothing says you can't begin to sell some off of it. 

Like I said, when I was first looking around at mills I was convinced I would just build one, then decided a manual mill was the way to go, fortunately I was talked into buying a hydraulic model.  Found a good, used, LT35.  It's not the biggest one, and not the fastest one out there, but it was not the most expensive one either.  

It's really easy to set expectations / goals for a project, keeping to those can be a different matter especially when it is a new venture.  From what you have described I would look around at multiple options and really explore the ups and downs of each before committing to one path.  
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
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Offline JB Griffin

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Sage words of advise, nothing is ever too straight,  square, level, plumb, or accurate. EVER. 

Other than that bigger is almost always better, get the biggest engine and bandwheels you can afford (diesel or electric and crowned steel are best, don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise). 4 post is easier to build,  but a cantilever is a little more flexible to get around knots and such. 

The track the head rolls on should be replaceable,  and claw turners are crap. Hyd feed and up/down are the only way to go.

Bed frames should be as heavy as your billfold can stand, log bunks must have a replaceable wear surface.  Backstops should be of the vertical persuasion and adjustable in all 4 directions. Chain turners are the absolute only way to go, the only people that don't like em are the ones that ain't used one. 

In my opinion, 35hp diesel or 20hp 3ph and 8gpm hyd flow is the minimum. 
2000 LT40hyd remote 33hp Kubota, 160 Prentice, Frick 2 saw gang edger, Wright W-37 ABG, Suffolk dual tooth setter, Cat claw single tooth setter,'96 F-250 7.3 PSD 4x4, CS-590 Echo, MF 20c, M681 Memo.

Over 2.5 million bdft sawn with a Baker Dominator and counting.

Offline waynorthmountie

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Look up @kbeitz did a great build. http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=82853.msg1264270#msg1264270

One of the best described and explained ones on this website.

Offline bwstout

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there is a guy that goes by the name of Texas Ben that has a set of plans on EBay that are good plans they are easy to follow and make adjustment to fit your needs. He has a YouTube channel that show his mill in operation there is a few on here that used his plans. I used them to build my mill. It will cut accurate I added power to the head to move it up and down and for power feed. If you have to buy most of the metal form my own experience you can buy the LT15 for about the price of  metal and parts. But building it yourself is a rewarding experience. I found this sight after I built mine and made a lot of mistakes. There is a thread here that talks about different mod on sawmills read it then read it again you before you build. It will save you a lot of time and make your mill easier to use. Best to you on your build.
home built mill

Offline Crusarius

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I was looking at buying a cheap sawmill. but all the ones I looked at all had at least 1 feature I really liked. none of them had all the features I wanted. I chose to build my own. its still not quite done but I forced myself to step away from it so I wouldn't just try to cram finishing it and make a ton of bad mistakes. 

one of my biggest mistakes I made was not actually doing any milling before deciding to build my mill. Now that I am using it I am finding a ton of things I would have done different. But alas, when all else fails I sell V1.0 and build V2.0 building it is half the fun :)

I do think that hydraulics or electrics for log handling would be something worth investing in. I did build the mill with the intention of adding it one day.

here is my build thread. I am happy to answer any questions.
Crusarius’ sawmill build - started with Linn Lumber basic kit in Sawmills and Milling

The build thread is not up to date. I am planning on fixing that eventually. just no idea when I may get to doing that.
I knew what I thought I meant.

Online ljohnsaw

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Welcome, MikeySP!

Well, since you cannot find a "best practices" thread on building a mill, I'd suggest you start one!  What others have done is you start a list on the first post.  Then, go back and edit/add to it as others make comments.  Then a new reader only has to read the first post.

From my build, what I've learned - I got lucky on my first set of track (16').  I welded it up and it came out true.  My last section has a heat-induced sag in the middle as the track contracted as it cooled.  Its only about 1/8" but annoying!  So my first suggestion would be to bolt the track together.  So long as you don't drop a log on the track, you should be good.  My second suggestion is to NOT make your own blade guide rollers.  Just buy Cook's.  Since you have the tools, make your own adjustable mounts.  Third, make it bigger then you think you need.  I can hold a 42" diameter log on my bed and can cut a full 32" wide slab.  Should have made it bigger ;)
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SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Another factor you need to consider in your plans is whether you can legally use lumber you've sawn to build the structures you plan to build. Many (most) areas have adopted building codes that require the use of lumber that has been graded for structural use by certified inspectors... You should investigate, including checking with your local building inspection agencies...

Good Luck!

Herb

Offline MikeySP

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Gentlemen, you have something very special with this forum. I have never had so many, so helpful responses on any of the several forums I have visited for help over the years.  I actually cringed a little, joining the forum and saying "help me" as I thought I hadn't given anything, so the help may be very thin. To the contrary, I am blown away and genuinely am very grateful to your pity on my ignorance and to be part of this group. I retired from Special Forces and after getting hurt contracting, we started a coffee roasting company, but shut it down to move. I am looking at some options, but don't think I can fund reopening the roasterie for a year or two (Government regs cost a lot). The sawmill might be a good bridge to cross the gap. I have much in place to launch this build. I am trying to think through all your responses and recommend reads. I am

I had not realized the importance of mass/weight. Makes total sense after hearing it.

1. I had watched Matthew Cremona's videos on construction, and it was very good, but since I wanted a portable, hydraulic, I was hoping to see someone make homemade TK2000 style copy.
2. As for copying an actual mill. That would be awesome if I could find a local sawyer with a TK2000-2500 or an equivalent that I could go to with tape measure, caliper, sketchpad, and camera. For example, when looking at the TK mill, I would not even know the width of the rails looking at a pic and it is not in their specs. I wrote them and they told me, but surely they are trying to make a living and are not there to answer all my questions on copying their mill.
3. Mike_Belben, are you my long lost twin :) BTW, we are in Middle TN too (Centerville). I just found the profile page and updated it.
4. As to my budget, I hope to do a serious machine for under $2K. Factors: I will probably not have to buy any steel, will get an engine for nothing or in trade, fasteners, brackets, hydraulic pump, motors, valves, for free along with a lot of small stuff. I will probably have to spring for band wheels, clutch, pully's, blade, and other assorted stuff. This does not include sharpening tool, blade set, and other assorted support stuff.
5. I will read all the Cook's stuff. I had read 3 or 4 of their articles, but they are not all easy to find, so I missed them.
6. I will need to learn fast to do quality cutting, even if it means low board footage initially, as I need to augment my military pension.
7. Southside logger, I am grateful for your reality check and challenge to think it through. I do not want regrets.
8. JB Griffin, we just moved from your area (Calico Rock, AR). That is an awesome elevator class on the overall picture. Noted!!!
9. Waynorthmountie, I had actually seen that thread, but I did not think it a good fit initially, but will now read through it. Thank you for the tip.
10. While I am glad to learn about fabricating ( I love engineering stuff), but I do not have time for building for experience sake. I am only planning to make one if I can do it a LOT cheaper than a used machine with all the hydraulics. Manual machine is out of the question, unless it is buying a REALLY cheap one that I can add the hydraulics to.
11. I think I will weld the carriage for speed and ease of construction. I also really want to see how tight I can keep it by going easy on the heat build up. I hope I do not mess it up. I may use some long pipe clamps and other jigging to aid me. The Matt Cremona video welding his frame was pretty good actually.
12. PC Urban Sawyer, excellent point. you are correct on code issues in certain areas and codes on usable lumber. In my county (Hickman, TN) house structural (framing) must be stamped. However, detached barns, garages, and all the trim, siding, etc… can be non-stamped. I will indeed put together a solar kiln and dry some for where it is needed. For my shop, I found some free truss designs online for long spans, so I will use these on my shop building.

Thank you all again… VERY much. Amazing!

-Mike

Offline Crusarius

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It does not need to be heavy to be strong. Proper geometry goes a very long ways.
I knew what I thought I meant.

Offline MikeySP

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Crusarias, I think the weight/mass was for plowing through the wood, meaning more BD FT capability? Actually, I was surprised to see how heavy a LT40 or TK2000 are. about 7K pounds if I remember. Thoughts?

Offline Crusarius

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had no idea those were so heavy. well the timberking doesn't surprise me but the LT40 does.
I knew what I thought I meant.

Offline MikeySP

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You are right, just checked:
LT40 - 3900 lbs
TK2000 -4600lbs
TK2500 - 6400lbs
LT70 - 4590lbs

I am at loss where I got my weight idea. May have been my first inspiration TK2500?

Offline Crusarius

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Timberking likes to hmm well I call it overbuild but some ppl call it just right and others still call it not enough :)

I still stand by my statement "using proper geometry you can build a lighter and stronger machine".

I do like the timberking mills.
I knew what I thought I meant.

Offline MikeySP

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Crusarius, I am intrigued by your position. Looks like the LT does it. I may need to get smarter somehow on this concept. This is the sort of question I need to find the answer to. Someone mentioned copting a machine, but without getting my hands on a  smart built machine with caliper, tape measure, I am left to learning engineering and having to reinvent. When it comes to good designs, what is one or a few that you think are well designed, with geometry in mind? Thank.

Offline Crusarius

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They all have their strong points (no pun intended). Every one of them have something worth copying.

One of the things I did for my bed was instead of going nuts and doing a 4x4x.250 wall tubing or something crazy heavy I used a 2x6x.188 wall. stronger cross section vs square. and also quite a bit lighter.

a bunch of the manufacturers use angle iron to build the bed. Angle is heavy and does not provide much torsional rigidity (it twists easy) Thats the reason I went with the 2x6. I can put 1 trailer jack down on the corner of my 24' long trailer and lift the entire trailer with very little deflection. I did put 8 trailer jacks on trailer so the max distance between them is about 5'.


4x4x.25 wall weighs 12.212 pounds per foot.
2x6x.25 wall weighs 12.212 pounds per foot.
2x6x.188 wall weighs 9.444 pounds per foot.

Thats a difference of 2.78 pounds per foot. To me that sounds like a lot. especially when I have at least 75' of tubing in just the trailer.

so the .25 wall weighs roughly 915.9 pounds for my trailer
the .188 wall 708.3 pounds. 
207.6 pounds lighter.


I may have gotten off on a tangent there but in the end after all the re engineering and re configuring time and money spent I got a look at the Woodmizer LT15 wide. that is the one I want to copy. I am actually planning on contacting woodmizer to get some parts to put on mine.
I knew what I thought I meant.

Offline mike_belben

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We may be twins.  I was in the marines, i sold my business to up and move, and i like coffee with my daily junk to build today so i can get out of the camper life list.  


Ill try to get a post and some pics up for you later tonight.  Im just a phase ahead of you in the curve right now, running a basic chainsaw slabbing track rig to learn the ropes and ponder my big sawmill build.  All diesely and hydraulic-ee and such.  If youre ever on your way to knoxville PM me and stop by. im 3hrs east, few minutes off 40. 

Structural shapes are important and i have some commentary on where i went wrong with that.  Clamps too. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline MikeySP

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Crusarius, 200 lbs weight savings is nothing to laugh at. As I consider this, I will be driven partially by what I have available. I happen to have some 3x3x.1875 @ 6.87lb per foot. I thought I could stitch weld two together and have a 3x6 tube. It will be 13.75lb per ft though.  I do have some .125 stock, but it would have to be half and half. The .125 thickness is 4.75lbs per square foot, so the total would be 11.63lb per square foot. 

mike_belben thanks for the invite. I look forward to hearing about your lessons learned. Semper Fi!



Offline Crusarius

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that is definitely a big challenge. I had a bunch of stuff laying around I could have used but I ended up buying a bunch of new stuff to get the materials I really wanted to use instead of always wishing I had just done it to begin with.

The other lesson learned that I had that I need to start a new thread on is actual cost to build the sawmill. Its not just the cost of the materials (ignore labor its a labor of love) but in order to actually mill logs I needed to get, Blades, Cant hook, Metal detector, Moisture meter, Chainsaw, PPE. I am sure there is a bunch of other stuff. Oh yea, I ended up building a set of forks for my tractor so I could move the pieces of the mill around as they got to heavy to man handle. 

It all adds up. I had a budget to stay under and I did very well building the mill. Unfortunately with all the other items I needed to buy to use my mill it put me over my total budget.
I knew what I thought I meant.

Offline MikeySP

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Noted. Fortunately, I have a decent chainsaw, a pretty stout skidsteer with very heavy duty grapple. Picked up a bunch of 24" 20-30ft pine logs I felled a couple months ago. I have some forks too, but need to make a quicktach for it. Have the PPE also. I will need the blades, and the ability to sharpen/set teethe I imagine. I started your thread and am a few pages through it so far. Maybe you will answer this in the thread, but why do you want to build the LT15 copy? If this is answered in the thread, disregard, I will find out.

I am on a VERY low budget, so using the stuff I can get free, or very cheap will be a priority, as long as it will not effect performance. My truck can haul a tank, but it has to cut like it should and be easy to set up and use.

Offline JB Griffin

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How heavy you build it depends on how portable you need it to be, portable or just movable.  

Also as Crusarius stated, heavy don't always equal stout. And what I should have said is build it STOUT. 

Are you lookin to build a walk along or remote console mill?
2000 LT40hyd remote 33hp Kubota, 160 Prentice, Frick 2 saw gang edger, Wright W-37 ABG, Suffolk dual tooth setter, Cat claw single tooth setter,'96 F-250 7.3 PSD 4x4, CS-590 Echo, MF 20c, M681 Memo.

Over 2.5 million bdft sawn with a Baker Dominator and counting.

Offline thecfarm

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MikeySP,Thank You for serving our country.
Welcome to the forum.
I have a Thomas mill. I had them build it so I could cut a 20 foot log. I never have yet. But little did I know how much easier it is to load a 16 foot log onto a mill that is set up to cut 20 feet. The mill gives me four feet to play with,not 6 inches. It also allows me to get the head out of the way too. Just a thought.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline Crusarius

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Cfarm is absolutely right about the length. I made mine 24' with the expectation of doing 20' cuts eventually. The truth was the steel came in 24's lengths so I decided to keep them that length. But I also did not want to limit myself.

as for why I want to build the LT15 wide copy, every time I have played with one it felt amazing. everything moved real smooth, had a nice wide cut that my mill will eventually get modified to. from what I could see the lt15 wide should be easy to adjust for true. My biggest complaint with it is the cheezy bed they use. but they were intended to be lightweight and portable but they do not offer a trailer package for it. I would love to buy just the head and carriage and build the rest.
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Offline MikeySP

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I have added the extra length for log space to my notes.

Crusarius, I am indeed intrigued by your commentary about the LT15 being so smooth. What seems to be the key? Is this more because you have a manual w mill and would be null if it were a power feed, power raise lower? What seems to be the key from your perspective? This may unlock some design philosophy. 

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they have a gas charged cylinder in the mast to assist with raising the head. the crank is very easy to turn and locks in I think at 1/4" increments. it rolls on the track effortlessly.

All items mine needs work on :) I do have power raise lower but with the acme threaded rod it takes alot to raise it. I think I am going to try to add a garage door spring and see if that helps.

it is still a cantilever head design with 4 post carriage. on my carriage I did 2 post and I think that was a mistake. I feel I get twisting in the carriage making it harder to push. Also my guides are metal sleeves on metal masts so the bearing used on the LT15 roll so much nicer and hold it tight where mine is sloppy and does wiggle around. it does not seem to effect the cut though.

I may think of other things as the day goes on.
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Offline MikeySP

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Well, it turned out I have two friends from Church that own substantial sawmills: A 15-20 year old Cooks AC-36 w/50hp perkins diesel and another with older LT40HD. 

I just visited the Cooks owner and spent an hour to discuss and take a ton of photos for analysis. 

I knew they owned mills, but because they didn't make any money with them, I assumed they were little push mills. The Cooks owner said he couldn't compete with the local mennonite or ammish sawyers who will saw if you bring logs for about .20 a BD FT. I asked if he could do 2000 BD FT a day and he said no problem, but that stuff breaks pretty regularly from neglect and being weather beaten for so many years, especially hydraulic hoses. He also said he doesn't have the business sense side. Doesn't market, etc...

The machine is pretty serious, but man that thing had a ton of hydraulic hoses. I wonder who makes a more simplistic designed mill and still has the capability?  I plan to look at the LT40HD, but the owner was at the Cooks Owner's house working. 




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you can get electric hydraulic pumps and place them at each location but that will get very costly. Would still need short hoses.

I would think just finding a way to run the hydraulic lines so they are out of the weather would improve their lifespan exponentially. can also run hard piping to fixed items with short rubber hose to connect them.

hmm keep giving myself ideas :)
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Well, it turned out I have two friends from Church that own substantial sawmills
  Do either of them sound like they want to sell?  Maybe that would be the easier route - use their mill as a base to improve upon from all the ideas here!
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Offline Roland

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The first thing I would do is decide what length  blade you want to use. Then pick out the size wheels you want to use. With those items layed out on your garage floor you can now start designing.
Very easy and cost efficient
Sketch up a plan with measurements and just do it.
Adopt the pace of nature her secret is patience.
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Offline Southside logger

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That is significant competition at a bottom dollar price point. You really need to consider that in your plan. 

Perhaps there is a market in drying and planning wood if nobody is doing that in the area. 
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Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Will YOU be able to saw logs to lumber for $.20 a board foot? (and don't cheat and say your labor is free...) If the answer is no, you really need to reconsider your business model and get the Amish to saw for you at those prices...

Herb

Offline mike_belben

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Go meet the amish, tell them youre going to make a go of the sawing business and dont want to compete with them in any way.  Ask what their specialty is, so you can avoid it, and what they refuse to do, so you can go after it.  

Theyll appreciate you being a straight shooter and may be a help in the future.  You can each refer customers to the other.  I have never had anyone give me a bad response to this sort of inquiry.  
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Offline MikeySP

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Much to consider. I have been thinking what I can do differently. Also at the .20 rate, that is you bringing the logs to him. Still cheap.

I did read the entire 50 page thread by @kbeitz  and his build. That man knows how stuff works.  While not the machine I want to build, it was interesting. http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=82853.msg1264270#msg1264270

The guy with AC36 is planning to sell it in a couple months after his house is finished. $23K. I will not even countenance spending that, though that perkins 50HP diesel sure is nice. 

I am looking forward to seeing the older LT40HD and how that cantelever works as well as the apparent lack of a million hydraulic hoses. 

Offline Hilltop366

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the apparent lack of a million hydraulic hoses.


It has hoses and wires and electric motors and switches...... there is no free lunch. If you want to stand over here and have things happen over there it going to have something.

Offline MikeySP

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I understand, just looking for the most simple solutions. Budget and time to fabricate are huge factors for me.  

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I figured you did, Pardon me if I sounded abrupt it was not my intention.

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the apparent lack of a million hydraulic hoses.


It has hoses and wires and electric motors and switches...... there is no free lunch. If you want to stand over here and have things happen over there it going to have something.


Oh does it ever, and you forgot the best part,.............  proprietary circut boards and other things that no local store will ever have and enough wire to wire a small house.

I can go to town and get most any hyd hose fixed and be back in a hour or two, not so with said electrical stuff.

Plus hyd are WAY easier for me to troubleshoot than angry pixies.
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Over 2.5 million bdft sawn with a Baker Dominator and counting.

Offline MikeySP

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JB Griffin, I like your pointed comments. I have made note of every comment you have made in my keep for later file. Very practical and thoughtful. Now if I do use electrical anything (Feed, up/down, etc..) it would be non propriatory. It would be cannibalizing another technology such as a mobility scooter, etc... so that would not necessarily be a problem. However, if I have hydraulics for my log turner for example, I am already set with a pump and hydraulic system. Adding another valve, lines, and motor is not much more. Yet it seems woodmizer does mix and match. Not sure why?? How do you control height settings with hydraulics? For example, if I want 1" boards, do I have to eyeball it, or is there a auto stop feature when the blade gets to the correct down position? Seems having an auto stop feature would make for some great consistency and speed.

Thanks. 

-Mike

Offline charles mann

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How do you control height settings with hydraulics? For example, if I want 1" boards, do I have to eyeball it, or is there a auto stop feature when the blade gets to the correct down position? Seems having an auto stop feature would make for some great consistency and speed.

Thanks.

-Mike
similar way the accuset sys works, sending a signal to the electric motor to stop at "X" height, the same signal could be sent to an electric solenoid to close the hydraulic valve, as long as you are not over riding the solenoid by holding down on the lever. you would have to figure out HOW to build the resistor rod and write the code for the sensor to read the resistance along the length of the rod. we use something similar in our fuel cells on the chinook. we have thermistor and a signal processor that reads the changes in fuel  "pressure" against the resistor tube. we have a similar function for our internal tank to read water level by elec resistance along the rod as the metal float moves up or down the rod, changing the resistance and the processor converts the elec resistance into "X" gallons of water. 
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Offline Southside logger

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Mike -

The measuring of the 1" - or whatever thickness you want - board can be done with an encoder.  Basically it counts the number of revolutions a known diameter wheel makes as the head travels up and down, and it converts that into a distance traveled as the encoder knows the circumference of the wheel.  There is another way that uses a rod and ring arrangement but for the life of me I can't remember what those are called as it's been at least a decade since I last was around one.  

Either system will communicate the value it has generated from traveling back to a PLC which will cut off the driving motor when the value you have entered is reached - weather that be by closing an electric over hydraulic valve or by opening a relay which cuts out an electric motor.  This is what a "set works" does.  Without that feature yes you need to read a scale and indicator of some sort and stop at the desired height change.     
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Offline Southside logger

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Thanks Charles - you explained what I was fumbling around to try and say, guess we posted at about the same time.  
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Offline MikeySP

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I forgot about solenoid controlled hydraulic valves. :) Thank you both for chiming in and helping me understand that. To your knowledge, has anyone done a thread of a DIY version of this with details?


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I dunno if you are familiar with arduino or not. But that has lots of capability. one of these days I will make an arduino setworks for my mill. It would be nice to be able to set a home position and tell it to go there while I go load the next log. and then tell it I want to cut 5/4 and hit go. Let it move down 5/4 then make my cut and repeat.
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Offline mike_belben

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Do not discount air power especially if you are stationary.  Commercial mills seem to use air for quite a bit of setwork function.  You can make an air cylinder do just about anything you want with the controls that are available today using pilot valves, pressure valving, speed controlled mufflers and so forth.   SMC makes anything you can imagine and its cheap on ebay from MRO used surplus vendors.  Plus no hydraulic lines, just vinyl tubing and pushlocks, change them out in two seconds.  

Air motors do exist but are pretty hungry for air and not terribly strong.  I think a 24vdc wheelchair motor is a more efficient choice there.   To use air in a mobile application off the mill,  york 210 AC compressor clutch and old propane tank is plenty to run cylinders for raising backstops, clamping logs, raising a head to clear log for carriage return. The cool thing is you can just keep adding more and more features.. The supply fluid is just vented out to atmosphere so there is no need for worrying about valve center or return lines or cooling or filtration.   Air can be run to an air over hydraulic but theyre a bit hungry too, though it would work for a turner i think.   de-sta-co made some of the best air over hydraulic pumps, very simple.  Now the chinese jacks all have that option.

Chinese ATV winches and reversing contactors is another option.  Surplus center had the contactors pretty cheap.  It wouldnt be hard to put a capstan drum on your cardiage and have a cable tensioned down the bed with adjustable spring loaded tension.  You want slippage when things collide.  A CNC crash is quite a sight but i wouldnt wanna foot the bill.

For stationary or if youll be using a generator on a mobile, dayton made very good 90vdc reversible motors with fwd N reverse and infinitely variable speed control. Theyre 110AC plug in jobs. We had quite a few old tapping heads built from these. The chinese make cheap linear rails and bearings and ball screws now, easy to find.  Hiwin is a common cheap brand,  THK, thompson and SKF are good ones. "Linear stage" is a good search term too for finding all sorts of tagged keyworded parts cheap.

I dont think the great outdoors is a good place for servos, stepper motors, drives, encoders, proxes etc.  Theyre hard enough to maintain inside.

One more thought, ifnyou need hydraulics there is nothing that says you cant have two engines, one for the saw and one for the turner, clamp and maybe even live deck system. Heck why not a greenchain for outbound lumber? A 13hp motor with a 3gpm pump at 2000 psi will run a backhoe at about the normal speed youd dig with and theyre fairly affordable, sub $600 new. Itll convey and flip logs no doubt. You could build your carriage with an operator seat so that you ride the carriage while sawing then when returned home you are in reach of a stationary control panel for log handling.  Would save a lot of walking and no need to figure out a cable carrier and have the saw head cluttered with controls.  Put a beach umbrella and beer holster on the seat, be like a vacation.

For measuring, guys who use linear lift systems like winch cable or chain seem to have linear tapes stuck on with adjustable pointers, kbeitz did a great one.  If your lift uses lead screws then you can put a wide faced wheel with numbers and pointer on the input shaft of your right angle worm gear box. Old circle mill setworks tend to use this.  Look up cross sawmill in georgia on youtube, hes got one on his monster home made bandmill. Boston Gear is a good worm manufacturer. I got many from scrap yard.
Revelation 3:20

Offline mike_belben

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I have been meaning to critique some basic design elements of my mill for a while but my internet connection stinks and my uploads always failed.  Heres a handful of pics at various angles so you can hopefully see what im talking about.

Its 100% junkpile stuff, zero dollars spent.  I really needed to clean up an area of the yard piled with logs so i could start filling there, and it seemed better to just make rough lumber before they rot. Knock out two jobs at once. Made most of it in a day on a whim with very little thought. 













So part 1 is material weight and rigidity.  To get rigid from light, material structure is critical.  Torsion (twist resistance) is carried best by round tubes. Wall thickness doesnt matter nearly as much as diameter, which youll note pretty quickly in semi truck driveshafts.  5" diameter fairly thinwall tubes transfer 2000 ft lbs.   If you made the letter "H" entirely frame 2"angle iron or flat strip and lifted just one corner the whole thing would twist under its own weight.  Make it from 2" round tube same thickness and itll be totally rigid.  

My bed started as a ladder for an alaskan mill.  It was all streetsign post and super flimsy so i welded in two scraps of exhaust pipe to torsion the rails together. it then stayed flat, i could carry it to the woods one handed.  I went back to the welding table with 2 pieces of 4 inch C channel then spaced the track off the table and welded it together so the channels touched the rails and the exh pipe.  The channels hold the weight of the log, the rails only carry the saw.  The coated conduit between the channel risers keeps them from rotating out of plane with each other and the 1" barstock keeps the log above the exhaust pipe which wasnt very flat or true.  So logs and lumber are still sitting on a surface that my welding table ensured were true, even using junky twisty material.   The barstock is square to the flat side of the streetsign. Good enough.

Now on to the mistake i made.  It was too easy to make my backstops bolt to the streetsign and utilize the holes all along them and that they were 90* to the log deck.  But when you add it a cam clamp at 12" of leverage, the street sign bows out badly.  Its a great material, but it cant handle torsion.  I really needed to put the backstop and the clamp both on the yellow pipe (which is 1-5/8 handrail with ready rail floating on each for the clamps) because it is much much better suited to resist the load of clamping a log.  

So that little booboo makes it where i cant clamp a log up high very tightly.  If i open the saw up WOT and dig in hard, the log will vibrate and the clamps will often drop, especially if im clamping the underbelly of a round side.  If i clamp tighter the rail bends out and im not cutting square to the bed.  So log cutting is slow.  

When im down to a square cant, i flip my backstops upside down so that they only stand about 1.5" proud and apply the clamps down low, much tighter.  Bending the rails, slipping clamps and vibrating log issues all go away.  But if i go too hard the entire rig will vibrate.  Hence my commentary on mass.  In machining, you can only get a quality finish as quickly as the machines' hp, weight and rigidity allow.  Bolt a big fast motor on a light machine and youll get a bad cut from flex.  Reinforce to eliminate flex and you get the entire machine shaking, needs mass.  So it all plays together.  You can only cut as fast as your machine parameters allow.

Next issue that i didnt foresee is clamps.  I dont think i like cams.  A clamp has to work well on 2 totally different products.  A log, and a piece of lumber.  If its an old salvage log with rotten bark and punky sapwood, youll need a really large, mean cam to bite way in.  That punky wood collapses from vibration and you have to keep resetting your dogs, theyll fall out.  Now when you get a nice solid cant to start working down you cant really use that mean dog, itll tear up the wood and it leaves a blue stain in red oak.  Its fine for barn wood but cabinet grade stuff cant have that.  I put one smooth and one gnarly side to my dog for now but i think ill switch to pointed screw jacks eventually.  Probably use wood scraps to prevent the damage and stain on nice cants.  

Anyhow.. Those are the things ive discovered so far from doing it wrong.  The concepts are universal and scale in size, from dinky toys like mine to big mills.  Mass and rigidity are critical componets to producing good, fast cuts. 

Revelation 3:20

Offline Crusarius

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Square and rectangle is also good for torsion resistance. one good thing about square is you can see when it is twisted.

good writeup Mike. sometimes its better to show the bad instead of the good.

I made my backstops spring loaded to combat those problems you spoke of. So far I have not had a problem with them moving once loaded.

you could always put a butt plate on the mill as well. something to push the log against and let gravity do the rest.
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Offline Hilltop366

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One more thought, ifnyou need hydraulics there is nothing that says you cant have two engines, one for the saw and one for the turner, clamp and maybe even live deck system. Heck why not a greenchain for outbound lumber? A 13hp motor with a 3gpm pump at 2000 psi will run a backhoe at about the normal speed youd dig with and theyre fairly affordable, sub $600 new. Itll convey and flip logs no doubt. You could build your carriage with an operator seat so that you ride the carriage while sawing then when returned home you are in reach of a stationary control panel for log handling.  Would save a lot of walking and no need to figure out a cable carrier and have the saw head cluttered with controls.  Put a beach umbrella and beer holster on the seat, be like a vacation.


Another option for the remote Hyd power unit is to have the operator stationary and use it to run the feed as well, then there are only a few things that need to be run remotely on the mill that can be hydraulic as well with a much smaller system or electric.

Saw height is the only necessary one but moveable guide and throttle control would be nice, perhaps a emergency shutdown as well.

Options for remote could be wired or wireless, electric or electric hydraulic.



Offline Hilltop366

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One idea I have thought of is using hydraulic valves mounted on the side of the saw head that are controlled by cam followers and rods (or flat stock) that run along the length of the saw bed with a leaver on the end to raise or lower the rod which in turn moves the valve controls. If using the cam follower idea for saw head travel as well a bend in the end of the rod would automatically move the hydraulic valve to neutral to prevent the saw head from ramming the end of the track. 


Another is to have a hydraulic system on the saw head with and a separate on the bed to take care of log handling but power the log handling system from the saw motor when the saw head is in the "home" position by means of a belt or clutch that engages the saw bed pump to power it.  

Offline Crusarius

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One of my original thoughts was electric everything on the bed and power it when the head is in the home position. I find I rarely have the head in the home position. kinda glad I never wired it up that way but I still have not added what I want to the bed yet for log handling.
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Offline mike_belben

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Andersen cable connectors are definitely rigid enough to have a male and female snap together when the carriage returns home and docks the two ports together.  I think its reasonable to put a DC powerpack hydraulic system on the mill bed and have it be powered by the parked carriage.  I mean if you are in home and handling a log you arent sawing so the motor is running for nothing.  Electric forklifts tend to have 24vdc motors, pumps and valving.  Usually a combination of DC solenoid and manual spool.  
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Offline Hilltop366

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Another is to have a hydraulic system on the saw head with and a separate on the bed to take care of log handling but power the log handling system from the saw motor when the saw head is in the "home" position by means of a belt or clutch that engages the saw bed pump to power it.
 

For this one my original thought was to have a belt that ran along the mill bed frame 3 or 4 feet with the pump on one end and a idler pulley on the other so as the saw head returned it could contact the belt before it got to the end to give a longer area to park the saw head and use the log handling things. Not all the details worked out.

Offline Hilltop366

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Probably easier to run a small gas engine for the bed hydraulics considering how cheap the engines are these days.

Offline Crusarius

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that would work really nicely with a lovejoy running the hydraulic pump.
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Offline MikeySP

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Gentlemen, thank again for such an educational set of comments. This is inventors class for sure.

Crusarius, I am familiar with the concept of arduino, and have always wanted to find time for learning how to use it. However, I typically learn a technology when I work on a project that uses it. Good point about square tubng showing the twist. Recently experienced that when my skidsteer quick attach plate came off bucket on onoly one side with a 1000 lb grapple ont eh front. Not good.  All fixed. When you said lovejoy running the hydraulic pump, did you mean the coupling that connects two shafts or some other technology? What made you think to only use the power when in the "home position"? Was it the idea that the motor is strained to cut and power an all elec system when not enough HP?? You know, aside from having to employ two pumps, one could have the power head run any hydraulics in the head and and the 5hp engine at the end of carriage (Like turner mill) run hydraulics for log handling... would be another engine to maintain also... I guess I will see how I look after gettng my pile of stuff together. Would prefer one diesel (mobile) or electric (staitionary),,,, but I may find my situation different.

Hilltop366, thank you kindly for that link. Already opened to check it out. I did see the turner mills have a secondary 5hp engine. I thought it was just because the main could not handle the workload. Now that you mentioned it I see that it would need less lines potentially as the lines could be stationary for the "set works" (new word for me :) Had never heard of an anderson connector before. Looke dit up and glad to know what it is. I sure wish there was an inventors book that mentioned much of the commonly available technologies and how to implemeent. If I lived near a "kbeitz" I would try to be his disciple of invention. Actually, Mike Belben better be glad he doesn't live closer or he might have to run me off.  

Mike Belben, your post was a class in itself. I learned several new definition and engineering ideas. Jjust by googling terms you ised such as green chain, live dwck, linear stage. I had not even considered the idea of air for anything in the design. I did use a beefy 4" air cylinder to automate a plastic injection machine for my son last year. Got me thinking?? kbeitz read was indeed amazing. That man knows how to fabricate from what is on hand. The torsion/resistance data... great! Drive shaft and angle example made it very clear. Thank you very much for the thoughtful explanation. I am the guy who really wants to know "why?" something works, not just "use round tube!" which leaves me unsatisifed asking "why?" Same reason I now know I want diesel power for mobile and electric if stationary, and gas only if free :) I was not sure what you meant by the coated conduit or the last pic, but reread it and looke dat pic and now I have both clear. Last pic is cam. Thise are on the yellow tube. So your next attemot will be to put a pointed bolt where that T shaped rod for the cam is. Really appreciate your taking the time to instruct me Mike. This was really awesome, educational. I really should have been an engineer/fabricator/mad scientist. I love this stuff.

Someone gave me a Foley Belsaw. Has about 36-40" steel blade. I looked at it, but do not see how to automate it. It would certainly be stationary for me, but it is free.

-Mike


Offline Crusarius

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Gentlemen, thank again for such an educational set of comments. This is inventors class for sure.

Crusarius, I am familiar with the concept of arduino, and have always wanted to find time for learning how to use it. However, I typically learn a technology when I work on a project that uses it. Good point about square tubng showing the twist. Recently experienced that when my skidsteer quick attach plate came off bucket on onoly one side with a 1000 lb grapple ont eh front. Not good.  All fixed. When you said lovejoy running the hydraulic pump, did you mean the coupling that connects two shafts or some other technology? What made you think to only use the power when in the "home position"? Was it the idea that the motor is strained to cut and power an all elec system when not enough HP?? You know, aside from having to employ two pumps, one could have the power head run any hydraulics in the head and and the 5hp engine at the end of carriage (Like turner mill) run hydraulics for log handling... would be another engine to maintain also... I guess I will see how I look after gettng my pile of stuff together. Would prefer one diesel (mobile) or electric (staitionary),,,, but I may find my situation different.
Yes, lovejoy coupling. could have drive side on carriage and when you put it into the home position it could connect to slave side and power the hydraulics that way.

The reason I was thinking power only in the home position was so I did not have to run wires or hoses off the carriage and have them move with the head. I prefer to minimize wearable items. wires and hoses only have so much flex life before issues arise. I guess I could set it up so the battery is on the bed and then that won't be a problem but then I would not have the engine charging the battery.

As much as I would love to have a diesel, having a manual mill just means more weight to push around. They cost quite a bit more. And the fuel also costs more. In the end I could not justify diesel. I almost bought a kubota tractor with a 3 cylinder diesel just for the engine. I bought the HF 22 hp predator. cost me $700 at the time. If I had been more patient I could have gotten it for $650. Hard to beat that. so far the engine has been great and I have plenty of power. up until this past weekend I think I had more issues with power transfer due to slipping belts. I added a belt tensioner and it cut so much smoother.

Glad I could help. I am not shy keep the questions coming. Not only does it help you, but it also helps me and anyone reading this in the future.
I knew what I thought I meant.

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oh yea, diesel also weighs quite a bit more. So now you need to build beefier and heavier to support the weight.
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Offline Hilltop366

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For the cam lock log dogs (or any other kind) I was wondering if they were sloped towards the log a bit they would push down when tightened there by avoiding the lifting of the log? Kind of like having some preset in them.

I had screw type log dog and found them slow to set and always thought the cam lock would be so much faster.

Check out the Logosol dogs in this video.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=124&v=OmyFKF8zIa0

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I love having the springs. the sleeve on the 2" square locks like the cam locks bar but the spring holds it from moving.
I knew what I thought I meant.

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Lot of great ideas on that Logosaw band mill.  Here is my cam clamp I made.  The handle/lever was just some scrap ˝" rod that was already bent.  The cam is a piece of SS rod.  The bolts are Grade 8 5/16" IIRC.  The tube is Ľ" wall 2x2.  The clamp is 1x1 solid steel.  The point is level when you start and angles down slightly when fully clamped so I suppose it pulls down a little.  They work fantastic - easy, FAST and very strong.  The only problem is the lower bolt prevents me from going lower than 7˝".  I might try to countersink it or replace it with a roll pin.  I made a smaller one that is rotated 90° for doing the little stuff.


 

 

 

 
They are not quite so pretty anymore but still function great.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

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Nifty log dogs. I will make powered, but this still gives me close up details. Just need to replace a hand with power. :)

Diesel is definitely more weight, but If I am building the mill, and it will cost little different because of my free parts, I want a high production machine. If it was choice between free 22hp or spendy 50hp, I would go with the former. If it was a manual mill it would also play in. So in the end, I will look at my pile of stuff and make compromises where it makes economic sense and time to build sense. 

On a side note, someone just gave me a functioning Foley Belsaw with 36-40" steel blade. Not sure if this is something that can be automated?? I had not considered a circular, but it was free??

-Mike

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Realized that a cam is not neccesary when hydraulic is pushing. :)

Offline mike_belben

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Those are some very innovative dogs.


Here i can buy red diesel cheaper than gas and it lasts forever.  Im on a break from it now, but i make waste vegetable oil fuel and conversion systems.  

Gas engines mean eventually fooling with carbs and ignitions.. Not a week goes by that i dont have some stupid gas engine problem.  Coils, breakers, condensors, distributor buttons, wires, never ends.  My diesels are always easier to keep up.  

I would consider a small mechanical diesel for my saw and a $99 throwaway Predator for the setworks.  Buy 2 and a warranty.  Any grief and you swap them out then get another like flashlight batteries.  5hp sounds small.. But 5 horses can pull huge loads.  You use a small displacement pump (low gpm) and just wait 3 seconds longer, big deal.  Its when you want 10gpm at 3000 psi that you need bigger motor.  3gpm at 2200 psi will do what you need.  A log dog or backstop mover doesnt need much flow or pressure.. A half hp worth.  


I wish i had friends who toss belsaws!


Revelation 3:20

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Actually, very good friend that I gifted the mill, a lathe, and metal milling machine to. All old beat up stuff. Anyways, he recently got a steel rail Foley that is quite a bit nicer w/42" Carbide blade. When he knew I was looking at building a bandmill, he told me he did not want the one I gave him and said for me to take it and use it or sell it to fund my project. 

What say you Gents? Folley Belsaw with "steel" blade. New cardbide insert blade would be$$$ for starters, but are steel blades poor performers?

Next, is there a way to make these automated. Feed already is, but it would need log turner, loader, dogs, etc..

The log bed is too thin for any trama, so it would need a bed to feed it. But even then, the space is not there for the additional automation (as best I can tell).

However, if I disassembled the sawmill and put the power-plant (tractor) and blade/bearing blocks alone to one side and then built a beefy feed and log management on the other, it could have some potential perhaps. I lose all portability though.

May need to stick with the bandmill idea, but this is tempting. 

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I have toyed with the idea of going circle several times, but can't make it work for one man efficiently.  Take the mill maybe you can do something with it or use it as is.
2000 LT40hyd remote 33hp Kubota, 160 Prentice, Frick 2 saw gang edger, Wright W-37 ABG, Suffolk dual tooth setter, Cat claw single tooth setter,'96 F-250 7.3 PSD 4x4, CS-590 Echo, MF 20c, M681 Memo.

Over 2.5 million bdft sawn with a Baker Dominator and counting.


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