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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 12" bandsaw with cast aluminum wheels (it's a Gilliam - "Gil-built", kit). It originally had little balancing weights on each wheel. These have now (after 40 years) fallen off.

Any way to balance these wheels that doesn't require a machine shop and a bunch of sophisticated equipment?

I should add that I just installed new neoprene tires (which is when I noticed the weights were gone) and am not interested in repeating that process, so the balancing would be done with the tires on.
 

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Don't know if this helps or not because I am thinking about how tires were balanced before the computer generation. They had a tripod pod set up that had a round disc on top with a bubble level in the center. You set the tire mounted to the wheel on this disc and set wheel weights on the tire until the bubble of the level was in the center of the disc. If know someone that had an old mechanics shop they may still have one of these wheel balancers that you could use. There also use to be wheel weights that were available from automotive stores that were flat, had sticky take on the back side that you could stick to "Mag" wheels in order to balance them.
While typing this I also thought about (I have no personal experience with this) but there is also a blade balancer that use to be available to balance lawn mower blades that is based on the same principle as this tire balancer I am talking about
 

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where's my table saw?
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this is a different approach

The object, blades or wheels are held vertically rather than laying horizontally. I don't see a price for purchasing, but I imagine it would not be practical for a one time use for a wood shop. It would not work with aluminum wheels without an adaptor since it it is magnetic.
FYI:
http://www.magna-matic.com/mag-1000g-features.html

I designed a weighing tray balance using ball bearings in a manner similar to the above in design school and found the bearings needed to be dry, no lubricant, and very sensitive. I would suspect that the wheel when mounted on the machine would not be able to be balanced using tape on weights where the heaviest part of the wheel would seek the bottom most position, or 6 o'clock.
 

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master sawdust maker
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A neighbor of mine had the same issue about a month ago. he is pretty ingenious when it comes to making a square peg fit the round hole...

he built an oversized painters triangle. you know the little plastic triangles you prop the piece on to paint. stain finish...

the top tip was a rounded over metal pin that set on a washer that was the same size as the bearing. he double sided taped the washer on the bearing the center of the washer hole was like 1/4, the rounded over pin was like 5/16's so the wheel would balance on the top of the triangle horizontally. then the high side he would add weight to untill it was level. all he did to check the level was measure from the top of his bench to the bottom of the wheel.

for weights he used auto tire / wheel weights, the stick on kind. I asked him if he was worried about them flying off and he said no. just clean the wheel before you stick it on, and if they will balance a car wheel going over 100MPH it should be just fine for a band saw!
 

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I've had many new and used bandsaws. None of them had any balancing weights. There was never a vibration issue that was attributed to an out of balance issue. Could be debris under the tire, a tire problem, a bearing problem, a drive belt problem, motor shaft problem, or a blade problem.






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where's my table saw?
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I've got a 12" bandsaw with cast aluminum wheels (it's a Gilliam - "Gil-built", kit). It originally had little balancing weights on each wheel. These have now (after 40 years) fallen off.
I've seen several aluminum wheels that been drilled out inside the rim to balance them. They have several shallow holes in a row. This was obviously a factory solution rather than an after thought by an owner. Most all the automotive and cycle shops use a dynamic or high speed rotational balancer rather than a static balance. Is the lack of weights really an issue....?? only if the machine seriously vibrates in use. The wooden frame may not have the mass of a cast iron frame necessary to dampen out some of vibrations. Give it a try and let us know. :yes:
 

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I would eliminate all the other sources of vibration as I outlined in post #6 before trying to balance with weights or drilling holes. Drilling holes could weaken the wheels or be a cause of creating a defective issue which could make the wheel prone to warping. Adding to the check list might be checking the wheel for an out of round condition (on the tire edge), or, out of plane (on the side of the wheel), which all the balancing you would do would have no effect.






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Remove the blade, pencil a mark at 6 o'clock. Spin the wheel a couple of times and note where the wheel stops. If the mark stops a random spots, you're gold. If not, loop a couple of turns of ground wire around a spoke up top. Repeat until you're happy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I would eliminate all the other sources of vibration as I outlined in post #6 before trying to balance with weights or drilling holes. Drilling holes could weaken the wheels or be a cause of creating a defective issue which could make the wheel prone to warping. Adding to the check list might be checking the wheel for an out of round condition (on the tire edge), or, out of plane (on the side of the wheel), which all the balancing you would do would have no effect.





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I'll be doing some tune-up as I put things back together - including checking other potential sources. My thinking was that the manufacturer saw fit to attach small balancing weights to each wheel, so there was probably a need. I want to get the wheels back to the factory-made condition before I reinstall them.
 

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I'll be doing some tune-up as I put things back together - including checking other potential sources. My thinking was that the manufacturer saw fit to attach small balancing weights to each wheel, so there was probably a need. I want to get the wheels back to the factory-made condition before I reinstall them.
Did you get the saw brand a$$ new with the weights on the wheels?




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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Did you get the saw brand a$$ new with the weights on the wheels?






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It was a kit - castings and other metal parts supplied, plus plans for wood mounting structure. But, yes, the wheels came direct from Gilliam with the balancing weights on them (in addition to a couple of balancing holes drilled in one of the wheels).
 

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Similar to what Bladeburner said. With no blade, spin the wheel, when it stops make a mark at 6 or 12. Spin it again. If it stops in the same place, the wheel is out of balance, heavy on the bottom. Add some wire or an adhesive wheel weight at 12 o'clock. Spin it again. When the wheel stops at different places with each spin, it's as balanced as you will need.
 

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Old Methane Gas Cloud
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Balancing wheels of a band saw can be easy as adhering to gravity.

Remove the blade and get it out of the way. If you need new tires, now would be a good time to replace them.

Make sure that the wheel runs true. Clamp a piece of wood to the wheel / blade protective cover. Put a nail through the wood and have the nail as close as possible to the wheel. Turn the wheel by hand. The distance between the wheel and nail should be consistent for the entire revolution of the wheel. (Both radial and axial directions)

Let the wheel find its point of equilibrium. (The heavy part will be down.) Mark the heavy point with a magic marker. Move the heavy point to the 3 o'clock position and repeat. Do the same with the heavy point at the 9 o'clock position. The heavy point should always be the same.

Peal off a 4" piece of duct tape and stick it to the spoke closest to 180° to the heavy point. (Don't wrap just lightly stick close to the rim.)

Roll out some solder, 12" or more. Wrap the solder around the same spoke as above. (180° from the heavy spot.)

Using the 3 and 9 o'clock positions as above, determine the heavy spot. Remove a bit of solder at a time until you achieve balance. Then wrap the duct tape around the solder and spoke.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Tried one of those little conical mower blade balancers they sell at Home Depot. Useless for this purpose - No consistency w/regard to where a weight would "balance" the wheel.

Then, further validation of why I never (almost) throw out any shop-built "jigs." A number of years ago I had built a small centrifugal fan using one of the Dave Gingery books. For balancing the impeller I made a "jig" (per Dave's plans) that provides leveled knife edges that are almost friction free (see attached photo). Sure enough, I still had it. Pulled it out, cleaned it up and gave it a try. First wheel tried - there was the heavy spot exactly 180 degrees opposite where the balancing weight had fallen off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Both wheels now balanced, using those stick-on wheel weights from an auto parts store. They weigh 7.5 grams each, way too heavy for my situation. However, cut down nicely with a hacksaw into 2-3 gram pieces which did the trick. I also marked the weight and location on the rim of each piece, in case they ever fall off again (I'm assuming my new utherane tires will outlast me - so no future need to re-balance, because of tire changes, is anticipated).

Appreciate all the input.
 
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