> I could probably get a cheapy on craigslist and modify it, but that isn't as much fun, is it?
1. I'd rather make ** musical instruments ** than fuss about making supporting tooling.
2. Usually, I'd prefer to adapt somebody else's accomplishments to my needs than start from scratch.
3. 14 inch Delta bandsaw clones using 93 1/2 inch blades on 14 inch wheels regularly appear on craigslist for $100-$150. You're wayyy ahead by starting from a well-proven design and "salting to taste", so to speak.
4. Your proposed multi-wheel concept looks unnecessarily complex. A small idler can provide deep throat capacity you need without the complexity of cooling or maintaining alignment of all those little wheels. Choose your idler size to accommodate the thickest stock you need to cut. For simple and cheap construction, mount an 8-10 inch wood-turned pulley with a tire made from a discarded bicycle tire stapled around the sides. You could also purchase and 8 inch or 10 inch v-belt pulley.
If you choose to make a wooden pulley, there's lots of ways to turn perfect circles without a lathe if you have access to any of (a)
bandsaw, (b) lathe, (c) fixed based or plunge router, (d) table saw or (e) radial arm saw. (See R.J. DeCristoforo for details on the latter two. His authorship deserves a place in EVERY craftsman's library.
See "Portable Power Tool Techniques" @ https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Port.../dp/0806965029
See "Stationary Power Tool Techniques" @ https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0806966661
You could mount the "middle" wheel (either wood or v-belt pulley) on a pair of "pillow blocks" or make a simple U-shaped mounting bracket to carry two oil-impregnated bronze bushings. The mouthing bracket can be fixed in place, since the top wheel handles blade tension adjustment. Aligning the middle wheel with top and bottom is easy; make the U-shaped axle mounting bracket wide enough to slide the wooden, middle pulley wheel along the axle.
5. Depending on the "feeds and speeds" you need[s] for the expensive and delicate materials you likely consumer, much slower blade speeds than stock machine could serve you well. I needed MUCH slower blade speeds for metal work. ((Too fast --> too hot --> ruined blades) I reduced blade speeds from about 3500 feet per minute (fpm) on a stock Delta clone down to 50 to 100 fpm for metal cutting work by adding a "countershaft" (aka: jackshaft) and "auto transformer" (aka: "Variac", "PowerStat" and "Variable Transformer") to provide continuously variable speed between 50 and 200 FPM.
For general information, see http://www.homemadetools.net/forum/h...dget#post59961
For specific information on the mods I implemented, see http://www.homemadetools.net/forum/h...64-2#post60050