Sunday, 15 September 2013

The metal bandsaw - Macc Special 215 Horizontal Metal Bandsaw

I have been collecting metal and materials to use for a while now but was having issues cutting them to size. I bought a used Wurth bandsaw that was a little too small for what I wanted to cut. I kept contemplating a larger saw but couldn't bring myself to buy a Chinese machine. Since moving to Norway I have been trying my hardest to create a workshop of quality European machines and to buy Chinese at this point would be a bitter pill.

Patience is rewarded as I was checking a website similar to Craig's List in Norway called Finn and I came across an Italian made metal bandsaw, the Macc Special 215. The pictures in the add were quite bad but I Googled the name and came up with pictures of a fairly decent looking bandsaw. Macc seem to make industrial machines and seem to have a pretty good reputation. From the pictures I could see that it would need some repairs but given the 5000 NOK price tag ($850 USD), it was a fifth of the price when new. I told the seller I would take it.

The saw was quite filthy and I could see it needed a little TLC. The vice handle was missing and the electrical control box bracket was bent up. The blade tension handle was also broken and I could see the dried remains of the cutting / cooling fluid all over the saw. I could safely assume that the blade guide bearings would also need work as they would have had their share of metal filings and coolant in them. This was the state of the machine:

I added some wheels while I had it on it's side on the trailer so I could roll it around the workshop easier. Once I had it in the workshop I started to clean it up so I could see what needed attention.

The list of repairs to the Macc Special 215
  1. Guide bearings - one needed to be unseized and new bearings needed to be ordered
  2. Clean the grease out of the vice and use 68 weight hydraulic oil instead
  3. Remove rust and use a linseed rust preventer on metal surfaces
  4. Remove electrical box bracket, straighten and repaint
  5. Make new vice handle
I should probably have made a new blade tension handle but I figured I could wait for that since it still worked.

Making a new vice handle

The problem I had with making a new handle is that I didn't have an old handle to use as a guide. I have never seen this type of handle so it took a while to figure out how it should operate. I had some spare pieces of steel I had been saving so I used them since they had the right bends and the right dimensions. I also had a bolt I figured would make a decent handle.

This is what I had to work from:

I made the part on the end so that I could temporarily use it as a handle. It screws into the vice's lead screw and allows you to open or close the vice. I cut the material for the body of the handle to size with the saw and chucked it up in the lathe to true it both with regards to it's outside and inside diameter.

At this point it's worth mentioning how much I appreciate my little Colchester Chipmaster. I will be writing a review as I have what I believe to be one of the best small lathes ever made and have found it to be a fantastic machine for the hobby machinist.

Anyway, once I had turned the handle body to size, I milled a groove in order to recess the handle into the body. I drilled and tapped 3 holes - 1 to add a grub screw to tighten the handle on to the vice lead screw shank, and 2 to hold the arm onto the handle body. I also drilled a hole and counter bored it to fit an allen head screw that would fasten the handle to the lead screw.

I turned down the bolt and with 2 nuts I clamped it to the handle arm. We have had the communication technicians here laying fibre optic cables and they left some plastic conduit offcuts laying around. I used that for the rotating sleeve of the handle. It looks like a Franken-handle but it works very well and is one thing to cross off the list. Now the saw is perfectly functional, clean and has had all the bearings un-seized. My new bearings came in the mail today so I will change them all out this week. The finished result, a Happy Macc Special 215 horizontal metal bandsaw!

Now I'm off to play in the workshop! Take care.


  1. I never seen or heard this type of band saw. But it looks great and the frame looks sturdy.

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