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Record Power BS350S Bandsaw Modifications - Part 1: Blade Guide Upgrade Using Rikon Tool-Less Kit

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MikeK

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I made several modifications to my Record Power BS350S bandsaw over the past few weeks and decided to post them here in case anyone with a similar bandsaw was interested.

Here are the modifications I made and will be documenting here. I’ll update the list below with links to the other threads as I add them::

1. Upgrade upper and lower blade guides with the Rikon tool-less kit made for the Rikon 10-324 and 10-325 bandsaws.
2. Add an electrical outlet to the upper frame so I can power the magnetic base LED lamp.
3. Add blade shroud to improve dust collection.
4. Rip Fence Upgrade
5. Replace the stock wheeled base with a sturdy cabinet with drawers, locking casters, and push handle.


=====

I watched several YouTube videos about the Rikon 10-324 bandsaw and noticed immediately how similar it was to the Record Power BS350S. I decided to take a chance on the tool-less upgrade kit, fully expecting it to not be a simple install as shown in the Rikon videos. It was not a simple install, but I accomplished everything using common tools. The only powered tools I used were a cordless drill and a Dremel with a cutoff wheel. If I had some metal cutting blades for my jigsaw, I would have used it instead of a hacksaw.

Note: If you are concerned about the warranty of your bandsaw, this is not the kit for you. A complete installation requires making several permanent modifications to the bandsaw frame.

Here is the Rikon tool-less kit as it arrived in the mail.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-1-L.jpg



A view of the inside of the box showing the components. I first noticed that the upper blade guard was longer than the OEM guard, so this would have to be cut in order to fit in the upper wheel section. I also noticed that the optional scale for the upper blade guard was marked in imperial and metric; however, for some metric haters, the scale was in centimeters.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-2-X2.jpg



A comparison of the stock and upgrade upper blade guides. The Record Power BS350S guide is on the left and the Rikon tool-less blade guide is on the left. The upper blade guide was the only part that was a one-for-one exchange and did not require any modifications to the bandsaw to install and adjust.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-3-L.jpg



A comparison of the stock and upgrade lower blade guides. The Record Power BS350S lower guide components are on the left and the Rikon tool-less lower blade guide is on the right. All of the RP components are mounted to the trunnion, while the Rikon guide is attached to the frame. Unlike the upper blade guide, the lower blade guide required some modification to the bandsaw frame in order to fit.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-22-L.jpg



Here is an image of the Rikon tool-less upper blade guide attached. The exchange was easy and took seconds. One bolt holds the blade guide to the upper arm.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-4-L.jpg



Here is another view of the Rikon upper blade guide installed. The black knobs on each roller bearing lock the bearing in place. When the knob is loosened, the spring-loaded shaft moves the bearing away from the blade, so you have to push the bearing back to the blade for each adjustment.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-5-L.jpg



Here is a comparison of the Record Power and Rikon upper blade guards. The Record Power blade guard cannot be used with the Rikon upper blade guide, because of clearance issues. Likewise, the Rikon blade guide can’t be used as is because it hits the upper wheel housing safety switch.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-6-XL.jpg



Another interference issue is with bracket that is part of the upper wheel housing. The bracket prevents the upper arm from fully raising because it makes contact with the blade guard and the upper blade guide. The only purpose for this bracket is to catch a moving slide on the stock upper blade guard. Since I removed the stock blade guard, this bracket is no longer required. A single pass with the Dremel cutoff wheel, and the bracket is history.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-7-X2.jpg



The modified blade guard and blade guide installed. The blade guard has a clear plastic window in order to see the upper bearing and make adjustments.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-8-X2.jpg



Another view of the new blade guard and blade guide in the fully raised position.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-9-X2.jpg



A view of the upper blade guard with the access door opened.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-10-X2.jpg



A view of the upper arm in the fully lowered position. The bearings are in contact with the table.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-11-X2.jpg



Available height of cut with the stock Record Power BS350S blade guides installed.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-12-X2.jpg



Available height of cut with the Rikon tool-less blade guide upgrade kit installed. I lost about one centimeter of cut height (10mm for those of you who fear or despise the lovely centimeter).

BS350S-Blade-Guide-13-X2.jpg



And now the fun begins. I realized as I unpacked the Rikon tool-less kit and tried to dry fit the parts, that the lower blade guides would require most of the effort in this project. Here is the stock lower blade guide. Despite several cleanings, the only roller bearing in the stock setup constantly seizes. It might as well be a stack of washers for all the good it does.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-14-X2.jpg



I had to cut a wider section in the lower frame to accommodate the Rikon lower blade guide assembly. I also drilled two holes in the lower frame to allow attaching of the guide bracket using two M5 screws. The normal installation uses one screw and a locator grub screw in an elongated hole already drilled in the Rikon 10-324 lower frame. I like my version better, since there is no way for the lower blade guide to twist.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-15-X2.jpg



Another view of the lower wheel housing showing the modification to the frame.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-16-X2.jpg



The new Rikon tool-less lower blade guide upgrade installed. There is plenty of room for movement to accommodate a 3/4-inch 3TPI blade without the side roller bearings interfering with the teeth.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-17-X2.jpg



Another view of the Rikon upgrade.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-18-X2.jpg



To make adjusting the right roller bearing a bit easier, I drilled a 20mm hole in the side of the frame. The hole is covered up in normal use by a bracket I made for the blade shroud dust collection modification.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-19-X2.jpg



I fitted a 1/2-inch 3TPI M42 blade I bought from TuffSaws and set the rollers.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-20-X3.jpg



Another view of the lower blade guide with the blade fitted.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-21-X3.jpg
 

MikeG.

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Well, you're a braver man than me. I'd be worried that taking such a substantial cut out of the body of the machine would reduce its ability to properly tension bigger blades, given that it doesn't have a frame.
 

Harken in Wood

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Hi. Thanks for the comprehensive guide on modifying a Record Bandsaw.have been looking for some way to modify the blade guides on my Record bandsaw and this certainly would fit the bill. All I need is to find a source of the kit in U.K. if possible. I am also going to have a go at improving the dust extraction detailed.
 

Jonm

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I'm a risk taker. :)
The main force on the base is vertically upwards applied at the axle of the lower pulley (due to tensioning the blade). There is a corresponding vertical force downwards on the top pulley axle. These forces are resisted by the frame. The frame would fail either by bending of the vertical part of the frame between the upper and lower boxes or the whole frame twisting. The part of the base you have cut away is in the area to prevent the frame twisting. You have widened part length an existing slot and not cut in to a thinner part of the frame. I think it should be fine, if you had deepened the existing slot then maybe not so good.
 

MikeK

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The part of the base you have cut away is in the area to prevent the frame twisting. You have widened part length an existing slot and not cut in to a thinner part of the frame. I think it should be fine, if you had deepened the existing slot then maybe not so good.

I removed less material than same area on the Rikon 10-324, based on watching several videos. I'm not concerned about the twisting or flexing because the widest blade I'll use is 5/8-inch carbon steel. Most of the time, the blades will be 1/2-inch and smaller.

I also noticed during the research for this, that the Rikon does not have the safety switches in the upper and lower doors, but the upper riser has the cable access hole for the safety switch cable. This reinforced my theory that these are made in the same factory or from similar plans, and the blade guide upgrade will fit.
 

RichardG

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One question. On the lower guide could you have removed the guide block from the side bracket and turned it 180 degrees and then mounted it on the other side of the slot so all the guides are then above the body of the saw? Is there space to do this?
 

MikeK

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MikeK

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One question. On the lower guide could you have removed the guide block from the side bracket and turned it 180 degrees and then mounted it on the other side of the slot so all the guides are then above the body of the saw? Is there space to do this?

I didn't think of that, but will have a look at the saw again to see if it would work. I haven't put the cast iron table back on yet, so I can remove the lower guide block and see if it will fit.

It would certainly take up the space I wanted for the dust extraction. As it is now, I removed the plastic blade guard that came with the lower guide block so I could fit the dust extraction pipe.
 

MikeK

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One question. On the lower guide could you have removed the guide block from the side bracket and turned it 180 degrees and then mounted it on the other side of the slot so all the guides are then above the body of the saw? Is there space to do this?

Here are some images showing the spacing if the Rikon lower guide block is rotated 180 degrees so the mounting bracket is on the other side.

This image shows a 90-degree rotation so you can see the spacing. The thrust bearing is aligned with the blade path.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-23-XL.jpg



This images shows the 180-dgree rotation, with the block resting on the frame.

BS350S-Blade-Guide-24-XL.jpg


I don't think it's practical to try this, but I did notice that the block now touches the main trunnion carriage bolt cap, whereas it doesn't touch it in the normal installation. It is close, but there is clearance. This might limit the minumum width of the blade used in the saw since the block adjustment determines the gullet clearance of the side bearings.

The smallest blade I have is a 1/4-inch 12-14TPI, and with the block as far back as it will go and the blade correctly centered on the wheels, the side bearings are just clear of the gullet. With the block touching the trunnion bolt, it would not be possible to correctly set the side bearings for this blade without adjusting the tracking to bring the blade closer to the front edge of the wheel.
 

RichardG

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That’s a shame, it may have been an easier solution. Those guides look very well engineered, certainly much better than the originals, if only record would make an official upgrade
 

Spectric

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Hi there

I do like someone who is willing to go that bit extra to make a machine perform as they want and not just accept that the OEM got it right. Looking at your images I would say that these guides are the same as a Sabre 350 and you have no worries about enlarging the slot to get the lower guides fitted as thats what Record have done on the 350. It is worth noting that Record now sell the Sabre fence and rail as an upgrade for the BS350 & 400 so will they get round to selling the guides as an upgrade as well? I suspect that they may have concerns because of modifications around safety guards and implications involving PUWER and the machinery directive although I bet there are many out there in domestic workshops who have taken the hacksaw to something!

I have also seen or read somewhere that the lower guides are far less important than the upper guides, anyone any thoughts or expand on this? I think that both sets of guides act together to support the blade either side of where it is cutting but there is so much differing info out there.
 

AJB Temple

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Interesting thread. Quite a few people seem to upgrade their Record bandsaws. I looked at them a few years ago when I bought my bandsaw, but I thought they were cheaply made (plastic knobs and adjustment wheels, not very good fence etc) so by the time I had fixed it I would be better off with a more expensive saw. As it happens I still bought the wrong saw (with what I know now and the use it has had).
 

MikeK

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Hi there

I do like someone who is willing to go that bit extra to make a machine perform as they want and not just accept that the OEM got it right. Looking at your images I would say that these guides are the same as a Sabre 350 and you have no worries about enlarging the slot to get the lower guides fitted as thats what Record have done on the 350. It is worth noting that Record now sell the Sabre fence and rail as an upgrade for the BS350 & 400 so will they get round to selling the guides as an upgrade as well? I suspect that they may have concerns because of modifications around safety guards and implications involving PUWER and the machinery directive although I bet there are many out there in domestic workshops who have taken the hacksaw to something!

I have also seen or read somewhere that the lower guides are far less important than the upper guides, anyone any thoughts or expand on this? I think that both sets of guides act together to support the blade either side of where it is cutting but there is so much differing info out there.

Thank you! These guides are also standard on the Rikon 10-326 bandsaw, which looks strangely similar to the Record Power Sabre-350. However, it appears that the RP retained the split upper blade guard and extended the locking knobs for the upper guide side rollers.

I found only one source, A.L.T. Saws and Spares Ltd, that makes aftermarket roller guides for the Record Power BS350S, but they only make the upper guide. According to Lee at ALT, the upper guide performs 80 percent of the work, so they don't bother with the lower guide.
 

MikeK

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It is worth noting that Record now sell the Sabre fence and rail as an upgrade for the BS350 & 400 so will they get round to selling the guides as an upgrade as well?

Given the amount of modification to the frame in order to install the lower guides, I don't think these will be available as an upgrade for the BS350S. I didn't know about the fence upgrade, but just ordered it from the German distributor. I noticed the Sabre 350 comes with one fence, but the upgrade comes with two fences.
 

MikeK

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I put the table back on the saw and then put the 1/2-inch 3TPI M24 blade on it. After aligning the table to the blade in both axes, aligning the fence to the miter slots, and then aligning the fence and table to the blade, it was time for a test cut.

I fed a short piece of 125mm x 52mm kiln-dried beech through to see how well it would resaw. Not to be too greedy, because I don't have a tall resaw fence and didn't think to make a temporary fence using MDF, I made three consistent 3mm slices of 125mm beech. As Doug Marcaida would say, "it will cut".

I have never been able to resaw anything on this saw since I had it and it was marginally effective at cutting plywood. I'm sure most of the success is from using quality blades, and maybe a little from better blade guides. I might spare it from the river after all.

Also, I bought the three-DVD set The Complete Bandsaw from @Steve Maskery, but have only watched the first DVD so far. I would have never checked to see if blade was tracking properly on the lower wheel, but did so after watching this on Steve's DVD. Sure enough, the teeth were almost at the front edge of the bottom wheel with the blade tracking properly on the top wheel. Apparently, this has been the condition since the saw was new. The wear marks on the tire were only on the front edge. A few small adjustments of the axle bolts, and the blade was where it should be. For me, this was worth the price of the DVDs, so I should watch the others now.
 

mr rusty

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Hi Mike

The smallest blade I have is a 1/4-inch 12-14TPI, and with the block as far back as it will go and the blade correctly centered on the wheels, the side bearings are just clear of the gullet. With the block touching the trunnion bolt, it would not be possible to correctly set the side bearings for this blade without adjusting the tracking to bring the blade closer to the front edge of the wheel.

Not quite sure what you are saying here - are you saying it does work OK for 1/4" blade or no it doesn't without tracking adjustment?

Also any chance you could upload the dimensions of the cut-out you made and hole positions?

I think this is a great mod, and I've ordered the kit myself, because have always felt the blade guides were not that great.
 

MikeK

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Not quite sure what you are saying here - are you saying it does work OK for 1/4" blade or no it doesn't without tracking adjustment?

Also any chance you could upload the dimensions of the cut-out you made and hole positions?

The blade guides, as I installed them, work perfectly for the 1/4-inch blade when the blade is centered on the wheels. The front edge of the side bearings are clear of the gullets.

I'll post an image with the dimensions for the cut-out later today. The hole locations for the bracket are determined when the block is temporarily put in place and aligned with the tensioned blade. There are two holes in the bracket, but they are close together in order to fit in the elongated hole in the Rikon frame. I used one of the holes and drilled another hole closer to the other edge of the bracket to give it more stability. It will be more clear when you see the bracket.

I removed the lower wheel during this process, since I didn't want to damage it during the cutting and drilling operations. I did put the wheel and blade on several times to check the alignment of the guide block, but removed them when drilling or cutting. The lower wheel comes off easily without a gear puller.

With the blade guide temporarily held in place with a small G-clamp on the bracket and frame, I marked the location of the front hole on the RP frame. I removed the block and drilled the hole with a 3mm pilot drill and worked my way up to a 5.5mm drill. I attached the guide block to the frame using an M5 screw and checking the alignment of the thrust bearing to the tensioned blade. When I was satisfied, I traced around the bracket on the frame so I had some alignment marks.

Then I removed the blade, lower wheel from the saw, and removed the bracket from the guide block. I attached the bracket to the frame using an M5 screw and the G-clamp, while ensuring the bracket was aligned with marks I made on the frame. I needed to remove the bracket in order to have room to drill through the bracket and frame at the same time for the second mounting hole. For the second hole, I started with a 3mm pilot drill and then used a 4.2mm drill, which is the tap drill size for the M5 thread. I removed the bracket from the frame and drilled the frame hole to 5.5mm.

After tapping the bracket hole with an M5 tap, I attached the bracket to the guide block, and attached the guide block to the frame. Then I installed the lower wheel (don't forget the belt) and the blade.

If you use SAE hardware instead of metric, the 10-32 thread is similar to the M5. Use a #21 drill for the tap hole in the bracket and a #7 for the through hole in the frame.
 
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