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Manufactured/Badged by:
Yates-American Machine Co., Inc.
Beloit, WI; Roscoe, IL; Liberty, NC

Machine Specifications
Machine Class: Wood Working Machinery
Machine Type: Band Saw
Machine Size: 42"
Submitted By: T.J. Forrester
Machine Specifications
Description/Model: Y42
Date of Manufacturer: late 40's
Serial Number: unknown
Last Updated 9/21/2006 12:00:00 AM

This is a Y42 "snowflake", the largest of the Yates American Y line bandsaws. I bought this machine at an auction several months ago. The restoration of this machine has been a journey (like many machine stories told here!) It started with hauling it home from Sacramento, CA in early December of '05. We made it over the Siskiyou pass without encountering any snow or ice, a rare feat at that time of year. My hired 15 ton crane picked it off my trailer and set it in the driveway, much to the delight of SWMBO...

Then the search started for an original frame direct drive motor to replace the poorly done belt drive setup on the saw when I purchased it. My months long search ended in Toledo, Ohio where I found a 365 frame 720 RPM 7.5 hp motor. Acording to yates, this was one of two motors available on this saw, the other being a 10 hp 404 frame. Yates used these motors which were usually wound for as much as 40 hp to take advantage of their mass and huge bearings. The motor had been rebuilt and was shipped to me. At 650 lbs, it was not very cheap! I had the shaft turned down to 1 5/8" and ground to +/-.0002 to accept the lower wheel collet.

The second important item was repairing a crack in the frame that originated above the motor bay on the backside of the saw and ran nearly all the way accross the top between the tables and a few inches down into the main frame web. After much research and deliberation, I "plated" the area across the crack with 1/2" angle and 3/8" flat stock. I embedded the plates in epoxy after stripping the areas to bare metal and fastened them in place with countersunk 3/8" stainless flat head bolts, about 2" apart. This way I avoided the impossible task of heating the huge frame hot enough and long enough for a weld repair. The cast iron stitching was prohibitively expensive (for me.)As you can see, a similar repair was made by someone else earlier at the corner of the frame. I believe the crack there is part of the damage that caused the crack I repaired. It appears that something very heavy was dropped on the front side of the auxiliary table at one point, bending the table, and causing the cracks.

I completely stripped and repainted the saw, repairing the few broken spokes in the rear upper wheel guard with epoxy and wire. I used bondo to repair the worst of the surface imperfections. With help, I had to move the frame into the shop on my trailer and stand it up between the beams supporting the roof. From there, I used the skylight hole to chain hoist parts into place. The lower wheel hangs into a narrow pit I had saw cut out of the concrete. I lined the hole with sheet metal to prevent dirt and rocks from being carried up into the machine.

I removed the old chewed up tires and planned on ordering new ones. I could only find 3 sources for them anywhere, and two of them buy from the other. The old tires on the saw were 3/8" thick and vulcanized on. The replacement tires from the "sources" were only 3/16" thick. At 2 1/2" wide, I figured there wouldn't be much left at the edges after crowning. I searched locally and found a tire and rubber company that specializes in custom rubber coatings and vulcanizing. They were great to work with and made me a pair of 1/2" thick 3" wide tires that I epoxied on and trimmed and crowned to 3/8" thick. The bands now just pop to the center of the tires.

The final battle was getting it running. I figured my 15 hp phase converter would start the big GE motor with its 400 lb lower wheel attached. I was wrong. The motor drew such a load I was experiencing voltage drop of over 100 volts on two of the legs. The heaters in the mag starter were glowing red. This caused a howling, groaning startup time of about a minute. I knew it would never pull the band and the aluminum upper wheel without frying the windings. Enter the VFD. I read up some on the mothership about variable frequqency drives, or AC drives, and consulted an electrician friend. Man, was I impressed! The drive starts the saw in about 30 seconds whisper quiet - no howling or groaning, no brown outs in the neighborhood, no heated up motor coils. The drive gives me complete control over the motor. DC braking, torque curve manipulation, variable speed, variable startup and stop times, adjustable overload settings, the list goes on and on - 95 different settings. The newer generation drives can withstand more vibration, allowing a direct mounting. Mine will withstand .6 g's before shutting down and sending an error code. That and its enclosed in a NEMA 12 enclosure for my dusty shop. I can't say enough good things about it.

I want to say thanks to fellow OWWMers Doug Westlind, Dave Galas, and Chuck Hess for providing time, effort, tools, and inspiriation to make this resto possible. Its gonna be a hellova machine!

Photo 1:

Comments: It clears the skylight by about 3 inches
Source: My digital camera
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Photo 2:

Comments: Pit saw cut into concrete. SWMBO will have me committed soon...
Source: My digital camera
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Photo 3:

Comments: Note the repair plates. The motor is big enough to saddle and ride!
Source: My digital camera
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