Inca Band Saw Part 2: The Thrust Bearings

This is was the upper thrust bearing on my Inca 342 band saw:

I don’t know how someone lets a part get to this level of failure without replacing it, but this is what was there. The lower thrust bearing was not as bad, but it had worn down enough that the blade was riding on the full face of the bearing, and not just on the outer edge as intended.

Now I had to deal with the reality of the saw I had purchased: where was I going to find replacement parts for a Swiss saw from a company that had gone out of business some time ago?

I looked around the internet and found a few references to Eagle Tools  as a possible source of advice and replacement parts, but I decided I’d see if I could find something local first.

…it turns out that my solution was really local.

I have been using the wishlist to drop serious hints to anyone wishing to buy me a present, and one of the things I had wished for and received was a lot of 100 608zz ball bearings. I picked these ones because they are the most commonly used size of bearing and I wanted to use them for various hobby and jig-making projects… nothing specific in mind.

Coincidentally, This is the same size bearing Inca chose to use on their saw. So, not only did I have a replacement thrust bearing on hand, I had 100 of them!

The process of removing the old thrust bearings and replacing them with new ones was easier than I thought it would be.

The bearings are press-fit, but the fit is far more loose than other bearings I’ve dealt with. Although they were too tight to remove and install by hand, they were loose enough for me to feel comfortable using a punch and a dead-blow hammer to remove and install the bearings.

To install the new bearing, I simply laid the baring flat on a piece of rubber and tapped the thrust bearing shaft into the bearing.

I re-installed the bearings on the saw and was ready to work on the next repair (seen in the picture below) the wooden replacement blade guides.

…to be continued in Inca Band Saw Part 3: The Guides


7 thoughts on “Inca Band Saw Part 2: The Thrust Bearings

  1. Wow, this is weird!
    I was trying to find a solution to fix my bikes to the ceiling of my garage last saturday when my dad called be to pick up an Inca bandsaw he had bought for me at a garage sale. I found your blog while trying to find the right ball bearings to replace the ones on my saw, which looks pretty much like yours except the motor is under the table.

    Anyway, nice blog, Cheers,

  2. That is a funny coincidence!
    When I was researching the Inca bandsaw I did find that many, if not most, of the saws out there are belt-driven. This is nice because it gives flexibility in terms of motor size and speed, and it makes replacement (if ever needed) a lot easier.
    The direct drive is more efficient, so the power at the blade is better than a belt drive with the same motor size, and I like the compactness, and being able to mount the saw on my bench top.
    I would expect that both saws use the same thrust bearings, but the nice thing about discovering that the generic 608zz bearings fit, is that they are so cheap, you could buy some and test fit them with very little investment or risk.
    Thanks for the positive feedback!

  3. Have the 608ZZ bearings continued to work for your saw without falling off their mounting shafts? For my Inca 340 saw, I had previously ordered replacement bearings from Eagle Tool, and it looks like they are 628ZZ size. These are press fit bearings that need to be seated with a mallet. I ordered the 608zz bearings and they slide on loosely, but are enormously cheaper. Are the 608’s working, despite the looseness?

    • Hi Andy,
      I have not had any issue with the bearings since replacing them. They have not come loose and I am still using the original pair I installed (although I have a large number of backup bearings should they eventually wear out!).

      And this may be ill-advised, but you could ping the shaft with a center punch to make the bearing fit more tightly, this should not affect the alignment in any negative way.

      Good luck!

  4. I read in the Amazon description for 608 ZZ bearings that they are ‘Shielded’ and require periodic lube, based on usage. 608 2RS bearings are ‘Sealed’ at the manufacturer and would not require lube. The original bearings on my Inca 342 are 608 2RS.

    Great job with the info you posted here. Thank you.

  5. Hello Garage Sandals;
    yesterday I picked up an Inca Euro 260, when I stripped it down I too was appalled by the state of the (upper) thrust bearing. Quite as bad as yours. Feeling I’d wasted my money and bought a duff one I came across this entry.

    I can’t thank you enough! I was about to try my French in an email to the Inca machines website and then came across your post. New 608zz bearings are now on order. Your post has exactly the right amount of detail and great pictures.


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