Band saw: A follow up

I had to take the saw apart after all. I unscrewed everything that was
attached to the arm and dismantled the hinge without dropping and
cracking any cast iron parts. This is what I found:
1) There was a flat spot on the driving shaft to hold the set screw.
This was too short so any movement of the wheel forward on the shaft
would cause the set-screw to miss this flat spot and engage on the
round part of the shaft.
2) The set screw hole seemed to have been tapped twice - once at an
angle for a part of the way and second time properly. Unfortunately
the first channel directed the screw to itself preferentially. It took
quite a bit of manipulation to line the set screw up properly with the
correct channel.
3) The lip of the first channel cracked at the mouth and could no
longer support the set screw - thus my arrangement with a plug etc.
had no chance of working for at least two reasons.
4) Having cleaned everything up I extended the flat spot on the shaft
and repositioned the wheel and the set screw. After reassembling the
whole thing it seems to be cutting satisfactorily. However, under load
the driven wheel has a discernible wobble. It does not affect the
tracking of the blade at the current settings. I only saw this after I
put everything back together so I do not know if it is the shaft or
the wheel itself.
5) All of the screws I had to deal with were imperial but *the heads
were metric*
, i.e. 1/4" screw would not turn with a 7/16" wrench, 10
mm was needed, 5/16" were slipping with 1/2" wrench and needed 12 mm
etc. (3/8" were of course OK with either 14 mm or 9/16" :-)
6) I found the Busy Bee manual for this machine - note the parts list:
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The saw currently sells for $309 which is over-priced (I got AFAIR for
Now back to some productive work...
Michael Koblic,
Campbell River, BC
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I think the pre-assembled kit description is an appropriate one for many of these saws. I got my 4 x 6 from MachineMart in the UK about 15 years ago but some of the problems sounds much the same. Mine came with the driven wheel badly positioned and the worm and wheel being so badly meshed that it consumed most of the power just to turn it. I resolved those issues and got the blade running true and all was good for many years but at some point things shifted again and worm wore/cut the wheel and needed replacing, fortunately spares were readily available 7 years after purchase and cheap and a strip down was done. All new quality bearings were fitted and any remedial machining done to correct original issues found, one standard ball bearing that came out had an ID 0.005" over what it should have been. The motor was replaced at a different date as it burnt out due to stalling during a cut while I was out of the room. All in all since the rebuild I have kept an eye on things more and checked the gearbox content and the state of the worm and wheel from time to time and all looks good. I had removed the very sharp edges on the replacement worm with a linisher prior to fitting and the gearbox has a small magnet to catch any swarf.
Interestingly my neighbour has the same basic design of Chinese saw from a different supplier but it seems to be better made and has a UK motor, rather than Chinese, and although older than mine appeared to have no noticeable wear in the worm and wheel. I suspect the supplier specified a better machine and charged a bit more.
Reply to
David Billington
When I bought mine 7-8 years back, the HF ones on the floor were made in Taiwan. Mine worked fine out of the box, but had soft hardware that burred up and was hard to work with, got pretty nasty on the vise. A few months afterwards, the local HF started stocking red ones, which were mainland Chinese made. I think I paid like $90, had a 50% off coupon on top of the sale price. About the only major quibble I've had besides the hardware was that the belt was crap, easily fixed with a Gates replacement. Had a big bump in it, the motor would jump every time the bump came around. The motor has remained cool-running and quiet, so I assume I bought one of the good ones that got some QC attention, or I just got lucky. Belt, blades and hardware have been really the only needed replacements, I drained and replaced the gear lube just to see what was in there and what the gearing looked like after a bunch of use.
At one time Enco had one option for their band saws, you could specify a US-made motor for addtional cost. Seemed like a reasonable thing to do if you were going to use the things commercially. At the time, a comparable Greenlee saw was about 2 grand, had a hydraulic cut adjustment, though.
Reply to
Stanley Schaefer
[ ... 4x6 bandsaws ... ]
Some of them at first glance *look* like they have the same motor, but if you take it apart, you discover that the length of the frame (and rotor) are significantly shorter than the motor housing would suggest. Others have the housing properly filled with laminated iron and copper, and behave quite differently. The too-small ones will run quite hot, while the ones with all the iron which they should have can run for hours and still be cool enough to comfortably rest your hand on.
Even my belt was good. The blade was the usual, of course. :-)
The only problem which I had with mine was that the upper wheel cover casting did not have a long enough travel slot to allow proper tightening for the original blade, but a bit of attention with an angler grinder fixed that, and it has served me well for at least fifteen years.
FWIW -- this one has MSC's name on it, and that is who I bought it from -- about $200.00 at the time that the Harbor Freight ones were going for $150.00 -- but I think that I made the right choice. :-)
That, at least, assured that you had enough motor in the motor housing. :-)
I wonder what they did with all the Chinese motors which they pulled from those machines? Used them to supply to people whose motor died early? :-)
Quite a difference in price.
Enjoy, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
Sometimes the effort expended in trying to improve Chinese machines definitely deserves a gold star for accomplishing the sometimes impossible "better than it was" operational condition.
For many HSMs there is a good enuff/TLAR point of improvement where not needing to waste a lot of time with redesign and construction may outweigh a minor chronic flaw/condition, just to be able to use a tool/machine with reasonable expectations.. not needing to spend all day trying to accomplish something which normally require about an hour.
Several friends were asking, did you try out the bandsaw yet? does it work? etc.. because I had the machine completely torn apart for a week before I actually used it. I knew I'd be better off replacing the motor, most fasteners, and making various modifications prior to use.. instead of having numerous interruptions with every use, which were very likely to occur if I didn't do them beforehand.
Having used real industrial-rated equipment in the past can promote/cause one to develop some unrealistic expectations for a $150 looky-like a real ____ (bandsaw, or fill in product name of choice).
Now, years later, I can still.. tighten the blade tension (released when sitting unused), turn on the light, apply some cutting lube and cut metal (reasonable expectations met.. aahh, nice).
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The Chinese band saw motor I replaced had two rating plates on it, the one you could see and the one between the mounting feet which could only be seen when the motor was removed. The normally visible one had a higher rating than the unseen one by a 100W or there abouts. The motor had never given me any cause for concern regarding its output but it did overheat when stalled for long enough. I replaced it with a slightly more powerful PSC motor than that given on the visible plate and although it won't start with the saw on the material it runs well and has even run for periods with the fan loose and not gotten significantly hot.
I've only had one blade in the 15 years I've had the saw that didn't fit, too long, and that was a Lenox but then I almost always buy Lenox so I guess that blade was a fluke. I'll shorten it one of these days.
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David Billington
Amen to that!
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