Bandsaws

Hey guys:
What's the difference in wood cutting and metal cutting bandsaws? Is it just the blades, or is there something about the machines themselves? Sorry
to ask what may seem like a dumb question, but I am just a garage tinkerer trying to make some small aluminum parts for a toy truck. I need a bandsaw to ruff cut some 1/8" to 3/8" aluminum plate and then mill to final dimension. However, I do not have $1,000.00 to spend on a saw. I have found several saws below $500.00 but they say not for cutting metal. Why not? If I put a metal cutting blade in it, shouldn't that work, or will it tear up the saw? I am not running a production line (yet) so I don't need to spend big bucks on a high end saw. I just want something I can "play" with in the garage. I'm not scared of HF or Grizzley if I can find a happy medium between quality and price.
ANY help / advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks a lot
Zack
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Mostly it is just the speed, along with the type of blade used. Mine has 4 high speeds, and a back gear on it to give 4 low speeds.
For aluminum I use a bimetal blade and run it at 1600 sfpm. If the ones your looking at can't go that slow, can you add/ change the pulleys to slow them down?
Wayne D.

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Sorry
bandsaw
it
happy
Blade speed on a wood saw is WAY too fast. And the metal chips will probably louse up the works. HF has their little 4x6 on sale about half the time for about $160. It has a little table that can be put on it for vertical sawing. It isn't the greatest, but it does the job at relatively low cost. But it is going to be VERY slow going in 3/8 stuff and the wide blade doesn't allow for much of a radius..
Jerry
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Wood bandsaws are designed to run in the 2000 to 3000 fpm range, band saw lumber mills go much higher. Metal cutting saws usually run in the 100 to 200 fpm range with flood coolant.
Cutting aluminum is in the middle, you can use some woodworking tools and blades as long as you don't mind a LOT of hot chips floating around. I've run my regular 14" import bandsaw at 2000 fpm to rough out four 24" diameter aluminum blanks from 3/8" 6061 aluminum plate. Works out to 32' of cut using a 3/8"x93" 10 tooth wood bandsaw blade. Worked great, but you do need to clean up your bandsaw tires after the job.
Zack wrote:

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wrote:

The difference is speed and rigidity -- but you can cut aluminum on a woodcuttting saw. Use plenty of blade wax, and use a blade that has at least 3 teeth in the cut -- which for 1/8" stock would be a 24 TPI blade.
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Zack wrote:

I recently got one of the cheap metal bandsaws: the Enco 5x6 model, for under $200. I like it a lot. Apparently it is a little better than the HF or some other brands in the following regards: the motor seems to run cooler; it has a support shelf which stiffens the legs (which are otherwise somewhat flimsy); it has a perpendicular adjustment for the blade which some of the cheaper ones apparently do not.
Just to give you an idea: this saw will cut through a 1" square al bar in about 30 seconds (with a good bi-metal blade). In the vertical position I use it to cut shallow large radius curves (>5" radius) in 1" square al bar. With a bit of practice you can get fairly precise results.
--
Drew


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You can cut non-ferrous metals with a wood cutting bandsaw. Most woodcutting bandsaws have a cutting speed of about 2000-3000 fpm. This is not too fast for aluminum, however, you do need a bimetal blade with a tooth pitch fine enough to keep 3 teeth in the thickness of the workpiece. Stick wax can be used as a cutting lube, but I never use it.
Ferrous metals require speeds below 150 fpm. This extra speed reduction is the main factor making the dual purpose wood/metal bandsaws more expensive.
Randy

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If you plan on sticking with alumimum, then a woodcutting bandsaw may be okay, but if you think you may want to cut steel, then spring for the 4 X6 or 5 X 6 import saw. There are at least a few drop box locations where there is "tune up" info for these saws.
Throw the blade that comes with the saw away and get a good quality bimetal blade. I pay almost $20 each for the Do-all imperial 100 blade for my 4 X 6 and its well worth it. Blades with about 14 tpi work best for me for almost everything, even sheet metal. With these high quality blades, I have never shed any teeth, even in 18 gage sheet steel.
I have always heard that you need 3 teeth of the blade in the work, but if you go too fine, alumimum will clog the blade.
Pete Stanaitis -----------------
Zack wrote:

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