Metal Cutting Bandsaw

I recently picked up a small HF metal cutting bandsaw. Its not great, but
it does what I wanted it to do. Sever pieces of flat aluminum bar stock.
Recently I was making some small molds for a customer and it worked out
great. I cut pieces with the bandsaw, squared them up on the big mill, and
then threw them on the smaller high speed mill. It was quite nice having
all three pieces of equipment working for me at the same time while I was
doing other work on the manual machines in between loading parts. For a few
minutes I felt like a "real" shop owner. LOL.
I know I have not been kind to HF in recent years, and this piece of
equipment has its HF problems, but as long as I don't expect high precision
work out of it it's a useful piece of equipment for me. I'll keep and eye
out for a bigger and better one I can afford now that I have realized how
useful it is. I've used it for freehand carving curves and angles to fit
sheet for enclosures, I've used it for severing steel tube, and of course
its severed a lot of flat aluminum bar stock.
I haven't had it long, so there is not telling how it will hold up, but I am
sure I'll do something stupid and snap the blade at some point. I am
thinking I want to pick up a spare blade for it before that happens. I am
sure I can just shop around for a generic blade the right length, but I was
wondering if there was a "better" blade I could get for it. One that will
tolerate more stupid mistakes, last longer under normal usage, or something
I can't even think of at the moment. The saw is mostly used for severing
aluminum bar with the still quite slow highest pulley speed, but I can see
it having to sever a piece of 1018 or a piece of O-1 from time to time.
This is the cheap little 4x6.
I can easily see my abrasive saw falling into disuse, and my table saw
getting a good wood blade back on it.

Reply to
Bob La Londe
Loading thread data ...
I've seen them at HF and was a bit surprised at how un-terrible they appeared to be compared to the other power tools.
Reply to
Cydrome Leader
Go to Enco , buy the Irwin bimetallic for around 15 bucks plus shipping . Only drawback is that it's only available in 10/14 pitch . They do have other blades , my neighbor the blacksmith likes the Morse 18t carbon steel . I do too for thin stock . There is a yahoo (google?) group for the 4x6 , has a lot of good info in the archives about how to tune these up .
Reply to
Terry Coombs
I have a similar one- old enough to be made in Taiwan rather than China.
I got a deal on some Starett bimetal blades - have enough for the next few years. There are other bimetal ones with good reviews in the $30-$40 range. eg. (have not tried these)
formatting link

A bit noisy, but as someone here said once, it sounds a heck of a lot better than my arm doing the hacksawing.
--sp
Reply to
Spehro Pefhany
I've been satisfied with mine, a Delta. I use mostly 10-14 Diemaster II blades for steel, also 6-10 TPI for 6" wide steel and landscaping timbers and 24 TPI Bosch blades for sheetmetal.
formatting link

O-1 doesn't seem to dull it, at the lowest speed. I remove the case on the lathe before sawing hydraulic cylinder rod.
formatting link

To unfold it you open it until it wants to continue and then throw it hard toward a safe place. It's an impressive outdoor-only demonstration with the 1.25" x 16' blades for my sawmill, a do-it-yourself sharknado.
-jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
I am somewhat familiar with the sudden opening of bandsaw blades. I've got a little Rigid bench top (on its own stand) that' I've used for wood and plastic for years. Those blades are bad enough. I can't imagine the force and reach of uncorking a 16' saw mill blade.

Reply to
Bob La Londe
One of these days, I need to build a 4x6 type base for my portable HF bandsaur. I'm doing more and more manual metalworking nowadays and think it would be a handy thing to have around.
I may test mine on RR track one of these days soon, but I haven't even done a file test on the track yet. Coupla feet of small gauge rail. Got some Milwaukee bimetal blades for it.
Ayup. They can be darned handy. We cut the 22' piece of 4" square tubing down to size on one, for my Green Monster. That and lots of aluminum pieces. Due to its larger size, the aluminum sheet was cut on the radio alarm saur Glenn has set up for it. The old blade had lost a carbide tooth and proved bumpy as hell until I showed him the ragged piece of blade.
They ARE, aren't they?
Reply to
Larry Jaques
If you can, add a flood coolant system that cools the teeth, lubs, and watches the teeth from gripping bits. These bits hammer on the teeth as it saws and will wear the blade out faster.
Martin
Reply to
Martin Eastburn
Those little 4x6s are the best $200 you can spend in a small shop. I tell beginner hobbyists to buy one right after they buy their first lathe, ideally on the way home with it. Mine is an Enco which is slightly better made.
Reply to
Rex
Oh yeah - Change the gearbox oil first thing. It usually has metal chips and crap oil in it. Automotive hypoid oil works fine.
Reply to
Rex
Rex fired this volley in news:c0a38c7e-aa25-47d7- snipped-for-privacy@googlegroups.com:
AMEN! I have a much larger Kalamazoo, but the little MSC 4x6 over in the corner has done the lion's share of cutoff work.
Bob... spring for some decent blades. I get the Starrett bi-metal 64- 1/2" bands from McMaster. They last, and over their useful life, are about the same price as the junky Chinese ones.
I seldom break one. They're usually dulled or have lost their set, and get replaced for those reasons.
Lloyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
Rex fired this volley in news:c0a38c7e-aa25-47d7- snipped-for-privacy@googlegroups.com:
PS... I've had my last one for 18 years. With a little PM and a couple of small mods that will become obvious with use, they last a long time. I had to replace the motor, and chose a thermally-protected one over the Chinalloy version that uses the windings as "thermal protection".
Lloyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
Agreed. An early welding project was making a cart out of 1" sq tube with a sliding chip pan. Mine is on wheels, need to add a brake for vertical work. Right now, I back it up against the bench.
Pete Keillor
Reply to
Pete Keillor
What is that? Bi-metallic? And why is it bi-metallic? So it can curl-up if it hits something live?
Reply to
mogulah
Irwin sez:
Reply to
Spehro Pefhany
Only if they are Metal Heads :-)
Martin
Reply to
Martin Eastburn
Ah yes. The MSC has a real motor on it, unlike some of the others which have the same size housing, but a very short stator and rotor, so they burn out fairly soon. (Check with a hand on the motor during a long cut. If it gets too hot to keep your hand on, plan on replacing it. ;-)
Also -- the MSC version has some nicely forged blocks to hold the guide bearings and their eccentric adjusters. Some of the less expensive versions have the same part made of bent steel, and tend to bend under chip under the roller loads, so they have to be re-adjusted more often. I'm still using the same setting on my MSC one. Perhaps 15-20 years old by now.
Or a few rolls of good blade stock of various pitches (all have to be 1/2" to work on the drive wheels of that design -- no crowned rubber tire on them to handle various widths without squishing the teeth out of set.
One thing to remember is that when you tighten it with a new blade, you really need to tighten it as hard as you can by hand to get near the right tension. Run it too loose and you will lose blades quickly.
Enjoy, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
AURGH!!!
I cut some stock this morning, and when I went to square it up on the mill it kept coming up short. I was freaking out thinking the band saw was cutting the pieces so crooked I couldn't square them up even though I left an 1/8 just for that. Then I realize I had the square I was measuring with set at 8-3/8 instead of 8-5/8. Oops. Sigh. Well I have lots of small pieces to go in the play stock pile.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
"Bob La Londe" fired this volley in news:mpjbld$eql$1 @dont-email.me:
... I use the stock-stop L-arm, measuring the first piece cut before committing to a larger run.
You'll also get crooked cuts (vertical wander) with a dull band (sometimes even just a "little dull"), so go with the best bands you can afford, and don't be bashful about tossing one out when it stops cutting 'square'. They're less expensive than your wasted time.
Lloyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.