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.
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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.
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Bob La Londe wrote:

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 .
--
Snag



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On Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 5:12:34 PM UTC-4, Terry Coombs wrote:

What is that? Bi-metallic? And why is it bi-metallic? So it can curl-up if it hits something live?
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On Fri, 31 Jul 2015 08:00:36 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Irwin sez:
--
With a bi-metal blade, the edge of the blade is constructed of a high
speed steel while the body of the blade is made of spring steel. The
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Only if they are Metal Heads :-)
Martin
On 7/31/2015 10:17 AM, Spehro Pefhany wrote:

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wrote:

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) (Amazon.com product link shortened)
A bit noisy, but as someone here said once, it sounds a heck of a lot better than my arm doing the hacksawing.
--sp
--
Best regards,
Spehro Pefhany
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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. (Amazon.com product link shortened)
O-1 doesn't seem to dull it, at the lowest speed. I remove the case on the lathe before sawing hydraulic cylinder rod.
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Fold-A-Bandsaw-Blade/
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
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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.
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On Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:32:14 -0400, "Jim Wilkins"

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? </scarier'nshitbutfaskinatin' stuff>
--
My desire to be well-informed is currently
at odds with my desire to remain sane. --Sipkess
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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
On 7/30/2015 3:29 PM, Bob La Londe wrote:

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On Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 9:26:58 PM UTC-5, Martin Eastburn wrote:

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.
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On Friday, July 31, 2015 at 7:17:37 AM UTC-5, Rex wrote:

Oh yeah - Change the gearbox oil first thing. It usually has metal chips and crap oil in it. Automotive hypoid oil works fine.
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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
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On 2015-07-31, Lloyd E. Sponenburgh <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote:

    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.
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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
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wrote:

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
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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.
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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
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