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Lately I have been looking at Vertical bandsaws and trying to justify the cost of investing in one verses keeping on bogging out my tiny harbor freight toy. In looking at the cost, I am trying to figure out what are the advantages of larger bandsaws over smaller ones?

If all other factors are consistent, will a 6' blade last half the amount of time that a 12' blade would last?

Are there advantages in using a 3/4" blade verses a 1/4" blade if I'm only making straight cuts and have my guides properly set?

 

I know that larger bandsaws have more mass, making them more stable, some have air that blows on the cutting surface to keep the chips away, and slightly cool the work. How important are these factors to blade life?

 

I'm still looking for answers on my own but if anyone happens to know off hand or a good place to read up on this I would appreciate the help!

 

Edit, I should add that I am looking to cut steel and not wood :)

Edited by Michael Pikula
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I recently got a grown up horizontal band saw, I have been after one since seeing Hank Knickmayer's one . and I can say that there is no similarity between a cheap band saw and a real one ,not even close its quicker more accurate and an 18" cut instead of 6".

I have owned 2 el cheapo band saws and stopped using both as they were too amateur for my shop , Ebay provided a cheap second hand saw (new price £3000+) what a tool.

I would assume the same is true with a vertical saw.

do any of the vertical saws come with coolant ?

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First, you could find more and, perhaps, better information by posting your question on a forum for machinists and metalworkers. I apologize if you have already done so.

 

I am trying to figure out what are the advantages of larger bandsaws over smaller ones?

A bigger saw will handle a larger workpiece and that is the biggest advantage.


If all other factors are consistent, will a 6' blade last half the amount of time that a 12' blade would last?

The 12' blade will outlast the 6' but, I do not think it will be twice as long. One factor here is that a bigger saw has bigger wheels and so the blade has to flex less as it bends around the wheel. Of course having the blade flex less allows one to run a thicker blade that is more rigid and will stand up better to hard use. The other advantage is that there is more blade to get hot and it has more time to cool down before engaging the work again but, a good coolant system can remove this from the equation.

 

Another factor in increasing blade (and equipment) life is preventing the chips from sticking to the blade and getting in-between the blade and the wheels, or any other part of the saw. Some saws are set up with a blower to remove the chips and cool the blade, some simply have brushes to clean the blade before the wheels, some machines use liquid coolant, and some use several different methods. If the machine does use coolant it is important that there is some sort of means to remove chips and the better ones will also filter the smaller particulates as well.


Are there advantages in using a 3/4" blade verses a 1/4" blade if I'm only making straight cuts and have my guides properly set?
Yes, the 3/4" blade has more metal behind the teeth to support them and keep the blade from flexing. In other words the wider blade cuts more accurately. Also, just having more width to sit in the cut removes some "wobble" and helps the operator to cut straighter when working freehand. Some vertical bandsaws are able to run a range of blade widths (they tend to cost more) and others seem set up for only one. The most common width seems to be 1" with 3/4" coming in second.

 

One really useful feature to many of the industrial, vertical, saws is a built in welder for the blade. This allows you to drill a hole in the work, cut your bandsaw blade, thread it through the hole and weld it back together. Just like a huge jewelers saw! The other advantage to this is that you no longer have to buy pre-made bandsaw blades and pay someone else to make them the right length for you.

 

~Bruce~

Edited by B. Norris
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Thanks for all the info! I guess my only other question at this point is what size would be considered a work horse? Ideally bigger would be better, but with funds being tight I'd be happy with a transitional.

 

Hi Sam! Would be great to meet up again but driving the truck to MD and back would easily match the cost of the saw, so no dice :(

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14" and smaller is generally considered non-industrial. 20" inches and over is what you would find in a factory setting. There are a few machines out there that fall in the middle, 16" and 18". My preference when looking at this kind of thing is for the older machines. The mass of cast iron versus a welded up sheet metal construction is one reason. The simplicity and ease of repair and tuning is the other reason. One other thing, most machines setup for industrial use will run on 3 phase or, at very least, 1 phase 220V power. I do not know what you have available for power. Right now there are several, older, machines on ebay in the $1500 range but, most run on 3 phase. You would need a phase converter or to switch/re-wire the motor if you do not have 3 phase power in your shop.

 

~Bruce~

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It may not be what you're looking for, but you might consider one of the horizontal saws that are set up like a chop saw. Usually, they can be swung up vertical and locked to use like you are thinking. For cut off, if you have it set up, some of them you can walk away and do something else while gravity pushes the arm through the cut. Also, many of them have liquid cooling that can make a big difference in blade life. Prices can be very reasonable if you have time to hunt around for a deal. DoAll would be nice though.

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If you are talking vertical, Roll Saw is the best

Sam, I think you are referring to the Roll-In Saw. I have been keeping my eye out for one since Butch told me about his. -Doug

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I was able to find and purchase a 16" DoAll which I will be picking up tomorrow morning. Got a good price on it, now I just have to pick up a phase converter and test it out before I consider it a win! Has a blade welder on it as well so that might make blades slightly less expensive.

 

I'll post some picks when I have it in the shop :)

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I have no clue!!! When it comes to electricity I might as well be a caveman ;)

 

I checked the motor which seems to be 1/2hp, and can be wired for 220 or 440, tried hooking up a 1/2hp VFD that I have and the machine doesn't start up so I don't know if I should try getting the motor rewired for 220 or what. I think running a phase converter to get 220 3 phase, then a transformer to switch 220 to 440 would be a bit excessive if there is another way... I really need to find someone who knows and understands electricity.

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I'm no electrician by far, but I do know that VFDs are phase converters themselves in that if you input 220 single phase you get 220 3-phase out the other end, that's how they work. You won't need a separate converter, but you will have to wire the motor for the output voltage. I do not have a clue how to do that, though. Single phase 110 to 220 yes, it's just a matter of switching a wire or two to account for two hot wires instead of one. Since all three are hot on 3-phase I dunno... :unsure:

 

Nice looking saw, though. B)

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Problem is the saw is/was set up to run 440v 3-phase. So I can theoretically run a 220v 1-phase to 220v 3-phase VFD, but then I need to get a transformer to switch 220v 3-phase to 440v 3-phase. However the motor can be switched over to run on 220v 3-phase, which I did, but I still have to figure out the rest of the wiring, or redo it so that I don't have to have tons of electrical conversations that aren't needed.

 

The one point I am stuck at right now is a plate in the back that I think needs the wires rearranged... I'm attaching a picture. If I didn't care about the blade welder I would bypass everything and simply connect the VFD to the motor and run it as the on/off switch to the bandsaw. Which I might end up doing if I can't figure out the wiring.

 

So question is, the pictures I'm attaching, what is that junction and how can I figure out if it can be rewired to accept 220v 3-phase?

IMAG0301.jpg

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Michael,

 

Many of the Do-All bandsaws are already setup with some kind of controller to control the speed of the blade. Does the machine have a plate on it somewhere, with a pointer, a lever, and a whole list of different types of materials on it?

 

~Bruce~

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Hi Bruce,

 

Yes, there is a dual on the top that you can select your material and size and it will tell you a speed, coolant preference, feed rate. There is a knob that is used to control the blade speed, I believe that it operates on how much pressure is transferred between the motor and pulley that powers the drive wheel. The indicator dial that shows blade speed is broken. It looks like it was operated by a wire, which is missing and only the housing remains. The indicator needle for speed is missing too.

 

I think that by switching the two wires that are nested on the 440v peg to the 220v peg I will get 220v to the motor, which is what I rewired it to, and get everything running. I wish I knew how to confirm this though, messing with electricity scares me like the boogie man... My hunch is that the wires running off of 220v are powering the blade welder, which runs off of 220v.

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