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Thread: what kind of saw to purchase?

  1. #1

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    what kind of saw to purchase?

    I need a bandsaw to start my build on a wood plane. (osprey 2). The plans call for many parts to be cut from up to .125 inch Steel and alum. Of course wood and plywood needs to be cut. Is there one bandsaw that will do all this or do I need to buy 2 saws?

  2. #2
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    You really need 2 saws, the speed and the number of teeth per inch are different for metal vs wood. Don't get a cheap one, the blade will be falling off the pulleys all the time.

  3. #3
    Hangar10's Avatar
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    Mike is right, you really need two saws.

    I purchased a 14" Rigid band saw early in my mostly wood project. For wood, it is a great saw for the money... around $300 at Home Depot. For metal, it is not good at all... blade speed is way too fast. I knew this to be the case, but didn't believe it until I smoked through several good quality metal blades. I considered reducing the speed by changing the pulleys, but this gets into excessive labor and expense, plus having to change back and forth each time to cut wood or metal. Pain in the...

    Good metal cutting band saws can be had for just a few hundred dollars. Mike says, "don't get a cheap one, the blade will be falling off the pulleys all the time." I assume that he is referring to the Harbor Freight type band saws, which are a little rough around the edges, but when dialed in properly they do a fine job of cutting. I know several people that use these and they cut tubing and flat steel fittings just fine. There are several forums on the web that are geared specifically towards these cheap little band saws... just Google "4x6 band saw" or "4x6 band saw mods" and you'll find several "how to" articles and comments. I personally spent a few extra bucks and bought a Jet 4x6 saw. This is essentially the same as the Harbor Freight and other Chinese band saws except they have taken a little more care in proper setup and used a better quality motor. Mine was trued up and ready to run out of the box. The one thing you will want to do with ANY of these low cost 4x6 saws is to trash the factory blade... none of them are any good. I go to a local outfit to have my blades made... Starrett 14tpi bi-metal type... they cost around $25 and last a long time.

    Sometimes you can find a good deal on Craigslist. I found an old Carolina Machine metal band saw for $200, but I never could get the owner to coordinate to meet me. It would be suitable for a small machine shop with a hydraulic down feed and coolant basin. In a way I'm glad that I didn't end up with it as it weighed around 300 pounds and would have been a space hog as well. The little 4x6 type is probably best suited for my needs. Much like any other tool, these saws have to be tuned up a bit to do their best job... most of us that are capable of building an airplane are also capable of making these tools run.

    Bottom line, my metal band saw has become one of my favorite tools. It does such a good job, and with very little effort.
    Last edited by Hangar10; 12-29-2011 at 07:16 PM.

  4. #4
    I just got a Rockwell Bladerunner for Christmas. Look it up on the internet. It really seems to be a great tool. I'm still playing with it, but I like it.

  5. #5
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    The aluminum isn't going to be a problem. I thin aluminum on my wood band saw all the time. To cut steel, you're going to need to slow things down. Delta used to make their "industry standard" 14" saw with a two speed option but I haven't seen one on the market for a good long time. Most of the variable speed ones billed as wood/metal are pricey.

  6. #6

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    You really don't need two saws, I'd be looking for one of these http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/tls/2771280697.html they can be slowed down to metal cutting speeds by a couple "V" pulleys. At 1/2 horse power I have one set up as a re-saw to do cold molding 1/8" planks and it works well. they are cheap, easy to store, or build into your work bench.
    That said,, I also have a Grizzly 1010 metal cutting band saw, and sears 12" up rite band saw (that doubles as a strip sander) because I'm too lazy to stop and switch speeds and blades.
    If you have more time than money, I'd be looking for a used 3 wheeled band saw, on craigslist or E-Bay

  7. #7

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    I will offer the advice that a good bi-metalic blade intended to cut aluminum won't last long on a 3 wheel bandsaw as the weld that makes it a loop doesn't like the small wheels.

    There are a number of 14" two wheeled band saws on the market that you can get multiple wood cutting or a metal cutting blade for. On these saws, blade changing is easy. If you look around to find a used machinery seller, they can be found relatively inexpensively. You can find private sales on Craigslist or on woodworking message boards.

    The best blades are not found at a big box store. Try a woodworking place for different sized wood cutting blades, and an industrial supplier for a good metal cutting blade. The blades are not that expensive so you can stock a narrow (1/4") for cutting curves and wider ones for cutting straight line stuff.

    You can cut most aluminum using a metal cutting blade at wood cutting speeds. For steel you need to slow down and best use cutting oil. That said, since I have carbide toothed blades on my table saw and miter saw, I usually run aluminum through them. Noisy but quick. Take the usual safety precautions.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N78PS

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jtrom View Post
    I need a bandsaw to start my build on a wood plane. (osprey 2). The plans call for many parts to be cut from up to .125 inch Steel and alum. Of course wood and plywood needs to be cut. Is there one bandsaw that will do all this or do I need to buy 2 saws?
    Not a maintenance issue.......

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingriki View Post
    Not a maintenance issue.......
    .....but it is a workshop issue

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jtrom View Post
    .....but it is a workshop issue
    It's a "Homebuilder" issue and there is a place for that.

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