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JPR
08-19-2005, 09:17 PM
What is the deciding factor for a band saw being wood only or wood & metal?

I looked at Sear's website and did not see any mention of cutting fluid on the wood / metal vert. bandsaw. The reason for the question is I have been given an older Craftsman vert. bandsaw that is 30-40 years old. However, it will be a month or so before I can go pick it up. Wood only saw is okay, but a metal would be great.

wierdscience
08-19-2005, 09:42 PM
Speed is the first consideration,a wood only saw won't cut steel since the FPM( feet per minute)of the blade is way too high.

Also the frames on most wood saws aren't nearly strong enough to hold the required blade tension to cut steel.

But,all is not lost,aluminum and brass can both be cut at or near wood speed with a raker tooth blade.

The typical speed the wood saws are set for ranges from 3200 to 4500 FPM.You can get away with aluminum at those speeds with the occasional shot of WD40 on the blade.For brass it really should be a bit slower,down around 1800-2200.I usually pick a 16-18tooth blade for brass and a 12-14 tooth for aluminum.

Me I would change the pulley ratio to get down to 2200 FPM.This setup offers the ability to cut non-ferrous metals,but still perform good on wood.Heck I find the lower speed on wood easier to control anyways.

FPM = bladewheel circ. divided by 12 x bladewheel RPM

[This message has been edited by wierdscience (edited 08-19-2005).]

hoffman
08-19-2005, 09:42 PM
I imagine Blade speed and blade guides are major factors. Harbour Freight sells a decent little horizontal/vertical saw that does a good job on metal and is often on sale for around $150. It has 3 speeds and roller bearing blade guides which most wood only saws lack.
Hope this helps.

Your Old Dog
08-19-2005, 09:45 PM
Speed. It's a pretty good bet the saw you were given is meant for wood. Mine was purchased for wood but I put a jack shaft for it, put two 3 gang sheaves back to back and reduced the speed way down for using metal cutting blades.

egpace
08-19-2005, 10:08 PM
JPR,

"What is the deciding factor for a band saw being wood only or wood & metal?"

Most dual purpose machines have a gear box you'd drop into low range for "metal"(Steel) and high range for wood (softer materials). Just a rough idea of blade speeds in feet per minute...

80 fpm for tool steel
120 fpm for steel
600 fpm I found nice for aluminum
3000+ fpm for wood (Softer materials can be cut at the slower speeds, but cut nicer at higher speeds)

(Nothing carved in stone here)

These are just general speeds to give you a relative baseline. Blade material, teeth per inch, and blade profile are the other variables that would come into play as would grades of material. There are soft & hard brasses, steels, and aluminum alloys.
Have fun,
Ed

P.S. Search the web for bandsaw blade manufactureres, I'm sure you'll find tables that will help you match blade type to material and speed.

egpace
08-19-2005, 10:24 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Your Old Dog:
Speed. It's a pretty good bet the saw you were given is meant for wood. Mine was purchased for wood but I put a jack shaft for it, put two 3 gang sheaves back to back and reduced the speed way down for using metal cutting blades.</font>

Your Old Dog,
How much were you able to slow it down? Post some pics if you get a chance. I was considering using a gear reduction unit on mine. I have a 14" 4 speed Reliant (Asian) I figure the slowest speed to be 600 fpm.
Thanks,
Ed

JPR
10-31-2005, 10:02 AM
I finally picked up the band saw this weekend. It is very old. Chrome band on the motor. Plywood base with steel legs. The motor sits in the plywood base. Part of the unit is really sturdy with cast parts and part is really light with formed sheet metal. So two things:
First, installing a jack shaft would be really easy.
Second, the guide system is very light when compared to my Milwaukee porta band.

So I will either need to make a beefer guide system and add the jack shaft or sell the band saw and look for another one.

Your Old Dog
10-31-2005, 05:27 PM
As mentioned above I used to 3gang sheaths so I get three speeds. From one of these I went to a 1 1/2 pulley and then put a 14" pulley from an old cloths dryer on the bandsaw. It works really well.

winchman
10-31-2005, 06:12 PM
I regularly my early '80s vintage Craftsman bandsaw to cut aluminum up to 1" thick. The saw has a cast iron table and an aluminum frame. I'm using Lennox bimetal raker tooth blades at wood-cutting speeds. I built a speed reducer for cutting steel, but have used it very little.

Roger

Evan
10-31-2005, 06:18 PM
I have a cheap 9" wood vertical band saw that I use exclusively for aluminum. I use a metal cutting blade on it and it works fine. I cut up to 3" round stock on it no trouble. No way it will work for steel though.

JeffG
11-01-2005, 07:43 PM
Delta has been making a 14" wood/metal bandsaw with gearbox in the base since at least 1941, probably before. They show up on EBay occasionally. Many of the parts are still available. I use mine strictly for metal work because metal chips and woodworking are pretty much incompatible, and it would take hours to get the saw clean enough to use for a furniture project.

HSM magazine had an article on converting the basic 14" wood bandsaw for metal cutting - about 2 years ago? IIRC, used a double reduction via v-belts and jackshafts.