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View Full Version : Bandsaws.. coolant or no... (my opinion)



torker
05-10-2008, 12:18 AM
This has been debated over and over on this board.
Some swear they like it dry :D .. most like it wet :D
OK.. my 4X6 saw.. the first thing I did to it was add a coolant system.
Got excellent blade life.
I moved to my new place and didn't bother hooking up the coolant system because some said it wasn't really nessesary.
After about 9 months.. I have to disagree in a big way. The blade life is maybe 2/3 or more worse with no coolant.
You have to let every part cool before you can hold it in your paws... not so with coolant... it's cold to the touch after falling off.
My bill for blades lately has been huge.
The 4X6 and the Wells are both getting coolant systems installed again.
Yup.. I use my saws a lot but the proof is in the puddin. Blades last a hell of a lot longer with coolant.
Anyone who says otherwise uses their saw about as much as I use an MP3!
Russ

Mark Hockett
05-10-2008, 01:24 AM
Russ,
I totally agree with you on the coolant. Some people use the argument that they don't like the coolant dripping on their floor, it ain't that hard to wipe it up. Metal working is a messy hobby if you can't handle a few drips on the floor take up sewing or something.

Bill Pace
05-10-2008, 01:42 AM
I too agree with you Russ ----- IN YOUR CASE! --. and Marks, and many others ....but, I'm not running an operation like yours. Mine is a hobbyist operation with, probably, much less use of a saw than you.

I've done some tinkering around with some temporary methods of getting coolant/lube on the saw and pretty quickly decided it just wasnt worth fooling with. I presently keep a couple drip bottles with different mixes that I will just dribble a little along as the cut is advancing and am satisfied with the way it works. HEH! and yeah occasionally one will get a bit toasty:rolleyes:. I would think most of us "hobbyists" can get by with something similar, where you guys that really run your saws need more.

torker
05-10-2008, 01:50 AM
Bill...I agree with you also. If you don't use your saw that much it could be a pain. However.. my point is.. coolant does make a big difference in blade life.
Russ

Bill Pace
05-10-2008, 02:00 AM
With relatively light use of the saw its a bit hard to guage blade life ... I can only say that my blades seem to last very well (if I wont pull dumb stunts with em!) I've got one on the little swivel now that has to been on about a year, and with just completing the gun, I ran it pretty heavily....it'd just be difficult to really compare, kinda apples to oranges.

gnm109
05-10-2008, 02:02 AM
My vintage 1984 Enco 7X12 horizontal bandsaw runs nicely with coolant. It has an integral tank and pump underneath the moving parts. The blade will last a good long time with a nice flood of soluble oil coolant.

I don't think that the blades would last very long without the coolant but I can't be sure since I never run without it.

Mark Hockett
05-10-2008, 02:48 AM
Bill,
If you own a saw that doesn't have coolant I agree in many cases its not worth the trouble to retrofit it. I have a 4 X 6 Taiwan made saw with no coolant that has been that way for 20 years and works just fine. I also have a Wellsaw with coolant that was factory installed that works good too. Its hard to compare blade life on the two because the Wellsaw has a longer blade so it not a fair comparison, but I am surprised how long the blades last on the Wellsaw even cutting stainless and A2.

Fasttrack
05-10-2008, 03:01 AM
I always figured that the small bandsaws don't really need it. The blades are cheap and they don't usually see real hard use. Bigger bandsaws absolutely should run coolant, imo!

I thought about running coolant on mine, but it seemed like alot of work for not that big of a pay off. Ok, I'm lazy ... :) If someone would pay for all the pumps, hoses, sheet metal for a pan then I'd build one :D

snowman
05-10-2008, 07:32 AM
my only concern is the stench of coolant. i haven't used any on my current machine (7x12)...but i really should. It literally ran yesterday for 6 straight hours, and it did the same thing the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that...

i also haven't decided if the mess is worth it...all your parts come out wet and slimy, it drips on the floor and makes it slippery, you've always got at least one rogue drip, etc. the blades are 21 bucks each from JL if i get them on sale. it's almost worth 21 bucks a month not to have to clean the floor! I guess I'll see how long the blade I just popped on lasts...if I get reasonable life, I'm not going to be too concerned I dont think.

torker
05-10-2008, 08:24 AM
The mess? Every place I've ever worked at has a couple of drip buckets to catch the coolant if it comes out the pipe or whatever. Only take a second to put the bucket under the leak.
The coolant I use is easy to clean off the metal before welding. A wipe with a dry rag is all it takes. The guys who squirt oil on the blade.. that isn't so easy to clean up.
The stench? I don't get that. Maybe it's our colder climate up here but I seldom have a problem with that. The only real problem I had was with a totally closed coolant tank that never got used for a few months. Now that WAS some really nasty crap... some kind of 1/2" thick rotten jelly stuff.
I can see guys in the southern places probably having issues with the heat causing the rot... I don't know.

Paul Alciatore
05-10-2008, 12:52 PM
Russ,
I totally agree with you on the coolant. Some people use the argument that they don't like the coolant dripping on their floor, it ain't that hard to wipe it up. Metal working is a messy hobby if you can't handle a few drips on the floor take up sewing or something.

Sewing is not that neat either. My grandmother made drapes for a living. She supported herself and my grandfather after his stroke for about 20 years that way. Her sewing room was always full of fiber dust. She did clean up but it was necessary on a frequent basis - every job or two.

Paul Alciatore
05-10-2008, 12:58 PM
I have a 4X6 and the blades seem to fail with stress cracks. I have examined them, thinking that I should try to splice them, but I can always see more cracks forming so it does not appear to be worth the effort. I am in the oil bottle/dripping a bit as the cut progresses group at present.

So, does coolant help to prevent the blades from developing stress cracks?

ERBenoit
05-10-2008, 01:10 PM
The stench? I don't get that. Maybe it's our colder climate up here but I seldom have a problem with that. The only real problem I had was with a totally closed coolant tank that never got used for a few months. Now that WAS some really nasty crap... some kind of 1/2" thick rotten jelly stuff.
I can see guys in the southern places probably having issues with the heat causing the rot... I don't know.

Th stink and the newly hatched "Organisims" are most likely from tramp oils, rather than from the coolant itself. Most of the coolant nowadays has some biocide blended in to comabt stink and fungii growth. In cooler climates, it may take a bit longer, but, coolant doesn't last forever, eventually it will go rank. Oil skimmers will help combat the tramp oil issues. Replacing the contents of the coolant tank as necessary will also help minimize fungal growth.

Unless you end up with so much coolant on the floor, that replenishing the tank accounts just as much for replacing the contents thereof. :D

Evan
05-10-2008, 01:11 PM
I can't figure out why anybody would think that running a bandsaw blade dry would be a good idea. It's a cutting tool and at the point of contact it gets very hot. That heat will damage the blade. Even just hacksawing I get smoke off the blade when I put some oil on it.

I have a deep sided cookie sheet clamped to the tray under my 4x6 and it catches the small amount of oil that my drip feed system dispenses. I use a mixture of 50/50 generic multi-purpose hydraulic oil and Varsol (white spirits) as a cutting lube. It's dirt cheap and works well with iron and aluminum. When the cookie sheet is getting full I tip it off into a coffee can and let it settle for a week. Then I reuse what's in the can for drilling and the bandsaw.

Fasttrack
05-10-2008, 02:25 PM
I have a 4X6 and the blades seem to fail with stress cracks. I have examined them, thinking that I should try to splice them, but I can always see more cracks forming so it does not appear to be worth the effort. I am in the oil bottle/dripping a bit as the cut progresses group at present.

So, does coolant help to prevent the blades from developing stress cracks?


No - what thickness blade are you using? To thick of a blade will crack in short order when used on the 4X6 models.

Evan - For me, the issue is the cost of the coolant and coolant system versus the cost of the blade is what has deterred me from putting one on the saw. I just don't use it enough to justify a coolant system. I don't mind spending the 15 bucks for a new blade when I need it, even though I might need it sooner than the folks with coolant. Like I said, big saws should asbolutely have coolant, or if you use the saw day in day out, then coolant is worth it imo. I don't get the mess or smell argument, though.

Evan
05-10-2008, 03:52 PM
Cost shouldn't be a problem. A drip oiler uses very little fluid and costs almost nothing to install. Here is mine.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics2/dripoiler.jpg

When it is down it drips. When up it doesn't and is easy to fill. I ended up directing the drip onto the blade guide bearings permanently as that efficiently transfers oil to the blade where it is needed. A needle valve controls the flow.

Fasttrack
05-10-2008, 04:13 PM
True ... that has actually been on the to-do list since I first saw your post some time ago. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Of course, being away at school means I don't see my saw very much anymore. To me, its just one of those things that could go either way. Dry or wet ... doesn't make a huge difference when the blades are no more expensive then they are. Shoot I can get blades for that thing that are only 8 bucks at my local Home Depot ... of course they suck compared to the nice Lenox ones.

quasi
05-10-2008, 04:30 PM
when I got my first 4x6 bandsaw, I hung an I.V. bag over it and used it as a drip oiler.

BobWarfield
05-10-2008, 04:53 PM
Nice setup, Evan.

I always thought it would be handy to have a self-contained portable mister for machines less often used. Never made one up, but it wouldn't be hard.

Cheers,

BW

Lew Hartswick
05-10-2008, 07:02 PM
However.. my point is.. coolant does make a big difference in blade life.
Russ

:-) Only if the creatures using it know how to use a bandsaw in the
first place. :-)
The Kalamazo (sp?) at school has coolant but the blades last about
a week or sometimes less before half the teeth are striped off. :-(

Some people shouldn't be alowed to touch a machinetool.
...lew...

lane
05-10-2008, 07:19 PM
Yes I am all for the coolant . Have it on my 7x10 wells . Sure saves the blades on long cuts. But then again I dont always turn it on . I bought a tube of saw wax for my Grob vertical band saw and that in its self mad a world of difference. So it all boils down to personal preference. coolant is some what messy. But I have never seen a clean machine shop .

Fasttrack
05-10-2008, 07:46 PM
Some people shouldn't be alowed to touch a machinetool.
...lew...


AMEN! Thats how the tools are here in the shops I've been working in. I saw a guy trying to cut a piece of .125 Ti plate in a bandsaw with a blade that was meant for aluminum. Not sure what the TPI was before he got there, but by the time he left there weren't any teeth left :(


And the worst part is ... I'm a freshman - I've got no authority over these guys. Some of them are full time hired guys and the best I can do is offer "friendly" suggestions. I don't want to come off as a prick or a "know-it-all" and I don't mind starting at the bottom of the wrung ... but ... the way they treat tools...

DICKEYBIRD
05-10-2008, 08:51 PM
I bought a tube of saw wax for my Grob vertical band saw and that in its self mad a world of difference.Most of my 4X6 bandsaw work has been vertical lately and the tube of saw wax sounds great. Do you just get "saw wax" from Enco or whomever and use it on alum and CRS or are there different types for different metals?

Evan
05-10-2008, 10:39 PM
Sure saves the blades on long cuts.

Yep, it sure does. :D

http://vts.bc.ca/pics2/4x6c.jpg

beckley23
05-11-2008, 09:51 AM
Evan- Do you think you can get a bigger piece in there?

Seriously, there are a couple other factors that enter into blade life besides coolant, which I consider a necessity. Use the correct SFPM on the blade and break in the blade. DoAll and some other mfg recommend that the blade be run at reduced speeds for the first several hundred square inches of cutting. It's as if the teeth are too sharp and need to be dulled a slight bit. It may not be a necessity for you, but in my operation it does make a difference, that I learned the expensive way, once. My bands cost approx 50.00 ea, and with good practices I can get hundreds , or thousands, of pieces cut depending on material, without changing it.

A couple other suggestions.
Use the coarsest tooth pitch possible, at least 3 teeth in the cut. Don't let the blade skim the cut, you want to see nice curly chips, not dustings.
Harry

IOWOLF
05-11-2008, 09:58 AM
Coolant all the way, IMHO

Or cool air jet, mister, they all will increase blade life.

The mess, It is just a minor inconvenience.

madman
05-11-2008, 11:23 AM
I never use coolant cutting D2 . I was always taught not to use coolant on this material only??

Evan
05-11-2008, 12:01 PM
Evan- Do you think you can get a bigger piece in there?

Heh.:D

http://vts.bc.ca/pics2/4x6b.jpg

Michael Edwards
05-11-2008, 12:32 PM
Most of my 4X6 bandsaw work has been vertical lately and the tube of saw wax sounds great. Do you just get "saw wax" from Enco or whomever and use it on alum and CRS or are there different types for different metals?

I like the "LUBE TUBE" from Lenox. I got it from the local saw blade repair guy. I originally used it for a 10" carbide tipped chop saw on aluminum and it worked great. I like it a lot better than the old stick of bee's wax my dad had left over, it seems to work better and it is cleaner. It also woks great on a bandsaw on aluminum. Never used it on any thing else.


ME

quasi
05-11-2008, 03:23 PM
Evan, your stock stand is very interesting. Can you provide details on it sometime?

BadDog
05-11-2008, 04:02 PM
Ha! I thought I was the only one that built contraptions like that! I've got a whole pile of shorts/drops/scrap that I stick together into some of the saddest looking fixtures ever seen. But I think that one may top even my most convoluted ever... :D

clutch
05-11-2008, 06:02 PM
I have a 4X6 and the blades seem to fail with stress cracks. I have examined them, thinking that I should try to splice them, but I can always see more cracks forming so it does not appear to be worth the effort. I am in the oil bottle/dripping a bit as the cut progresses group at present.

So, does coolant help to prevent the blades from developing stress cracks?

Most of my experience is with band mills for cutting lumber. I suspect, as your band gets dull, you tend to push it harder causing the cracks in the gullet. Since your bands are not resharpenable unlike my wood bands, I guess it doesn't matter for you. For me, I stop and change the band to save its life.

Clutch

IOWOLF
05-11-2008, 06:08 PM
I like the "LUBE TUBE" from Lenox. I got it from the local saw blade repair guy. I originally used it for a 10" carbide tipped chop saw on aluminum and it worked great. I like it a lot better than the old stick of bee's wax my dad had left over, it seems to work better and it is cleaner. It also woks great on a bandsaw on aluminum. Never used it on any thing else.


ME

That works well on a lot of stuff, LPS 2 works on alum sawing with carbide saws.
A guy I know saws up diesel aluminum truck tanks with a 7" skill saw.

he can cut an end off one in about 10 minutes and leave the flair to put it in another tank.