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Thread: Cold saw vs horizontal band saw

  1. #1

    Default Cold saw vs horizontal band saw

    Last fabrication shop I worked in use had cheap worn-out DeWalt chop saws to cut-down stock and I hated them. The cut starts straight and ends crooked as hell. I got in the habit of cutting 1/8" too long and dressing it down to size with a grinder. I've had cheaper horizontal band saws in other shops and they cut alright, but something was always going wrong with the blades. I've worked in a shop that had both a band saw and a cold saw, but I didn't use either because I didn't do much fabrication back then.

    For just one saw in a personal welding and light machining shop to get started, which would be the better to have until you get going? I figured a cold saw was just a beefier version of a chop saw until I started pricing them. I'm hoping the super-expense means the blade doesn't walk like a chop saw. Mainly being used for angle, bar shock, tubing, etc 3" and under.

    The shop I worked at with the chop saws says the owner sold-off an Ironworker years before I worked there and talked about that machine like it was sent by the gods to them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jersey City, NJ
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    1,267

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    I don't expect square cuts from my cheap 4x6 bandsaw, the blade twists. I leave allowance to dress it on the grinder or mill. That said, it's a very useful tool. No comment on the cold saw, it's been over 30 years since I used one.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    106

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    If you get a bandsaw I would recommend no smaller then a 1" blade.

  4. #4

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    From a capacity and price and start up standpoint I would probably lean towards a good used bandsaw

    Over the years I have accumulated many cutting implements. Each have their place. Currently this includes =torch, plasma, bandsaw both horizontal and vertical/doall, ironworker (2 manual one hydraulic)/ abrasive saw, cut off wheels (both pneumatic and battery).

    I have used a friend’s cold saw. The saw that I used was heavy, precise, cut clean. I could not justify the upfront cost as a hsm guy. I will spend $ if it saves me time. Most of my cuts are “one-off” cuts. (I know the ironworker doesn’t make sense using this same argument but i got it cheap and that thing is quick!= gonna hold onto it vs resell for profit)

    For a startup production setting, I would likely still start with a “good” bandsaw and as u grow maybe the cold saw. Even with a cold saw you will find yourself occasionally needing the bandsaw
    Last edited by plastikosmd; 01-31-2019 at 12:41 PM.
    "Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment" R.M.Brown

    My shop tour www.plastikosmd.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    East Coast, USA
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    7,778

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    Quote Originally Posted by bandsawguy View Post
    If you get a bandsaw I would recommend no smaller then a 1" blade.
    +1.. My first bandsaw was a 4x6", then I got my 10"x18" which uses 121.5" x 1" blades and it cuts stock very squarely with no drama at all. The 1" blades are very stout
    Work hard play hard

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    British Columbia
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    6,475

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    A bandsaw would be my first choice as well, probably one of my most used tools. Although bigger is always better when it comes to machine tools, for those that can't justify a larger one the ubiquitous 4x6 bandsaw can be dialed in to do pretty accurate work if you take the time to analyze it.

    Below a test cut I made after dialing in when mine was cutting stock out of square. The slice is off of a 3.5" diameter round bar cut to .095" plus or minus 0.003". Good enough for the fab work I do.
    If I need it any tighter than that it's lathe, mill, or maybe angle grinder time.

    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
    Bad Decisions Make Good Stories

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Ashburton, near Christchurch New Zealand
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    A cold saw with the slow turning circular HSS blade is the bee's knees!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Madison Wisconsin
    Posts
    423

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    If your budget only can support a single saw I would go for the horizontal bandsaw. I've had a Startrite H175 going on 20 years. It gets used on a daily basis and has never given me any trouble. It cuts +/- .010" all day long. If I really baby it I can get cuts +/- .002. It does use 3/4" blades and I cut everything from structural steel to aluminum round stock. The nice thing about even the most basic bandsaw it that you can start a cut and do something else while the saw is working. The Cold/chop saw on the other hand needs to be attended to the entire time you are cutting

    I just recently set up a B&D chop saw for aluminum. I hated to continually be changing blades on the bandsaw. Some days I spent more time changing blades than cutting material. The blades for the cold/chop saw are slightly more expensive than those for the bandsaw. The cutting range is considerably smaller and it does (like the bandsaw) require different blades for different materials.

    My third saw is an older Racine W66 power hacksaw. It gets put into service when the bandsaw is busy, or I need to cut some nasty material that could easily ruin the bandsaw blade. Like the other saws I do have to change blades depending on the size of the material. However with this saw blades take about 2 minutes to change and most cost less than $5.00. In the scheme of things this saw was the least expensive to purchase and is by far the least expensive to operate. I'm not sure why, but there are several outrageously priced listings for power hacksaw blades on eBay. People are asking double and triple the price the same blades available through reputable industrial vendors.

    As an FYI there is currently a Racine similar saw available on eBay.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Rac...RzlH:rk:1:pf:0

    Personally I think the asking price is a bit high. I paid about half that much for mine.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Kansas City area
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    5,601

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    A bandsaw is the best for all around utility use. The coldsaw may be better for certain things, but a bandsaw does pretty well at most things. The 7 x 12 size with a 3/4" wide blade will do everything most home shops need. A good bimetal blade with the right variable tooth pitch for the job will put you in business. The blades seem expensive, but I've had 1 blade last months, cutting steel, stainless steel, wood, plastic, aluminum, brass, etc. Just use high tooth counts for tube, angle, channel, small diameter, and thin wall stuff and coarse tooth counts for thick parts over 1/2" or so.

  10. #10

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    ^
    Or years!

    I sorta baby my saw. I bought it maybe 10 + yrs ago. Still on same blade
    Slow feed, flood coolant. Still cuts like a dream. The doall on the other hand, just bought my 2nd blade. I converted the doall drive, got rid of the varispeed (if any needs pulleys let me know) and went vfd. Started way to fast and converted my first blade into a near toothless friction blade in about 3 seconds. Used it as a friction saw for a bit and now installed a new blade to use “normally”
    "Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment" R.M.Brown

    My shop tour www.plastikosmd.com

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