Whether you frequently use a band saw or only utilize it for special projects, you don’t want faulty equipment. Furthermore, you don’t want to cause unnecessary wear and tear. By reading this guide, you can learn to preserve the life of your band saw blades and get the most out of your machine.
Understanding Band Saws
Band saws are power saws with a continuous band of toothed metal that can cut various materials. The main band saw blade options are bi-metal, carbon steel, and carbide. Depending on your project, each blade has certain materials that it can cut through the best.
Bi-metal band saw blades for metal can cut through carbon, tool, structural, and stainless steel. Additionally, this option is good for pipes, flat stock, and mixed metal applications. Bi-metal blades are extremely common as they can cut a variety of shapes and work with various materials.
Two types of blades feature carbon steel: Flexback or Hardback. The main difference between the blades is the beam strength. Hardback blades undergo heat treatment on the teeth and backer of the blade to improve the beam strength. In contrast, Flexback has heat treatment on the teeth, making the backer more flexible and best for contour cutting.
Hardback blades are ideal for cutting brass, lead, bronze, fiberglass, and non-ferrous metals. They’re also great for resawing projects. Flexback blades are great for projects that require scrolling or contours on softer materials (woods, plastics, etc.). Depending on the strength you need, select the carbon steel blade that aligns with your project.
Lastly, carbide saw blades are your go-to blade for material that bi-metal and carbon steel blades can’t cut through. These blades are resistant and tough, making them a strong contender for hard materials. The blades can cut through hardened steels, nickel-based alloys, composite graphite, titanium, and other tough items. Think of carbide blades as the solution for challenging steels.
What Shortens the Lifespan
Band saw blades are made of tough material—however, despite their strength, many factors can shorten their lifespan. It’s important to address the issues that can cause fast wear and tear to the band saw blades.
- Bad blade quality
- Cutting material that the blades can’t handle (for example, using a Carbon Hardback blade to cut stainless steel)
- Improper band saw speed or feed rate
- Not selecting the appropriate tooth shape
- Unmaintained machinery, which can make blades overwork themselves to cut through items
- Not breaking the blade in
- Lack of knowledge regarding the blades and cutting techniques
Preserving the Lifespan of Band Saw Blades
Several factors contribute to the lifespan of blades, and the mistakes listed above shorten their existence. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your band saw and get the most out of the equipment. Read on to learn how to preserve the life of your band saw blades.
Maintain Your Equipment
Like any heavy equipment, you can expect to perform routine maintenance. For band saws, this means routine replacement of common wearable parts, including bearings, guides, and blade brushes, as well as changing the fluids.
Read the owner’s manual and follow other maintenance requirements on a regular schedule. You can schedule regular preventative maintenance to extend the lifespan of your blades.
Additional Preventative Maintenance Tips
- Perform visual inspections of the band saw before using the equipment.
- Use the manufacturer’s recommended lubricant for the blades.
- Inspect the band guides at least every six months.
- Use the appropriate blade for the material being cut.
Check the Blade Tension
Good blade tension is critical while working with your band saw, and it’s important to get this element right. Too much tension will prevent the blades from cutting properly, whereas too little tension makes the blades unstable (and creates a wobbly feeling while cutting).
To ensure stable cutting, check the tension before starting a project and adjust it accordingly. When you’re not using the band saw, release the tension to prevent damage.
Properly Position the Blade
Always position the blade to align with the band saw wheel. You can do this before working on a project. However, it’s important to realign the blade whenever you start something new. Ultimately, you want to make precise cuts and ensure that everything is in the right place. If you need to realign more than once, that’s OK! Always make sure the blades and position are to your liking.
When the band saw’s blades are dull, you will overwork the equipment until you replace the blade. Anything with a dull tip becomes hard to work with, especially when it comes to cutting metals. To prevent unnecessary wear and tear, always use a sharp blade. A sharp edge is ideal for all cutting applications!
Know the Correct Cutting Speed
As previously mentioned, improper blade speeds affect the lifespan of the blade. Assess the metal or steel you’re cutting and determine the optimal speed. Please note that the blade type also plays a role in the speed. Contact your Detroit Band Saw rep for more help on feeds and speeds.
Importance of Taking Care of Your Blades
Of course, taking care of your blades is important for the lifespan of the band saw. However, it’s also important for your projects. When you work with metal and steel, you want a precise cut. Always be aware of your equipment to avoid making a less than ideal cut. Follow preventative maintenance and make sure your blades align with the material. These simple initiatives impact all projects and band saws. Detroit Band Saws wants you to get the most out of your equipment so that you can create awesome items.
Staying Safe While Using Band Saws
As the band saw operator, your safety is critical at all times. Wearing protective goggles, face shields, and fitted clothing mitigates flesh injuries. If you don’t feel safe operating the saw, don’t use the machine. Instead, perform maintenance and make sure everything is up to par. Adjust blades and tension accordingly. Your safety comes first for all heavy machinery usage.
Are you looking for band saws or blades? If so, you’re at the right place. Detroit Band Saw offers an extensive collection of band saw products ready for you. We specialize in creating custom blades, and we can help you choose the right items. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us today!