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any difference -wood or metal???

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Glenn Brooks

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#1
So I've been hunting for a used metal, vertical band saw- and drats. Just missed a very nice, classic, variable speed, museum quality, big iron 16" unit.

Now I am thinking maybe I could more easily pick up a used wood saw and change the pulleys (and blade) to lower the speed - or put on a variable speed D.C. Motor, and be a happy camper.

So is there any actual difference in the construction of wood versus metal bandsaws? Other than speed and type of blade?? Anything that would prevent me from swapping out motors and size of pulley to end up with a durable metal cutting vertical saw???

Thanks
Glenn
 

Ulma Doctor

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#2
Hi Glenn,
generally speaking,
if you use woodworking machinery on metal- you will need to do it gently.
if you slow the saw down or have a variable drive that would be great.
you may consider an equivalent blade speed of somewhere around 200fpm (give or take)

if may just make a nice metal saw!
you may have some limitations but it may just work as needed.
 

Charles Spencer

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#3
I converted a bandsaw to cut metal. It's not a Doall but it works for me. I used an additional pulley and shaft to get the speed down to 112 FPM. The 2x4s supporting it are attached to a piece of angle iron that has screws to adjust the belt tension.

DSC00238.JPG
Pulley2.jpg
Pulley4.jpg
Pulley3.jpg
 

Groundhog

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#4
A few years back I bought a used wood bandsaw with the intention to do exactly what you have in mind. However, since I was most interested in cutting bigger sheets of 1/2" and thinner (down to 0.060") aluminum into smaller (rectangular) pieces I ended up with a table saw and a pair of Diablo blades (ferrous and non-ferrous). That, along with a sliding "boat" and a HF sawdust catch bag does what I need. I re-sold the band saw without converting it.
I thought I'd throw this in on the off chance that something like this would fill your needs better than a band saw.
 

woodchucker

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#5
That, along with a sliding "boat" and a HF sawdust catch bag does what I need. I re-sold the band saw without converting it.
I thought I'd throw this in on the off chance that something like this would fill your needs better than a band saw.
when you say sliding boat you mean a sled?
Aren't you worried the bag will start on fire from the hot embers of metal? Not trying to be the safety police, just thinking that metal has to be hot as anything when cut at high speed.
 

Groundhog

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#6
Yeah, I guess you call it a sled. I use that and the rip fence, push sticks and stand well to the side! I use a shop vac setup that collects a lot of the shavings.
As for the bag catching on fire I keep that in mind and watch it carefully but I don't see any scorch marks !! (and no sawing wood because of saw dust). Probably relying on luck more than common sense. Maybe I should research that better??
 

Bill Gruby

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#7
I converted a much broken HF 16" band saw using a 60 :1 gear reduction unit to slow it down. You do not have to baby mine one bit.

"Billy G"
 

Kernbigo

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#8
here is the last 1 i built,used a treadmill motor,1.5 hp and i weld my own blades out of bulk material. It works great on wood or metal by varying the dc motor speed. The 1 i built before was a 14", worked great but took up to much of my small floor space.
 

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Dabbler

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#9
Kernbigo - nice surface grinder i the background... What make and model is it?
 

T Bredehoft

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#10
The metal cutting band saws I used when working professionally had a weight system to apply pressure to the work being cut. Inch thick steel cuts quite slowly compared to wood, You could stand there and watch the saw do the work, but not go away, it would rotate/turn on the cut line.
Perhaps 1/4 inch steel goes fast enough you don't need assistance.
 

ezduzit

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#12
If converting a wood bandsaw to metal cutting were as simple as changing a couple pulleys, manufacturers would not go to the expense of building complex reduction/gear drives.
 

Glenn Brooks

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#13
So I googled around the web this morning and came up with some interesting rpm numbers.

Most people recommend a 30:1 gear reduction motor to bring the typical 14" diameter wood bandsaw machine down to metal cutting 100 SFM.

100 SFM with 14" diameter wheel means the wheel needs to turn 28.28 RPM. That is Slooooowww.

Some guys actually drag their bandsaw over to their lathe and put a v belt on a jack shaft into the lathe chuck and use their headstock to turn the bandsaw that slow.

Couple other people said they were going to convert their bandsaw with a D.C. Variable speed motor, but never reported back how successful they were.

Think I will keep looking - to many projects already not getting done to add a bandsaw conversion to the list, I need the bandsaw to do the projects - not the other way around.

Or maybe I will just break down and get a plasma cutter. Problem solved! :dancing banana:

Glenn
 
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woodchucker

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#15
So I googled around the web this morning and came up with some interesting rpm numbers.

Most people recommend a 30:1 gear reduction motor to bring the typical 14" diameter wood bandsaw machine down to metal cutting 100 SFM.

100 SFM with 14" diameter wheel means the wheel needs to turn 28.28 RPM. That is Slooooowww.

Some guys actually drag their bandsaw over to their lathe and put a v belt on a jack shaft into the lathe chuck and use their headstock to turn the bandsaw that slow.

Couple other people said they were going to convert their bandsaw with a D.C. Variable speed motor, but never reported back how successful they were.

Think I will keep looking - to many projects already not getting down to add a bandsaw conversion to the list, I need the bandsaw to do the projects - not the other way around.

Or maybe I will just break down and get a plasma cutter. Problem solved! :dancing banana:

Glenn
Do you need a big Bandsaw now.. I have a portaband that I added a table too. Works real well for most of what I need. Yes, it is limited, but I can take the table off and take it with me.

More at:
 

Glenn Brooks

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#16
Jeff, I have one of those small hand held bandsaws from LittleMachine Shops. Sort of a junior Portaband. I don't have an immediate need, just tooling up for a little winter project. Maybe will look at adding a table, just as you show above. Thanks for the idea!

Glenn
 

Kernbigo

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#18
well how does my craftsman work great with out that so called 30-1 gear reduction, also the 14" that i sold for lack of room. The surface grinder is a ko lee tool grinder that i turned into a surface grinder, in the picture.
 

Franko

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#21
I converted a Delta 14" bandsaw with a 12" to 4" pully arrangement. The speed was ok, but I never was able to adjust it so I could cut a straight line, so I got rid of it. I upgraded the crap out of it with ball-bearing blade guides but it never cut anything straight, including wood.

I don't see any magic difference between gear reduction or belt pulleys. They both do the same thing.

I use a 10" non-ferris carbide blade on my Powermatic table saw with a sled to cut aluminum and it works spectacularly well. I never had any problems setting the sawdust inside the cabinet on fire.
 

bfd

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#22
delta makes or made a 14" band saw with a reduction gearbox built in it was made to cut wood at 3000 fpm and metal at 150 fpm I have one it works well for cutting both. just don't forget to switch speeds. ruins a good blade fast. I am working on a delta 20" band saw that will go from 50 fpm to 5000 fpm. meant to cut both wood and metal. bill
 

Superburban

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#23
Sears has had several metal and wood cutting bandsaws over the years.

http://www.sears.com/craftsman-professional-18-in-wood-and-metal-cutting/p-00922450000P

The operating principals are the same, just differences for the metals beeing cut.


I picked up a crafts\man 12" wood saw that I was going to slow down for metal, but never got further on that project. The one thing that concerned me, was how long the rubber on the wheels would hold up with the metal shavings getting embedded.

I have since picked up an old carolina bandsaw that sat out in the weather for over ten years. I swapped the motor, had to make a bushing for the idler wheel, and has been working great, even with the rusted old blade that came with it.
 

Dabbler

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#24
My metal cutting vertical bandsaw has rubber tires on it and it's okay. General metal bandsaws have always had rubber tires on them. Unless they have worn out from age, I've never seen damage from chips.
 

f350ca

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#25
I was given a Delta Milwaukee wood/metal saw. The motor drives the bottom wheel through a single belt for wood, there is a lever to engage the gearbox which I think was something like 19:1. A second four step pulley is used on the input of the gearbox for metal giving a range of speeds down to about 100 fpm.
IMG_1983.jpg


Greg
 

woodchucker

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#26
I converted a Delta 14" bandsaw with a 12" to 4" pully arrangement. The speed was ok, but I never was able to adjust it so I could cut a straight line, so I got rid of it. I upgraded the crap out of it with ball-bearing blade guides but it never cut anything straight, including wood.

I don't see any magic difference between gear reduction or belt pulleys. They both do the same thing.

I use a 10" non-ferris carbide blade on my Powermatic table saw with a sled to cut aluminum and it works spectacularly well. I never had any problems setting the sawdust inside the cabinet on fire.
As a wood worker first and machinist second, there is a lot of work that goes into setting up a saw that won't cut straight. I finally got my delta to track well. I had to remove the alignment pins and twist the top frame, I have a riser. Once this was done I was closer. Then I found I had to ream the adjustable support column as it was not following te blade when you moved it. It pulled away and required constant re-adjustment. Then I shimmed the new reamed hole take up the extra space, I glued brass shims in to fit it. And I had to true the wheels up which were not round and wobbled. A rubber mallet on a stand like a bicycle truing stand. The problem was the wheels caused the blades to move. This on the more expensive USA made band saw.. So much for USA made being better quality. It was awful. All this got me to a great working band saw. My only regret is not going for an 18"-20" machine, with more horse power. I have often needed it, as I resaw a lot of wood. I prefer the small band saw for metal as the speed is more correct, and it works quite well for simple cutting. I don't have a need to cut massive metal stock, and if I did, I would stick it in the reciprocating portable hacksaw.
 

woodchucker

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#27
I was given a Delta Milwaukee wood/metal saw. The motor drives the bottom wheel through a single belt for wood, there is a lever to engage the gearbox which I think was something like 19:1. A second four step pulley is used on the input of the gearbox for metal giving a range of speeds down to about 100 fpm.

Nice unit. That's a keeper.

Greg
 

Dabbler

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#30
Very nice machine - I love older machines with mass, iron and that solid feeling. The only comperable 14" methal saw currently made is the General. Thye've moved casting offshore, but they seem to have retained most of their quality...
 
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