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Opinions On Hf 14" 4-speed Bandsaw?

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karim

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#1
Does anyone have any experience of this one? My mini bandsaw is just not cutting it anymore (ha! see what I did there?) and I'm trying to find a good compromise of price, capability (variable speed), and size (I have a small workshop).

I know that some HF tools are great bargains, and some are garbage... What's the consensus on this one?
 

karim

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#2
Just to clarify, my needs are about evenly split between wood, plastic, and metal (mostly aluminum & brass), and I don't have room for specialized or full-size machines, which is why I'm looking at this one... variable speed, (relatively) small footprint.
 

Ulma Doctor

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#3
i don't have actual experience with that particular saw, but...
generally speaking the HF stuff can be made to work with some adjustment or modification of their existing plan.
i have seen the bandsaws at HF and would consider it worthy to cut the materials you seek to cut.
as long as you don't try to push the saw too hard or try to cut very thick or resistant materials the shortcomings will reveal themselves.
i would recommend getting the best blade you can afford, cheap blade break easier and generally don't cut as well, or as long- saw for saw.
perhaps an old piece of iron (delta,craftsmen,atlas, etc.) may also suit your needs?
 

tq60

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#4
14 inch is wood cutting and slowest is still to fast

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk
 

JimDawson

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#5
I have one of those, may not be HF, but the same saw. I picked it up at an auction for $25 What I did was to install a 2 speed motor with 30:1 gear reduction. It will still cut wood OK , but will run slow enough (60 FPM) to cut tool steel. If needed, adding a second pulley to the wheel shaft would make it 16 speed, and boost the speed for wood cutting.

Had I not had the parts on the shelf to slow it down the way I did, I would have just added a jack shaft to give another stage of reduction for metal cutting. For metal or plastic cutting 60 to 250 FPM is a good range. I like to cut most plastic kind of slow so it cuts without trying to melt.

As said above, use good blades. I have my blades made by a local shop and buy M42 cobalt bi-metal. Not cheap, but they last for ever. In fact, I just broke one on my horizontal band saw after 2 years, it was still cutting fine and made a lot of cuts in many different materials from plastic to tool steel.
 

sanddan

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#6
Eight years ago I put together a jack shaft setup using parts from McMaster Carr and some misc steel. The only tools required were a drill press, band saw and a welder. It was designed for a Rigid 14" wood bandsaw I bought from Home Depot. It's one of my most used tools in the shop.
 

karim

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#7
Thanks for the comments. Again, I'm not looking to cut tool steel on this thing. My machines are a matched pair of Sherline micro-lathe/mill—that should give you a sense of the envelope I'm trying to fulfill.
 
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JimDawson

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#8
Again, I'm not looking to cut tool steel on this thing.
The ability to cut tool steel is a function of the blade speed (and material), and to a lesser degree the power of the machine. You can cut annealed D-2 and stainless steels at 60 FPM. Normal mild steel would normally be cut at 100-120 FPM. I like to cut plastics in the 100 FPM range to minimize melting at the cut.

Wood can be successfully cut at a much lower speed than the speed charts would suggest. In any case, buying good blades is worth it, they will save you money in the long run.
 

karim

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#10
Anyone know if any "Name Brand" models share parts with this saw?
 

JimDawson

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#11
No definitive information, but I'm guessing some parts will interchange. The item most likely to fail is the power switch, and then possibly the motor. When I buy something like this from HF I just assume that the electrics will fail at some point. The only real wear parts are the blade guides and the throat plate. All of which are easily made in the home shop.
 

coherent

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#12
FWIW I don't think I's even try aluminum using that little woodworking bandsaw they sell. Actually even hard woods may tax it a bit. I have the HF 4x6 horizontal/vertical metal bandsaw. It's pretty reasonably priced especially if you wait for a sale and a 25% coupon. After a little tuning and a good bi-metal blade its a decent little saw. I've had mine for 4-5 years now and use it for a bit of everything. It's one of the rare HF items that are actually long lasting, usable tools after a bit of tuning and simple mods.
If it's a small band saw you want for woodworking mainly, and funds are limited I'd watch craigslist for a used 12 or 14" craftsman, rockwell or other such saw and for the same money you'd have a usable woodworking saw.
 

oldmachinenut

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#13
I have one I converted to dc with a jack shaft, it works real well. I did replace the upper blade guide with a ball bearing one from e-bay. The saw is very similar to a friends Delta 14"
 

sanddan

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#14
I have one of those, may not be HF, but the same saw. I picked it up at an auction for $25 What I did was to install a 2 speed motor with 30:1 gear reduction. It will still cut wood OK , but will run slow enough (60 FPM) to cut tool steel. If needed, adding a second pulley to the wheel shaft would make it 16 speed, and boost the speed for wood cutting.

Had I not had the parts on the shelf to slow it down the way I did, I would have just added a jack shaft to give another stage of reduction for metal cutting. For metal or plastic cutting 60 to 250 FPM is a good range. I like to cut most plastic kind of slow so it cuts without trying to melt.

As said above, use good blades. I have my blades made by a local shop and buy M42 cobalt bi-metal. Not cheap, but they last for ever. In fact, I just broke one on my horizontal band saw after 2 years, it was still cutting fine and made a lot of cuts in many different materials from plastic to tool steel.
Jim, what local shop made the blades for you? I just picked up a metal cutting vertical saw that uses 105" blades and I want to put a new one on. It's an odd size (saw came with a riser block installed thus the odd size blade).
 

Kernbigo

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#16
This is my craftsman 10" i converted to metal and wood cutting, using a treadmill motor and metal cutting blades. I make my own using bilk material, and silver soldering them together. It cuts great.

upload_2016-11-14_12-50-18.png
 

Dabbler

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#19
What was the 'ko lee' before it was a surface grinder?
 

Kernbigo

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#20
it was a cutter grinder ,but did not have any attachments so i scraped it in and turcite the table ways.
 

Dabbler

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#21
cool! looks like a very usable piece of kit!
 
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