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Bandsaws Are a Shop’s Best Friend

Dec 14, 2021
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Every shop needs a good bandsaw. That’s just as true for the home hobbyist as it is a large manufacturing company. But what are bandsaws? How do they work, and most importantly, what should you look for when buying one?

Bandsaws 101

Let’s start with the first question: what are bandsaws? As their name describes, these machine tools have a serrated steel band that can slice through metal, wood, plastic, and many other materials. This steel band, or saw blade, has sharp teeth that remove bits of material away from the workpiece as they pass. A set of pulleys, one of which is powered, is what drives the saw blade, while a  set of precision saw guides serves to make the blade rigid and the cut accurate.

Because these are such versatile machines, you can find them in shops of all types and sizes. Woodworkers use bandsaws to cut paneling and trim pieces. Machine shops use them to slice bar stock into slugs for their CNC lathes and blanks for their machining centers. Architectural fabricators use them to cut the angle iron and structural steel needed for their buildings. And hobbyists find them indispensable for a variety of projects.

Buying Bandsaws

Many types exist, but horizontals are probably the most common. The best ones have a frame made of cast iron for the greatest stability. Hydraulic clamping systems and tensioners are available, as are electronic speed controls. Some bandsaws come with casters and have a smaller footprint for easy transportability, while others have mitering capabilities. And so-called production saws have options such as auto feeders and conveyor belts to carry away cut pieces.

Whatever the application, bandsaws should be both sturdy and reliable. Inverter-driven, variable speed motors are a must for shops that cut different materials. The coolant tank and chip pan should be easy to service, as swarf will accumulate during use. Above all, these important machine tools should be backed by the manufacturer, with a factory-trained network of customer service and support people a phone call or email away. Want to hear more? Give Kent USA a call. We know bandsaws.

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