Many metalworking shops underutilize their sawing dollars by grinding materials or machining things that could be sawed more efficiently. Saws are efficient at cutting almost any material and this is because the operation’s thin kerf minimizes waste and requires less horsepower to remove material, typically. Chunk scrap produced by sawing also has a higher value per pound than chips from milling. If you’re starting out and trying to decide what type of saw to get, a vertical bandsaw is a great choice. These saws are extremely versatile and can cut almost anything.
One of the biggest areas of abuse with bandsaws is not changing the blades when cutting thicker materials or different alloys. The general rule for blade pitch is to use lots of smaller teeth for thin materials and fewer but larger teeth for thicker materials. For the majority of purposes, you can get away with two blade pitches. Bandsaw blades can be purchased in bulk on a roll and in certain operations, the blade is intentionally cut prior to use. Because of this, blade ends must be welded together. If you don’t have a blade welder or don’t have silver solder, you can tungsten-insert-gas weld blades with a silicon-bronze rod. The weld is annealed a second time after grinding to remove any brittle edges along the zones affected by the heat. Accurately lining up the blade spine is important to ensure you don’t have clicking noises as it runs through the guide while in use. After attaching the two ends of the blade, remove the buildup and level the seam. Use a curved surface to expose the weld area for grinding. After you finish grinding, peen the weld area on a flat surface to level the seam and ensure the blade thickness is correct.
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