A bandsaw (also written band saw) is a saw with a long, sharp blade consisting of a continuous band of toothed metal stretched between two or more wheels to cut material. They are used principally in woodworking, metalworking, and lumbering, but may cut a variety of materials. Advantages include uniform cutting action as a result of an evenly distributed tooth load, and the ability to cut irregular or curved shapes like a jigsaw. The minimum radius of a curve is determined by the width of the band and its kerf. Most bandsaws have two wheels rotating in the same plane, one of which is powered, although some may have three or four to distribute the load. The blade itself can come in a variety of size and tooth pitch (teeth per inch, or TPI) which enables the machine to be highly versatile and able to cut a wide variety of materials including wood, metal and plastic.
A bandsaw can be outfit with different types of blades to cut various materials in different ways. Variable parameters in bandsaw blades include thickness, width, tooth size, teeth per inch, blade rigidity. Always choose a suitable blade for the type of cut you wish to make, straight or curved, and for the material you are cutting, wood, metals, plastics, etc. When in doubt ask Idea Shop personnel.
Blades intended for use on wood or other similar density materials can be generally categorized by the following characteristics:
- Larger teeth
- Fewer teeth per inch
Instructional Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNa1_tcDo1g
- Wear safety glasses at all times.
- Make all adjustments while the machine is off and stopped.
- When making adjustments it is a wise practice to unplug the machine to avoid accidental starts.
- Check wood stock for defects before cutting, such as knots, cracks, and foreign objects.
- Plan sawing procedures so there is a minimum of backing out.
- Set the upper blade guide ¼” or less above the material to be cut.
- Be sure the saw blade is the proper width for the job being done.
- Check the blade for cracks or splits before using the band saw. If a crack is found, unplug the machine and notify shop personnel.
- When handling long pieces of wood, set up a work stand for material to rest on way out of machine or get help and do the pushing yourself.
- Turn on the dust collection system and close all gates, except that for the band saw.
- Hold any wood firmly on the table and not up off the table.
- Always keep fingers out of the path of the blade and a safe distance from the blade. Body parts should never enter the colored circle on the table.
- Feed material into the blade at a moderate rate of speed. Too slow will generate extra heat and too fast will put additional stress on the blade.
- When operating the machine, keep well balanced and stand carefully to avoid injury from unexpected slips or falls.
- Listen for tell-tale sounds as you cut. A clicking sound may mean a cracked blade.
- When a band saw blade breaks or comes off the wheels, step away immediately, shut off the power without endangering yourself, and then notify shop personnel.
- Allow the machine to come to a complete stop before backing out of a long cut. Do not back out of a cut with the machine running. This can pull the blade off of the wheels.
- Turn off the power after using the band saw and stand by until the machine has come to a complete stop.
- Keep the table clear of scraps and clean table of scraps after the blade stops moving. Never pick pieces of wood from the machine while it is in motion; it's wise to use a push stick or brush.
- Reinstate the power lockout after you are done using the machine.
- Cut flat stock whenever possible. When cutting dowels or other round stock, use approved holding device and get permission for this special setup.
- Blades are different widths and may require relief cuts to be made when cutting small radius curves.
- Allow machine to get up to full speed before cutting.
- Lubricate the blade with a dry lubricant stick if blade is dull or cutting through harder materials.