Difference between revisions of "Bandsaw"

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[[File:Bandsaw Map.jpeg|thumb|left|600px|Location of the Bandsaw in the Idea Shop Maker Space]]
[[File:Bandsaw Map v3.jpeg|thumb|left|600px|Location of the Bandsaw in the Idea Shop Maker Space]]
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Latest revision as of 19:00, 27 April 2020

Delta band saw.

A bandsaw is a saw with a long, ribbon-like blade of toothed metal stretched between two or more wheels. Here at the Idea Shop, we have two vertical bandsaws that we outfit with different sized blades to cater to a variety of projects.

Most bandsaws have two wheels rotating in the same plane, one of which is powered. The blade itself can come in a variety of sizes 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.

Material is cut by moving material along the bed and into the path of the blade. Cuts can be made with or without a fence. Advantages for using the bandsaw over other tools include the ability to cut irregular or curved shapes, and the ability to make cuts to irregularly shaped material. When cutting curved shapes, the minimum radius of a curve is determined by the width of the band and its kerf, or thickness.

Work gloves should never be used with the bandsaw. Loose hanging clothes, like loose sleeves or hoodie strings, should be secured and out of the way. Accessories such as rings, bracelets, and watches should be removed prior to using.

Machine Details


A bandsaw can be outfited 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.

Permitted Materials

The default blade on the Idea Shop's Bandsaw can cut the following materials:

  • Cardboard, Chipboard, and Foam Core
  • Rigid Foam (EPS, XPS, Polymide, etc.)
  • MDF, Plywood
  • Soft Woods (Cedar, Pine, etc.)
  • Hard Woods (Walnut, Maple, etc.)
  • Soft Plastics (PVC, PP, PE, etc.)
  • Hard Plastics (Polycarbonate (PC), Acrylic, etc.)
  • Soft Metals (Brass, Aluminum, etc.) Always check with Idea Shop staff for alloyed metals before attempting to cut them on this saw.

Choosing the appropriate Bandsaw blade for your project


  • A thicker blade for more rigidity and straighter cuts
  • A smaller, thinner blade for more intricate cuts
  • A higher tooth count for smoother, slower cuts (good for acrylic or woods subject to tearout)
  • A lower tooth count for faster cutting/ripping


Wood blade for bandsaw

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


Multipurpose blade for bandsaw

Multipurpose blades are usually outfitted with smaller, but higher quantity of teeth. Materials best suited for a multipurpose blade include:

Acrylic and other plastics

  • For straight cuts to acrylic, consider the Table Saw.


  • Consult with staff before planning an extensive metal cutting project; we may direct you to one of the other shops on campus.

Miscellaneous Materials

  • Foam
  • Foam core
  • And more! The bandsaw is great for cutting a wide variety of materials. However, before cutting an unconventional material (anything other than wood or acrylic) please consult with a staff member to see if the bandsaw is most appropriate for your project.

Safety Instructions


  • Wear safety glasses at all times.
  • Evaluate your material, and adjust the machine according to your material.
  • Ensure you are using the proper blade (width, teeth) for your project. Ask a staff member for advice if you are unsure.
  • Set the blade guard to approximately 1/2” above the material to be cut.
  • Only adjust the height of the blade guard. Students users should never adjust the cooling blocks or bearings. If the blocks or bearings need adjustment, ask a staff member for help.
  • When making adjustments, ensure machine is unplugged to avoid accidental starts.
  • Check stock for defects before cutting, such as knots, cracks, and foreign objects.
  • Plan sawing procedures so there is a minimum of backing out.
  • When handling long pieces of wood, set up a work stand for material to rest on way out of machine, or ask staff for help.

Using the Bandsaw

  • Make any cuts with material resting on the table (and not up off the table). The blade cuts with a clockwise downward rotation, and will pull your material downwards into the bed.
  • Always keep fingers out of the path of the blade (be especially aware when you are finishing a cut) and a safe distance from the blade. Body parts should never enter the area of the colored circle guard insert on the bed.
  • 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. A staff member can assist you if you need a refresher.
  • Listen for a consistent cutting sound when operating the machine, and take care to avoid any harsh screeches or squeaks that occur when undue stress is placed on the blade. Ask a staff member if you are unsure.
  • To facilitate cutting sharp curves, make relief cuts or tangential exit cuts in order to relieve excess pressure on the blade.
  • If you need to back out of a cut, turn off the machine and allow the blade to come to a complete stop before doing so. NEVER back out of a cut with the machine running, as this can pull the blade off of the wheels towards you.
  • If the band saw blade breaks or comes off the wheels, step away immediately, shut off the power without endangering yourself, and notify shop personnel.

Clean Up

  • Turn off the power after using the band saw and stand by until the blade has come to a complete stop.
  • Clean the table of scraps after the blade stops moving. Never pick pieces of wood from the machine while it is in motion; if absolutely necessary, use a push stick or brush.
  • Reinstate the power lockout after you are done using the machine.

Best Practices

  • 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.
  • Lubricate the blade with a dry lubricant stick if blade is dull or cutting through harder materials.
  • Turn on the dust collection system before using the band saw.


Instructional Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNa1_tcDo1g

Machine Proficiency

In order for an individual to advance in machine proficiency they must demonstrate ability to perform certain actions or tasks. All levels include abilities and concepts from lower levels.

This section is primarily for student workers.

Level 0

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Correct blade guard setup
  • Setting up the fence

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Safe placement of hands/fingers
  • When to use a push stick
  • Thoughtful material positioning
  • Making sure machine is on at full speed before cutting
  • Not backing out of a moving cut

Level 1

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Contour cut setup: planning breakaway cuts or relief cuts
  • Tilting the bed
  • Independently selecting appropriate blade for material

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Proper TPI (Teeth Per Inch) of blade for cutting various materials
  • Proper Blade Width for straight cuts, curved cuts, and different material
  • What is blade kerf and how it affects cut performance

Level 2

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Planning and performing difficult curve geometry
  • Using a circle cutting jig to cut a disk of a specific size
  • Performing safe and effective re-sawing of a plank of wood

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Adjusting ceramic blocks
  • Proper use of a feather board
  • What jigs, fences, or guides can be used on the saw and how they can be adjusted

Level 3

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Changing the blade
  • Tensioning the blade
  • Adjusting guide bearings and thrust bearing
  • Replacing cooling blocks

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Cleaning the wheel to reduce blade slippage
  • Squaring the cooling blocks and centering the blade to reduce wobble/vibration


Location of the Bandsaw in the Idea Shop Maker Space