When using your band saw, maintenance and proper blade care are the only way to make sure that your band saw blade lasts you as long as possible. Keeping up with your blade with also help to keep operational aspects of the band saw safe as well. Conversely, proper tool safety will also help to ensure that you don’t ruin your blade. There are several things that can lead to the inadequate performance of your band saw blade. Some things to keep in mind when thinking about blade performance include, breaking bands, stripped teeth, premature cutting of teeth, rough cuts and inaccurate cuts.
Ensuring a longer lasting band saw blade
- Like most things that are brand new, band saw blades will need to be broken in. When you purchase these blades they are far too sharp. In order to get the best performance out of your blade, you should first determine your appropriate band speed. This will ensure adequate first cuts. Another precautionary measure with a new blade is to reduce your feed rate slightly with a new blade. You should do this with the first 75 inches of material that you cut. However, if the material that you will normally be cutting is something light, you may want to double that expectation to around 150 inches of material.
- Another important aspect that you should keep in mind is SFPM. This will help you determine the correct speed for the material that you are about to cut. By choosing the correct band speed, you will make your blade last longer and perform better. In order to do this, you must calculate the correct RPM to use and measure the diameter of your wheel. The owner’s manual should already have this information printed clearly. Another way to determine RPM’s is a tachometer. These tools can be purchased online but are rarely ever needed. The calculation required is as follows:
Wheel Diameter(inches) x 0.262 = Circumference. This result will equal the speed of the blade. Always take preventative measures and check your blade frequently to keep it in quality shape.
- The most common problem with a band saw blades are stripping teeth. This happens when the teeth of the blade shred the material that you are trying to cut. This will cause only a few teeth to be cutting into the material and will wear the blade unevenly. Stripping teeth happens when you are feeding material in far too quickly or the speed of the blade is far too slow. This will also cause coolant to not disperse correctly which in turn will cause your blade to overheat.
- Another far too common problem is band breakage. This is the most dangerous problem you will encounter with your band saw blades. This occurs most often when the blade in entirely too old. Overstressing blades will also cause extra wear on band saw blades which in turn can cause bands to break. Worn out parts such as guides, guides arms, wheels, or general poor welding are things to look out for if buying a used band saw. Too much tension can also cause a band to break which can cause injury. Always remember safety equipment anytime the tool is in operation.
- The last common issue with the band saw blades are crooked cuts. This is typically from faulty blades that do not want to cut straight. This is often due to manufacturer defect and may be sent back and exchanged. Another factor that may lead to this is not properly breaking in a blade. It is very important to break-in your blade properly.
- Improper maintenance will cause quick dulling of the blade which will lead to rough cuts and improper cuts. The dulling of the blade may also be caused by broken coolant system, too high of feed rate, improper blade speed or even tooth pitch.
The main thing to remember when extending the life of your band saw blade is to handle the tool with care. When properly following the steps above, you will be able to have a long-lasting blade that will cut efficiently and effectively for your needs. This will enhance the work environment and make you a happy camper.