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Central Machinery bandsaw, should I buy?

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Investigator

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#1
Found a local ad on craigslist that is a Central Machinery band saw, appears to be about 4x6. Tag on machine says made in Taiwan and was made in 1982. I don't know much about them, but do have a need for a saw. Asking $100. Does that seem about right?
 

Billh50

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#2
I have had mine for 15 yrs now. It did need a few adjustments, but otherwise does just fine for hobby use.
 

richl

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#3
I bought a used one 3-4 years ago, I paid about the same. Offer 75 and see if he takes it. They are decent machines. They require many tweets and adjustments to get working nice.

Rich
 

BGHansen

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#4
Seems like a decent price, HF sells them new for $260. They probably go on sale for around $200. I had one and used the crap out of it for 30 years. Finally got tired of fiddling with it to make a straight cut (angled on the plunge) and upgraded to a HP 7 x 12 which I love.

Ask the seller why he's selling it. Maybe it's worn out and he's tired of fiddling with it? Here are a couple of similar saw ads on CL in my area, all a lot more than your seller is asking.

Bruce

https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/tls/d/metal-cutting-band-saw-great/6356532269.html
https://lansing.craigslist.org/tls/d/buffalo-metal-cutting-band-saw/6344238105.html
https://flint.craigslist.org/tls/d/band-saw-for-metal-steel/6326991278.html
https://nmi.craigslist.org/tls/d/harbor-freight-metal-cutting/6342429130.html
 

coherent

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#5
Had the same one for 5-6 years. Still use it regularly. Tune it up/align it and put a bi-metal blade on it and they work great. I replaced the blade roller bearings a couple years back simply as an upgrade. But the bearings were cheap on Amazon or Ebay. The motor seems to be a heavy duty beast. Just drain the old oil every now and then from the gear box and dump in some mobil one or gear oil. I think as long as it has oil (no matter what the specs), it'll keep running. One thing I did do when I first bought it was weld up a new base with casters. Simple mod. The original stand/bases are pretty junky.
 

wawoodman

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#6
The point that everyone is making, is that the HF bandsaw should be viewed as a kit, that will need work to make it a real performer. There are entire websites about fixing/improving them. For a home shop, as long as you understand that, it’s fine.
 

Investigator

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#7
I bought a used one 3-4 years ago, I paid about the same. Offer 75 and see if he takes it. They are decent machines. They require many tweets and adjustments to get working nice.
Rich
Seems like a decent price,
Had the same one for 5-6 years. Still use it regularly. Tune it up/align it and put a bi-metal blade on it and they work great.
The point that everyone is making, is that the HF bandsaw should be viewed as a kit, that will need work to make it a real performer...

In looking at the saw, it appeared to be in good shape, and actually fairly well made. The base was sheet metal and in my opinion very sub-optimal but never-the-less quite adequate. I offered $75 and he took it.
I'm already thinking of the projects that will require it's use.

What blade to use for 4130 solid bar, 4130 tube and 17-4 bar? TPI?
 

coherent

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#8
I bought blades a while back from McMaster Carr (item number 4179A157)
These were carbon steel blades, but was surprised when I received them. Quality name brand. Cheaper than I could find then anywhere else, but they have gone up about $5 a blade. 10-14 seems to be a good all around blade and has worked well for me, but I'm no bandsaw expert so others may offer some expert advice. The Harbor Freight bi metal blades aren't terrible...they will work ok, but there are obviously better. The plain (non bi-metal) blades at HF don't cut very well, will break fairly quickly and dull easily. Not worth it.
 

BGHansen

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#9
I was taught that the rule of thumb for teeth per inch is 1 1/2 teeth finer than thickness of material. 1/4" stock is 4 divisions per inch. 1 1/2 times that is 6 so a minimum of 6 tpi for 1/4" stock. Too coarse of a blade and you hammer the teeth of the blade. Depending on what you cut, you may want a variety of tpi. I had as fine as 32 tpi or a spacing of 1/32". Could cut 0.036" sheet metal without much of a problem though I'd liked to have a finer blade.

Bruce
 

Dabbler

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#10
My shop teacher (In the 60s) and my current toolmaker mentor both have told me that you need 3 teeth in contact with the work or you can (will?) lose teeth. FWIW :cautious::apologize:
 

Investigator

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I was taught that the rule of thumb for teeth per inch is 1 1/2 teeth finer than thickness of material. 1/4" stock is 4 divisions per inch. 1 1/2 times that is 6 so a minimum of 6 tpi for 1/4" stock. Too coarse of a blade and you hammer the teeth of the blade. Depending on what you cut, you may want a variety of tpi. I had as fine as 32 tpi or a spacing of 1/32". Could cut 0.036" sheet metal without much of a problem though I'd liked to have a finer blade.

Bruce
My shop teacher (In the 60s) and my current toolmaker mentor both have told me that you need 3 teeth in contact with the work or you can (will?) lose teeth. FWIW :cautious::apologize:

Interesting. Not sure why I have this in my head, but I was under the impression that the harder the material the more teeth per inch. So for instance wood or plastic might get say 4 TPI, aluminum and brass 8-10 TPI, and steel may be as many as 32 TPI. Again, not sure of where I got that idea, but it is contrary to what you folks are saying
 

Ulma Doctor

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#12
Hi Investigator,
determining blade TPI is not difficult as it may seem.
the idea is for the greatest stock removal for the thickness of the material
a thin piece of material will require a finer pitch, in order to have moore teeth in contact with the work to avoid tearing.
a thicker and wider piece of work can have wider spaced teeth to more easily remove chips that would otherwise clog up the cut

an 8-10 tpi blade may be a good choice for general work in a lot of materials
if you are doing a lot of thin work you'll need a friner pitch
if you are doing 4"x6" work in solid materials, a 4TPI may be better suited for your saw
 

Investigator

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#13
an 8-10 tpi blade may be a good choice for general work in a lot of materials
if you are doing a lot of thin work you'll need a friner pitch
if you are doing 4"x6" work in solid materials, a 4TPI may be better suited for your saw
I'm thinking the largest solid material will be about 2x3, and maybe some 1.5" rounds.
 

Ulma Doctor

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#14
i'd personally would go with the 8 or 10 tooth, if i were to pick a single blade for general cutting
 

Dabbler

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#15
I agree with Ulma Doctor; On my saw I run a 14 tooth blade normally, because I mostly do cuts with about 1/4 to 1/2 " cross section. I have a 4/6 variable for cuting larger stuff and it is really worth it to change out the blade, rather than waiting 2 hrs for a 6" round to be cut with the 14tpi.

When I do thin wall tubing I have a 20tpi I had custom made 20 years ago, and only take it out for big jobs. I also set the downfeed to the slowest possible to help prevent the teeth from catching and ripping off. On really thin stuff I put a sacrificial piece of scrap in the cut to help.

BTW do you know about conditioning the blade? there are several good vids on youtube on getting more life out of the blade by conditioning it.

-- I also exclusively dry cut, due to the mess of wet cutting, but I also lightly lube the blade with candle wax, which seems to extend the life a lot.
 
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Robert LaLonde

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#16
Congratulations with the little bandsaw. I have a similar 4x6 (now a 4x8), and I use it just about every day. I spent a little time initially setting it up, but it just doesn't stay dialed in exactly. That being said it still is a great useful tool in my shop. I replaced the screw that held the cover closed with a threaded T-handle. Its much easier to open and close the blade cover now. The plastic blade tension knob cracked and came off the blade tension screw so I machined a big knurled aluminum knob to replace it that is a light press fit with a set screw for extra security. I find it to be much faster and easier to use than the little plastic knob was. I have used 3 different pitches of Starrett blades, Harbor Freight blades, and the SuperCut blades from Harbor freight. I found the SuperCut blades to be the best value for general cutting. I don't recall the pitch off hand, but HF only offers them in one pitch in the local store anyway.

The little stand of sheet metal legs is cute. I used them initially, but found the low height and need of a stand to be inconvenient for me. I suppose for occasional use they would be fine. It is nice that you can grab the handle and tow it around like a wagon. I took the legs off and threw them in my scrap metal pile after a couple weeks. I mounted some steel extension bars on the end of a roller table and mounted the saw on that. Now I set bar stock on the roller table, and feed it into the saw to be cut off. I don't worry to much about squaring up the saw anymore. I just leave a little extra to be machined off. It saves me a lot of time that way. If I wanted precision square cutting (which I really do) I'd go with a high end slow speed cold cut saw, and mount a micrometer stop on the outfeed. The problem with most slow cut cold saws that I could afford is they won't quite handle the stock sizes I need to cut. Lots of guys brag they have their bandsaws dialed in perfectly, but after spending a couple days playing with it I decided that it wasn't worth the effort to get "pretty close." I square stock up on the mill or on the lathe and I "know" its good.

The big huge fantastic advantage of the bandsaw to me is the ability to break down stock while I am doing other things in the shop. It really is incredible at that. Once you get used to having a horizontal auto shutoff bandsaw. Even a mediocre one like an HF 4x6 you will wonder how you ever got by without one. Speaking of auto shutoff. I wouldn't leave it cutting and go to lunch. You have to keep the chips cleaned off the saw or they can build up and prevent the saw from dropping that last little bit to shut off. Also, if there is any slop in the pivot (doesn't take much) you may want to play with the switch pusher tab to make sure it will turn the saw off every time at all extremes of movement. Even if it seems fine a piece of metal can wedge up with the blade slightly and push the saw over a little more than its normal slop. It can also wedge the blade to a stop with the motor whining. Make sure you approach the saw when its done cutting with care. If its whining or the belt is slipping reach down and push the off switch down with your thumbnail or a screw driver before trying to mess with the stock or the saw. That's probably a good practice anyway. Its possible for the saw to be off, but the switch to not be pushed far enough down to snap over. When you lift the saw it starts back up again.

Its a great tool and you will get thousands of cuts out of it.
 

Investigator

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#17
Got it home, unloaded and tried to use it a bit. Not sure if it had anything to do with the reason for selling, but the blade was on backwards, pointing up.

Also, looks like it needs some adjusting on the rollers. Overall though, looks good. I'm happy so far.
 
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Robert LaLonde

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#18
Got it home, unloaded and tried to use it a bit. Not sure if it had anything to do with the reason for selling, but the blade was on backwards, pointing up.
LOL - IRL
 
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Robert LaLonde

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#19
Did you get the little table so you can use it as an upright band saw? I do not use mine that way very often, but I do use it. Taking the minute or so to install the table when using the saw in the upright position makes a big difference. Also, there is a pin you can install when using it in the upright position to prevent it from coming down. If you don't have that find one. On my saw it goes in the arm where the spring attaches.
 

Investigator

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#20
Did you get the little table so you can use it as an upright band saw? I do not use mine that way very often, but I do use it. Taking the minute or so to install the table when using the saw in the upright position makes a big difference. Also, there is a pin you can install when using it in the upright position to prevent it from coming down. If you don't have that find one. On my saw it goes in the arm where the spring attaches.
No table for upright use. It has a lock tab on the cut off side that levers up and locks against the movable upper section. What does the 'table' look like? Is it something I can fab easily?
 
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Robert LaLonde

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#21
If you have a medium to heavy sheet metal brake you can make one pretty easy. If you have a mill you could make one pretty easily out of a piece of plate.
20171027_163252_resized.jpg 20171027_163307_resized.jpg 20171027_163341_resized.jpg
 

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#22
Travers sells an import blade called Banco or something like that, HSS blade using a unique tooth pattern near as I can tell. This thing shreds like no other blade I have used, thin work to thick this is a winner in view. Its in the Oct Travers sale flyer.
 

markba633csi

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#23
Seems that 3 blades are required to cover all the cases- 24 tooth for thin material, 14 or so for medium stuff, and a coarse one like 6 or 8 (maybe even 4) for the really thick bar stock. My saw doesn't have the blade guard covering the drive wheels; blade changes are quick without it.
Morse blades are good and reasonably priced- Amazon has them
Mark S.
ps the blade will make a sort of musical sound when plucked if it's at the right tension; sounds like an "E" chord on a guitar to me.
 
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