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Craftsman vs SWAG or both

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Chopper1

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Looking for a bit of advice on my metal cutting options and pros and cons. Currently I have a DeWalt cold cut saw that I use for cutting large stock...sq and round tube and angle. I also have an older Craftsman 2 speed 1 1/8hp band saw that I have outfitted with a bi-metal blade to make more precise cuts with. However I have not yet converted this saw to slow the blade speed and that is my first option. I need advice on how to go about slowing down the blade speed to a reasonable amount for cutting metal. I will not be using it to cut wood. Is this a good saw to keep for this purpose or should I look for a true metal band saw. I have also been looking at the latest offering from SWAG Off Road that mates up to the latest Milwaukee portaband. Obviously much smaller, lighter, easier to store, etc. but I have no experience with it. I have a decent size shop, but most of what I do is automotive restoration and mechanical work. I do limited fabrication work, welding, structural support, roll cage....that said, when you need to cut some metal you don't want to take all day getting set up. Looking for others experiences. Thanks in advance
 

Chopper1

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I could probably sell the Craftsman for $200 or so in order to fund a better saw to convert to metal
 

T. J.

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#3
I have one of the SWAG tables on a Milwaukee portaband. I love it. The biggest limitation for me is the small throat depth.
 

TerryH

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I have the newer Harbor Freight portaband in a Swag table. I really wanted to convert a bigger saw but this little setup has performed really well. As previously stated, the small capacity is the only drawback. Guess it all depends on what size material you normally work with. I have a cold cut saw and 4x6 horizontal for the bigger stuff.
 

ThinWoodsman

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I use a SWAG with a Dewalt portaband, but I would trade for a full-size bandsaw in a heartbeat*.

The problems I have with the SWAG:
1. throat dept (as already mentioned)
2. lack of rigidity (really gotta bolt the thing down for it to not move when cutting heavy things)
3. changing the blade requires unmounting the portaband, so you either use the same blade for everything or do a lot of reassembly

I can live with all of these, and I'm sure the above posters can also, but if you already have a full-sized bandsaw then you may want to go for the conversion.

* originally that ended with, "if I had the space", but who am I fooling?
 

Chopper1

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Looks like Troy's table gets lots of support. Pretty good investment though all said and done. I really like the big grunt in such a small package...what a space saver.
Does anyone have any pictures or advice for converting my inexpensive Craftsman to metal...slowing down the blade speed?
 

T. J.

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Does anyone have any pictures or advice for converting my inexpensive Craftsman to metal...slowing down the blade speed?
Here's one using a "Pull Gear". These are no longer made, but you might get lucky and find one on eBay. I have one on my drill press (which is what they were designed for) and it's pretty sweet.
https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/bandsaw-speed-reducer-build.65462/

Several years ago I saw a conversion somewhere on the Internet where they had used a transmission from a riding lawnmower. Seems like an interesting idea.
 

bill70j

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I have also been looking at the latest offering from SWAG Off Road that mates up to the latest Milwaukee portaband.
If you do decide to go the SWAG Table route, you might consider making a version of the Table yourself. It's very straight forward to do.

If you are interested in saving even more money, you could consider HFT's Bauer saw, which you can get for $99. It is quite well made, and works very well, though the variable speed feature is kind of a joke. It's really a 2-speed saw, in my opinion.
 

FOMOGO

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#11
Check out gear reducers on ebay or Amazon. Probably the most common way to bring the speed to the most usable range. Mike
 

Chopper1

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Thanks for all the input, its been an education....both others experiences and the provided links. I think for now I'll be asking Santa for a Swag kit and a Milwaukee portaband. I have a cold cut saw so if I find that my needs are more than the (2) will cover then I'll look for a proper metal cutting vertical band saw. Thanks again
 

Flat fender

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#13
I have a swag table, started with a Milwaukee saw, then found a like new DeWALT saw at a used tool store, the DeWALT saw is way better than the Milwaulkee.... That being said I also have a 20” bandsaw but use the swag saw far more often, probably one of the handiest tools o own!...

Lee
 

Chopper1

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Lee,

Thanks whats better about the DeWALT saw?
 

Flat fender

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Blade guides are better, has a light on it, lol, just all around beefier. Believe me I was a Milwaulkee fan, I actually went to the used tool store to buy another Milwaulkee and he had the DeWALT also.

Lee
 

Chopper1

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The newer 6232-20 is meant to compete with the DeWALT. Thanks for the info...I'll take a hard look at comparisons and reviews
 

ThinWoodsman

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The Dewalt I have has the same depth of cut as the Milwuakee - 5" (DCS374 Max Cut).

The light is actually pretty useful, it more or less shines on the work. Only when doing detail do I need to put the magnetic lamp on.
 
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