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The bazzionth band saw question...

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TerryH

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#1
I've read a ton of material about converting a wood band saw to cut metal. Not something I'm going to do with my Grizzly G1013 but I do have a question. The saw has 2 speeds. 3000SFPM and 1600SFPM. I know it's not ideal but would 1600SFPM be useable for aluminum? I realize it's to fast for steel and not in spec for aluminum but I'm still wondering if it would be "acceptable" for occasional aluminum cutting. What tpi blade would be a good choice? Mostly for plate 1/2" or less. I have a cold cut saw for bar and round stock.

 

Dave Paine

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#2
I have the same G0513 bandsaw. I would not want to try cutting aluminium. The slowest speed is too fast. Even with an appropriate blade the speed could result in too much heat and cold welding of the chips in the gullet.

I tried cutting a piece of aluminium bar with my jigsaw and metal cutting blade. It did not go well. I looked at the blade after initial attempt to cut. Pieces of aluminium were cold welded in the gullets. I had to remove them one-by-one. I then slowed down the speed and my manual feed rate and eventually got the piece cut, but I will not be trying this again. Back to the old and trusty hacksaw. A lot of elbow grease to make it work, but it does work.

I also would not want metal particles getting into the bandsaw tyres. I expect some would come out later when cutting wood and find their way into the wood, at least that would be my luck.
 

projectnut

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#3
I have a 3 speed Startrite metal band saw. The 3 speeds are 60 fpm, 100, fpm, and 160 fpm.
 

Mitch Alsup

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#4
I have a 14" metal/wood BS from Griz.

I use 150 SFM for steel and 300 SFM for Al and 1400 sfm for wood.

The only realistic way to gear you machine down far enough is to machine up some special pulleys.
 

TerryH

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#5
Thanks guys. I figured as much but wanted to ask.
 

francist

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#6
I'm not recommending that anyone go ahead and do this, especially if you're at all skittish around a bandsaw, but I have cut hundreds if not thousands of letters and numbers for architectural signs using only a slightly modified 14" vertical wood cutting bandsaw. And it wasn't even a good bandsaw, although I think it was one of the better knock-offs from the mid 1970's.

Aluminum was very popular, and I would cut anywhere from 1/8" thick to 1/2" thick. Brass (leaded) was also much used, although we would max out at 1/4" thick for that. Copper was the least fun, but fortunately there wasn't much call for it. Blades were dependant on the material as well as size of the job, and varied from 6 to 32 teeth per inch.

I did slow the blade down a bit, but not terribly much. I'm thinking maybe about 25 percent at the outside, only because that was the max I could go and still fit the pulleys inside the stock enclosure. I had a plexiglass platen on the table as well to cut down on blade clearance and allow smoother free-handing of the letters. No lubricant, not even blade wax. The most important thing in cutting tight internal shapes like serifs and such is to have a good exit strategy, kind of like runaway lanes on highways so you can get out if you need to.

Tip welding could be a problem, but not so much with a sharp blade. As the blades got dull through use there was more tendency to weld, so on a thick job (say 1/2" or 3/8" plate) it didn't pay to try to use anything but fresh blades. And on aluminum, nothing less than about sixteen teeth anyway or it would start to plug up. Chips embedding in the tires was more of a pain, and every now and again I would have to scrape them clean with a sharp block of wood. Letting them build up could lead to blade derailment, at least with my saw anyway. DoAll blades were the best, when we could get them.

I no longer have the old saw and also no longer do that type of work, but it was a pretty good sideline for nearly twenty years.

-frank

image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
 

Silverbullet

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#8
A gear reduction motor would do it for your saw. Easier then jack shafts and pulleys.
 

metalmonster

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#9
Ever thought of a VFD? (variable frequency drive) I'm not sure if it will work for single phase, but it should.
 

TerryH

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Dave Paine

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A VFD is used to create variable output frequency to drive a 3 phase motor. The EBay listing shows this unit is designed for single phase input but scroll down and you will see it creates 3 phase output.

To use a VFD you will need to replace the single phase motor with a 3 phase motor. I did this for a metal lathe. A number of folks on the forum have done this for their machines.
 

TerryH

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#12
A VFD is used to create variable output frequency to drive a 3 phase motor. The EBay listing shows this unit is designed for single phase input but scroll down and you will see it creates 3 phase output.

To use a VFD you will need to replace the single phase motor with a 3 phase motor. I did this for a metal lathe. A number of folks on the forum have done this for their machines.
I see now. Thanks.
 

Mitch Alsup

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#13
A VFD is used to create variable output frequency to drive a 3 phase motor. The EBay listing shows this unit is designed for single phase input but scroll down and you will see it creates 3 phase output.

To use a VFD you will need to replace the single phase motor with a 3 phase motor.
All you really need to do is remove the run capacitor. The start and run capacitors simply converts a 3 phase motor to run on 1 phase.
 

metalmonster

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#14
Is everyone sure of that? Seems to me that mine will do selectable single or polyphase and just vary the frequency, which would change the motor output speed. not really sure
 

Dave Paine

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#15
I do not think 3 phase motors have start or run capacitors, at least the 3 phase motor I have does not have any capacitors. The phase difference between the 3 phases creates the motor rotation.

My single phase motors have capacitors, some single so just start, some two so a start and a run.
 
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umahunter

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#16
I have a harbor freight 14 inch bandsaw and I've cut tons of aluminum with it with a regular wood blade. most bandsaw and jigsaw blades for metal have teeth way to small for aluminium and clog up fast. use larger tooth wood blades for much better results
 

BROCKWOOD

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#17
I understand that VFD is a 3 phase controller. There are single phase variable speed drives though. Just looked at the manual for my lathe / mill combo - sorry the wiring diagram is useless. Just seems a way to vary your existing single phase motor would be the best approach dollar wise.
 

Mitch Alsup

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#18
I do not think 3 phase motors have start or run capacitors,
Correct they do not.

at least the 3 phase motor I have does not have any capacitors. The phase difference between the 3 phases creates the motor rotation.

My single phase motors have capacitors, some single so just start, some two so a start and a run.
SP motors with one capacitor use the capacitor for both starting and running, these motors have rather low TQ at startup.

The second capacitor (start) makes bigger phase angle on the 3rd pole increasing low RPM TQ. After the motor reaches 1/2 speed (or so) a switch takes this start capacitor out of the circuit and the run capacitor provides all the phase shift.
 

benmychree

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#19
I have the same G0513 bandsaw. I would not want to try cutting aluminium. The slowest speed is too fast. Even with an appropriate blade the speed could result in too much heat and cold welding of the chips in the gullet.

I tried cutting a piece of aluminium bar with my jigsaw and metal cutting blade. It did not go well. I looked at the blade after initial attempt to cut. Pieces of aluminium were cold welded in the gullets. I had to remove them one-by-one. I then slowed down the speed and my manual feed rate and eventually got the piece cut, but I will not be trying this again. Back to the old and trusty hacksaw. A lot of elbow grease to make it work, but it does work.

I also would not want metal particles getting into the bandsaw tyres. I expect some would come out later when cutting wood and find their way into the wood, at least that would be my luck.
You need to use kerosene or WD 40 to lubricate aluminum when cutting on most any saw, or any other machine tool for that matter, or you will get chip welding; its the nature of the beast.
 
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