Wood Band Saw and Metal?


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Has anyone cut metal with a Woodworking band saw?

 

At Rockler a salesman said You need a "high TPI blade, like 20+ TPI "  Duh I didn't think a 4tpi was good. haha

 

After Googling I see other problems, Metal needs lower speed, oil/lube, not good for Urethane Tires, etc

 

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What are you trying to do, and what kind of metal are you wanting to cut? I've found that using a jig saw with a Lenox bi-metal blade works great, on most soft metals, for cutting curves. Stainless is a different story. On stainless, I out-source the cutting to a shop that has a plasma cutter.

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I have cut metal with my 14" Delta bandsaw. The blade looks like a hacksaw blade. I just use a little squirt oil can to lube the cut every so often. Lowest speed you have will still wear out a blade fairly quick, guess how I know that?

That being said my bandsaw has a transmission and multiple speeds. It is the metal cutting version of the saw. If you disengage the transmission you have 2 faster speeds to choose from for cutting wood. I put a metal blade on and forgot to engage the transmission. It still cut the metal but things did get hot and wore out the blade fairly quick . Then there is the mess from the lube and metal shavings to clean up.

On the slowest speed I was able to cut a 4" thick block of brass.

Still running the original rubber tires. Added a height kit and Carter Bearing guides, 1 1/2 hp motor and a new tension spring. It must be over 30 years old, I got it used 25 years ago.

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Don't do it!!

From working in metal shops, I can tell you that if you plan to work with wood in the future on this same band saw, you're messing up if you try to cut metal on it.  The comments above are correct - the correct blade looks like a continuous hack saw blade 18 or 20tpi. You need slower speeds because otherwise, friction ruins the blade and to keep friction low, you need lubrication - cutting oil or 3n1 oil or something like that.  THEN you decide to work some wood; but now the oil from the blade is all over your tires and bearings and transfers to the wood.  The oil will also be on your table- more transfer. So you say to your self...."self? I'll cut it slowly and feed it slowly with NO oil"....Nay....the blade may not build up too much heat but it will dull it some....maybe that's not a problem but you will still get metal dust on the tires and bearings that will transfer to the wood.  What I use most of the time is a 4.5" grinder with a thin cut off wheel.  They're cheap and quick, especially on 1/8 and smaller metal. But. if you look on Craigs list, you can find one of the small 10" band saws pretty cheap and just dedicate that to metal.

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Doug, all good advise from the fellers above. My wood-shops dirty little secret is its also a metal shop. So I know a bit on working with metal. Depending on what you would like to do, there are some better options for cutting. Some easy and inexpensive options are A sawsall & jig saw fitted with metal blades. You would be quite surprised how well these work with mild steel .0120 (1/8" ish) wall thickness or thinner , tube , flat stock and such. Also Sheet steel not to thick. If You were cutting thicker stock an Abrasive cut off saw will make short work of really thick stock. I have a Harbor Freight tools unit that is a decade old and has hundreds of hours on it still working great , I think they are still about $60 bucks. Blades are cheep and last forever. No messy cutting fluids needed, Drawbacks , these leave a messy edge so a grinder or bench grinder is needed to clean em up , as well they toss a ton of sparks , somewhat not a great vibe in a wood shop littered with sawdust and wood. Again depending what your intentions are , I run a Evolution Rage 3 Compound Sliding double miter saw for metal.  This saw is very accurate , tosses few sparks, and leaves a very nice edge.

They run in the $400 range, and blades are $75 ish and have a limited use life. The cut thickness is 0.120 , ya can do thicker but it kills blades fast. So some options, post what you are doing or wanting to do for more information.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Has anyone cut metal with a Woodworking band saw?

 

At Rockler a salesman said You need a "high TPI blade, like 20+ TPI "  Duh I didn't think a 4tpi was good. haha

 

After Googling I see other problems, Metal needs lower speed, oil/lube, not good for Urethane Tires, etc

 

.

 

"Has anyone cut metal with a Woodworking band saw?"

 

What are you calling metal? I cut aluminum frequently but not iron or steel. It all depends....

 

"At Rockler a salesman said You need a "high TPI blade, like 20+ TPI "  Duh I didn't think a 4tpi was good. haha"

 

He's an idiot, tpi for metal depends on the stock thickness, same as wood. The thinner and harder the material, the more teeth per inch. It all depends on what you're cutting. I saw 6061 and MIC 5 cast aluminum 1/4" to 1/2" with a Lenox 10-14 tpi bimetal blade, thicker stock I switch to a 6-10. Works fine.

 

"After Googling I see other problems, Metal needs lower speed, oil/lube, not good for Urethane Tires, etc"

 

At the risk of repeating myself, it depends on what you're cutting and the thickness. If you want to cut 3" stainless I'd definitely suggest a metal-cutting saw with lubrication. For soft stock  1" or less my experience is that it cuts just fine on my Laguna 14" which is sold as a woodworking tool. Can't comment on the urethane tire thing, maybe that has something to do with the lubricant which you may or may not need, again depending on what you're cutting.

 

Examples, all cut on the Laguna with the 10-14 blade:

 

post-1150-0-02427200-1369098621_thumb.jp

 

post-1150-0-78623300-1369097746_thumb.jp

 

 

post-1150-0-72035100-1369098853_thumb.jp

 

 

 

So to sum it up, if you want to cut relatively thin stock in the 1/16-1" range of soft material, have at it. Get the appropriate blade for the stock thickness and don't worry about it. If you want to hack up harder stuff like cast iron, steel or whatever or really thick softer stuff you're out of your league with a wood-cutting bandsaw.

 

HTH,

Bill

post-1150-0-36989200-1369097776_thumb.jp

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Thank You all for the info and replies. Long story but, neighbor that did My metal cutting is moving, 2nd neighbor that is My welder can't cut 3-4 things to the same length +/- a 1/16 - 1/8 He thinks is dead on. So I need to do it.

 

So i will be buying a Bandsaw just for metal (keeping wood bandsaw clean) and a cut off saw.

 

O, I will be making a 2nd Tool stand, mobile base and jigs etc.

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Not to necropost too much, but would I be fine using a fine-ish blade to cut copper plumbing tube? I've used some piping to act as a ferrel on the ends of a mallet head and I need to trim them off so they're even and clean.

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Get the best band saw that you'll  find.

 

A little late to the party, but I believe one of the best band saws for cutting metal has to be a Roll-In, made in Cleveland, Ohio. ( Roll-In Saw )

 

I bought the EF 1459, and I can say that the build is top quality:

 

1459-1.jpg

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Not to necropost too much, but would I be fine using a fine-ish blade to cut copper plumbing tube? I've used some piping to act as a ferrel on the ends of a mallet head and I need to trim them off so they're even and clean.

 

 

I think you'll be fine with  a bi metal or carbide tipped band saw blade.

 

 

 

 

A little late to the party, but I believe one of the best band saws for cutting metal has to be a Roll-In, made in Cleveland, Ohio. ( Roll-In Saw )

 

I bought the EF 1459, and I can say that the build is top quality:

 

 

 

Great band saw. That can also be used for contour work. 

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