wnaziri

Balancing Bandsaw Wheels

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I would like to pose some questions to the forum for the collective knowledge and advice.

I am almost done refurbishing a Nothfield 20" Bandsaw.  I really wanted a Northfield but could never justify spending that kind of money on a new one.  So, I found this saw locally.  The prior owner had intended to refurbish it but never got around to it.  So, I bought it and it have been working on it this summer.  It is nearly done.   It is time to assemble the parts.  

Questions:

- Would you re-balance the wheels?  Northfield factory will do it but shipping charges will be more than the actual cost of balancing them.  

- I want to put new tires on it.  Would you replace the current rubber tires with new rubber tires from the factory OR would you go with urethane tires? I plan to dedicate the saw to re-sawing.

- If re-balancing the wheels is the way to go, what kind of shop would do that?  I don't know who I'd call.

 

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I can't figure out why they would need rebalancing.   Are the tires flat like Euro saws, or crowned.  If flat, you probably need to get them from Northfield.  Are they glued on, or have a tongue to fit in a groove like a Centauro/MiniMax?

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I'm also wondering about the balancing.  If they are clean and ding free, the balance should not have shifted. 

That is something I would run first then look into balancing if it needs it.

With the bearing on the rod.  Spin it and mark with a crayon where it stops at the bottom.  Do this a dozen times.  If it keeps stopping with the same area down,  you may need it checked out.

As far as rubber vs urathane.. it's a crap shoot. Some say they are superior,  some say not a penny the better. I have only used rubber in the past. 

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Balancing or not, the tires will work best if they are crowned. If the profile of the wheels are not crowned, you’re going to have to figure out a way to put that profile on the wheels. 

I like rubber tires that are glued on better than urethane. Urethane tires are easier to put on, but they can slip off for the same reason that they are easier to put on. I’ve replaced, glued, and crowned rubber tires on a bandsaw. I’ve also paid someone else to do that for me. In the future, I’m perfectly happy to have someone else to this task. And I did ship the wheels to get this done.

Should you decide to ship the wheels back to Northfield to take care of the tires, go ahead and have them rebalance the wheels as well. Removing old tires and replacing them can affect the balance of the wheel due to variances in tires and the crowning process. Your bandsaw will run smoother, and you’ll get better resaw results. If you are using this bandsaw as a hobbyist, you won’t have to do this again until you replace the tires a decade from now. So you might as well do it right.

By the way, I’m quite jealous that you were able to score a used Northfield bandsaw. ^_^

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I appreciated all the information.

These wheels have rubber tires that were probably glued on by NASA!

  I don't think these tires were ever meant to be removed by any normal human being, without damaging the wheels.

I like rubber tires that are glued on better than urethane. Urethane tires are easier to put on, but they can slip off for the same reason that they are easier to put on. I’ve replaced, glued, and crowned rubber tires on a bandsaw. I’ve also paid someone else to do that for me. In the future, I’m perfectly happy to have someone else to this task. And I did ship the wheels to get this done.

Should you decide to ship the wheels back to Northfield to take care of the tires, go ahead and have them rebalance the wheels as well. Removing old tires and replacing them can affect the balance of the wheel due to variances in tires and the crowning process. Your bandsaw will run smoother, and you’ll get better resaw results. If you are using this bandsaw as a hobbyist, you won’t have to do this again until you replace the tires a decade from now. So you might as well do it right.

By the way, I’m quite jealous that you were able to score a used Northfield bandsaw. ^_^

As much as I was trying to avoid this eventuality, I am going to face the music and send the wheels to Northfield. 

Wilbur, how does crowning the tires help with re-sawing?  

Edited by wnaziri

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If you have a bandsaw with crowned tires, the blade tracks better. Better tracking = better resaw results. It’s possible to set up a bandsaw with a flat profile on the tires, but they tend to be more finicky and harder to adjust. 

When a bandsaw blade runs on a crowned tire, the physics of the situation causes the bandsaw blade to automatically ride up to the “highest” point on the tire and stay there until you make an adjustment to the top wheel. The top wheel adjustment tilts the top wheel towards or away from you. Moving the top wheel changes the “highest” point, and causes the bandsaw blade to change position on the tire, and changes the angle the blade takes as it comes off the top wheel towards the bandsaw table.

You can take advantage of this phenomenon to eliminate drift. Adjusting the top wheel eventually gets you to a position where the angle of the blade is parallel with the miter slot on the table. If you set your fence parallel to the miter slot, you won’t have to tweak the fence ever again. Just match the tracking of the blade to the miter slot and fence.

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Some bandsaws are designed to run flat tires, and the teeth down to the gullets are run off the front edge of the wheels.  My Centauro is like this.  It allows the machine to put the high tension required on a wide resaw band-like 1" or wider.  I didn't know if this one was designed for that or not.  Smaller saws do have crowned wheels for reasons stated.  If you are intending on running narrow blades, then a crowned tire would be better, since there is not much blade left behind the teeth to let the teeth run over the front edge.  Narrow blades are a good use for a 14" band saw.

I haven't heard of tires being vulcanized onto the wheels in an awfully long time.  I'd suggest asking on the old iron group.  I'm sure you will find a number of people that have already rebuilt one of these exact machines.

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My bandsaw is a 16” Walker-Turner. The wheels have a flat profile, like the bigger modern Italian bandsaws. I originally had it set up with tires that had a flat profile as well, and used it for resawing running the 3/4” blade that I was using for resawing so that the teeth were off the front edge of the wheel.

Later on, I crowned the tires. With the same blade, I found that the bandsaw was much more stable, it was not so finicky when adjusting the top wheel, and I could get better resaw results with less tension, which also easier on the motor.

Historically, large bandsaws also had crowned tires, because it works. Even large 36” bandsaws were set up with a crowned profile on the tires.

You don’t have to put a huge crown on the wheel to get this effect. With my current setup, the sides of the tire are lower than the middle by a little less than 1/16”.

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Update:

We had pretty bad weather this weekend so I had to think of things to do.  I decided to dedicate some time to working on my bandsaw wheels.  I had tried to remove the rubber tires in the past but I gave up because they seemed like the tires were laser welded to the wheels.  However, I decided to try it again.  After whittling on the rubber most of Saturday, I achieved something that I did not think I could: got all the rubber off.  While I was at it, I also gave the wheels a nice finish.

This is what the wheels looked like when I started:

Before-1.thumb.jpg.bea632ab674f56e73017eAfter a full day's work on the wheels:

After1-1.thumb.jpg.b0be4026932d2b47956e7After2-2.thumb.jpg.0324406b13548bc8feee9With wheels ready, I have ordered new tires.  I should be ready to assemble the saw in the next couple of weeks.

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I am going to conduct an experiment.  The experiment will cost me about $75.

I will put on some new tires myself.  If the wheels run smoothly and don't come off the frame after running it for a while, great.  If the wheels act like they are not balanced or the saw does not function well, off they will go to Northfield.

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