Bandsaw Blade Buying Guide: How To Choose A Bandsaw Blade
Posted on 6th June 2023 at 16:43
Bandsaw Blade Issues: Preventing & Troubleshooting Common Bandsaw Problems
Bandsaws are essential tools for many industries, including those that need to cut wood, metal, plastics and more. However, like any tool, there are a few problems that operators may run into. These issues are often related to the blades of the bandsaw, and if not corrected can hinder their performance and shorten their lifespan.
In this article, we explore some of the most common bandsaw blade problems and how to prevent them, allowing you to ensure that your blades and your cutting machinery can continue to perform at their best.
By understanding how to maintain and use your bandsaw blade properly, you can ensure optimal performance and a longer blade life. So whether you're involved in woodworking, metal cutting or other forms of commercial production or fabrication, read on to learn how to prevent the most common bandsaw blade problems and keep your saw running smoothly.
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Why Recognising Bandsaw Blade Issues Is Key
Recognising common problems is crucial in prolonging the lifespan of your bandsaw blade, saving you money on replacements and reducing downtime in your workflow. Additionally, properly maintained bandsaw blades are essential for ensuring the safety of the operator and those around them, as damaged or worn blades can break or fly off during use, causing serious injury.
Beyond safety and cost considerations, recognising and preventing such problems can also improve the quality and efficiency of your work. By addressing issues such as blade deflection, uneven wear, or tooth strippage, you can ensure that your cuts are precise and consistent, and that you're not wasting time and resources on material that must be reworked or scrapped.
Bandsaw Blade Issues To Know About
There are a few common issues that you may encounter as a bandsaw operator. If you use bandsaws regularly, then it’s likely that you will experience at least one of these problems during your work.
Blade breakage is a common issue that can occur with bandsaw blades, which can happen for a variety of reasons, including blade tension being set too high or too low, incorrect cutting fluid being used, chipped pressure blocks and more.
One of the most common reasons for blade breakage is incorrect blade tension. If the tension is set too high, the blade may break due to excessive stress. Conversely, if the tension is too low, the blade may slip or deflect, causing damage or breakage.
To prevent this issue, be sure to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for proper blade tension, and adjust as necessary for your specific material and cutting application.
Another factor that can contribute to blade breakage is the use of incorrect cutting fluid. Different materials and sawing operations may require different types of cutting fluids or lubricants, so it's essential to choose the right one for your application.
Using the wrong fluid can cause the blade to overheat, warp, or break, so be sure to consult your saw's manual or a qualified expert for guidance on selecting and using the appropriate fluid.
In order to prevent issues like these, proper blade break-in is critical for extending the blade's lifespan. This process involves running the blade at a reduced speed and feed rate for the first few cuts, allowing the blade to gradually adjust to the material and cutting conditions. Following the correct break in process helps to ensure that the blade is properly seated and that its teeth are wearing evenly, reducing the risk of breakage or premature wear.
Teeth stripping is another common problem that can occur with bandsaw blades, which happens when the blade's teeth are worn down or damaged, causing the blade to lose its ability to effectively cut through material.
Some common causes of teeth stripping include incorrect blade pitch, improper blade break-in, and feed pressure that is too high.
Blade pitch refers to the distance between the blade's teeth and is an important factor in determining the blade's ability to cut through material. Using a blade with an incorrect pitch for the material being cut can cause the teeth to strip, as the blade is unable to engage with the material effectively. It's essential to choose the right blade pitch for your application and material, and to ensure that the blade is properly installed and adjusted for optimal performance.
Improper blade break-in can also contribute to teeth stripping, as it can cause uneven wear on the blade's teeth. As mentioned earlier, it's crucial to properly break in a new blade by running it at a reduced speed and feed rate for the first few cuts. This allows the blade to gradually adjust to the material and cutting conditions, reducing the risk of uneven wear and teeth stripping.
Feed pressure that is too high can cause teeth stripping by putting excessive stress on the blade's teeth. It's essential to choose the right feed rate for your material and cutting application, and to adjust as necessary to ensure that the blade is not being overloaded.
To prevent teeth stripping from impacting the quality and lifespan of your blade, it is important to follow proper maintenance and usage guidelines for your bandsaw blade. This includes choosing the right blade for your material and application, ensuring proper blade installation and tension, using the correct cutting fluid or lubricant, and performing regular inspections and maintenance.
By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your blade is functioning optimally and that its teeth are not being stripped, leading to a longer blade lifespan and fewer replacements.
Blade Tracking & Alignment
Blade tracking and alignment are crucial factors in the performance of a bandsaw blade. Proper blade tracking refers to the blade running in a straight line along the wheels and guides of the saw. Misalignment, on the other hand, refers to the blade running off its intended path, resulting in uneven wear and poor cutting results.
Misalignment can be caused by a variety of factors, including worn or damaged guides, improperly adjusted tension, or poorly maintained saw wheels. If the blade is not properly aligned, it can cause uneven wear on the teeth, the blade itself, and the saw components. This can lead to premature failure, poor cutting results, and even safety hazards.
To ensure proper blade tracking and alignment, start by inspecting the saw guides and ensuring that they are properly adjusted and in good condition. The guides should be in contact with the blade at all times, ensuring that it stays on its intended path. If the guides are worn or damaged, then they should be replaced immediately.
Next, check the saw wheels for wear or damage- saw wheels that are worn or damaged can cause the blade to run off track, resulting in poor cutting results and premature wear. If the saw wheels are damaged, they should also be replaced with immediate effect.
Once the guides and wheels have been inspected and any necessary repairs have been made, adjust the blade tension to the manufacturer's recommended settings. Over-tensioning or under-tensioning the blade can cause it to run off track, resulting in uneven wear and poor cutting results. Proper blade tension ensures that the blade is running straight and accurately, resulting in cleaner, more precise cuts.
In addition to these steps, it's important to ensure that the blade is properly installed and that the saw is properly aligned. A poorly aligned saw can cause the blade to run off track, resulting in uneven wear and poor cutting results.
Troubleshooting Common Bandsaw Problems
There are a number of common problems people experience when using bandsaws. Many of these are related to the issues described above. A summary of the most common issues bandsaw users experience is as follows:
Causes & Solutions
Bandsaw blade twists while cutting
When a bandsaw blade twists while cutting, it's typically caused by excessive pressure or incorrect blade tension. Another possible cause can be a damaged or worn-out blade.
The solution to this issue is to ensure that the blade is properly tensioned and the correct blade is being used for the job. In some cases, the blade may need to be replaced.
Bandsaw blade bends when cutting
A bandsaw blade that bends when cutting can be caused by a number of things, including improper blade tension, excessive feed pressure, or a dull blade. It can also be caused by incorrect blade tracking or blade guides that are not properly adjusted.
To solve this problem, it's important to check the blade tension and adjust it if necessary. The feed pressure should also be reduced to prevent the blade from bending. Finally, check the blade guides and adjust them if necessary to ensure that the blade is tracking correctly.
Bandsaw blade not cutting straight
If a bandsaw blade is not cutting straight, it's often caused by a problem with the blade guides. The blade guides should be adjusted so that they are in contact with the blade but not so tight that they cause the blade to bind.
Another possible cause of this problem is a dull blade, which should be replaced. Additionally, make sure the blade is properly tensioned and that the correct blade is being used for the job.
Bandsaw blade keeps coming off
A bandsaw blade that keeps coming off can be caused by a few different things. One possible cause is that the blade guides are not adjusted correctly. Another possible cause is that the blade is not tensioned properly. Alternatively, the blade may be damaged or worn out.
To solve this problem, check the blade guides and adjust them as necessary. Check the blade tension and adjust it if necessary. Finally, inspect the blade for damage or wear and replace it if necessary.
Bandsaw blade wandering
The problem is usually caused by one of two things: incorrect blade tracking or a dull blade. Incorrect blade tracking occurs when the blade is not properly aligned on the bandsaw wheels. To fix this problem, you can adjust the blade tracking by adjusting the tracking knob on the bandsaw. Turn the knob while watching the blade and adjust it until the blade runs straight and centred on the wheels.
A dull blade can also cause wandering or drifting. A dull blade is more likely to drift or wander off course, and it may produce a rough cut. To fix this issue, you should replace the blade. If you are using a blade with too few teeth for the material you are cutting, you may also experience wandering. Choosing a blade with the appropriate number of teeth for the material will help you avoid this problem.
It's also possible that the blade guides are not properly adjusted, or that the blade tension is not set correctly. Check the blade guides to make sure they are set to the proper distance from the blade. You may also want to check the blade tension to ensure it is appropriate for the material you are cutting.
Bandsaw blade burning wood
A dull blade is a common cause of burning wood. A dull blade can create excessive heat, which can burn the wood. Make sure to use a sharp blade to prevent this issue.
Using the wrong type of blade can also cause burning. Blades with fewer teeth per inch (TPI) are designed for thicker wood, while blades with more TPI are designed for thinner wood. Make sure you're using the appropriate blade for the thickness of the wood you're cutting.
Feeding the wood too slowly can also cause burning. When the blade is cutting too slowly, it creates more heat, which can burn the wood. You can avoid this by increasing the feed rate or by using a blade with more TPI.
You may want to check the blade guides and make sure they are adjusted properly. The blade guides should be set as close to the wood as possible without touching it. This will help prevent the blade from flexing and reduce friction.
For more expert help and advice in addressing your bandsaw issues, contact the Any Length team.
For Free Technical Support Please Call: 0800 521292
Blade tension is critical in the performance of a bandsaw blade, as it ensures that the blade runs smoothly and accurately, while incorrect tension can cause the blade to wear unevenly, deflect, or even break.
Under-tensioned blades can cause the blade to slip or deflect during use, leading to uneven wear and poor cutting results. Over-tensioned blades, on the other hand, can cause excessive stress and premature wear, as well as damage to other saw components. Proper blade tension ensures that the blade is running straight and accurately, resulting in cleaner, more precise cuts and a longer blade lifespan.
To adjust blade tension, it's essential to adjust for your specific material and cutting application. It's also important to ensure that the blade is centred on the wheels and properly guided through the saw, to prevent uneven wear or misalignment.
The tension of the blade is controlled by the bandsaw's tensioning system. This system consists of a spring or weight-loaded mechanism that applies pressure to the blade, keeping it taut during operation. The tension should be set to the manufacturer's recommended level, which will vary depending on the size and type of blade, as well as the material being cut.
To adjust blade tension, start by releasing the tension on the blade and opening the bandsaw's access panel. Adjust the tensioning system according to the manufacturer's guidelines, and then re-tension the blade. The tension should be checked regularly during operation, and adjusted as necessary to ensure that the blade is running straight and accurately.
It's important to note that blade tension is not a one-time adjustment. As the blade heats up during use, it will expand, and the tension will decrease. To compensate for this, the tension should be checked regularly during operation and adjusted as necessary.
Choosing The Correct Blade For Your Material
Choosing the correct bandsaw blade for different materials is crucial for achieving optimal cutting results and prolonging the lifespan of the blade. The type of material being cut, as well as its thickness and hardness, will determine the type of blade required.
When selecting a blade, one important consideration is the teeth per inch (TPI). The TPI refers to the number of teeth per inch on the blade and is an important factor in determining the blade's ability to cut through material.
A higher TPI blade is better suited for cutting thinner materials, while a lower TPI blade is better suited for thicker materials.
Another consideration when selecting a blade is the material it is made of. Blades are typically made of carbon steel, cobalt steel, or bi-metal.
Carbon steel bandsaw blades are ideal for cutting a range of softer materials. These include woods, plastics, foams and non-ferrous metals.
Structural bandsaw blades are made with specially hardened teeth made from M42 cobalt steel. This means that they offer enhanced durability and are best for cutting metals such as steel beams, I beams, H beams and metal tubing.
Bi-metal bandsaw blades are a good general purpose choice that can be used for cutting a wide range of materials, including woods and metals like stainless steel and aluminium.
Using an incorrect blade for a specific material can have consequences such as poor cutting results, premature blade wear, and even damage to the saw itself. To avoid these issues, it's important to select the appropriate blade for the material being cut and to follow the bandsaw manufacturer's guidelines for blade selection.
When cutting wood, it's important to select a blade with a lower TPI. This allows the blade to clear sawdust and debris quickly, resulting in cleaner cuts. A skip-tooth or hook-tooth blade is best suited for cutting wood, as it has wider gullets that allow for efficient chip removal.
Cutting metal requires a blade with a higher TPI. A bi-metal blade is best suited for cutting metal, as it combines the durability of carbon steel with the toughness of high-speed steel. It's also important to select a blade with the appropriate tooth geometry, such as a variable-pitch blade, which allows for efficient chip removal.
Cutting plastic requires a blade with a lower TPI, similar to cutting wood. A skip-tooth or hook-tooth blade is best suited for cutting plastic, as it allows for efficient chip removal and reduces the risk of melting or warping the material.
When cutting other materials such as composites, ceramics, or fibreglass, it's important to select a blade that is specifically designed for that material. These blades often have specialised tooth geometries and coatings to ensure optimal cutting performance.
In addition to selecting the appropriate blade for your material, it's important to properly maintain and inspect the blade to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Regular blade maintenance, such as cleaning, sharpening, and inspecting for wear and damage, can help prolong the lifespan of your bandsaw blade and ensure that it performs optimally.
Ways To Prevent Blade Overheating
Overheating is a common issue that can occur when using a bandsaw blade which can lead to premature blade wear and damage.
Signs of blade overheating include blade teeth bending, leaving black marks on the material being cut, and an unusual odour. If any of these signs are present, it's important to stop using the blade immediately and inspect it for damage.
Use Appropriate Cutting Fluid
One of the primary causes of this is friction between the blade and the material being cut. This friction generates heat, which can cause the blade to warp or even break. Using a proper cutting fluid or lubricant can help to reduce friction and prevent overheating.
Set Guides Correctly
Poor guide set-up can also contribute to overheating. If the guides are not properly adjusted, they can cause the blade to rub against the material being cut, generating heat and causing premature wear. Proper guide set-up ensures that the blade runs smoothly and accurately, reducing the risk of overheating.
Carry Out Inspection & Maintenance
Regular maintenance and inspection of your bandsaw blade are essential for optimal performance and longevity. Inspecting the blade regularly for wear and damage, cleaning and lubricating it regularly, and following the manufacturer's guidelines for blade selection and use can all help to prevent overheating and prolong the lifespan of your bandsaw blade.
Tips On Blade Maintenance
Proper maintenance of a bandsaw blade is essential for making the most out of your machinery and cutting results.
Regular inspections are essential for identifying any signs of wear or damage. You should inspect the blade before and after each use for any signs of cracking, bending, or broken teeth. If any damage is identified, it's important to replace the blade immediately to prevent further damage to the saw or the material being cut.
Cleaning your bandsaw blade regularly is also important for maintaining its performance. Buildup of sawdust, resin, or other debris can cause the blade to overheat and wear prematurely. To clean the blade, use a soft brush or cloth to wipe away any debris, and then apply a blade cleaner or lubricant to remove any buildup.
Proper storage of the blade is also important for maintaining its performance and preventing damage. When not in use, store the blade in a protective cover or case, and avoid placing heavy objects on top of it. Proper storage also includes storing the blade in a straight position to prevent any bending or warping.
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New & Replacement Bandsaw Blades
As we can see, many of the most common bandsaw issues are related to incorrect use or maintenance of blades, including:
- Broken bandsaw blades
- Worn bandsaw blades
- Wrong type of blade for the material being cut
- Bandsaw blades not correctly installed
To fix these issues, the best way to ensure operator safety and quality of cutting work is usually to install new bandsaw blades that are suitable for your machine and for the materials you wish to cut.
At Any Length Bandsaw Blades we stock a huge range of blades for commercial and industrial use, including blades suitable for almost any cutting application ranging from woods and plastics through to metals and alloys. We also stock a range of machine matched bandsaw blades so you can be sure that your new blade will work perfectly with your cutting equipment.
If you need new blades for your bandsaw or cutting machinery, browse our site or get in touch with our expert team. As one of the UK’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of bandsaw blades, we’ll help you find exactly the right blade for your needs.
Call: 01892 601946
For Free Technical Support Please Call: 0800 521292
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