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  1. #1
    bellinoracing is offline Hot Rolled
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    Default What is a good horizontal band saw?

    Can somebody suggest a good horizontal band saw for cutting aluminum and mild steel stock?


    I would like to get something american made because I think the quality is generally better plus it it says a lot about a company that only buy american made tools.

    At work we have a automatic kalamazoo saw that has had a hard life but is still a pretty decent saw. Is Kalamazoo a good American made brand?

    I have seen a few smaller band saws that have a swivel head that I think would be nice but I have heard they dont cut very straight.

    thanks

    (edited by Milacron to remove Chinese home shop grade machine content)
    Last edited by Milacron; 10-04-2009 at 04:39 AM.

  2. #2
    wippin' boy is offline Diamond
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    http://www.ellissaw.com/Pages/49/About-Ellis



    excellant saw
    from wisconsin

    sell on e-bay

  3. #3
    Ray Behner's Avatar
    Ray Behner is online now Titanium
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    Man do I ever agree on that!! I've had my 18" Ellis for ten years and still works great. It miters better than any I've seen too. Twice the saw for half the price of others. Bought mine direct from Ellis in Verona, Wisconsin. Don't know if you can still do that. What a saw!!

    Ray

  4. #4
    machinistrrt is offline Hot Rolled
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    I have an old Kalamazoo 9AW. It cost me about what an import 7x12 saw would new, but it's much better built. Not much to go wrong on these, so if you find one, buy it.

  5. #5
    EnginCycles is offline Aluminum
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    Quote Originally Posted by wippin' boy View Post
    100% agreed. The nice features are no coolant or mess, simple design and able to be used vertical as well. It is a great tool. Not as accurate as a cold saw but still great for bigger cuts.

    -Drew

  6. #6
    oliverdude is offline Hot Rolled
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    I have a 10"x16" Wellsaw that I really like. I added a factory coolant setup to it after I got it and there is no mess when all the guards are in place. They have a full chip/coolant pan though too. If you get a Wellsaw and need coolant parts, let me know. I can save you a lot of money over buying directly from Wellsaw.

    Doesn't the Ellis twist the blade 90 deg. instead of the 45 or so that other saws do? How do the blades hold up to that? Always was curious, but only saw them at shows.

  7. #7
    Wyoming is offline Cast Iron
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    I don't know if blade twist has ever been a problem. The Ellis saws are a tad finicky on downfeed pressure, but once set they hit the mark time after time. Not much to go wrong with them and rebuildable as you can get with a quick trip down to your local hardware/bearing supply...though I've never needed to yet. The shine in comparison to the non-articulating horizontal band saws when doing miters...no worries about the mitered angle feeding into the blade during the cut.

  8. #8
    Ray Behner's Avatar
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    As for downfeed control, I changed the valve to a fine needle valve. The 90* blade twist has never been a problem even at full open guide. I cut a lot of
    10" 1117 round with no sweat.

    Ray

  9. #9
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    I have 2 kalamazoo saws in my shop, both work great and were bought used for less than 1000.00 total, great saws for the money. they had a Do All 9-16 where I used to work, good saw as well....

  10. #10
    Milacron's Avatar
    Milacron is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonlight machine View Post
    I have 2 kalamazoo saws in my shop, ....
    Without specifing a model and perhaps even a year, not very meaningful as Kalamazoo has made many different models of saws over the years. In fact their current Kalamazoo horiz bandsaw line is probably made in Taiwan and not the same as the older saws at all.

  11. #11
    Mike K is offline Cast Iron
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    Is anyone else out there frustrated by the difficulty of blade changing? It has really sucked for almost all of the horizontal bandsaws that I've used. I have a Dake now that is a good heavy duty saw, but blade changes are horrible. To make matters worse, they put several safety guards on that have to be removed to make a change. This of course means that they get left off.

    Are the Wellsaws better about that? They look like there would be less to get in your way during a change.

  12. #12
    Milacron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike K View Post
    To make matters worse, they put several safety guards on that have to be removed to make a change. This of course means that they get left off.
    Many years ago I bought brand new a Wilton horizontal bandsaw of aprox 8 x 14 size, where you had to remove screws to remove the bladeguard sheet metal just to change a blade. In other words, they were too slack to even hinge the guarding....just screwed it on. A major PITA to change blades. I was so annoyed by the stupidy of that design, I soon after sold the saw.

  13. #13
    Mike K is offline Cast Iron
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    "you had to remove screws to remove the bladeguard sheet metal just to change a blade."

    Yep. Sounds very similar. And you can bet that if someone gets hurt because a guard is not there, the manufacturer won't get blamed at all.

  14. #14
    Milacron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wippin' boy View Post


    excellant saw
    from wisconsin
    FWIW, I have an Ellis 1600 for sale, new in 2008...pristine, as new condition...has perhaps 30 minutes total use. Includes optional "stock stand with micro gage". $1,850 for both. Contact me at procyon@charter.net if interested.

  15. #15
    metlmunchr is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milacron View Post
    Without specifing a model and perhaps even a year, not very meaningful as Kalamazoo has made many different models of saws over the years. In fact their current Kalamazoo horiz bandsaw line is probably made in Taiwan and not the same as the older saws at all.
    I've got an AH9AW Kalamazoo from the early 80's that's been a good saw. Had it for about 12 yrs now I guess. As of a couple years ago, the same saw was shown as current on Kalamazoo's website, and their other horizontal saws were of similar design. Looked at their site within the last month, and didn't recognize a thing. They definitely have an imported look about them now, although I didn't know whether they were sourcing from Europe or Taiwan.

    We've also got a Wellsaw of about the same capacity, manual saw. Dad bought it in a bankruptcy auction in the mid 80's and by appearance I'd say it was less than 2 yrs old at the time. Back then we used it in our contracting business, mainly sawing angle, channel, pipe, etc. Had it maybe a couple months and a fiber gear in the wheel drive gearbox croaked. Spent about $100 on a new gear and assumed that was a likely weak point of the saw. Musta been abuse at the previous owner's place because the replacement hasn't given any problem in the ensuing 20+ years and thousands of cuts on anything that'll fit in the vise.

    The Kalamazoo is an automatic saw with a roller type feed and microswitch type length stop. The feed mechanism is trouble free and will repeat within less than .010, but its much better suited to short cuts than longer ones due to the arrangement of the stop mechanism. Milacron has mentioned this previously as a limitation on roller feed type auto saws, and its very true. The saw can also be run in manual mode, but its much less straightforward to use manually than the typical manual only saw like the Wellsaw, or the manual version of the same Kalamazoo.

    If I was just starting a shop, I'd go with a manual saw first unless the shop was being set up for volume production from the start. I'd lean toward something with a minimum of 1" blade width unless everything I planned to saw was fairly small section. Most any used Kalamazoo, Wells, Wellsaw (different companies), Marvel, DoAll, etc should give plenty of service life as long as its in decent shape when you buy it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milacron View Post
    Without specifing a model and perhaps even a year, not very meaningful as Kalamazoo has made many different models of saws over the years. In fact their current Kalamazoo horiz bandsaw line is probably made in Taiwan and not the same as the older saws at all.
    Sorry Milacron, one saw is a model 12-20, no idea on the age... Judging from the amount of cast iron used it is old. It uses a 12 foot blade and is a bit over 7 feet long. I use it for cutting aluminum round stock, 2" to 10" in dia. and aluminum plate up to 8"x 16" I run a 6/8 tooth blade. this thing is a hoss, it just motors right on through anything I have tried to cut, nice and square also. The other one is a model 8-12. I would say it is a bit newer but is still plenty old. It is about 2/3 the size of the other one. I use it for steel bar, tubing, plate and I beams, channel etc. It cuts nice and square, plenty of power, a good solid saw.

  17. #17
    Ray Behner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike K View Post
    Is anyone else out there frustrated by the difficulty of blade changing? It has really sucked for almost all of the horizontal bandsaws that I've used. I have a Dake now that is a good heavy duty saw, but blade changes are horrible. To make matters worse, they put several safety guards on that have to be removed to make a change. This of course means that they get left off.

    Are the Wellsaws better about that? They look like there would be less to get in your way during a change.
    Take a look at the Ellis. It's a piece of cake!!

  18. #18
    oliverdude is offline Hot Rolled
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    My Wellsaw is a 1980 according to Wellsaw. Isn't too bad to change the blades though. The wheel guards and the blade guard opposite the cutting side are screwed on, but they do have a neat little thumb screw and don't take very long to take off. With a little work on saws like this you can turn the hole into a slot so you just loosen the screw a little and slip the guard off. After I stick the blade up in there, I put the guard between the wheels back on as a third hand. I don't mind not having guards on my saw since it's just me and possibly my Dad using it, but I keep them on just to help the coolant find the saw instead of the floor as the blade slings it off.

    I think now that I had underestimated the Ellis saws. How much does one cost that could cut about 10"x16"? I know to buy my Wellsaw today would cost around $5000.

  19. #19
    Davis In SC is online now Titanium
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    I just saw (No Pun) a new Kalamazoo in the Travers showroom Friday, Now a part of Clausing, quite a while IIRC. Looked like a nice saw, but I did not really check it out. Not sure about country of origin.

  20. #20
    Wyoming is offline Cast Iron
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    Quote Originally Posted by oliverdude View Post
    My Wellsaw is a 1980 according to Wellsaw. Isn't too bad to change the blades though. The wheel guards and the blade guard opposite the cutting side are screwed on, but they do have a neat little thumb screw and don't take very long to take off. With a little work on saws like this you can turn the hole into a slot so you just loosen the screw a little and slip the guard off. After I stick the blade up in there, I put the guard between the wheels back on as a third hand. I don't mind not having guards on my saw since it's just me and possibly my Dad using it, but I keep them on just to help the coolant find the saw instead of the floor as the blade slings it off.

    I think now that I had underestimated the Ellis saws. How much does one cost that could cut about 10"x16"? I know to buy my Wellsaw today would cost around $5000.
    Nice little thumb screws? I'm in awe, but I'll just soldier on with the lowly quick release door latches and hinged doors of the Ellis. Nice selling point though.

    As far as the price for an Ellis to cut 10" X 16", I really don't know. Mine will only do 13" X 10" at 45 degrees, but will cut 13" X 15" at 90 and 19" flat at 90degrees. BTW, what is your cut window on your Wellsaw at 45 degrees? Apples and oranges when comparing two dissimilar models at best, but the prices are generally comparible. I had to pay $1500 for my 3000 in good condition, but it would have been around $5000 new.

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