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Tormach AF50 bandsaw review

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
No longer have space for one, but I remember looking for a decent used automatic bandsaw during the great recession
and was floored how they held their value. I thought wrong when I thought I could find a deal.

There's deals out there. The monster Cosen I have was vandalized by a vindictive employee. He cranked the hydraulic pressure relief all the way in and it blew out every seal in the machine and broke a small arm that hits a limit switch. Needed about $500 in parts and a day of cleaning. I bought it as-is for about $15k less than market value.

The previous auto saw I bought from an online government surplus auction. The description was horrible, didn't even say bandsaw. The pictures just showed the shuttle table removed from the machine and nothing else. I threw a "why not" bid on it and won it for $146. Besides being a nice saw it came with $1500 in new blades.
 

winger

Stainless
Joined
Dec 28, 2005
Location
portage county, wisconsin
I think it was 3 or 4 years ago when this was introduced and I saw it run at Tormach. Looked good for a light saw. Was cutting very consistently with 3" round stock.

The plant I was in, paid around 9,000 for a larger Kalamazoo (1 inch blade) that wouldn't keep the blade on or cut straight. The should have sent it back.

Recent band saw purchase

So DavidScott did your saw cut straight out of the box or did it take days to adjust it like the Kalamazoo. If it did, with automation, sounds like a better deal than we got.

Dave
 

DavidScott

Titanium
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Location
Washington
I think it was 3 or 4 years ago when this was introduced and I saw it run at Tormach. Looked good for a light saw. Was cutting very consistently with 3" round stock.

The plant I was in, paid around 9,000 for a larger Kalamazoo (1 inch blade) that wouldn't keep the blade on or cut straight. The should have sent it back.

Recent band saw purchase

So DavidScott did your saw cut straight out of the box or did it take days to adjust it like the Kalamazoo. If it did, with automation, sounds like a better deal than we got.

Dave
Nothing was in adjustment out of the box, but it only took a few hours to get it running well. The retract height does seem to wonder a little and the quick nuts do move on their own, hence the need for a lock nut, but it is performing better than I expected. There is nothing about it that I think really sucks, just some things that need improving a little.
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
If they made one with a 1" blade for the same price it would be tempting. IME narrow blades don't last very long, but I'm cutting 17-4 and titanium most of the time. I went from a 3/4" to a 1" and blade life about quadrupled due to the increased stability in the cut.

The 1" blade saw I'm using was $2500 new from MSC, I got it for half that when the previous employer shut down.
 

gustafson

Diamond
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Location
People's Republic
gustafson, can you really consistently cut through a 3"x3" aluminum bar in 10 seconds with your cold saw? A cold saw would have a much wider kerf, making many more chips. I work from home so dealing with chips is an issue. I am measuring the kerf to be 1/16" on this bandsaw, which saves me 2.75" of material on a 12' bar cut into 45 parts over a 1/8" kerf. This adds up over a couple thousand bars a year.

Absolutely. Probably would run it closer to 15 seconds, making about 12 minutes for the bar.

you will average 1 more part per length with the bandsaw

but if you run the cold saw right, you will not have to mill them at all if the finish meets the criteria. That is real time. If not you could still cut them closer to finish than with a bandsaw, so in the end the difference in chips is not much.


You need an adjustable roller to hold the stock down, maybe two. My saw has one on the shuttle vise and could use one between the vises

The worry about breakage is huffing that pile of stock and the incidental damage, not really in the running of the machine.

To stop the last two getting long[if it matters to you] have the next set of stock waiting and feed it into the vise when the vise reaches the end of the bar. This requires a little dance, because your stock could be larger or smaller than the previous stock. While the saw is cutting push the stock hard up against the stock being cut. When the shuttle vise grabs it, step over and apply a little back pressure to the stock being pushed. Then step back and repeat until the saw vise grabs the new bar. Then you just have to lean on the previous bar when it gets pushed so it doesn't bounce forward. Depending on whether you care you can just let it run or stop and adjust at the end of the bar.

I think about this because much of what I do I am cutting to finish size. I generally run the parts a few over because virtually every error[except this] makes things short. So if I pay attention it is all good parts
 

couch

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Location
Anaheim, California
I’ve had an AF50 for a little over a year, and have been very happy with it. Sure it could be bigger and heavier, but for the cost delivered to my house and the work it does, it’s hard to beat. I hate tending a saw and this just runs. Could be faster but it saws parts faster than I can machine them so that’s all that matters to me. Doesn’t take up much space and runs on 120v with minimal air. They’re not going after customers that are shopping for Amadas, they’re going after guys that just need a small saw to run parts unattended and this does exactly that.

Cut quality has been good, length has been plenty consistent for me, well under +/-.010. Most saw tolerance we throw on routers at work, day job, are more tolerance than this.

Have cut tons of aluminum, decent amount of stainless and titanium and it’s all cut just fine.
 

BT Fabrication

Stainless
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
all is good for tiny cut off parts in the hundreds. just the tiny 10" stroke still does'nt work for my application of most parts start at 10" long and under that is scrap. most of my cuts are long tubes in the 24-36" range.

there are better saws to be had local i know of one for about $4k loaded on a truck.

only flaw from experience of owning one of those are the blade guides that are terrible. and unless bolted to the ground, the saw moves around way too much.

mine is also different as I have a bunch of mitered joints that get cut often for building frames. automated versions to cut miters would be in the 50K range.
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
There's deals out there. The monster Cosen I have was vandalized by a vindictive employee. He cranked the hydraulic pressure relief all the way in and it blew out every seal in the machine and broke a small arm that hits a limit switch. Needed about $500 in parts and a day of cleaning. I bought it as-is for about $15k less than market value.

The previous auto saw I bought from an online government surplus auction. The description was horrible, didn't even say bandsaw. The pictures just showed the shuttle table removed from the machine and nothing else. I threw a "why not" bid on it and won it for $146. Besides being a nice saw it came with $1500 in new blades.

Good one! Some guys have all the luck, I think I am followed by a dark cloud. I have got a few good deals, but most all of those were tooling purchases back in the early days of E-bay. Best score I ever got was $500 for a bunch of twist drills. I think part of the luck was they were all in sizes you would use to make small parts, most in the .015-.250 inch range. There were full packages of high end Guhring, some carbide, all brand new. On a guess there were $10k-$15k worth, most all in sizes I could use. Got them 25 years ago, not many are left. The only drawback the guy put them in a box big enough to hold a water heater, left them in the original envelopes and stuffed the box tightly with shredded paper. Big mess unpacking them. I suppose he was taking out his anger that his drill collection only brought $500 at auction.
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
Even a blind pig finds a truffle every now and then.

I showed up to buy my CNC mitering Cosen and found it was worse off than they described it. I said thanks, but no thanks and started to walk away. They asked if I kept my money if they could still load it on my trailer. I didn't stop them.
 

DavidScott

Titanium
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Location
Washington
Even a blind pig finds a truffle every now and then.

I showed up to buy my CNC mitering Cosen and found it was worse off than they described it. I said thanks, but no thanks and started to walk away. They asked if I kept my money if they could still load it on my trailer. I didn't stop them.


Errr, pigs don't find truffles with their eyes so being blind might help.
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
Even a blind pig finds a truffle every now and then.

I showed up to buy my CNC mitering Cosen and found it was worse off than they described it. I said thanks, but no thanks and started to walk away. They asked if I kept my money if they could still load it on my trailer. I didn't stop them.

Now your rubbing it in, ha,ha. My similar story was driving 1400 miles to Utah to pick up a classic Chevelle my friend won on E-bay. First problem was an unexpected fall storm hit and closed I-70 just past Vail Colorado. Had to take a 300 mile detour. His dad and I arrive to a total piece of crap, way worse than described and they either used Photoshop or trick photography. The ad said it was driveable, yet it had no battery or air cleaner with a squirrels nest on top of the carburetor among other things. The frame was even heavily rusted in spots, it had no redeeming qualities. It was pretty much a parts car sold as driveable car that $5k would have made it a 100 point restoration.

Fortunately the male seller was still at work and had his wife meet us, so I was nothing but polite and said, please cancel the sale and we will walk away no harm done. I figured it probably wasn't driveable and I would have to rent a tow dolly or car trailer, but I was shocked at what I saw. My friend paid $7500 for a car worth $500 for parts.
 

winger

Stainless
Joined
Dec 28, 2005
Location
portage county, wisconsin
If I remember correctly you can program it for multiple strokes for longer cut lengths . The drawback is you are likely looking at a lot heavier stock to move. A descent roller bed would help with the weight.

Dave
 

couch

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Location
Anaheim, California
all is good for tiny cut off parts in the hundreds. just the tiny 10" stroke still does'nt work for my application of most parts start at 10" long and under that is scrap. most of my cuts are long tubes in the 24-36" range.

The 50 in AF50 is the max length of cut. The stroke of the shuttle vise is 10" but you can program up to 5x advances of 10", for up to a 50" part length.
 








 
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