What's new
What's new

Wood bandsaw into a steel cutting bandsaw.

gearhead

Cast Iron
Joined
Aug 21, 2005
Location
Missouri
Question the vertical wood bandsaw has a 1725 RPM motor. I think it is 1/2 to 1 HP. If I put on a 100:1 gear reducer on the motor shaft and pulley it, is the speed at the blade still to fast to use the saw to cut metal. As you can see I'm trying to get away with something. Your thoughts....gear.
 

johnoder

Diamond
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Location
Houston, TX USA
Helps to know wheel diameter so you can figure blade speed in FPM. Around a 100 FPM is workable for steel, some faster with bimetal blades. That is 38 odd rpm on a 10" wheel and 10.6 rpm on my 36" Crescent.

John Oder
 

gwilson

Diamond
Joined
Oct 1, 2006
Location
williamsburg va
If your bandsaw is a knockoff of a Rockwell 14",its vertical column may be too thin a casting to do well sawing metal. Had one years ago and put on a slow speed motor. The column would deflect just enough to allow the blade to get its teeth stalled out in the metal. It was a pain to get the blade loose. Specify what you have exactly.
 

Forrest Addy

Diamond
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Location
Bremerton WA USA
This comes up from time to time. since the balde speed for a wood cutting saw is 3000 ft per minute and metal cutting is 100 to 150 you need a band speed reduction of 20 :1 to 30:1. That's not overall. The actual reduction would depend on the size of the band wheels. Converting the ubiquitous 14" bandsaw to metal cutting works best if a 30;1 speed reducer was interposed between motor and band wheel. Direct couple the speed reducer to the bandsaw input shaft. Drive the reducer with a step pulley.

A wood cutting saw frame is up to the task of metal cutting provided you run it dry. If you use coolant the rubber wheels will slip. Provide a means of keeping the chips from becoming imbedded in the bandwheel tires.
 

MrChurchill109

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Location
Chelmsford, MA USA
<quote> Provide a means of keeping the chips from becoming imbedded in the bandwheel tires. </quote>

My personal favorite on this one is to mount two small stuff brushes on the blade path just after the vise or table - this way the crud comes off the blade before it gets to the tires.
 

PackardV8

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Location
Spokane, WA
didn't work for me

Define which saw you are thinking of using and what materials, thicknesses and quantity you would be cutting and you'll get some specific recommendations.

FWIW, several years back, I spent a lot of time and some money trying the same route you are going and gave it up. Yes, it can be made to work. No, not very well. If you are cutting aluminum, it does sort of OK. For steel, well, that's why there are specialized band saws with lube/coolant built in. You'll notice most purpose-built steel cutting saws keep the material stationary and move the blade through it. Most any of the inexpensive horizontal saws will work so much better, its not worth the hassle of trying to convert a wood saw to cut metal.


thnx, jack vines
 

SBAER

Hot Rolled
Joined
Aug 21, 2006
Location
Kitchener, on canada
I have tried to put a VFD on a Doall bandsaw that had the belt style variable speed but did not have the two speed gearbox. The Doall all had a 3hp motor and a minimum blade speed of 1000 ftm before I put the VFD on. The saw was plenty rigid. With the VFD I could slow the speed right down but the torque was too low cut steel that was more than 1/8 thick. I would not do it again.
 

partoff123

Aluminum
Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Location
Mayretta, Ga.
I vote with Packard. It would have to be a national emergency before I did this. And I don't have a vertical band saw. When it becomes really important to have a vertical saw I'll look for a stout metal cutting one. I go to a friend's shop and use his. I've tried this and it was very unsatisfactory; crappy feel, noisy, slower, perhaps for some one with more patience than I.
The speed reduction was accomplished by holding a shaft with a “v” pulley in a 10 inch LeBlonde that does not get much use, and pushing the band saw close and tying the two units together. Essentially, the gear box on the lathe provided the jack shaft and reduction.
You can try it if you want. Some call me Carlos.
 

johnoder

Diamond
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Location
Houston, TX USA
You'll notice most purpose-built steel cutting saws keep the material stationary and move the blade through it.

Except for the thousands and thousands of vertical Do All "contour" saws built since the thirties. :)

John Oder
 

gearhead

Cast Iron
Joined
Aug 21, 2005
Location
Missouri
Thanks for the responses. I should have given more information on the saw size ect. The saw was being sold at a very cheap price and all I could see was getting something for nothing. I agree with many who responded stating in short it will be a pain to convert the saw to cut metal. After reading all the advice and information given I have decided just to drop this little exercise in conversation. Just need to buy a good metal cutting vertical bandsaw and have done with it.

Thanks for the help and advice. Steve (gearhead)
 

Jerald MI.

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Location
Clio MI.,USA
I remember a few years back there was an article in either Machinists Workshop or Home Shop Machinist telling how to convert the wood saw to metal.-Jerald
 

Dave A

Titanium
Joined
Jan 4, 2005
Location
Roseville, CA
As others have said, it really is not worth the work involved. I used a 14" made in USA Delta and added a 20-1 gear reducer, plus a jackshaft with a four step pulley to get the saw well down into steel cutting range. It had a tendancy to catch the blade teeth if fed too fast from what appeared to be flexing of the frame.

I sold it to a friend, after explaining what I thought the drawbacks were and he seems happy with it. I bought a used 16" DoAll and it is a very nice saw to use.
 

PeteM

Diamond
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Location
West Coast, USA
Years ago I converted a 14" Delta bandsaw to dual wood/metal use and was happy with it for many years. Used a robust gear reducer for about 15:1 of reduction and stepped pulleys for the rest. I would suggest having several low end speeds, easily changed. You won't be happy cutting aluminum plate at 80 sfm (nor buying blades if you attempt to cut steel at 300 sfm). There's no reason a decent 14" bandsaw with rubber tires won't work for you -- witness purpose-built machines like the Powermatic 143 or the Delta wood/metal equivalent. A good blade (bi-metal variable tooth), properly tracked and tensioned PLUS a willingness to go a bit slow will help avoid catching the blade and throwing it off the wheels.
 

Mike ofthe North

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Location
Brandon Twp. MI
I got this saw free, and added a jack shaft to reduce the speed, I have a 2" on the motor, a 6" to 2-1/2" on the jack shaft, and a 12" on the saw, and it works OK for me doing small cutting. I just picked up mills 5M horizontal saw off of craigslist to do my cut off work.

Mike
 

Attachments

  • sawfront.jpg
    sawfront.jpg
    25.2 KB · Views: 10,988
  • sawback.jpg
    sawback.jpg
    29.7 KB · Views: 16,122

slugger

Cast Iron
Joined
Mar 20, 2005
Location
AZ
I have a 14" Grizzly and I cut aluminum and brass with it all the time-never had a problem. I wouldn't try steel though.
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
Around 1980, I designed a double reduction belt drive for my new 12" Craftsman band saw with a die cast frame. I could change from steel speed to the original wood speed in about 15 seconds by throwing a lever and moving a belt. Blade changing took more time. I had perfect results sawing even rather thick steel and cast iron.

I bought an electric blade welder and have always made my own blades.

I have been using a 1975 Taiwan 4x6 horizontal saw for cutoff work all these years and it still works well.

But, when I saw a Powermatic 143 at an auction in 1984, I bought it and sold the Sears saw. The Powermatic has a cast iron frame and is a far better saw, but it does not actually cut steel that much better than the Sears saw did. I think it is perfectly practical to slow down a fairly well made wood-cutting band saw and cut steel.

Larry
 

gearhead

Cast Iron
Joined
Aug 21, 2005
Location
Missouri
Came up with a new possible saw, the owner tells me it is a wood/metal saw. It is a powermatic mod 140. Done alot of searching on the web, and can't find if it will cut metal. Anyone know for sure.
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
A Delta 14" saw with a 1.5hp motor and a SV VFD should cut steel quite nicely.

Running a 1.5 HP motor at 1/30 of its nameplate speed would leave you with 1/30 x 1.5 = 1/20 HP. But I suspect the motor would not really run very well at 2 Hz. Some gears or belt reduction would be required, so why not do the whole 1:30 reduction with gears or belts?

Larry
 

Jon_Spear

Hot Rolled
Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Location
San Francisco, CA
Conversion can work

I am satisfied with the results for my saw:

DSC00483.jpg


This is an old Delta Milwaukee 14-inch bandsaw. It did not have the gearbox reducer that came as an option, so there is a direct pulley-to-pulley drive from the motor to the lower bandsaw wheel.

From a yard sale, I had purchased the gear motor shown in the above photo. Its specs are 1/4 hp, with an internal reduction of 29:1, for an output of 60 rpm, with 200 in-lb of torque.

The drive is a regular 1/2-in vee belt, with pulley diameters of 5 inches on the motor and 10 inches on the lower bandsaw wheel. This reduces the bandsaw wheel speed to 30 rpm. For a 14-inch diameter wheel, this translates to a final blade speed of 30 X 14/12 X 3.14 = 110 feet per minute, suitable for cutting steel.

It is important to use a blade that the saw can handle.

I have a 1/2-inch blade with 18 tpi, which Delta still sells as a standard "metal cutting" blade for their 14-inch bandsaws. I got it on amazon.com, who sells it for $16.95, with the following product description:

Technical Details

* 1/2-inch wide, cuts down to 2-1/2-inch radius
* 18 teeth for a medium finish cut
* High carbon steel for long-lasting sharpness
* Tension-tested for strength and quality assurance
* Fits Delta 14-inch band saws and others requiring a 93-1/2-inch blade

Product Description
From the Manufacturer
A high carbon steel replacement blade with precision machined and set teeth for accuracy. For general purpose cutting of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Tension-tested for strength. Fits Delta 14-inch band saws and others requiring a 93-1/2-inch blade. Includes one blade.


Others here have reported problems with their saw blades getting stuck in the workpiece. I am guessing that this happens with a coarser blade. I wouldn't use much less than 18 tpi for this saw. Admittedly, it is a light saw and I don't cut a lot of tough metals. But the little 14-inch saw doesn't occupy much floor space, and it comes in handy when I want to cut an occasional piece of steel. So, for some of us, the conversion is appropriate. Clearly, the people at Delta think the saw frame is sturdy enough for steel cutting. Otherwise they wouldn't make the gearbox reduction as an available option.
 








 
Top