Bandsaw Blade Drift

Blade drift is a term that may be unfamiliar to some but is actually one of the most common problems encountered during the cutting process. Bandsaw blade drift is a tendency for the blade to change direction left or right while making a cut.

Factors that cause blade drift include the following:

  • Saw blade not centered on the crown of the tires — the crown is deformed

The blade should be adjusted to run on center. Once a blade moves away from crown center, it will drift in either direction.

  • Blade tooth damage

If one side of the blade has more sets than the other or the blade starts to drift, check to see that the blade is properly sharpened and that the set is still good. When a blade begins to drift, it is due to damage or is uneven; dull. Replacing the saw blade should fix the problem.

  • Blade tires not vertically aligned

This become evident when the saw blade stops riding the crown properly after having adjusted the tracking control to keep the blade on the wheels. Hold a straight edge to the top and bottom lip of the lower wheel (6 and 12 o’clock). The straight edge should just touch the top and bottom lip of the upper wheel for alignment to be perfect.

  • Wheel axles not straight

Aimed left to right — not parallel to the fence —  the wheels and tire crowns will be nonparallel to the fence’s neutral adjustment. After installing the saw blade, applying proper tension, and tracking adjustments, bring the fence next to the blade and see if the face of the fence is parallel to the blade body.

  • Blade tension

Too loose will make the blade wander, and too tight — or just too big for the saw — will cause the same thing. The saw blade and machine can both stand more tension, but it isn’t advised nor a good idea to put too much tension on the blades. They will wear too soon and may cause machine issues in performance.

A successful cutting process is achieved through operator knowledge and attention during any cutting process. Making sure to determine that every aspect of the procedure is precise and smooth in order to achieve a positive end result. Circumstances may still arise, and it is beneficial that the operator recognize causes and implement viable solutions.


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