Blade guides hold the blade on either side as it passes through the materials being cut, allowing the blade to accurately cut material without running off the drive or the idler wheel.
Bandsaw blade guides are made of either hard carbon steel or roller bearings. All blade guides undergo friction, which eventually cause the surface of the guides to wear out.
Blade guides should be maintained on a regular basis in order to keep accuracy-of-cut on all materials. There is a tendency for the blade to break if they aren’t able to move freely, so properly maintaining the space within the guide — where the blade is held — is important.
This space within the guide could widen due to the friction that occurs while the blade runs through the material being cut. Because of this friction, the blade slowly starts to loosen and begins to bounce. This looseness is what eventually causes an inaccurate cut of the material and inevitably a higher risk of the blade breaking during the cutting process.
Replacing bandsaw blade guides is critical to bandsaw machine upkeep. The blade guides play an important role in achieving an accurate cut but will also serve to prolong the life of the saw blade.
Here are the steps to take when replacing bandsaw blade guides:
- Align the upper thrust bearing — the blade should only ride along the outer edge of the bearing
- If one face is scarred from use, flip over the bearing and use the back face
- Align the guide assembly with the blade
- Loosen the screw on the upper guide assembly and adjust the assembly until the faces of the guide blocks are parallel to the blade
- Replace the lower thrust bearing
- Remove the nut on the end of the guide rod and slide off the tube to free up the bearing
- Clean anything that may need cleaning
- Slide the new bearing in place
Bandsaw operators should take the time and effort needed to replace worn bandsaw blade guides before they break or lose their effectiveness. The end result will be to prolong saw blade and machine life as well as to procure quality output.