Knowing how to properly track a bandsaw blade is important and something every bandsaw operator should have basic knowledge in performing. A blade needs to be properly tracked in order to ensure a smooth operation, secure operator safety, and to keep the bandsaw running optimally and smooth.
It would be a waste of time and money to cut materials without first tracking the saw blade. Without it, crooked cuts result, equating to wasted materials. Damage to the machine or the blade after it pops from the wheels is likely to occur. There is also the risk of personal injury to consider.
Observing signs of things that are uncommonly occurring with the machine are indicators of improper tracking. A properly tracked saw blade runs smoothly between the wheels. There is no noise or screeching during operation.
The tracking process is simple but definitely needs focus, and prior to any maintenance procedure, ENSURE SAFETY.
1. Unplug the power cord — this is a MUST.
2. Remove the blade guards from the saw — it is easier if the blade guides are not interfering with the blade tracking.
3. Remove the v-belt — this allows for gear box rotation by hand.
4. Tilt the upper part of the upper wheel a few degrees toward the saw body — readjustment comes later.
5. Install a new saw blade.
6. Make sure the blade is fully against the wheel flanges.
7. Tighten the tension knob enough to take up all blade slack.
8. The blade should make a musical like note when plucked — buzzing means more tension is needed.
9. Check to assure blade teeth are not riding on the rim of either wheel.
Rim riding means it is necessary to install a wider blade. Crooked cuts result from having blade teeth ride the wheel, flattening the tooth set on one side.
10. Following v-belt removal, rotate the drive pulley by hand — in the normal direction, observing blade tracking.
If the blade starts to move away from the wheel flanges — STOP and add more tilt to the upper wheel. Adding more tilt to the blade requires loosening blade tension, adjusting tilt, and then re-tension of the blade.
If the blade stays against the wheel flange for an entire revolution, install the v-belt and close the belt cover. The blade cover must remain open to observe the tracking while making adjustments. Make sure hands and fingers are clean.
11. Plug in the bandsaw and turn on the motor.
If the blade jumps off the wheels, switch off the saw, add more upper wheel tilt, and re-install the blade.
If the blade remains on the saw, adjust the upper wheel tilt while the saw is running — so the blade just touches the upper wheel flange.
If the blade is hard against the upper wheel flange, back off the wheel tilt adjustment.
12. When the upper wheel tilt is correct, check the blade position on the lower wheel. The blade should just touch the lower wheel flange.
If the blade is too far away from the lower flange or hard against it, repeat the offset adjustment by moving the upper wheel in or out on the shaft to correct the blade position and start over.
13. Pluck return side of blade.
14. Tension blade so it gives a clear musical note — no buzz.
Make sure the saw blade being installed is in good condition. There is no use in proper blade tracking if the saw blade is bent, damaged, or in poor condition. In order to achieve a successful cut, all tracking procedures should be met.
Safety first and habitual daily maintenance will guarantee satisfaction of not only the bandsaw operator but the employer and customer as well. Tracking saw blades prior to cutting will assure a smooth operation with quality results.