Fabricating shops use bandsaw machines to cut a variety of materials including beams, structurals, heavy wall tubing, stainless steel, tool steels , pipes, and tubes.
Bandsaw operators incorporate an effective sawing operation by first choosing the right bandsaw blade, and then performing a blade break in procedure. These are then followed by properly setting the machine, using the correct feed rate for the material, running the saw blade at the recommended speed rate, and cutting with or without coolant (depending on the materials).
But there is one aspect that most bandsaw operators do overlook, and that is to check the shavings or chips during operation.
The ultimate goal for any bandsaw operator is to achieve tightly curled, thin chips that feel warm to the touch. Chips form in operation while cutting metal. They need to be checked for things like shape, feel, and color since both give a good indication of feed and speed rates.
Curled, silvery, and warm chips indicate ideal pressure with optimum cutting time and indicate blade longevity.
Fine, powdery chips indicate insufficient feed pressure and suggest that the blade teeth are rubbing the surface of the material instead of clean-cutting. An increase in blade feed and a decrease in speed are recommended.
Discolored and hard or thick chips indicate too heavy feed pressure and high speed rate. Decrease the feed and speed rate and check the cutting fluid mix.
Hard and thin chips indicate too slow a speed and too high a feed pressure. It necessary to run the appropriate amount of speed and feed rate and check the blade pitch.
Straight and thin chips suggested that the feed rate be readjusted.
Discolored, hard, or thick chips are a bad sign, and powdery chips are even worse.
The best method of evaluating speed and feed rate is for an operator to inspect the chips created by the cut. The operator should also be listening for a grinding sound, which would indicate overfeed of the materials.
A properly maintained bandsaw machine that is kept clean will help, and making sure that the chip brush is working is a bonus. The chip brush will help to remove the chips from the saw blade and from inside the band wheel, keeping the entire operation running smooth and effectively.
It is also important to inspect coolant flow in operation. Cutting fluid should be sufficient to cover the cutting surface, and using the right cutting fluid for the right materials is helpful.
It is worth the time to inspect these elements as doing so will help to achieve optimum cutting results, longer blade life, and quality output.