Blade Fail Check-List. So, how does a band saw blade fail?
Above and beyond the most easily recognizable symptom of blade failure — when your 10’5 1/4″ blade becomes just one long bow saw type blade — there are certain aspects of the cutting process before, during, and after that need to be taken into consideration.
Let’s look at the Big 22: variables that might cause blade failure.
1. Operator error — if there are multiple operators on one saw, the question becomes, is everybody on the same page?
2. The right teeth in the band — remember, minimum of 3; maximum of 20; 10 is optimum.
3. Tooth style — running Standard, Skip, Sabre, or Si-Pitch?
4. Tooth set — regular, wavy, every tooth set, or Si-Pitch?
5. Band tension — is the blade sitting properly on the wheels?
6. Band speed — is it set right for the material you’re cutting? 1015-1018 is different from Nickel chromes
7. Break in — was the time taken to break in the blade? Ten minutes can minimize fail
8. Feed rate — is it set by square inches per minute per the saw manufacturer’s recommendations
9. Band quality — carbon, carbide, or bi-metal? See #3
10. Machine type — utilizing the right tool for the job?
11. Wheels — are they tight and square? Are they turning smoothly?
12. Machine condition — a clean machine is a workable machine with fewer chances at mishap
13. Vices — are they tight and still holding?
14. Guides — are they worn, cracking, or is it time to change them?
15. Guide Arms — are they properly aligned and as close as possible to the work being cut?
16. Brushes — this is the least expensive fix and ought to last, but they do wear out. It is recommended that the grill brush be replaced once a year
17. Coolant — necessary to wash, cool, and lubricate
18. Material hardness — the blade is set up to function so you don’t work-harden the material
19. Material shape — structural and small solids are harder on the blade
20. Machine-ability — the toughness of the metal can reduce the life of the blade. Is the machine set up according to the material to be worked?
21. Production requirements — how much product is needed to be put on the floor at any one time?
22. Room Temperature — the environment that the saw is in will effect many aspects of the saw’s performance, including the hydraulics fluid in the machine, and heat is the enemy
Hopefully, these twenty-two suggestions to check when experiencing multiple or even a single blade break will be helpful to future cutting production processes. Prolonging the life of the saw blade and machine are key to assuring quality, reliability, and smooth operation now and in the future.