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How to Prolong Bandsaw Blade Life

checklistThe proper use and daily maintenance of bandsaw blades will help to prolong bandsaw blade life and provide effective output for the duration of the blade.

With time and usage, bandsaw blades start to deteriorate. Stripped teeth, band breakage, crooked cuts, premature cutting of teeth, and rough cuts occur with a dull, worn-out blade.

To help prolong bandsaw blade life, there are simple and daily steps to take that will guarantee prolonged bandsaw blade life and achieve better, more productive output.

Proper break-in procedure

At the very start of use for any bandsaw blade, break in is essential to extending the life of the saw blade.

When a bandsaw blade is new, it is extremely sharp. Maintaining recommended band speeds, reducing feed pressure to half the normal rate, and running at these settings for the first 50 square inches of material cut will help to achieve the goal of long saw blade life expectancy.

If the material is mild or low carbon steel, then run the break-in setting for the first 150 square inches of the material being cut.

Know the correct SFPM for all speed settings

This will help to determine the proper speed for cutting wood or other materials. It helps provide for better cut and prolong bandsaw blade life.

Determine proper RPM

To determine RPM, check the operator’s manual or clock the revolutions per minute of the wheels with a tachometer or revolution counter.

Measure drive wheel diameter

Measure the diameter of the drive wheel in inches and multiply by .262 to obtain the wheel circumference.

The RPM’s multiplied by circumference equals the surface speed of the blade.

Stripped teeth are a big problem

When the material being cut starts to shred, it means stripping has occurred.

The problem is compounded if there are too many or too few teeth working the material. This happens when the material isn’t held securely, or because the feed rate is too high or the speed rate is too slow.

If the chip brush isn’t functioning properly and chips are overloading gullets, or if the coolant concentration isn’t where it needs to be to effectively run the equipment — all of these situations will cause material damage and blade loss.

Band breakage occurs with age but is also due to excessive stress.

If the machine parts are older, they may be causing blade stress. Worn guides will cause blade stress, too.

If the guide arms are set too far apart or the wheels diameter is too small, high tension on the band occurs.

If the diameter of the wheels is too small, the solution is to use thinner bands, helping to decrease band breakage.

If the blade produces a crooked cut, it may be due to a dull blade, and improper break-in procedure or no break-in procedure are the culprit.

Guide arms may be set too far apart or out of alignment. The roller or carbide guides may also be damaged.

The feed rate may be heavy, and the blade speed may be slow.

Perhaps the vise clamp is out of square.

Checking for issues prior to cutting is always helpful and always advised.

Recognizing the signs in order to help maintain saw blades will work to prolong blade life and produce cleaner, more satisfying end results in any cutting process. It will also provide for a safer work environment.

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