Using the wrong bandsaw blade can lead to premature blade wear, poor cutting performance and potential safety hazards. So here are a few tips for choosing the right blade and extending life of your saw blades:
The Material’s Machinability
A material that is harder to cut will require greater force and lower speed for a quality cut and generally results in shorter tool life, such as: stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, nickel, chromium, molybdenum and titanium alloys.
Materials that are easier to cut have higher machinability and can achieve a quality cut with less force and higher speed, resulting in longer tool life, such as: steel, cast iron, brass, and aluminum and copper alloys.
The Right Tooth Size
A saw blade with too small a tooth won’t allow you to get the best cut when working with large cross-sections. A saw blade with teeth that are too small can clog with chips before the blade exits the cut, prematurely dulling the blade. A good rule of thumb is to select a larger tooth size to ensure chips are removed throughout the cut. Remember tooth pitch — Select a blade with the appropriate tooth pitch and blade thickness for the metal you're cutting, as well as the desired cut quality.
The Right Number of Teeth
For maximum cutting efficiency and the lowest cost-per-cut, select the blade with the right number of teeth per inch (TPI) for the material being cut. Blades with more teeth will often yield a smoother cut while blades with fewer teeth will generally remove more material faster. The M.K. Morse Operators Guide to Band Sawing is a good resource for selecting the right tooth type and size.
Use the Right Speed
It may take some trial and error to learn the appropriate speeds to run your blade. However, there are some indicators you can learn to spot to cut that learning time down. When cutting metal:
- Watch for brightly colored silver metal chips to form. If the chips are brown or blue, you’ll need to make some adjustments.
- Listen to your equipment. If you start hearing squealing or grinding sounds, you are probably placing unnecessary strain on the blade.
- Always wear eye protection when cutting materials and follow band saw machine manufacturers’ recommendations.
Break In Your Bandsaw Blades
The sharp teeth of a new or freshly sharpened blade are more apt to break. We recommend breaking the blade in for the first 50-100 square inches of material to remove the extra-sharp edges prone to breakage.
Feed the blade at half the normal feed pressure and speed during this time to reduce premature damage and extend your blade life.
You can improve the productivity of your metal cutting operation by paying close attention to the chips made by the blade cutting through metal. Some common problems can be diagnosed and solved by paying attention to the chips.
Keep Your Blade Clean
Metal chips and debris can get caught in the teeth of the blade, causing it to dull more quickly and cause damage. Remove any debris from the blade after each use with a stiff-bristled brush or compressed air. Be sure to wear safety goggles to prevent injury from flying particles.
Lubricate Your Blade
Make sure to use a high-quality cutting fluid or lubricant specifically designed for use with metal cutting band saw blades.
Choose the fluid mixture that’s designed specifically for your tooling and application. Cutting fluids with too high a water-to-fluid ratio will not lubricate properly and may cause rapid tooth wear and could result in blade failure. Apply the lubricant generously before and during use, and make sure to wipe off any excess when you're done.
Store Your Blade Properly
When not in use, make sure to store the blade in a clean, dry place, away from any moisture or corrosive chemicals. Blade protectors or covers can prevent damage from accidental contact or exposure to the elements.
LINC Systems is proud to carry a variety of packaging products, fasteners and industrial supplies from top-rated brands. We also have the maintenance and repair services you need to manage your operations more efficiently. If you would like to consolidate your supply needs, schedule maintenance and start saving time and money, contact us today by calling 800.513.9918 or visit LINCsystems.com.