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Choosing a bandsaw

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Gareth Williams 629/03/2015 15:21:10
1 forum posts

can anyone recommend a good bandsaw for around the £400 mark? I have been looking at some of the models marketed by Axminster. Some negative feedback concerns me however I suspect that these are the same machines sold by the likes of Warco, Chester, Machine Mart etc. thanks

Vic29/03/2015 16:14:52
2308 forum posts
12 photos

Can't help but just seen this:

http://www.gandmtools.co.uk/shop/warco-4-x-6-metal-cutting-bandsaw/

Mike Bondarczuk29/03/2015 16:27:31
91 forum posts
6 photos

HI Gareth,

I went to Warco on one of their recent open days and purchased a bandsaw which they had been using and it was all set up nicely and even had a special trolley on four casters, which is an improvement over the normal two wheels set up.

I believe that between the main sellers the band saws are all actually manufactured by the same company and just the colours are different.

There are numerous sites which detail modifications to the standard bandsaw, some of which are very pertinent and some mainly cosmetic, and if you send me a PM I can attach the various copies I have.

Best regards,

Mike

Spurry29/03/2015 17:18:58
166 forum posts
59 photos

You might want to have a look at the FEMI 780XL Metal Cutting Bandsaw listed for £380 on a well known auction site. I bought one many years ago at one of the ME shows at Ally Pally where one was demonstrated cutting 1mm slices off 50mm steel bar. It cuts very accurately but does not perhaps have the capacity of the Chinese ones, just depends on your usual requirements.

Pete

Jeff Dayman29/03/2015 17:22:34
1645 forum posts
42 photos

If you want to cut mild steel and other metals you will need to make sure the speed of the band can be set to 150 feet per minute or less. Higher speeds are fine for wood and plastics but for steel you need 150 fpm max. A bimetal HSS saw band is advisable for good band life. If you make a rule for yourself to not cut stock less than 3 tooth pitches thick, you will have little or no trouble with broken blades, Try and cut stock thinner than one tooth pitch and you will be breaking a lot of bands. JD

Oompa Lumpa29/03/2015 21:13:30
888 forum posts
271 photos

The FEMI saw is a good bit of kit, well made and compact for it's capacity. It is the only one of it's type I would consider:

http://www.serracon.co.uk/780xl-femi-metal-cutting-bandsaw.html

graham.

Alan Hopwood29/03/2015 21:25:06
avatar
30 forum posts

I've been trying to work out how old my Axminster bandsaw is. It's certainly 25 years old, if not a few more, and is still giving very good service. I have taken it from my workshop and now use it at work, and working it hard.

The stand is not great, but the design may have been improved by now. I buy the blades from MSC and have found that spending a few quid more on the Die Master blades saves money in the long run.

Regards,

Alan.

Brian Groome29/03/2015 21:42:43
17 forum posts

I have had the previous model of the Axminster UE-125DV Bandsaw for several years now, and I have no complaints whatsoever. It does what it says on the tin to coin a phrase, good value for money in my opinion as a satisfied customer.

Regards,

Brian

Gray29/03/2015 21:56:43
1015 forum posts
8 photos

I've had a Warco 4 1/2" universal bandsaw for several years now and it has given excellent service, I buy my blades from tuffsaws, far better than those supplied with the saw. The only criticism I have is that the vertical mode table is pretty poor. It is a flimsy sheet metal pressing and not rigid enough to allow for accurate cutting that said, I would buy the saw again, a simple replacement table solves this problem.

Mike Clarke29/03/2015 22:02:39
avatar
84 forum posts
5 photos

I recently bought the Axminster UE-127DV1 bandsaw. Absolutely love it - quiet and cuts perfectly in a range of materials. Came with a bi-metal blade.

Regards,

Mike

mechman4829/03/2015 22:18:10
avatar
2507 forum posts
375 photos

I have the Clarke model sold by Machine Mart & I can't complain, & at 1/2 the price you're looking to spend. I am on to my second blade in 18 months ( original spares from M/Mart ) so not bad going & have sawn wood, steel, brass, & aluminium with it. The only downside is the flimsy table provided for vertical use so will be making a more substantial replacement.. on my 'toduit' list otherwise it's fine for me.

George

John Stevenson30/03/2015 00:45:14
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Moderator
5068 forum posts
3 photos

I bought one of the first 6 x 4 band saws when they came into the country ages ago, must have been as it was bought from Graham Engineering at their old shop.

That machine after a bit of fettling, a more robust stand and coolant pump fitted, served me for many years and I'll bet at that time it was the most used and abused machine I owned. It's very hard to work a lathe flat out all day unless you are on piece work in production but it;s very easy to run a band saw all day.

I used to buy decent blades and a blade would last 3 to 4 weeks, purely on the amount of work it had to do.

I probably owned this for the best end of 15 years and only got rid as it was surplus as I'd bought a beast of a saw that can handle 13" round or 12" x 18" rectangular.

Possible someone on here still owns it as I sold it on the old Chris Heapy advert site. It left with the original motor, in fact original everything except roller bearing guides which used to get changes about once a year.

I think it's a hard choice over this 4 x 6 saw and the current daily drive lathe, a TOS 14 x 40 which has done the most work.

If I ever had to down size I'd buy another in a heart beat.

David Cambridge30/03/2015 07:18:32
252 forum posts
68 photos

I was in the market for a band saw, but I just physically didn’t have the space for it.

In the end I bought an Evolution RAGE4 185mm Cut Off Saw. It is only a little over £100 and very compact. I’ve had no problems with at all, and it will go through steel like a hot knife through butter. Depending on your requirements it’s worth considering as an alternative.

See:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Evolution-RAGE4-185mm-Multipurpose-230v/dp/B004BU5ZGE

David

Ian S C30/03/2015 11:32:30
avatar
7447 forum posts
230 photos

The 4 x 6 horizontal/vertical band saw is a good choice, it was designed in USA in the 1940/50s for one of the large stores, the design was sold on to Taiwan, it went from there to China, probably in the 1970s. There are differences in quality, it pays to shop around.

Ian S C

Martin Kyte30/03/2015 11:58:30
1505 forum posts
24 photos

You could always just part stuff off etc etc etc

;0)

Martin

Clive Foster30/03/2015 13:20:46
1869 forum posts
59 photos
Posted by John Stevenson on 30/03/2015 00:45:14:

I bought one of the first 6 x 4 band saws when they came into the country ages ago, must have been as it was bought from Graham Engineering at their old shop.

That machine after a bit of fettling, a more robust stand and coolant pump fitted, served me for many years and I'll bet at that time it was the most used and abused machine I owned. It's very hard to work a lathe flat out all day unless you are on piece work in production but it;s very easy to run a band saw all day

Same as mine I think except I got mine at the Guildford show. Dad arranged a discount for cash and tapped me on the shoulder for a bunch of tenners whilst I was buying something a lot cheaper. Deal appeared to be he bought it so I got to carry it back to the car. Reckon it trebled in weight on the way. Not light to start with.

Little fettling is an understatement. Mine needed some fairly serious work, re-engineered blade guides being the most vital as the standard ones couldn't be adjusted to touch the blade closely followed by attention to the vice so that it more or less worked. Its cut a lot of metal in its time, nothing really square tho' as the blade guide carriers don't line up and fixing those properly was around 4 jobs too far. Still sits in the corner on a nice 4 castor stand / cupboard somewhat after the manner of its bigger brothers. The standard pressed steel and wheel variety being approximately homicide in metal.

These days a Rapidor power hacksaw and Startrite 14 RWF do my cutting. So much nicer to have professional gear that just works like it says on the tin. As opposed to the Chinee saw which merely works more or less, after a fashion but isn't quite bad enough to cart down the scrappy. Biggest bugbear I've always had with FE import stuff is the can't be arsed to do it right attitude "Customer paid, passed QC" thing. Its always quicker and cheaper to set-up properly when making any significant number of things (>10 usually) and if you set-up properly competent engineers do it right and be done with it. All the Chinee saw, and a lot of other import "a bit too cheap" things, problems could be solved by doing it right rather than the "done in the street with a hand drill and worn out file" standards that still afflict so much of the important detail work that makes all the difference between good to use and struggle. OK it a lot, lot better than it used to be. Time was some of the stuff on offer made my first lathe, a Portass S, look good in comparison. Which ought to be impossible given that mine Portass was made so that the lead-screw and (fixed) nut acted as one of the carriage guides. Innovative or wot!

Clive

John Stevenson30/03/2015 13:47:02
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Moderator
5068 forum posts
3 photos

Posted by Clive Foster on 30/03/2015 13:20:46:

Biggest bugbear I've always had with FE import stuff is the can't be arsed to do it right attitude "Customer paid, passed QC" thing. Its always quicker and cheaper to set-up properly when making any significant number of things (>10 usually) and if you set-up properly competent engineers do it right and be done with it. All the Chinee saw, and a lot of other import "a bit too cheap" things, problems could be solved by doing it right rather than the "done in the street with a hand drill and worn out file" standards that still afflict so much of the important detail work that makes all the difference between good to use and struggle. OK it a lot, lot better than it used to be. Time was some of the stuff on offer made my first lathe, a Portass S, look good in comparison. Which ought to be impossible given that mine Portass was made so that the lead-screw and (fixed) nut acted as one of the carriage guides. Innovative or wot!

Clive

.

Clive you are not wrong but often the answer lies with the buyer.

An example is the speed boards on the small cheap lathes. There have been a few posts recently on this.

They are suspect because the machines are so cheap, you wouldn't even get a chuck from Myford for the price of a lathe and so the shout goes up "Why can't we have better ? " But better costs and if anyone does make an effort like bring in a machine with brushless motor drive and protected speed board the shout goes up "Whoa it's too expensive - I'll buy a DC one because I know how they work and when, not if , it blows up I'll repair it myself "

You will never win with a mind set like this.

Bring back the Robin Reliant, at least when you saw one of these coming you know who you were dealing with.

Nowadays they are even disguised as Audi owners.

richardandtracy30/03/2015 14:03:16
avatar
938 forum posts
10 photos

I have a Clarke 6 x 4 from Machine Mart. I have not used it a great deal, but it has served me well. Every month or so I have LM4 castings to cut up prior to casting into ingots, and it does nicely. I know a number of people object about the sheet metal legs, but I have jumped up & down on the thing to see how sturdy they are, and nothing has given way - I come in at about 15 1/2 st (100kg), so I reckon that's good enough.

My one bad experience with it was my own fault, I stuck a finger in the blade, which was rather stupid, but pulled it out before much more than my dignity was irretrievably harmed. The wife had rather a lot to say about it though. You'd have believed the carpet in the whole house needed replacing instead of there being a few patches of blood.

Right, back to the Axminster tools question. I have an Axminster just up the road from me. The bandsaws look to be generally better casting quality than the Clarke ones, or better finished, and the controls seem more ergonomically positioned if you are using them for a long period. If not, I'd say save a bit & get a Clarke one.

Regards,

Richard

Ian S C31/03/2015 11:46:30
avatar
7447 forum posts
230 photos

Over the last 15 years I'v been working with a mate building agricultural machines, the most we have built is 10 one year, total production is over 60(I came in a few years after the start), all the steel in these machines was cut on a 6" x 4" H&V bandsaw, not sure if it's a Chinese, or Taiwanese one, on occasions it cuts off square, but it's usually the blade. The motor gave up when Dave started a cut, and went off to do something else, the blade jammed, and when he got back all the magic smoke was leaking out.   Ian S Cdsc00151.jpg

Edited By Ian S C on 31/03/2015 11:57:39

Clive Foster31/03/2015 12:18:25
1869 forum posts
59 photos

Those crafty capacitor in the middle 110 / 220 V motors are remarkably durable. Mine has jammed up a time or ten and sat stewing for up to half an hour at a time. Way beyond touch temperature, more like not within a foot temperature! After an hour or three to cool normal functioning is restored. Centrifugal start switch has been iffy for the last decade or so of use but a quick tap with a hammer always works.

Really the biggest beef against these devices is that all the drawbacks could be fixed for next door to no cost if a little more care had been taken in manufacture. Sorting carelessness and poor fitting is always lots more work than fixing real faults too.

Clive

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