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Scroll Saw or Bandsaw?

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Brian H07/10/2016 16:01:35
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Which is best for mainly thin brass and steel sheet with occasional woodwork. I think I'd prefer variable speed whichever but, which one?

NJH07/10/2016 17:27:47
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Brian

I find it difficult to imagine a scroll saw being much good for woodwork unless you are looking at very small sizes but it should be OK for thin metal. I do have a small bandsaw which is excellent for wood - I've not tried it with metal and I think it is probably too fast. It would, in any case, only handle thin sections I suspect.

There was a thread on scroll saws here recently which might be worth looking up.

Norman

Neil Wyatt07/10/2016 18:01:27
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What sort of woodwork? My dad swears by his scroll saw for things like cutting out plywood frames for model boats.

Neil

NJH07/10/2016 18:48:15
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Ah Neil

I was thinking more D-I-Y woodwork around the house - very little woodwork carried out in my metalworking retreat !

Norman

Brian H07/10/2016 18:48:56
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Thanks for the replies Norman and Neil, I need to cut small pieces of brass and steel for 1 1/2" to 2" traction engine parts and plywood mainly for pattern making for similar.

Mayby the answer would be to buy both !

Brian

MW07/10/2016 18:57:30
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I'm fascinated by scroll saws, the intricacy of the shapes can be astonishing, I only ever used one once, but i do already have a band saw admittedly,so maybe the grass is greener on the other side.

I think for thin sheet bits of board or wood then you'd want a scroll saw to get into those finer corners that a bandsaw would struggle to achieve.

The bandsaw is good for just slugging away bits of material at it and watching it turn into a nice bunch of stubs or "faggots" as i so call them. 

My verdict is firmly placed in the scroll saw category for you sir, but bare in mind that for bar material you'll need to keep your hack saw handy. 

Michael W

Edited By Michael Walters on 07/10/2016 19:03:21

Cyril Bonnett07/10/2016 19:44:02
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I have a Hegner scroll saw and a small band saw, the Hegner does cut metal, I've cut 1/4 mild steel on it very slowly but I use it mainly for wood. the band saw I use for wood and sheet metal.

Roger Provins 207/10/2016 20:04:51
342 forum posts

The average small single speed bandsaw is sold primarily for cutting wood and runs at about 1000 fpm which is about 10 times too fast for steel or brass but okay for aluminium.

I don't know what's available more up market but for steel or brass you need something that will run at about 100 fpm. For the best results and a long lasting blade you'll also need a M42 Bi-Metal Bandsaw Blade.

Roger

Tim Stevens07/10/2016 20:24:16
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1085 forum posts

Simple - a band saw can't cut inside a hole. otherwise, it all depends on the job itself

Cheers, Tim

PS there will now follow a series of comments from people whose band saws cut inside the eye of a needle.

MW07/10/2016 20:29:34
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Posted by Tim Stevens on 07/10/2016 20:24:16:

Simple - a band saw can't cut inside a hole. otherwise, it all depends on the job itself

Cheers, Tim

PS there will now follow a series of comments from people whose band saws cut inside the eye of a needle.

They'll be running rings around you. Loop-de-loops on 1/2" stainless steel plate. with TiAN coated blade.laugh"Mine never had trouble cutting holes!"  "My crawford bandsaw put those power drills to shame!" 

Michael W

Edited By Michael Walters on 07/10/2016 20:33:46

Vic07/10/2016 20:50:12
2255 forum posts
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Posted by Tim Stevens on 07/10/2016 20:24:16:

Simple - a band saw can't cut inside a hole. otherwise, it all depends on the job itself

Cheers, Tim

PS there will now follow a series of comments from people whose band saws cut inside the eye of a needle.

You're not wrong Tim. They had a large Startrite bandsaw where I used to work and on several occasions they broke the blade and then rewelded it inside a hole. It was easily done as the bandsaw had a blade welding unit on the side of the machine. Not something most folks need to do and a bit of a faff but it is possible.

IanT07/10/2016 23:10:11
1322 forum posts
136 photos

Brian,

I have a very good wood band saw (INCA) and an inexpensive (e.g. not-Hegner) variable speed scroll saw. I only use the INCA for wood because it is too fast for metal but for (what I purchased it for) resizing hardwood stock - it is very good indeed. My cheapie scroll saw wouldn't cut 1/2" steel plate (I don't think, but I've never tried it) mentioned elsewhere recently but it can handle small, thin brass parts quite comfortably. However, for simple cuts on larger pieces, it's not the tool I would first think of using. For larger metal sheets it would either be my 'nibbler' or my variable speed jigsaw (with a good metal cutting blade). For thick (heavy) cuts, I have a power hacksaw but this is clearly not much use for cutting large metal sheets.

Again, whilst I do not own a 'metal' cutting band saw myself, I do know that many people swear by theirs and there are many examples on YouTube where you can see people 'roughing' out and/or contouring metal plate with their band saw. However, for smaller (and thinner) work, I think a scroll saw would be a better, safer bet, provided the work will fit within the saws throat. Mine may not be a Hegner but it cuts both wood and metal with a good degree of accuracy and does it much faster than I can do it with a fretsaw.

As always with these questions, the 'context' of the work involved is an essential part of the information required to get a useful answer back. My methods & tools would probably not be too useful to anymore restoring motorbikes or building 6" traction engines... but they do seem to suit the smaller sale work that I generally do.

Regards,

IanT

Cornish Jack07/10/2016 23:35:57
938 forum posts
122 photos

As mentioned in another thread, I have two Hegners. I purchased my original (single speed) after seeing a Hegner demo at the ME Exhibition some 30 years ago! The demo was cutting a script name plate out of (from memory) 3/8 brass. Slow, but superb finish off the saw. As with ANY scroll saw, the quality of the cut is very much down to the quality of the blade being used.

rgds

Bill

Gordon W08/10/2016 09:38:25
2011 forum posts

Have you considered a jig-saw ? I use mine for wood and metal with different blades, you can doctor blades for one-offs, eg thin the blade by grinding the back.

IanT08/10/2016 10:26:12
1322 forum posts
136 photos

Two main problems with a jig saw are that you need to maintain clearance below the material as you take the cut, which can be hard to manage for some cuts - and that the blade can wander off vertical on thicker materials. For smaller work (e.g. anything that fits inside & under the arm) this can be overcome by using the saw inverted with an overhead blade guide. This has been mentioned here before and there is a German company that sells an overhead support arm for such an arrangement. I meant to build a version of this myself before I had the INCA and it still could have its uses - but it hasn't climbed far enough up my TUIT list yet. However, they also sell 'long' jigsaw blades for this purpose that I'm not sure are commonly available elsewhere (but I haven't searched that hard either).

If you search Google for the NeuTechnik company, they have some interesting videos that show the various ways a jigsaw and overhead arm can be used, including as a scroll saw - there is also a jigsaw sanding adaptor which might be useful. These devices might suit a modeller who didn't have the space or perhaps money for the full sized alternatives.

Regards,

IanTnautechnik.jpg

Brian H08/10/2016 16:27:32
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1222 forum posts
92 photos

Many thanks Ian for the piece about NeuTechnik, it reminded me that I have something similar tucked away in the dark rececesses of a shed. It is a Wolfcraft universal table that takes all sorts of powertools and has an attachment that turns a jigsaw into a scrollsaw. I may be able to find room for it in the workshop (garage) now that I've had a clearout.

That settles it, I'll look for a variable speed bandsaw that will tackle the metalwork.

Many thanks to all who replied

Ajohnw08/10/2016 17:24:26
3631 forum posts
160 photos

If you buy a bandsaw I would suggest looking at the blade guides carefully. Might be die cast and can break easily. crying I bought a small Draper once for tight curves. It worked well for a while and then the guides fell apart.

There is a video of an interesting saw on amazon here

**LINK**

I have a dewalt band saw. From memory it's ok up to 10mm on none ferrous with the correct blade but that could just mean aluminium. I'm not sure I would attempt to cut steel with it even if I had a suitable blade made up. It will take a pretty large cut in timber and leaves a decent finish. Only irritation is the size of the table they fitted. It limits how wide I can rip and use the fence.

Scroll saws from what I have owned need to be fairly expensive as I have not been too keen on either of the ones I have and one is all cast iron but Taiwanese. I suspect it's a design thing. It also pay to be careful about what type of blade they take. Some will take both types - pinned and plain,

John

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Brian H08/10/2016 17:59:20
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1222 forum posts
92 photos

Thanks for the advice John.

Here are 2 pictures of the saw table and scroll saw attachment mentioned earlier. Attachment needs a jigsaw underneath and is held by the clamps and wingnuts.

Maybe someone knows how to rotate the picture?

p1140460.jpg

Edited By Brian Hutchings on 08/10/2016 18:04:37

Edited By Brian Hutchings on 08/10/2016 18:06:17

Brian H08/10/2016 18:00:32
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1222 forum posts
92 photos

And the other picture;

p1140461.jpg

Edited By Brian Hutchings on 08/10/2016 18:01:16

David Taylor 1808/10/2016 18:10:18
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3 forum posts

To see the capability of a scrollsaw for cutting sheet metal, take a look at the video of a highly skilled amateur clock maker a this link. (I am not worthy!). It looks like he's using a Hegner, but I could be wrong. Hope it's of interest:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8Y146v8HxE

 

I've got a 6" Elektra Bekum bandsaw, and a 3" Axminster one for smaller jobs, plus an SIP scrollsaw which I don't often use, but as has been said, you can't cut internal holes with a bandsaw - it's got to be either a scrollsaw, or jigsaw for that.

 

David.

 

 

 

Edited By David Taylor 18 on 08/10/2016 18:14:05

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