By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Forum House Ad Zone

Chinese horizontal bandsaws

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Andrew Tinsley11/10/2016 20:30:20
1614 forum posts

Hello All,

About 1988 I purchased one of these dreadful machines from Graham Engineering. When I got it home I took a close look and decided that it was a load of junk. I tried cutting up bar stock and it took forever and cut was anything but at right angles! I quietly put it in a corner of my workshop and there it stayed until a few weeks ago.

I needed the space and I thought it is either going to work properly or it goes in the skip. I purchased a Starrett blade and lo it actually cut metal at a decent rate. After a lot of fiddling I managed to get it to cut at near right angles!

The so called adjustments are so crude, that it is difficult to adjust the saw correctly. However it does have a pretty massive bed and a decent motor and with a good blade, it cuts well. Has anyone figured out how to make the blade angle adjustments a little more refined? I am asking here as I do not wish to reinvent the wheel!

It strikes me that this could be a useful machine now that I am striken with a muscle wasting disease. Hacksawing stock isn't too easy for me these days. Wiser counsel may indicate the skip solution, for either the machine or myself!

Regards,

Andrew Tinsley.

Ian Parkin11/10/2016 21:03:12
avatar
1035 forum posts
243 photos

I think i bought one about the same time branded Sealey in the last 28 years its worked its heart out..ok its not the best constructed machine but for the price paid I don't think it can be beat.I generally buy Starret blades. I'm not sure what you mean by the blade angle adjustments? Mine seems to cut at 90 out the box

Andrew Tinsley11/10/2016 21:49:01
1614 forum posts

You were lucky! Mine cut at about 80 degrees instead of 90 degrees There are two sliding arms that support the blade with two horizontal ballraces and a top one for thrust. These sliding arms have an adjusting bolt at top rear of the arm, well, at least it is a crude locking bolt. Slackening these bolts off allow the unit containing the blade ballraces to swing from side to side, thus altering the angle at which the blade is presented to the work.

It is an absolute pain adjusting the units to get the blade at right angles to the work. I suppose once adjusted correctly (mine are not quite yet at 90 degrees) then one can forget about it. However such a crude adjustment goes against the grain and the urge to do something better is overwhelming!

Andrew.

Paul Lousick11/10/2016 22:37:01
2078 forum posts
727 photos

What type of bandsaw are you talking about (photo required) ? Mine is a cheap Asian saw which I purchased about 5 years ago and is one of the best investments which I have made. I use bi-metal blades which last for ages. Just replaced one after 6 months use.

band saw.jpg

Clive Foster11/10/2016 22:49:05
3173 forum posts
113 photos

Alpine branded? Dad got "me" one whilst my back was turned buying something else at Guildford show around about same time. Motor and gearbox are decent but the rest gives rubbish a bad name.

Eventually tamed mine by re-making the guide bearing adjustment doobies to have approaching double the standard travel with a slim hex head on the outside so I could adjust them with a spanner and hold in place whilst tightening up the screw. Used a countersunk hex socket screw instead of the standard hard cheese neither pozi or phillips cross head type. Re-made adjusters allowed the blade to be held pretty firmly between the guid bearings teaching the cutting part something approaching manners. With the active part under control it was possible to coax the wheel alignment shifters into some semblance of correct adjustment. Much verbal encouragment along the way. Still not right, which is probably impossible, but at least the blade stayed on most of the time. I also flattened off the casting where the tensioner hand wheel runs to get a straight pull. Pulling tension up really tight, too tight actually, helps. Re jigged the tension spring that holds the head up and control downforce on the blade inhorizontal mode by fitting more engineered abutments and increasing tension a bit. 20/20 hindsight suggest this latter was more feels good than goes good tho'. Also had to take a grinder to parts of the frame to ensure that the bow could fall enough to actually cut through stuff. Modified the stop and sliding bar to use wing nut locks instead of the always full of swarf hex sockets so they actually got used too.

Struggled along for appoaching 30 years as it was never quite bad enough to be worth spending out on something real decent. Especially given limited space in a 12 ft by 8 ft shed workshop. Now I have 15 ft x 30 ft for the main workshop a Manchester Rapidor power hacksaw does the bar stock cuttin and a variable speed 14" thread Startright handles the vertical jobs. Both cut square and just work without fiddling.

If your main need is to cut bar stock and similar in horizontal mode a 6" capacity Rapidor power hacksaw takes up similar space, will cut square and can often be found inexpensive. I paid £25 for one needing titivation and a motor then found a better one ready to go for £50 before starting work on the other one. There are other breeds but the Rapidor seems to come up affordable most often. The 14" throat bench bandsaws, like a bigger Burgess, make a pretty fair fist of the vertical side of things if you don't get too ambitious with thick stuff. Biggest problem with hobby end bandsaws is that they aren't man enough to handle the coarse pitch blades needed for thicker work. Using a blade with excessively fine teeth is aways the big no-no on bandsaws as swarf clogging promotes uneven cutting, overheats the blade and lets teeth rub rather than cut so they blunt rapidly. Also jams up the blade on a regular basis.

Clive.

paul rayner11/10/2016 22:57:37
182 forum posts
46 photos

Andrew

I have a sealy as well. You can adjust the wheels at the bottom of the arms by using an open ended spanner just above the wheels/bearings, they are on cams if you adjust them so the wheels are only just touching the blade then use a square up against the vice to adjust the lateral movement you should have no problem. (you may have to elongate the holes in the casting I had to do this on one of them) . Once I did this it was ok.

regards

paul

Ajohnw11/10/2016 23:35:11
3631 forum posts
160 photos

I have the same Graham saw. It doesn't cut dead square but what I have found is that the guides should ideally be set just clear of the steel that is being cut. I've used it a few times up to it's maximum capacity on mild steel. Even square bar. In fact over that once so had to turn the bar over. I do alter the cutting pressure at times. The biggest initial problem was setting up. Until I got that right the blade came off for no apparent reason at times.

My only real beef with it is the bar end stop. Use it and the thing jams up just as it cuts through.

I haven't tried to do anything about how square it "doesn't" cut as it seems to be down to the axis the cutting part swings on being out of square with the part the metal sits on. It can also be down to lack of blade tension and the end guides being too far apart. The blade twists as it cuts.

It currently has worn grooves in the bearing where the blade runs - left alone as it works so no point in fixing until it doesn't. It's also rusty as kept in a damp garage.

The finish it leaves is crap. Mostly I feel down to it having low mass and being made out of very high tensile cast iron. I bought a number of Graham blades and still have one left.

John

-

John Olsen12/10/2016 02:33:02
1256 forum posts
94 photos
1 articles

There is more than one model of these small bandsaws...mine for instance is quite different to the one in Pauls picture. Just to add to the fun, there is more than one outfit making them to any given pattern. My own one was bought by my father back in the late seventies or maybe early eighties, and was made in Taiwan. Later examples of the same general design that I have seen were made in mainland China. Usually the Taiwan made stuff is better than the mainland stuff, although that is not to say that mine is perfect either. It does mean that if you are thinking of buying one, you should make sure that you inspect them at the place where you are going to buy. It is no good seeing a good one at a dealer and then buying a cheaper one off the Internet, since although it may be the same general design, it is not necessarily made to the same standard.

Mine has had quite lot of use over the years, originally by my father and now by me. It has needed the odd bit of attention over the years, but hey, it is over thirty years old now. I would second the idea that it is worth getting good blades for them. Even if the machine is set up pretty square, a tired blade will sometimes start to wander. This will be because it has worn more on one side than the other.

John

D Hanna12/10/2016 04:29:50
45 forum posts
6 photos
Posted by Andrew Tinsley on 11/10/2016 20:30:20:

Hello All,

About 1988 I purchased one of these dreadful machines from Graham Engineering. When I got it home I took a close look and decided that it was a load of junk. I tried cutting up bar stock and it took forever and cut was anything but at right angles! I quietly put it in a corner of my workshop and there it stayed until a few weeks ago.

I needed the space and I thought it is either going to work properly or it goes in the skip. I purchased a Starrett blade and lo it actually cut metal at a decent rate. After a lot of fiddling I managed to get it to cut at near right angles!

The so called adjustments are so crude, that it is difficult to adjust the saw correctly. However it does have a pretty massive bed and a decent motor and with a good blade, it cuts well. Has anyone figured out how to make the blade angle adjustments a little more refined? I am asking here as I do not wish to reinvent the wheel!

It strikes me that this could be a useful machine now that I am striken with a muscle wasting disease. Hacksawing stock isn't too easy for me these days. Wiser counsel may indicate the skip solution, for either the machine or myself!

Regards,

Andrew Tinsley.

Well hello Andrew!! We seem to pop up all over the place!

Back in 1981 I got one of those saws and when initially assembled the blade guides held the blade at an angle to the base rather than square resulting in an angled cut. A file fixed that up with the alignment face squared so that the blade was square to the vice section base. The initial use of this saw was cutting 4" diameter mild steel bar for weight lifting disc hubs. There were several hundred of these cut off using bi metal blades without any hassles. It has served well to this day cutting all sorts of material including tool steel and stainless steel. Don't write it off as when set up they are quite a useful gadget in the workshop.

Regards from your old mate in OZ

DH

Chris Evans 612/10/2016 07:33:08
avatar
2067 forum posts

I worked at a small toolmaking place where they had the bigger version. with a bit of attention to skimming the main drive wheel after around 15 years and the gearbox/reduction gear a few years after that it has been it daily use. I think it cost £650 and is still in daily use after 20 odd years, I am retired now but call in to scrounge bits and bobs and sometimes use the saw, it beats my "Excalibur" donkey saw for speed and squareness of cutting.

Brian Wood12/10/2016 09:20:57
2579 forum posts
39 photos

Hello Andrew,

​The blade guide blocks are crucial to getting blade geometry correct. I had endless trouble with blade runoff and breakage on my Axminster 115 machine until I stripped them both out---cast surfaces were fitted to cast surfaces. I machined all these on the mill, increased the width of the 'twist' alignment slots and rectified the finish of all the fitting surfaces. I also paid attention to the rim of the blade wheels, in particular the powered wheel which is the first to receive the blade after it has passed through the cut.

​Blade alignment tests with a wire tensioned between the wheels helps a lot in getting things on track to prevent side forces pulling the blade out of line. I have now switched to Bi-metal blades, they last a good deal longer. The current one is from Tuff Saws and it has done a lot of work cutting slices off cast iron bar 85 mm thick . I do the bulk of my cutting with 10 tpi blades, the finer pitch versions are reserved purely for cutting thin walled tubing which tend to snatch on coarser pitch blades. Do take care cutting welded material, the odd hard spot will take the teeth off one side of the blade in the blink of an eye and it will then cut in a curve until it either jams or breaks

​It has taken some time to rectify all the niggles, but I think it is now performing as one might expect. I hope this information has helped you, I couldn't believe how those critical guidance features could be made so crudely and still work after a fashion.

Regards
​Brian

Neil Wyatt12/10/2016 09:56:40
avatar
Moderator
19076 forum posts
736 photos
80 articles

Mine either came from Chester or Machine Mart.

Whatever its shortcomings, and it did need some tweaking, it's earned back its cost more times over than any other piece of workshop equipment.

Would I have made a loco or riding truck if I had to cut slices of 2 1/2" steel bar for wheels by hand?

Neil

Ian S C12/10/2016 10:57:46
avatar
7468 forum posts
230 photos

The "standard" 4 1/2" horizontal/vertical band saw was designed in USA for one of the hard ware chain stores in the early 1950s(I think), sold to Taiwan. Over the last twenty years or so mine has cut a lot of metal, and a friend with whom I'v worked with since about 2000 has used his one to cut all the steel for over 60 of the hay bale feed out machines, plus plenty of other jobs, and we like to get the likes of 50 mm x 100 mm x 5 mm within 1 mm of square, usually better.

Ian S Cdsc00151.jpg

the artfull-codger12/10/2016 11:08:27
avatar
296 forum posts
28 photos

I've got a rapidor with a centre vice & the beauty is you can cut small lengths of metal in it [ no overhang] had it for over 40 yrs I never pay more than a couple of £ for eclipse/starrett blades at autojumbles, you can't cut angles but I have the larger machine mart bandsaw & it's a good machine,their blades aren't up to much but I buy 100ft coils & make my own up with a scarfed & silver soldered joint, my mate has the same saw & it's really been caned over the years making "wrought iron" gates & has never given any bother.

Ajohnw12/10/2016 11:22:35
3631 forum posts
160 photos

I feel the same about mine Neil. I wouldn't be without it. Thinking back it was bought in the very late 80's maybe early 90's. blush I had gone from Peatol to Hobbymat and then to something larger and liked to keep stock. I often have cut to size now.

My feeling is that they are unlikely to cut square without attention. I haven't bothered. They do need setting up correctly.Maybe the blade tension device could do with a finer thread as it needs rather a lot of pressure to set it. The rear guide also needs near to the rear jaw of the vice. If it's a hefty piece the front guide needs adjusting too but for say 1 to 2" bar or more no need one setting will do both. Mine usually has about 6" of blade showing. The front guide is fully forwards most of the time.

The tension is needed because the blade is twisted as it goes round and it needs to be vertical where it cuts. If it's even slightly on the loose side it wont be.

Sorry folks but as I have come across several happy owners I think the complaints are user problems but don't expect the same sort of results as an industrial unit. I was thinking about building a reciprocating saw but after talking to a model engineering supplier in Peterborough I changed my mind. He basically said no if you have the space get one of these warning me about the length stop. He's entirely correct on that aspect.

I do mess with the sawing pressure to get it to cut at a sensible rate. Another weak point really but at the cost and compared with a hacksaw............................

It's been rather a long time but isn't there some sort of tracking adjustment on one of the wheels ? Might be a that I thought it should have due to initial problems but I'm sure blade tension is the main aspect.

John

-

Andrew Tinsley12/10/2016 11:34:12
1614 forum posts

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for the copious replies! Those of you who have the exact same machine, seem to have had exactly the same problem as myself! One or two of you have a similar problem with the "guide block" units which can angle the blade to the plane of the vice. I cannot get quite a 90 degree cut as I need to machine out the groove on one head as it just will not go far enough!

I concur with the "tighter the better" philosophy of the blade tensioner, fortunately mine doesn't need attention to the slideway. Damn good job as I could never lift the upper part of the saw onto a mill table!! Good quality blades are indeed a must, although I have fallen into the trap of using too fine a blade for cutting steel (If it cuts faster with a coarser blade, then it will be magic!)

Apart from the neat idea of replacing the "angle adjustment bolt" It seems most people are satisfied with the blade angle adjustment as it stands. I can well believe that it will be a useful tool once correctly set up.

I suppose I have been spoilt with having a 3HP professional hack saw (approx. 2 ft blade length). However I got rid of my big kit, because I could not pick up 10 inch chucks and 2ft face plates(Huge Colchester lathe) Nor could I change from vertical head to horizontal head on my big Italian Mill. My wife has also pinched a lot of my space during building operations last year!

Hello Dallas! I forgot you were a real professional machinist! I am setting up from scratch with smaller sized kit and I aim to refurbish a lot of old spark ignition engines. My latest acquisition is Ian Russell's Delapena hone, now that will be fun! Also I never even paid you for the old orange head Merco 35. Not even the postage! I must send you some cash before the pound nose dives yet again. Damn Brexit is going to cost us UK model engineers a fortune with increased prices. Buy now before the pound losses anymore of its value.

Thanks everyone,

Andrew.

Mark P.12/10/2016 12:22:43
avatar
627 forum posts
8 photos
I have had a 4 1/2" Clarke bandsaw for some years now, ok so it doesn't cut dead square but square enough for me to worry about, saves me a lot of hand sawing!
Just my opinion.
Mark P.
Bill Dawes12/10/2016 13:26:11
539 forum posts

I bpught a Clarke one from Machine Mart a couple of years ago, the horizontal/vertical type.

As usual with the normal proviso that you get what you pay for, I have found it to be so useful.

I have to say that the vast majority of my usage has been with it in the vertical position, cutting pieces of plate to rough shape, saved so many hours.

Ironically I think the very first time I used it was in the horizontal position cutting a large(ish) diameter bar, not very square cut but I subsequently adjusted it so that it did not involve too much wasteage machining it square.

Cheap and cheereful maybe but worthwhile.

Bill D

D Hanna12/10/2016 13:38:28
45 forum posts
6 photos

" Also I never even paid you for the old orange head Merco 35. Not even the postage! I must send you some cash before the pound nose dives yet again. Damn Brexit is going to cost us UK model engineers a fortune with increased prices. Buy now before the pound losses anymore of its value."

We had that all sorted Andrew! Just keep that pound nosediving!! When Pete T was here in April/May it was around 51p to our $. It's now near 60p to our $ so you'll only be able to afford one pint for me!! Hope to see you in 2018 if all goes well.

With your saw just do a bit of adjustment on that blade to get square cutoffs. If the blade is popping off there is an adjustment to cant the idler wheel with a couple of grub screws if it's the same as my one of Chinese manufacture.

DH

Neil Wyatt12/10/2016 13:56:59
avatar
Moderator
19076 forum posts
736 photos
80 articles

Anyomne whose bandsaw doesn't cut straight or throws blades, hasn't read the following:

wiki.hsbne.org/_media/tools/4x6bandsawadjust.pdf

Bear in mind the nature of bandsaws is that even a top-end machine should be set up before use.

Neil

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Sign up to our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter and get a free digital issue.

You can unsubscribe at anytime. View our privacy policy at www.mortons.co.uk/privacy

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Dreweatts
Eccentric July 5 2018
Rapid RC
cowells
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest

 

Donate

donate