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mini Bandsaw, or mini Scroll Saw ??

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Russ B02/01/2014 13:00:34
575 forum posts
21 photos

Hi all,

I'm (not desperately) in need of a "benchtop" cutting tool, and I've put away the idea of a small circular table saw, and moved more towards either a bandsaw, or scroll saw - but rather embarrasingly I've not experienced a scroll saw before.

The idea is to roughly cut out profiles from stock, leaving say 3-5mm for machining.

The contenders are both around £100 (band over, scroll under)

a 350w bandsaw with 190mm throat

a 120w scroll saw with 400mm throat

I think that the 400mm throat better suits the size of my lathe and mill - it's almost ideal actually but with a weaker 120w motor ?

in addition to this, I guess I can also cut internal pockets which could prove to be beneficial in the future and also switch and change blades relatively cheaply and easily (maybe even get a diamond coated blade for detailed tiling I don't know?)

Are there any massive drawbacks to a scroll saw, something is telling me to go for the 350w bandsaw, maybe just because that's what I see in my head?

Many thanks, and happy new year all!

IanT02/01/2014 13:51:21
1581 forum posts
145 photos

Hi Russell,

I'm not entirely sure from reading your post what type of material you are trying to cut and how complex the "profile" that you want to cut is? I'm assuming it might be metal rather than wood but I'm really not sure.

I have a small bandsaw and a scrollsaw. They are both "cheap" machines (Lidl's probably) and to be honest I don't use them that much for woodwork (and never for metal). The scrollsaw is useful for intricate cuts, whereas the bandsaw is more useful for prepping materials to size. Obviously, the bandsaw is limited in respect to how tight the curved cuts can be (and therefore the intricacy of the cuts you can make).

The scrollsaw has been sufficient for the very occasional use I have had from it but I wish I had spent more on the bandsaw. You want a very rigid frame for a start. As I said, I don't use either very much. My main weapon of choice on my 'wooden' modelling side is a small Proxxon table saw (used quite a bit and very useful).

I think you will get more advice if you let us have a bit more detail about what you are trying to do with the tools.

Regards,

IanT

Russ B02/01/2014 15:05:34
575 forum posts
21 photos

Thanks IanT,

I'll be cutting aluminium plate, likely 2-6mm thick, and occasionally I might tackle thicker things, probably bar stock up to 1" (I might just hand cut this to be honest) - on very rare occasions small thin brass or copper ( I could keep a variety of different blades for various materials as they're cheap and easy to store and change)

At the moment I'm cutting stock to size in a vice with the hacksaw, which is why I thought a bandsaw or table saw would make my life an awful lot easier - but it doesn't really give me any extra abilities and I can't afford the space or money for 2 machines at the moment so,

The only reason for considering a scroll saw is the potential of being able to cut profiles for small parts relatively well, potentially saving me machining time/tool life. A scroll saw I guess would sacrificing a fairly large amount of cutting speed and straight line accuracy which I don't think I need, anything's easier than the hacksaw, I'll leave precision cuts to the miller or lathe.

John Alexander Stewart02/01/2014 15:35:54
772 forum posts
52 photos

Russell;

Just a FYI - I've got a converted (slowed down) wood bandsaw with a metal cutting blade on it.

Sometimes I think it's the most-used tool in the shop.

I do have a little CNC mill for doing fine parts to strict limits, but the band saw makes it a no-brainer for cutting larger bits of metal, and sometimes even MDF and other wood products.

I don't think I'd use a scroll saw much, but the beauty of this hobby is that there are no set rules, so whatever you end up doing will be correct.

John.

**LINK**

John Billard02/01/2014 16:21:50
42 forum posts

Bring back the Burgess BK band saw! Invaluable and convenient for the bench top. I have gone through 1/2" steel plate with mine. I went into a national and popular tool dealer and suggested this and the response was "never been asked for that before, sir"!

Best wishes

John B

Michael Gilligan02/01/2014 16:54:02
avatar
16202 forum posts
706 photos

Russell,

The "definitive" small scrollsaw is the Hegner

Much more expensive than the ones you are considering; but well worth a look, if only to see what can be done.

MichaelG.

jason udall02/01/2014 18:03:14
2026 forum posts
41 photos
A thought. 350W is reckoned to be about the sustained output of an average man.( yes hacksawing is not sustained work and 350 w is not the work available at the blade but..).
The 120w would be that much less..
The scroll saw is wonderful if you can slow the thing down enough to suit cutting speed for metals. .without losing all guts.
The same applies somewhat to the bandsaw but the inertia of the system acts for you there.
Frankly for roughing out say a clock wheel or any closed hole ..how did you propose threading your endless bandsaw blade through the work...ie if you need to do such then go scrollsaw..Otherwise go bandsaw..blades are more expensive but you will need less of them



NJH02/01/2014 18:36:02
avatar
2314 forum posts
139 photos

Russell

I strongly advise you to find someone that will let you "have a go" before you shell out your hard earned cash on a scroll saw. I've had one for a while and have used it hardly ever. OK it is not a very expensive one but I find it vibrates, it's noisy, difficult to achieve accurate cuts, and I am in constant fear from the risk to my fingers! I thought it might be useful for crossing out clock wheels but, with a little practice, I find a piercing saw is far better. ( and quite theraputic ! )

The bandsaw, on the other hand, I wouldn't be without - with the proviso that I use this for wood and plastics - not metal. I note though that John, in his post above, has success with metal cutting when running his saw at reduced speed. Metal cutting bandsaw blades are readily available.

If you do go along the bandsaw route try to find the extra cash for a two wheeled version rather than the three wheeled type sometimes found in the cheaper ranges. The two wheeled type is far kinder to blades

regards

Norman

Billy Mills02/01/2014 19:12:28
377 forum posts

I would not think that a scrollsaw would be of much use above 2mm in soft metals, low cost scrollsaws are for 1-6mm or so soft woods, with wider blades you can go through thicker wood very slowly without the blade bowing too much but scrollsaws are not suited for general metalworking. A good bandsaw with a bimetal blade is a very handy machine for heavier use as is the Evolution metal cutting circular saw which is so useful for chopping 5-50mm mild steel, alloy or wood to lenth.

Another option can be found on Mike Cox's most excellent website. Have a look at **LINK**

You can also mount a jigsaw in the same way, if you have a throat plate with zero clearance around the blade you avoid distorting thin sheet during cutting- same trick used with circular saws, use the blade to cut it's own slot.

Happy New Year,

Billy.

Michael Gilligan02/01/2014 22:00:13
avatar
16202 forum posts
706 photos

It's obviously not suitable for heavy work, but; before dismissing the scrollsaw, have a look at what this guy is doing [about 2/3 down the page] with his Hegner.

MichaelG.

.

Edit: Added link to Hegner's range of metal cutting blades.

P.S. No, I don't own one, but I have tried one.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 02/01/2014 22:25:26

IanT02/01/2014 22:14:55
1581 forum posts
145 photos

Hi Russell,

I think there's some good advice above. There are Chinese (metal) band saws about that would do this work very easily but I suspect they might be a bit on the large size for your needs (I'd like one but don't have any floor space left). You also seem to be more involved with non-ferrous and that might make the larger metal band saws a bit of an overkill.

The problem is that the bigger metal bandsaws seem to be cheaper than the smaller ones from what I've seen. There are several DIY power 'hacksaws' kits about but the castings are not cheap and they will take a good deal of effort to build. Most "cheap" bandsaws/scrollsaws are made to cut wood and run too fast for even non-ferrous work.

A nibbler is good for some (thin) sheet metal work but will not cut the thicknesses you desire (at least mine won't!). So if you want a low-cost solution I think Billy might be on the right track with his jigsaw idea - especially if you can set it up in the inverted position with an overhead guide.

There is a German company that sells such a device if you don't want to build one (and they also sell extra long jig-saw blades too!). I'll dig out a photo to give you some idea. I have used my jigsaw successfully to cut 3-4mm sheet Ali and it did it quickly and without hassle. I did have to clean the edges up afterwards but you seem happy to do that. I think you could achieve good accuracy if you could guide the work through the blade on a table (e.g. inverted saw) but I've not tried it myself yet.

Regards,

 

ianT

Edited By IanT on 02/01/2014 22:16:58

IanT02/01/2014 22:23:00
1581 forum posts
145 photos

This is what I had in mind Russell.

You can find this product at:

**LINK**

About 60 Euros for the basic kit but it would not be too hard to make something similar to your own spec and much more cheaply..

Regards,

 

IanT

PS You will need a variable speed jigsaw and metal cutting blades of course but my (green) Bosch wasn't expensive and seems to work pretty well. For very small curved cuts (almost scrolling) I have a small Proxxon jigsaw but it has nothing like the grunt of the larger machine - it might be good inverted too perhaps but only on quite thin work) 

nautechnik.jpg

Edited By IanT on 02/01/2014 22:29:22

Russ B02/01/2014 22:39:22
575 forum posts
21 photos

Thanks for all the responses, really appriciate it, I'll keep thinking about this tomorrow, it certainly sounds like a scroll saw is maybe not the best approach, at least not a budget one, I have seen some of the dual wheel version for around the £100-120 mark so maybe that's the way to go.

I had found and Erbauer saw for £99.99 from screwfix which has a flexi shaft, with a 100 piece accessory kit, full of mini sanding, grinding, and polishing bits and pieces, as well as an intergrated work light, a dust extraction point, and an adaptor to take plain blades as well as 2 pin (albeit a bit fiddly by the looks of it). I could really see the uses for one of those machines and its extras!!....... not that it would have any use for my needs right now - I'm just a bit of a tool lover.


IanT this jigsaw idea looks like something I'd like to get stuck in to, I'll have to have a closer look at how a scroll saw works, as I thought it was pretty much a jigsaw action - hence the Erbauer sounded up my street??

This above jig saw looks like it should be pretty easy to knock up, thanks for that - might hook a foot switch to mine though - dont trust myself - already to proud owner of a shredded thumb which after at least 10 years, still isnt right.

Thanks again for all these replies, really appriciate it! yes

IanT02/01/2014 23:22:14
1581 forum posts
145 photos

Jigsaw blades tend to be a bit more robust than scroll saw blades in my experience Russell (in that I haven't actually broken a jigsaw blade yet). But they can tend to flex and wander a bit on thicker materials - hence the potential usefulness of an overhead guide.

If I make something along these lines, instead of a single overhead "arm" - I was thinking more of a gantry (e.g. a beam supported at both ends) with two small bearings set in the middle to guide the blade. Would be less inclined to flex than a (longish) arm and therefore easier to build I think.

Perhaps I should finish a few of my other "works in progress" first though... smiley

Regards,

IanT

Billy Mills02/01/2014 23:59:48
377 forum posts

Hegners go for £500- £1000+ so way out of the range that Russell was talking about. Most scrollsaws use a crank drive at the base of the lower blade holder, sometimes with a parallelogram jointed frame to keep the blade vertical. A few "safe" types use a vibrator which oscillates the blade over a very small distance, these tend not to cut fingers as much as other types!

One other point that did not get mentioned is that if you can run an inverted jigsaw / scrollsaw slowly then you can potentially mount a Swiss file vertically so that you have a mini filing machine, that would fit in with Ian's top beam.

I have found a mini filing machine very useful, someday will get around to making something more perminant than the lash up that gets me out of hand filing these days. The machine works for me, all of the effort goes into guiding the cut line not powering the work.

Billy.

Michael Gilligan03/01/2014 10:51:28
avatar
16202 forum posts
706 photos
Posted by Billy Mills on 02/01/2014 23:59:48:

Hegners go for £500- £1000+ so way out of the range that Russell was talking about.

Billy.

.

Billy,

I think I made that point when I first responded to Russell:

But, the only significant factor is that the Hegners are properly built. ... Perhaps we should be looking at ways to re-engineer one of the cheap knock-offs to make it work properly.

MichaelG.

[quote] Much more expensive than the ones you are considering; but well worth a look, if only to see what can be done. [/quote]

Russ B03/01/2014 13:54:46
575 forum posts
21 photos

Posted by Michael Gilligan on 03/01/2014 10:51:28:

... Perhaps we should be looking at ways to re-engineer one of the cheap knock-offs to make it work properly.

[/quote]

This sounds like an interesting challenge, I guess it all swings on what makes a Hegner or more specifically, what doesn't !!

I've just finished a similar budget machine conversion project (£20 in materials) with a CNC'd Sieg SX1L milling machine from ArcEuro, which I ended up putting an extra £80 in to for a rigid column which I could have got by without, but it proved absolutely fantastic, it reduced deflection by a factor of 10 or more, and really just stiffened up everything, I think the tilting column was twisting and rocking in almost all axis except that in which its supposed to tilt in!

The plan was to remove the top and gearbox and fit a 250-500w brushless motor with a remote speed controller and belt drive but now I've picked up a pretty much brand new 1989 NuTools Mill/Drill (RF-20 copy) cheap, thus Sieg project is getting polished and sold as is with its std. gear box and as a manual machine but with the motor mounts, coupling hardware, and limit switches left discreetly in place should anyone ever want to go that way with it.

yes

might bob it on the "for sale" bit here once I get it there, and I'll also be selling my manual Bridgeport - due to moving house in the next year and not having a proper size workshop anymore - I'm also trying to get it past my missus to allow me in the of the house with this stuff smile p

- someone pinch me, I'm dreaming .....

Michael Gilligan03/01/2014 14:13:14
avatar
16202 forum posts
706 photos
Posted by Russell Bates on 03/01/2014 13:54:46:

Posted by Michael Gilligan on 03/01/2014 10:51:28:

... Perhaps we should be looking at ways to re-engineer one of the cheap knock-offs to make it work properly.

[/quote]

This sounds like an interesting challenge, I guess it all swings on what makes a Hegner or more specifically, what doesn't !!

.

Russell,

Glad to see I've prompted your interest.

1. What makes a Hegner? Start Here

2. What doesn't? ... Lack of attention to detail.

I really can't see why one of the cheap clones couldn't be upgraded to something approaching Hegner standards ... unless of course the manufacturers have already ruined the parts by "working" on them.

MichaelG.

Michael Gilligan03/01/2014 15:43:43
avatar
16202 forum posts
706 photos

Posted by Michael Gilligan on 03/01/2014 14:13:14:

... unless of course the manufacturers have already ruined the parts by "working" on them.

.

The photographs and captions in this album by LatheJack perfectly illustrate what I mean by that.

... I sometimes think there should be a VRT [Value Reduced Tax] repaid to the customer when a manufacturer ruins reasonable basic components, by the process of making something from them !!

MichaelG

Russ B03/01/2014 17:03:19
575 forum posts
21 photos

Looks interesting!

EDIT I wont be getting one then......... screwfix advertise it for sale, but seemingly have no stock (I've searched from Grimsby to Manchester, Leicister to Leeds,they won't post me one, and just keep telling me no stock in "that" area (they wont actually tell me where they do have stock...... if they have stock......) - I had this problem a while ago with them when I tried to buy a circular saw they had on "offer"........

Original msg: I've found a quick video review of the Erbauer, its coming in under a different brand name but its the same saw, I like the look of it, I might just have a gamble as it looks to be coping very well with a thick piece of wood, so a thin piece of aluminium seems reasonable I'll see if I can find anything else

http://youtu.be/BmGIuGTqB9I

 

I've edited this multiple times for various spelling errors sorry - its a Friday thing

Edited By Russell Bates on 03/01/2014 17:13:56

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