BANDSAW OR CIRCULAR SAW - WHICH ONE?
The answer to this question may not be as straight forward as you think. For many years the only successful way of cutting materials accurately was by circular saw. As bandsaw machines developed during the past 40+ years, the demand for circular saws reduced.
If however you are looking for a clean, square and fast cut on small to medium size sections, then a circular saw may just be the machine for you. Also, if you exclusively cut Aluminium or Plastics then a TCT circular saw will give you the best results.
Perhaps though you are looking at cutting larger sections and solids? In this case then, a bandsaw is going to be the more favourable option. There is one exception to this, with carbide sawing of solid bar as discussed in another of our articles.
MANUAL, SEMI-AUTOMATIC OR AUTOMATIC - WHAT'S BEST?
This will largely depend on your volume of work. For many companies, unless you maybe are a stockholder or high-volume producer, the bandsaw is used for maybe a few hours each day. If this is true of your company, then a manual or semi-automatic machine will no doubt cover your needs.
If though your work is in larger numbers, then your operator will thank you that he hasn't got to manually raise and lower the saw if you chose a semi-automatic machine. Automatic saws come into their own when the volume of cutting allows the machine to run with little input from an operator, churning out cut pieces until the job is done, or it needs more material to complete the required pieces. Some automatic machines can even be supplied with loading systems for a higher level of automation and production.
MITRING - DO I NEED IT?
If you are a steel fabricator it probably goes without saying, some of your work will involve cutting angles on sections to enable the manufacture of frames or complex shapes.
Swing frame sawing machines offer quick set mitring and even the most basic of saws will often offer a mitre facility, albeit not as quick as a swing frame model.
Even some automatic bandsaws can mitre in cycle, producing complete components for fabricating. Some machines can even add holes and scribing for those who process larger beams and columns.
WILL I NEED A DIFFERENT BLADE FOR EACH MATERIAL?
Not necessarily! To change a blade on any sawing machine takes time. For most sections and even solids, one blade will cover a wide range of material shapes and sizes. Of course, if you are cutting from a very small section or solid through to the machine's maximum capacity, then the best choice would be a different blade to cut both extremes.
The same applies to the speed of the blade. Most machines have at least two fixed speeds, others may have a variable speed by means of belts and pulleys or a frequency inverter on the motor. Again, just as when selecting the right blade, use a Prosaw Cutting Chart provided with all of our machines to select the most suitable blade speed and cutting rate to achieve the optimum production and a long tool life.
DO I NEED A SPECIAL CUTTING FLUID?
Yes, most definitely!
Many companies could increase their blade life and reduce consumables cost by just taking a close look at their cutting fluid mixture. The primary objective of cutting fluids is to lubricate and cool in order to reduce friction between the blade and the material being sawn as well as to dissipate any heat.
Unlike machine tools which generally use carbide inserts, saw blades create a lot of heat at the cutting point, which means that with a low-level mix of fluid the tool will eventually fatigue and break. Prosaw recommend a mixture level of between 8% - 12% depending on the material that you’re cutting.
With a dedicated sawing fluid, it is designed to work at high temperatures and continue to lubricate the cutting tool and extend tool life.
Another option for sections and some small solids is a mist spray lubrication system. A mist of neat cutting oil is generated by passing compressed air through a venturi or vortex to draw oil from a reservoir, spraying it onto the blade ahead of entry into the material. The result is an almost dry cut but still with the correct amount of lubrication for the workpiece and blade.
We hope this has helped you in understanding some of the basics to sawing. Of course, if you have additional questions or are looking for further advice on your application, please give us a call 01536-410999 or use our 'Get in Touch' button above.