What are Metal Cutting Bandsaw Blades
There are so many types of bandsaw blades that it can become confusing to find the right type of bandsaw blade for your cutting application and material. Most often the economical choice for metal cutting band saw blades is the Bi-Metal Bandsaw Blades. For harder and more difficult to cut metals, the carbide tipped bandsaw blade may be your best or only option. These blades can handle higher temperatures and will last much longer than the bi-metal bandsaw blade, but for a price. As I always say, only you can decide which blade is more cost efficient for your business or hobby…downtime vs blade cost.
Factors for Metal Cutting Bandsaw Blades
Bandsaw Blade Shear Plane Angle
One of the most important factors in getting maximum metal cutting efficiency from your blade is the “shear plane angle”. This is how the blade actually pushes or shears a continuous chip of metal. A higher shear plane angle will form a thinner chip of metal thus a higher cutting efficiency. The shear plane angle is affected by a combination of the material, the bandsaw blade geometry, feed, band speed, and the lubrication.
Metal Cutting Bandsaw Blade Feed
Removing as much material as quickly as possible makes your cutting time more effective. The “Feed” designates the depth of penetration of the blade’s tooth into the cutting material. You could use as high a pressure and feed rate as possible for your bandsaw machine and the blade, but this could quickly wear on your blade. A lighter feed will increase your shear plane angle, but will also take more time to cut thus cutting into your profits. Find the correct feed by examining your metal chips. We will learn more about that in the next topic.
Metal Cutting Bandsaw Blade Band Speed
The actual speed of the bandsaw blade will also affect the shear plane angle. A faster band speed will give a higher shear plane angle and as mentioned before this will increase the metal cutting efficiency. Unfortunately, there are limits to the band speed based on the metal and the heat allowed. Harder metals will produce even higher temperatures at high band speeds. The metal chips should not change too much in color. They should be very warm to the touch, but not turning golden or especially blue. If you want faster band speeds, there are more blade options as far as coatings or moving up to a carbide tipped blade that can handle the heat.
Bandsaw Blade Lubrication
The right lubrication will make your metal cutting bandsaw blade last much longer by reducing friction and thus heat. The lubrication must be properly applied to the shear zone. Without lubrication, the metal chips could actually weld themselves to your material. It is important to follow the bandsaw manufacturer’s guide for lubrication and keep it an hand at all times. Never use all or too much water as this will cause rapid tooth wear leading to early blade failure.
Metal Cutting Bandsaw Blade Tooth Set
If you are not sure which tooth set to choose do not worry too much. The blade’s tooth set really only affects the finish of your cut. The finer pitch will generally give you a better performance and finish.