Note: This machine has not commissioned yet. Do not use.
It’s for cutting neatly through material - even if it’s very thick - typically straight cuts, though slight curves are possible.
##What are the risks?
- Amputation of fingers - the bandsaw is very quick and quiet, and it is remarkably easy to push fingers too close! They will be deeply lacerated or removed entirely before you have felt the pain.
- Eye protection
- Any loose hair, jewelry, clothing, etc. to be safely tied back/tucked in/removed.
##Anatomy of the tool:
Bed - this is a large square metal plate with a slit for the saw blade to pas through. There is an adjustable wooden fence attached to the bed. The bed is set at 90 degrees to the cutting blade, but bed can be adjusted so that it isn’t flat if a different angle is required - discuss this with a woodtech.
Blade/Band - the band saw is named after the cutting blade, which is one long flexible metal band (around 2.5 metres) with teeth on one side. We only see a small length of blade extending from the bed, but it runs a complete loop through the rest of the tool. The band is rotated very fast, to create a continuous cutting edge. This allows you to get a quicker, cleaner cut than with a jigsaw, where the blade has to move up and down. It also allows you to cut thicker material than with the jigsaw, mitre saw or table saw. As well as straight cuts, gentle curves are possible - more on this below.
Blade guard - this is a yellow, protective metal sheath which hangs down from the upper section of the tool, and serves two purposes: first, it helps keep the blade straight; and second, it reduces the amount of exposed band that could injure you! The blade guard should always be set as low as possible for the workpiece you are cutting - more on this below.
##Preparation for usage:
Isolate the tool by turning off its power supply - always do this before adjusting any powered tool.
Blade choice - different blades can be fitted to the band saw for cutting different materials, or cutting different angles of curve. A very wide band will cut straighter and resist turning more than a little bit, whilst a narrow band will enable you to cut tighter curves but may not cut such neat straight lines. Changing bandsaw blades is a specialist skill - discuss your project with a woodtech if you think it might be necessary.
Set fence - by loosening its handle and sliding across the bed to the cut width you require. The fence will help make a perfectly straight cut. If it prevents you getting your workpiece in the correct position, then the fence can be removed. Ensure you replace it afterwards!
Guard height adjustment - there is a large black plastic screw handle at the top of the guard (with a chunk missing), which holds the blade guard in place. Place your workpiece on the bed, and gently undo the black handle (lefty-loosey) . When the guard comes loose, slide it up or down to make sure there is around 5mm clearance between the top of the workpiece, and the very bottom of the guard. Now, re-tighten the black plastic handle.
Check tension control - the back of the bandsaw contains a chart listing what tension the blade should be under, depending on blade width and material. A window in the chart displays the current band tension, under the heading “TENSION”. If necessary, you can adjust the tension using the handle that sticks out of the bottom of the upper section of the band saw. This is visible in the photo below: the handle is beneath the chart, and bends at 90 degrees, with a black knob on the end. The handle turns both ways, and as it turns the tension displayed in the window will begin to move round towards either “low” or “high”.
Check if blade is correctly installed - if the blade moves backwards and forwards or side to side more than a tiny amount, then the blade is loose, meaning there is a greater risk of damage and injury. The tool is in a dangerous state and should not be used - contact the woodtechs
The image below shows the two sets of metal blade guides - one just beneath the bed, and the other hanging from the blade guard. Note: these are not clamps which hold the blade - there should be a very narrow gap between the blade and the guides, which ensures that the blade stays straight when cutting. If this gap is too wide, then the saw can move from side-to-side too much, which will give a poor cut and a greater risk of damage or injury. If the gap is too narrow, then the guides will damage the blade, and could be jammed by fragments of your material. Adjusting these is a specialist skill - if you are concerned, then ask a woodtech.
Adjust extractor gates - ensure that maximum suction is directed to the extraction pipe on the bandsaw, by opening the metal gate on the tubing to the bandsaw, and closing all the other gates in the extraction system.
Mark the cut across the top of your material - this will help ensure you cut correctly first time! This is especially important if you only need to cut part way into your material, rather than all the way through. Remember: measure twice, cut once.
Congratulations, you’re now ready to saw!
##Using the bandsaw
- Ensure you are wearing eye protection, and the power to the bandsaw is still off!
- Check that:
- Fence is in correct position and tightened
- Blade guard is set at the right height
- Blade is not loose
- Blade is not fouled by any small chunks of material from previous usage that have slid down the blade
- Material should not be in contact with the blade
- Turn on extraction, and power to the band saw
- Press the green button on the upper section of the bandsaw to start - wait a few seconds for the blade to get up to speed. If there are any unpleasant noises, kill the power, and contact a woodtech
- Make sure you are stood comfortably in front of the bandsaw, with the teeth of the blade pointing straight at you.
- Ensure that your fingers are always at least 6 inches from the blade - push your workpiece with a scrap offcut if necessary
- Do not put your fingers around the back of the guard, or go to grip the guard - the back of the fast-moving band is exposed, and can severely injure you.
- Hold the workpiece firmly, and push gently up to the blade until the teeth engage. Continue to gently feed the workpiece to the blade - the amount of pressure you need to apply will vary depending on material and depth. If there is any smoke, or a nasty whining noise, then you are using too much force! It should cut most material very smoothly and easily. Let the tool do the work.
- Ensure the blade follows your cut mark - remember that only slight curves can be cut with the bandsaw. Do not try to twist the work piece more than a few degrees to adjust the cutting path.
- If you have cut all the way through your workpiece, then press the red button to kill the power, and wait for the blade to stop moving fully before removing your workpiece form the bed.
- If you haven’t cut all the way through your workpiece, then you may find it easier to slide the workpiece back out whilst the saw is still powered. Be very careful not to twist the blade or cause friction with the back of the blade. Ensure that the teeth are not touching your material when you kill the power.
- Check for any small pieces of material which may have slipped down between the blade and the bed. If necessary, isolate the tool from power and clear these by hand/compressed air.
- If doing lots of cutting, then periodically isolate the tool from power and check the blade is not loose.
When finished with the tool
- Isolate the tool by turning off its power supply.
- Clean the bed, and make sure there are no small pieces of material between the bed and blade.
- Refit the wooden fence if you removed it.
- Sweep and hoover!