More Bandsaw Details

SBW-4300CE 17" Carbatec Industrial Bandsaw

A bit more info on the new bandsaw (and I’ll take some detail photos shortly to show some features not seen in this collection):

2HP Motor

The bandsaw is a 2HP, 240V using an induction motor (near silent running).  The bandsaw has two speeds, achieved via a belt drive/pulley system, giving 850 or 430 m/min (51km/hr 26km/hr).  These are not unusual speeds for a bandsaw, but are curious when compared to the cutter tip speed of a circular saw (around 200km/hr).  Having a bandsaw blade running 4 times faster would be freaky at best (and downright scary).

Even so, as much as I find a bandsaw significantly safer to use than a circular saw (for one, the direction of cut being down, into the table below the workpiece, rather than towards the operator), the quietness of this saw, and long stopping times means care is still definitely required, especially in a workshop with more than one user.

Part of the reason for the slow stopping time is the solid cast iron wheels. They are very heavy, so retain a great deal of angular momentum when the motor is stopped.  There is no electronic brake (and that again is not unusual for a bandsaw).  There are some very good reasons for having cast iron wheels: for one, cast iron is an excellent vibration absorber.  Secondly, having a large amount of angular momentum results in a very even cutting speed, and this can translate to a smoother finish (and makes operating the machine easier).  Thirdly, a cast iron wheel can be cast then machined very accurately, and will then result in a particularly round, balanced wheel.  One advantage of wheels that run true is they are not micro-flexing the blade – rapidly increasing and decreasing blade tension.  I haven’t any specific evidence that this would result in a decreased blade life, but it won’t help it!

Speaking of cast iron – it has a 610 x 440 cast iron table as the main work surface, with a mitre slot.  It tilts from -10 to +45 degrees, however if you use the “positive stop”, you cannot get to -10 without removing the stop.  (The stop being a simple bolt with a nut to lock it in position, which would have been much better if it had been designed to fold out of the way when it was in the way!  The tilt is done via a rack and pinion, making is easier to set the angle than trying to balance a large table of cast iron, and locking it when you get the angle close enough.

There are two 4″ dust collection points – one directly below the table where the dust is generated, and one at the bottom of the cabinet.  In the lower cabinet there are two brushes to ensure as little dust gets compressed between the blade and the rubber on the wheel.  The less dust that gets pushed into the rubber surface, the smoother the machine will run.

Aluminium alloy fence with magnifier

It comes with an aluminium box section fence which is higher than the typical bandsaw fence.  I haven’t tried as yet to see if the angle can be changed to account for blade tracking. A bit disappointingly, the fence didn’t have a post guide – for resawing/cutting veneers.

The bandsaw can take blades from 1/8″ to 1″ width.  Not specifically sure why the minimum blade limit (although in the past I’ve tried narrower than specified blades, and not been able to get them to track correctly).  The maximum size is valid – it comes down to how strong the frame is to resist the compression caused by the tension in the blade.  Blades need to be run with a high degree of tension – and from what I’ve read, more than is typically applied by operators.  Unfortunately a blade-tension meter is too expensive for the average workshop.

Rack and pinion positioned blade guard

It has substantial bearing guides, top and bottom, with the side guides mounted on eccentric posts.  The top guides are mounted on the guard which is raised and lowered by rack and pinion.

Blade detensioning lever

Finally, a particularly useful component is the blade detensioning lever.  Unlike some other levers I’ve used, this one completely removes the tension out of the blade.  At the end of the working day, it is a good idea to wind tension off the blade.  Having a lever to easily take that tension out (and reapply it next time you want to work) will increase the life of the blade and bandsaw components (especially the tensioning spring), and because it makes it easy to do, you are much more inclined to do so!

So that is a bit of an overview of the 17″ Industrial Carbatec Bandsaw.  I’ll source some decent blades for it, and then we will see what it can really do.

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