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alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/4/19 10:40 a.m.
AWSX1686 said:
Robbie said:

Why the portable band saw over a sawzall with a metal blade? I love my sawzall, and even prefer it to using the abrasive chop saw most of the time. Since I'm not out for breaking speed records, it does just fine. 

And as long as I mark the part well, I can cut quite accurately with a sawzall.  

Good point... With some nicer quality blades and some practice I could probably make good use of my sawzall. 

delicate and small parts is why.  If you can't clamp it, and need to feed by hand- a band saw is light years safer than a huge sawzall.  

On a tangent, is there a band saw that has the speed spread to cover both metal and wood blades?

RevRico
RevRico PowerDork
3/4/19 10:45 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

It might not be the recommended use, but I use my HF portaband for both. 

I have the previous model so I can't speak for the new one, but it has a dial to change the speed. I don't even change the blade.

It's a decent compromise, not perfect, but good enough for backyard work. 

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
3/4/19 10:58 a.m.
alfadriver said:
AWSX1686 said:
Robbie said:

Why the portable band saw over a sawzall with a metal blade? I love my sawzall, and even prefer it to using the abrasive chop saw most of the time. Since I'm not out for breaking speed records, it does just fine. 

And as long as I mark the part well, I can cut quite accurately with a sawzall.  

Good point... With some nicer quality blades and some practice I could probably make good use of my sawzall. 

delicate and small parts is why.  If you can't clamp it, and need to feed by hand- a band saw is light years safer than a huge sawzall.  

On a tangent, is there a band saw that has the speed spread to cover both metal and wood blades?

you mean like feeding small wood pieces on a vertical bandsaw? I don't think that is the main use case for a horizontal bandsaw (or portable for that matter). 

If you have a metal piece that is too intricate to cut with a sawzall when the piece is held in a vice, then i'd suggest reaching for the manual hacksaw or a jewelry saw like a coping saw with a metal blade. If you have to make 50, then yes a vertical bandsaw would be really nice. If you only need a few the hand saws are going to be the cheapest accurate way to get there. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/4/19 11:03 a.m.

In reply to Robbie :

If I needed a 1-2" section of 4" pipe, seems like a band saw would do a better job- as the torque and force required to hold it in place would be easier than a sawzall.  

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
3/4/19 11:12 a.m.

I have the red harbor freight bandsaw.  The table leaves a lot to be desired, but you can beef it up with a layer of plate and add some braces.  It does take a fair amount of tuning to make it work right. Dont even bother with the blade that comes with it, get a better blade right away and tuning it will go easier. 

Furious_E
Furious_E UltraDork
3/4/19 11:29 a.m.

I've had my eyes on these lately too, as I am making a bit of a concerted effort to upgrade my shop equipment this year. Saw one on CL over the weekend listed at like $150-200ish, brand new in box, but it now appears to be gone sad

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
3/4/19 12:12 p.m.
Robbie said:

Why the portable band saw over a sawzall with a metal blade? I love my sawzall, and even prefer it to using the abrasive chop saw most of the time. Since I'm not out for breaking speed records, it does just fine. 

And as long as I mark the part well, I can cut quite accurately with a sawzall.  

A portaband is FAR superior to a sawzall for metal cutting.

It cuts faster (50% of the time the sawzall is moving backwards), and is ALWAYS on the cutting stroke.  That means less jumping back and forth, smoother, and much more precision.

With a sawzall, a lot of energy is used keeping the saw from jumping out of the cut.  Damaging blades, etc.  With a portaband, ALL of the energy is used to hold and guide the machine for a quality cut.  

It's also a thinner blade (front to rear), so it can cut curves easier.

It's also supported at BOTH ends of the throat.  A sawzall only has guides at one end.

The basic machine is heavier.  The portaband will slice through material with it's own weight.  The sawzall encourages the user to rock the machine back and forth.  The heft also helps with the accuracy.

Also, every single tooth on a portaband blade is used for every single cut.  A sawzall only engages the first few teeth closest to the foot (depending on material thickness).

Lastly, a sawzall has an orbital action.  This is optimum for wood cutting, but not for metal.  

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/4/19 12:34 p.m.

quick note- I just realized that I was mixing up a sawzall for a metal chop saw....

I've never once got a straight cut from a sawzall...  It works, but a band would be a lot neater.

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
3/4/19 12:50 p.m.

Slow down, don't force it, and use these. I get pretty darn good results. at least on par if not better than my abrasive chop saw (which also requires much more finishing after the cut).  Maybe I'll look into a portaband though if they are really that much better. 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 SuperDork
3/4/19 1:34 p.m.

I've used my friend's Milwaukee corded portaband and have liked it. It takes some practice to make a straight cut though.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
3/4/19 1:35 p.m.

In reply to Robbie :

Even with the best possible blade, you are only cutting on the pull stroke, and then on the push stroke you are dragging the teeth across the material backwards (dulling them). 

Sawzalls are awesome. I have 3 in my truck. But they can’t compete with a portaband for metal cutting. 

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
5/28/20 4:44 a.m.

this seems like the right thread to drop this into, maybe this thread?

anyhow.  haven't watched all the way through...
 

 

collinskl1
collinskl1 Reader
5/28/20 6:32 a.m.
bigdaddylee82 said:

I've had the HF 4x6" bandsaw for about 5 years.  I hate abrasive saw's noise, mess, and heat, so the bandsaw is head and shoulders above any abrasive chop saw in my opinion.

As with a lot of HF stuff, it needs a little tweaking to be "good."  The stock blade is garbage, I went with an Irwin variable pitch bi-metal blade, 10-14 TPI I think.  I stocked up back when Enco was a thing and had a sale, I still have two left.  I think this is the blade I use, link.

The oil in the gear box was nasty, super thin, super black, think used diesel oil, and full of sand.  They didn't bother to blow the casting sand out ouf any crevasses before slathering it with paint.  I cleaned the gear box out, and replaced the oil with some AMSOIL stuff that's safe for bronze, the worm and pinion are bronze (maybe brass).

Spend a little time tightening, and straightening things, and it's a great horizontal saw.  The vertical function leaves some to be desired, table is small, and flimsy.

At the time I bought, it was one of the few large items that their 25% coupons worked on.  They'll likely be having another 25% coupon around Easter, they usually do. 

Don't buy it online, though, FedEx destroyed the first two that were shipped to me, of course they were shipped in their retail packaging, no extra boxing, no pallet, the thing's like 150 lbs.  I went through the effort and headache to ship the first one back, then when the second showed up broke as well, I convinced HF's customer service to let me swap it for one in the store.  Some wires got crossed, and they later mailed me collections threats for not RMAing the second saw.  That required a month of back and forth, and several calls to India, to get them to understand I didn't steal a saw from them.  Such a headache.

 

All of this. I've had mine for 10 years, and after proper adjusting and a good blade, it's great. It does take up a fair amount of space in my small garage, but I much prefer using it to grinders or a sawzall. I've never gotten around to it, but I want to build a new stand for it on casters so it's more easily tucked away when not in use.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/28/20 8:22 a.m.

In reply to sleepyhead the buffalo :

Neat project, although his switch wiring should be in an enclosure. At least he notices it's not safe as completed. Hopefully he fixes that in Part 2.

pirate
pirate HalfDork
5/28/20 4:28 p.m.

Well I worked in the tooling industry for a lot of yeas. For making simple cutoffs or intricate shapes in flat stock nothing beats an industrial grade vertical bandsaw. Unfortunately band saws with the ability to cut steel are expensive and take up a lot to floor space. I have a 14" wood cutting vertical bandsaw with adjustable speed that I use to cut aluminum. Also have chop saw, sawzall, etc. For me with limited space the horizontal band saw is probably not the answer.

What I have been looking at is portable bandsaws with one of the Swag Off-Road table or vise mount tables. Even though you can buy a new HF portable bandsaw for less then the price of a used Milwaukee, DeWalt I'm not sure it is worth it from what I have read. A lot of folks say the portable bandsaw with a Swag table is one of the most used tools in the shop. I guess everything mentioned is a compromise. There is a lot of truth to the old adage of "use the right tool for the job". I'm looking for the best compromise.

 

AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter)
AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/28/20 10:37 p.m.

You can also use the Harbor Freight portaband with some of those SWAG tables too. 
 

HF portaband, with hard case, is only $100 with coupon. So far I like mine. I'm too cheap to pay SWAG for a table, so I plan to make one soon. It's just two bolt holes and a slot. (Not including the guide channel.)

pirate
pirate HalfDork
5/29/20 12:29 p.m.

Anyone else using HF portaband? How do you like it. Appears even used Milwaukee or DeWalt are over $150 plus shipping.

AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter)
AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/29/20 12:34 p.m.

In reply to pirate :

So far so good for me, my buddy came over the other day and was half ticked because he said it was all but identical to his Milwaukee one. Main difference he said was the guide plate has to be loosened with an Allan key on the HF, apparently the Milwaukee has a quick release. 

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