What does it do? How can I use it? Why will it help me?
A band saw is an automated sawing machine where the saw blade is welded into a continuous loop and passed along a pulley system. It is a multi-point machining tool used primarily for cutting metal stock in preparation for other processes.
Band saws may be either vertical or horizontal. With a band saw, the workpiece is held stationary while the saw blade moves.
Band saws provide more power and speed than hacksaws (where a blade reciprocates back and forth), though hacksaws may cost much less and have more durable blades.
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Process Description: How does it work?
All band saws work though basically identical processes. The long, flexible saw blade is butt welded into a loop and travels continuously along several pulleys or drives. Band saws are classified based on the orientation of the cut.
Vertical band saws are used for cut-off, contouring, or slotting. The workpiece can sit on a fixed table or a power table.
Horizontal band saws are almost exclusively used as alternatives to hacksaws for cut-off operations, so that they are also referred to as cut-off saws.
Several accessories may also come with the saw. Most saws will include a blade welder to connect the two ends of the saw blade loop. Heavier-duty saws will often have a coolant system to increase the life of the blade, since a large amount of heat is generated. Sometimes there will also be an air pump placed near the kerf (the path of the cut) to blow away chips for better visibility.
Band saws are used in basically every manufacturing industry.
Band saws have mostly been used to cut off bar or tube stock, though thanks to advances in technology they are now also being used for contouring—including internal and external shapes both simple and complex.