View Full Version : Top Metal Band Saws for Under $500


spankbomb
11-19-2008, 02:35 PM
I'm looking for a band saw that can meet the following needs:


Reliable for the average hobbyist
Can cut up to 2" tube and 3/4" plate
Is portable to be moved outside to work with during nice weather
110 circuit
Adjustable to cut tubing or plate at angles
Would like to stay under $500 with S&H and taxes, under $300 even better if possible
Automatic shutoff would be nice but not 100% necessary


What do you think about the following choices?

http://grizzly.com/products/4-x-6-Metal-Cutting-Bandsaw-w-Swivel-Head/G9742

http://grizzly.com/products/4-x-6-Metal-Cutting-Bandsaw/G0622

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93762

Thanks in advance for the advice.

Later,
Jon D.

chappys4life
11-19-2008, 02:37 PM
The harbor freight one is awesome. There are even some modifications you can make to make it even better.

spankbomb
11-19-2008, 05:11 PM
Do you have any info on the modifications?

Brad54
11-19-2008, 11:38 PM
Do you have any info on the modifications?
Just google "4x6 band saw" and you'll have pages and pages of modifications. These saws are very simple, and therefore pretty dang reliable. They have a HUGE following. I've seen posts where guys rig up hydraulic feeds, coolant pumps, etc.

I've got one I bought at my swap meet for $100, and I'm VERY happy with it. Spent a little time tweaking it--adjusted a few things, replaced a few bolts, but nothing major.

One thing about these saws is that the stands are flimsy...nearly a joke. Mine is still on the original stand, but I've got plans to fix that. New stands are a very popular upgrade.

The general rule seems to be "Don't buy a tool from Harbor Freight if it has an electrical cord." But their 4x6 horizontal saws are the exception to the rule.
-Brad

RAYJAY
11-20-2008, 01:00 AM
x2 for me also on the harbor freight saw , the factory blade is junk but the rest of the saw works really good

jeff

jwith68
11-20-2008, 11:31 AM
I REALLY like the idea of the swivel head version, like the Grizzly in your first link. Much nicer for angle cuts. Here is what appears to be the same saw (maybe with a better set of wheels on it) for considerably less money. This one is actually quite competitive with the non-swivel versions, considering its angle cut capabilities.

http://www.homier.com/detail.asp?SessionKey=cvIkUibC0WFxbpW8egIBAyf%2fBX PzlKCCS6tFl0wDVX8s%2bEF9oGuSmO1JYPMcmF3lB6llGm%2bx i1yy&dpt=9&cat=119&sku=03111

spankbomb
11-20-2008, 12:50 PM
Thanks for the link. I'll search the forums for feedback on Homier. I sent them a message to get a quote on shipping...

lametec
11-20-2008, 01:36 PM
The Homier unit looks to be basically the same saw as HF with a different base. And for only $40 more than the HF unit, it definitely looks like a better buy.

FWIW, I bought my HF bandsaw back in April for $139.99. Not sure what happened to increase the price by that much.

spankbomb
11-20-2008, 04:56 PM
The latest HF mailer I received two nights ago listed it for $189.99 until December 26th, which is still $50 more than what you paid in April.

The search on Homier produced some not too favorable reviews on a lot of their products, but nothing specific to the band saw.

Shipping on the Homier is about $115, making it about $57 cheaper than the Grizzly.

Still searching...

mtor
11-20-2008, 07:12 PM
What you will notice is the cutting head on all of these saws are the same. I bought a really cheap one; made a nice swivel base for it and added a hydraulic feed. I now have a saw that performs like an 1000 band saw for about 300 dollars.

no matter which you choose when you assemble the saw throw way the supplied hardware and get our own.

Theo
11-20-2008, 08:18 PM
Once you fix up the base and put a good blade on it *cough* Milford Easy Cut *cough* I'd suggest rigging up a hydraulic feed. It's amazing what even a small saw will cut if you can can control the feed rate.

Brad54
11-20-2008, 10:24 PM
What you will notice is the cutting head on all of these saws are the same. I bought a really cheap one; made a nice swivel base for it and added a hydraulic feed. I now have a saw that performs like an 1000 band saw for about 300 dollars.



:needpics:


Also, how is the hydraulic feed better than a gravity feed with a spring "tuned" to let the weight of the saw do the work? The spring on my saw can be tightened or loosened a bit to make the resistance greater or less when the saw is dropping. I've got it tuned so there isn't a great deal of downward force, but enough to gently walk the blade through the material. I can't see where a hydraulic feed would accomplish anything different or better, but if it will, I'd certainly like to know more about it!

-Brad

terabyte
11-20-2008, 11:35 PM
:needpics:


Also, how is the hydraulic feed better than a gravity feed with a spring "tuned" to let the weight of the saw do the work? The spring on my saw can be tightened or loosened a bit to make the resistance greater or less when the saw is dropping. I've got it tuned so there isn't a great deal of downward force, but enough to gently walk the blade through the material. I can't see where a hydraulic feed would accomplish anything different or better, but if it will, I'd certainly like to know more about it!

-Brad

:thumbup: +1 i'd like to know as well
and need to see some pics

RAYJAY
11-21-2008, 12:20 AM
Do you have any info on the modifications?



http://www.mini-lathe.com/Bandsaw/Bandsaw.htm



http://www.tinyisland.com/4x6bsFAQ.html

mtor
11-22-2008, 12:50 PM
i was having problems with the spring feed. the hydraulic feed isn't really that fancy it is like a screen door closer. I found one on eBay. They are easy to attach, most attach to one of the bolts on the gear box and then to the base. The one I have has adjustment on it. I like it because i can walk away from the saw when it is cutting something thick and come back to it after the cut finishes. I find the gravity feed doesn't work that great and doesn't have a consistent feed. I was constantly nudging the saw head to get it to cut. The hydraulic feed applies a more consistent amount of pressure throughout the cut.

Also i know someone mentioned auto shut off. The setup that came with the saw was that when the saw reached the end of the cut a small tab on the cutter head would push the toggle switch open. it is a good feature to have. especially if you are like me and wander off while you are cutting thick metal.

i'll try to get some pics for you of the mods i made, it currently is at a friends garage, but i hope i can help someone with some ideas for modification.

LoneGunman
11-22-2008, 02:02 PM
An auto shutoff is super easy to make if the saw does not come with one, one limit switch and a little wire and you are good to go. I'm restoring an old Dayton (when Dayton was still a quality US made piece of machinery) and will be fabricating an auto stop, I'll try the gravity feed and if I do not like it I'll research the hydraulic feed.

RAYJAY
11-22-2008, 02:42 PM
found some more links for the bandsaws

Here are some links for improvements for the saw:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/4x6bandsaw/
http://www.mini-lathe.com/Bandsaw/Bandsaw.htm
http://www.tinyisland.com/4x6bsFAQ.html
http://www.homemetalshopclub.org/projects/sawstand/sawstand.html

http://www.hobartwelders.com/mboard/showthread.php?threadid=734&highlight=bandsaw

spankbomb
11-22-2008, 09:32 PM
Great links, y'all. Thanks. I'm leaning towards the HF, but I have time and will continue to surf CL and ebay.

Does anyone know if the Delta Model 28-650 bandsaw is made for cutting steel or is it just for wood/non-ferrous metals?

RAYJAY
11-22-2008, 09:41 PM
Great links, y'all. Thanks. I'm leaning towards the HF, but I have time and will continue to surf CL and ebay.

Does anyone know if the Delta Model 28-650 bandsaw is made for cutting steel or is it just for wood/non-ferrous metals?


i would go with the harbor freight saw wait till you get one of the 15% off coupons and its on sale thats waht i did

Jeff

Uncle Buck
11-22-2008, 10:04 PM
Not a lick of difference between a HF cheapie and anyone else's. Find the best price and buy it, forget the color and brand cause they are all the same except the paint and sticker!

spankbomb
05-25-2009, 10:27 AM
I ended up with a Woodward Fab band saw for about $250 off of CL.

http://www.woodwardfab.com/woodward_fab_metal_cutting_saws.htm

I'm learning as I go, but I already need a new blade as the one that came with it broke.

Any recommendations on blades? Cutting mainly DOM and HREW...

Thanks,
Jon D.

A_Pmech
05-25-2009, 10:48 AM
I would start out with a few carbon steel bands until you learn how to use the saw. Some hydraulic feeds are finicky, and you'll likely murder a band or two. Then, switch to bi-metal. They're triple the price, but last 10x longer with proper care. Don't bother with coolant, oil, etc. Waste of time for tubing, especially with a bi-metal saw.

Regarding tooth count, a very simple rule is 1.5 teeth should engage the work at all times. So, as the tubing wall thickness narrows, the band should have more teeth. Too few teeth and the the band will sink into the gullets, ripping the teeth off. Too many teeth, and the gullets will fill with swarf, seizing the band in the cut and ripping the teeth off.

For tubing up to 1/8" wall, I'd start with a 10/14 12/14 or straight 14 pitch band.

For more information on band selection, have a look here:

http://www.ellissaw.com/Band-Saw-Blades/5/band-saw-blade-tooth-selection

You can order welded-to-length bands though Victor Machinery, among other places.

Uncle Buck
05-25-2009, 10:55 AM
Bought this one used for $75.00 it's an old USA job. If you are patient you can still find them out there. Far less than $500 too. I still need to tear him down and make him look new, for now though he will do just fine in his workin clothes.
http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll186/safety1_photos/Picture026.jpg

Vulturej
05-25-2009, 11:08 AM
Wish you lived closer to me, I would have gave you a deal on the one sitting in my garage.:)

I buy Starrett blades for my band saws, not the cheapest but I get a discount through work.
http://www.starrett.com/pages/4_saw_blades_power_tool_accessories.cfm

http://i725.photobucket.com/albums/ww257/vulturej_2009/P1010950.jpg

chrislehr
05-25-2009, 11:14 AM
I just bought the cheapest one cman had for like 99$ on sale. Only being used for light woodworking and meat/bone from time to time.

Dexter.

Keep
05-25-2009, 11:28 AM
http://busybeetools.ca/cgi-bin/picture10?NTITEM=B2544

I picked that one up a month or so ago. So far I am very happy with it. A bi-metal blade and slower speed gives me nice cuts. It took a bit of tweaking to keep the cuts square but that was more from me not reading the directions (Like any of us do!!).

Put it on a craftsman mobile base (That was 60% off) and it fits nicely next to the bench I built using it.