urnesBeast

bandsaw versus chop saw

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I am planning out my new smithy. I know I am going to want some machine to cut stock with. I wonder if I want this chop saw
or this bandsaw.

I see that I will likely be pulling stock from a rack, dropping it on a long table shared between a wood radial arm saw and one of these machines.

What advantage do you see to each of them? I am not as concerned about price as I am functionality and utility of each machine.

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If it was me, I`d get the bandsaw, no sparks, more versital. And you can put something big and be doing something else while its cutting. But dont try to cut Hardened stuff with it thats whena Chop saw is nice .

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A chop saw is usually 200-400$ for a nice one but that harbor freight will probably do the job for a while. The bandsaw requires getting tension right, lubricant, good blades, etc and thus comes with more expense but can deliver fairly versatile cuts. They both do the same thing. The chopsaw gives is a lot hotter, messier of course but is also usually faster for making square cuts in metal.

Since your investigating entry equipment i'd go with the chop saw and then save up for a really nice horizontal bandsaw or vertical bandsaw that you will have over a lifetime. Then you can chop every red cent out of that 99$ chopsaw and in two years or so when it smokes and dies you'll have gotten every bit of your money out of it.

Here is my vertical 14" bandsaw. Works great for most things, but for just cutting steel at a perfect 90dgs a good chopsaw (or horizontal saw) is better, especially for angle iron, square and rod. I want to make blades and armour so thats why I got the vertical saw. So indeed a lot of this comes down to what you plan on making in your shop.

If your not too concerned about price I would suggest something more like this

Dewalt D28700 Heavy-Duty 14" (355mm) Chop Saw or Bosch 3814 14in. Abrasive Cut-Off Machine and if you insist on the horizontal or vertical saw then I would recommend something like Grizzly saws

Grizzly, Jet, KBC, MSC, these are much better brands. I hate to see someone step into a real piece of machinery and go with HF because there equipment I consider expendable and your building a shop so I'm presuming that you'll be in metalwork for a good time to come.

Cheers.

15066.attach

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Avadon guided you right. Depending on what u need to cut u make the choise. If u cut really thick stock don't think on the abrasive chop saw. U also can consider this Milwaukee 6190-20 chop saw it uses a metal disk to cut metal. Less dust faster and straightter.(Loewer RPM than abrasive's one) I always wished for one but in Romania it's quite expensive. Go for one if u have lots of cuts and u want them fast. If u cut thick stock go for a bandsaw. This again is just my opinion and you can contradict me if i am wrong. I currently use a shop build chop saw(abrasive) after buying 2 BOSCH and ruined them at 10 hours/day cuts in 2 years.The most comon cut was 14x14mm sqauare stock.

Edited by Valentin

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As Chris says the chop saw will cut hard steels, mystery alloys and thin stock for you but at the price of noise, smoke, sparks and abrasive grit.

The HV bandsaws on the other hand are start and go do something else machines. I have a Jet 7" x 12" HV bandsaw and it's the single most used machine in my shop. I have a Millwaukee chop saw but haven't used it in a number of years. My biggest gripe is having to switch it over from horizontal to vertical, I'd rather have a dedicated vertical bandsaw but I'm more than happy with this one.

If you get a quality machine it'll come with instructions for adjusting, care and maintenance.

Mine has the liquid coolant pump but I don't use it, more mess than it's worth IMHO. I haven't noticed a difference in blade life nor quality of cut with or without the bath running.

HF tools are generally temporary, you'll be lucky to get two years out of one.

One last word in favor of bandsaws. The worn blades make nice pattern welded billets. :cool:

Frosty

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I think most people think they're going to have to have the horizontal saw because they expect to cut steel billet. Of course you may end up cutting a lot of thick metal, but I think most come to find out that their average cut on a saw is 3/8's and under with cuts in 1/2"-1" or above less common. If your starting a small fabrication shop I think you'll probably get more use out of the chop saw because of its speed in production work. Those saws were designed exactly for grabbing long stock and cutting it quickly into sections. But if you have some specific need to be making lots of straight cuts through the thick stuff then I suggest saving up and get yourself a serious horizontal saw.

One last word in favor of bandsaws. The worn blades make nice pattern welded billets. :cool:Frosty

oh yah they sure do huh, ^_^ that is one of the special perks that every bandsaw owner finds out about. I also have a certain steel mill I go to who sales me their giant 1.5" scrapped bandsaw blades for $1 each. To them they are junk, bandsaw blades with worn or a few broken teeth. To me it's a goldmine! :) I always keep my eye out for hacksaw blades, bandsaw blades, junked files, vice jaws, etc. You can't go wrong with that stuff. Fun to play around with.

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I have one of each the chop saw just died this year (I had it for about 10 years) the ban saw is still going strong ( you need to get good blades) there are pictures on this site for a larger table for the ban saw also a load of information on the web to beef up this saw I believe this is the same saw sold by tractor supply, Northern , and all the others. I think they just change the paint job to suit the customer.
If you plan on moving it around a lot make a new stand .

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The HF band saw was purchased to do only a couple of jobs and blades jumping the track was a big issue with the saw. It cuts but not always straight.

The HF chop saw failed (smoked the motor) on the second blade . Milwaukee replacement was 3x the price and has already paid for it's self many times over. Milwaukee came with a 5 year warranty. That led to the purchase of a Milwaukee drill and a Milwaukee jig saw. Both have served me well.

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A chop saw is fast? On some stuff maybe but the last railing job I did I was cutting 1/2" sq in 30" lengths for about 60' or railing. It was a fab job I must confess.

I started off with 23 sticks of 1/2" sq. stacked them in the band saw with one end evened up and banded them with a big hose clamp. I cut the bundle in half, took the half that was banded and set it next to the half in the saw, trued up the end, banded it and cut it in half. Did it one more time and had all my pickets. Took just about half an hour.

That was my old small HV band saw.

While the band saw was cutting the picket bundle (unsupervised) I was laying out the balusters, bottom and cap rails. I'd cut them first so I could be laying them out while the pickets were being cut. I stacked the picket stock while the rails and balusters were getting cut.

My jig was nailed to the deck of my trailer, 2x4 stubs for spacers and 3/4" sq. to hold the pickets centered on the bottom and cap rails. The balusters were 1 1/2" sq tubing and rested on 1/4" flat to hold on center.

With the bottom and cap rails tacked to the balusters I simply dealt the pickets into the gaps in the 2x4 blocks, fired up the stick welder and nailed them down. I used a pair of cable come alongs to keep it from wracking. Flip the section over nail the other side down and finish welding the balusters rails.

I could say the whole job only took about four hours but that wouldn't be accurate seeing as I spent a couple days sketching and thinking about my jigs and a day setting them up. About half an hour to rip all those pesky little blocks off my trailer deck too.

My X associates did a smaller railing job using a chop saw and spent two days just cutting pickets. It took all three of them because nobody could stand to cut for more than maybe 15-20 mins at a time and they turned into really REALLY irritable guys before lunch.

Of course the real time savers for me were cutting lots of pieces at once and not having to stand there pushing a saw handle for every single cut. I was able to do other things instead AND listen to the radio without hearing protection.

Different strokes. ;)

Frosty

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HF tools. well suited to occasional use, not suited to production use.

I have a HF band saw that is 10 years old. My friend has one that is 15 years old.
and in intermitant serious use. It has gone through one motor.

I use the saw very carefully and pay attention to it every minute. It cuts well but needs careful set up and monitoring to do an accurate job.

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Band Saw for me, I start mine and go do something else. I come back after I hear the cut stock fall.

Edited by nitewatchman
Stoopid Fangers

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Will not trade my W. F. Wells A-7 band saw for anything......... built in 1978 and torture tested in my shop since 1998. It will not die. I've turned the chop saw into a doorstop. It's nice to clamp up a bunch of stock and go weld a while or forge at the power hammer. Bi-metal blades with a 10-14 variable tooth pitch cut nearly everything well. Choose wisely.

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urnesBeast: I gotta go with marcB. That little saw really cuts. Some people rig up a fixture for holding it vertical, works a treat! If you're doing a lot of cutting the horizontal is better, prolly.

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I perfer the bandsaw. Cuts can be made while you do something else once you get it started. Not near as messy and to me seems more accurate, I have some problem with the blade jumping off but not that often. One day when I can afford it I will buy a more heavy duty band saw. I had a Dewalt chop saw and the motor smoked on it after about a year and a half and I had only used it now and then. Just my thoughts and experiences.

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I've got both and haven't used my chop saw since I got my bandsaw.

Chopsaws are loud, hot, and dirty. They have a very large kerf and are okay for accuracy. They are great for hardened steel and mystery alloy steel.

Bandsaws, are quiet, cool and have a very minimal kerf. If properly adjusted, they have excellent accuracy.

Just make sure you get good blades if you get a bandsaw.

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I have a similar band saw and as others have said it's hard to keep it adjusted where it cuts straight. I find even the wear of the blade whacks out the adjustment. We have a large industrial Delta horizonal saw at work that's great. I have cut train track rail with no problem. I wish I had something half way in between. I chop saw works well for some cuts ( like precision repeatable angles ) but they are loud, stinking, and make a hugh mess. If I had only one it would be a band saw, but a size larger thatn the one you listed.

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I have both, use the Horz. band saw most for detail and smaller stock, but chop saw for pattern welded Billets of tool steels.

I want to get a larger horz band saw, with 1 inch blades for my tool steels and such.

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I opened my machine job shop in 1984 and still have all the equipment and tools. Bandsaw was first tool bought, HF quality and price, but not brand. I know it has cut a million or more parts since it was purchased, because I DID a lot of production machining too; 1000 pc runs, etc. Still cuts staright as an arrow if you know how to adjust them right. Is probably on 3rd set of guide bearings and when original motor smoked I replaced with a new 1/2 hp Baldor. Chopsaw here to, but only used on hardened materials or mystery steels.

A few differences:

Bandsaw blades snap and can be used after in billets
Chopsaw blades can and do explode if hidden cracks are lurking inside.

Bandsaw kerf for cutting is 1/16" wide or less, Chopsaws cut 1/8"-1/4" wide and excessively heat both sides of cut area. Multiply # of cuts times cut width to determine how much material is lost per job.

Bandsaws, such as the HF pictured in original post, are designed to cut "DRY". I collect all my nice clean metal dust and keep each specific material flavor seperate as it works great later for powered damascus and hey, it's free.
Chopsaw just throws a bunch of sparks that seem to go where they want and pose a fire threat too.

Bandsaw will cut non-ferrous materials.
Chopsaw, wheel loads with non-ferrous materials and more potential for exploding wheels.

Bandsaw can cut precisely as in the slitting of Fredrick crosses,
Chopsaw doing same???????...... I wanna watch.

Chopsaw alternative, use your angle grinder.

Edited by trying-it

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I bought a cheap Tool Shop Porta-Band and built a stand for it to make it a benchtop vertical. Other than being loud for a bandsaw and having to clean it out regularly, I like it and use it regularly on wood and plastic.

My experience with abrasive saws has been that they are more expensive to feed also. The one I used at my old job went through a lot of blades.

Kendrick

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I tried a chop saw, and was very unhappy with it, for anything thicker, it took forever. I bought a used bandsaw for 100 and it was much better. BUT if you keep you eyes out you can find a really good horizontal bandsaw and possibly a vertical I got this vertical for 350 and the horizontal for 300. sorry the pic is not that good. ITs a johnson horizontal and do all vertical. It took a couple of years on craigs list to find it, but you never know when you are going to get lucky. I do some welding and other things and the chop saw just won't do the job for many applications. good luck! kevin

15170.attach

Edited by mod07
photo edit

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1/2" blade, 64-1/2" length.
For most adjusting: Back guide bearings off, Install blade, Adjust each bearing to lightly contact the already properly tensioned blade. Note: Watch top bearings for a small wear groove that appears over time from constant contact with blade. That worn groove will cause blade to drift. Removing bearing and reinstall in opposite position gives you a new bearing contact area. After 2 grooves are worn, pitch bearings and replace with new.

Other blade not tracking true causes: worn blade that may look good - but the tooth "set" is worn off, too excessive of feed rate and/or wrong number teeth/inch on blade for that paticular application. (Other style blades for specific applications too.) I use cheapest blades available for average cutting, but use high quality Lenox brand or similar for long production runs. Blades interchange fast for each cutting application. Old worn blades will still cut wood fast. Broken blades = billet material

For blades jumping off while cuttng, the 2 main wheels may need a little lathe machining to renew surfaces.

There are a few other factors, but I think I hit the main ones now. Hope it helps!

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