Horizontal band saws are a popular tool in most machine shops, used mainly for their ability to workpieces of stock to size and perform straight cuts. Their strength of blade and design allows them to work with most types of heavy duty material, including metal, wood, and pipe.
These machines are operated with the use of hydraulics which controls it. Using a motor and pump system, it raises and lowers the arm and controls the tension of the blade and feed pressure as you perform the cut.
The horizontal band saw is configured to hold your workpiece still as its blade moves down through it, performing a straight and accurate cut. Once the cut is complete, there is usually an automatic off switch that adds to the safety of this machine. This and other reasons are what makes the horizontal band saw one of the safer options for machinery in a workshop.
There are many intricate parts to a horizontal band saw, with some of the most important being:
- Blade – The blades of a band saw are crucial to how well the machine will perform a cut, the type of cut you’ll get, and the material in which it can work with. They require changing periodically depending on their wear and the task at hand. Changing the blade can be a tricky process, so it requires concentration and knowledge.
- Table – This refers to where your workpiece is placed to perform the cut. The band saw will hold your workpiece still while you lift the blade and move it down through the material. This cutting method is what differentiates from the vertical band saw which requires the operator to push the stock through the blade manually.
- Guides – These are responsible for guiding the blade so that it performs a straight and accurate cut. You’ll need to constantly check and realign these guides so that your blade performs at its best.
- Dust collector – One of the biggest safety measures that a horizontal band saw has is its dust collection port. This allows you to keep your workshop and station clear from dust which can cause vision problems, enter into your respiratory system, or make the workplace slippery and unsafe.
- Vise – This is what holds your workpiece into place as you perform the cut, so it’s crucial that this is tightened safely and securely.
How to Use a Horizontal Band Saw
Horizontal band saws have been designed with simplicity and safety in mind, so their operation isn’t too difficult. It can be tricky at first to maneuver the machine through your stock and line up your cut correctly, but with a little practice, this machine offers consistent cuts in most heavy duty materials.
- Select the right blade for the job depending on the type of material you’re working with and its size. Install the blade referring to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Set the vise of your band saw to the correct angle and then check again.
- Mount your stock into the vise and double check that it has been secured safely and is not able to come free at any time during operation.
- Check your blade guides for their alignment to ensure the workpiece has been positioned correctly and make any necessary adjustments.
- Move the saw frame down so that it sits just above the workpiece, around a quarter of an inch. Move the setting of the power feed weight to the lightest setting.
- Select your speed on the band saw, again this will depend on the stock and type of cut you’re performing.
- Turn the machine on, ensuring that you keep your hands as free from the blade as possible and remember safety procedures.
- Push the band saw down gently into the workpiece about a quarter of an inch to get started. Once this cut has been performed, adjust the feed weight again so that you have sufficient pressure.
- Once done, the machine will turn itself off. You can now safely remove your workpiece.
Benefits of Horizontal Band Saws
With so many tools available for workshops that cut metal and wood, it can be hard to decide which tool is best. Here are some of the benefits that a band saw can have over other machinery.
- They have the ability to work with large pieces of stock to cut them down to size;
- Safety measures included in the operation of the machine, including an automatic off function that will trip when the cut is complete;
- Ideal for high volume cuts with some machines featuring programmable workstations for repeat jobs;
- Ease in cutting through a larger range of tough materials;
It can be hard to decide which power tool to purchase next for your workshop, so consider these benefits and if they would add productivity to your work.
Best Projects That Use a Horizontal Band Saw
As horizontal band saws work mainly with large cuts, here are some projects that rely on both vertical and horizontal band saws that you can try out at home.
- Bedside table
- Jewelry box
- Puzzle boxes
- Larger furniture pieces
If you’re looking to invest in a horizontal band saw for your workshop, either personal or professional, the clear choice is the Jet HVBS-7MW Horizontal/Vertical Band Saw. With the ability to interchange between the two types, this machine will offer you more flexibility in your projects.
Working with a 7×12 inch capacity and the ability to handle materials such as steel and aluminum, this machine would be suited to a serious worksite or home workshop. It features a 5-inch throat and swiveling vise that make light work of just about any job you give it.
At around $1,500 it shows fantastic value for money and is made from quality materials that will last for years to come.