Kevin has been thinking about getting a horizontal bandsaw for a while because of some of the bigger things he cuts – including cutting the bottoms off of compressed gas bottles – that just won’t fit in his chopsaw.
He finally chose an Ellis 1800 Series (he notes that doesn’t receive any compensation from Ellis).
With the help of his apprentice, Pokie the dog, Kevin gives a tour of the machine. The horizontal bandsaw has a pair of trucks: metal wheels with rubber tires that hold the saw blade. It also has an adjustment with a bearing to keep the blade positioned correctly vertically.
There’s another set of roller bearings that position the blade side to side to keep everything lined up. Then there’s another set behind the stop where the metal goes. So the blade is held nice and straight and even.
Using a knob on the other side of the machine, you can loosen up the front set of rollers so you can slide it back and forth to accommodate whatever size of material you are cutting. You want to keep it pretty close to the width of whatever you are cutting so the blade doesn’t have any room to twist – you want to keep it as tight as you can.
One of the reasons Kevin chose this saw is that it is a mitre saw. With his chopsaw, you have to move the fence to cut different angles – the blade always goes up and down at the same spot. With this saw, the blade moves and the table and your work stay stationary. It also a nice degree wheel with a pointer on it so you can get your angles set just right.
The other side of the saw has a hydraulic cylinder with an adjustment, or bleed, knob that enables the saw to feed by itself. You use the knob to adjust the speed of the cut. For thick metals, you slow it down; for thinner metals, you can speed it up.
The bandsaw uses its own weight to make the cut, which means you have a constant feed pressure and don’t have to have a hand on it while it’s cutting. This helps prevent overheating the blade or dulling it faster than necessary.
The machine has a nice clamp to hold your metal – the cam forces it in a little more, too, so the piece you are working on is held nice and tight.
You canalso release the cylinder with its quick disconnect pin and pull the springs off the back of it so you can tip the head up vertically. The machine has an auxiliary table, which makes it into a vertical bandsaw for doing cutouts. Pretty slick!
This bandsaw will run on either 110 or 220. Just switch some wires in the box to convert it to 220.
It’s time to cut some metal! Kevin has a piece of 3″ heavy wall metal pipe with a gnarly end on it where he cut it off with a plasma cutter. He wants to true up the end, which is a good test for this horizontal bandsaw.
Starting the machine is easy. It has a red panic button in case something goes wrong, and a green start button. The off switch is hooked into a bar with a stop on it. When the bandsaw goes all the way down, it pushes the switch and turns off the machine.
Kevin pushes the green button and opens up the bleed valve. The head starts to lower slowly. He is erring on the side of caution right now as he gets used to the bandsaw, which cuts through the 3″ pipe in about a minute. “It’s a whole lot quieter than my chopsaw,” he says.
Kevin is now considering whether he’ll be able to replace his chopsaw with this horizontal bandsaw. He shows the chopsaw, which has tables in front and behind it with roller wheels on them. He has his bar stock on the other side of a door, so he can bring it right in from outside when he’s ready to cut.
Replacing the chopsaw with the big horizontal bandsaw, which is about 65″ deep, would put the cutting area out farther. So he’d have to move his table, move his jump shear, and move the door in the wall. Maybe he can move the sink and make another table to go to it. He’s just had the bandsaw a short while, so he wants to think about his options before making any changes. Kevin is looking forward to letting it do all the work he’d normally have to do by hand, though.
At the end, you might want to see why Kevin measures everything twice ….