There are times when you might not be able to carry out a job in your workshop – either because the job is too big to be carried, there is no electricity, or simply because you cannot move the object into your work area. In such a situation, your best bet would be to use a portable band saw.
A portable band saw can cut metal pipes from four to six inches in diameter or thick metal. But how do you use it to achieve neat and accurate cuts?
In this article, I will be explaining the steps you need to follow to use a portable band saw to achieve your cutting tasks.
What You Need for this Task
Safety and Pre-cutting Tasks and Measures:
As with when using any machine tool or equipment, it is crucial that you undertake specific safety measures.
- Portable band saw comes in different shapes and sizes, and the features, functions, and controls that are available on each varies from one product to another. So, your first step of safety is to familiarize yourself with your particular make and model. Pay attention to its trigger and speed switches. You should also ensure that you are proficient in holding and using its two handles.
- Wear appropriate safety gear (such as gloves, goggles, ear muffs, and more). Also, ensure that people around your work environment also wear adequate safety gear.
- Avoid wearing loose or dangling objects (such as jewelry, phone earpieces) that can get cut in the machine or items that can fall off from you into your cut path while operating the band saw.
- Every band saw comes with a standard blade, and may, or may not be suited to your task at hand. So, you should check that you have the appropriate saw blade for the job in your portable band saw. You should also confirm that the blade is sharp by doing some test cuts. If it is not sharp enough, consider replacing the blade.
Below are recommended blade widths for various cut widths:
1/8-inch blade use for 3/16-inch minimum radius cut
3/16-inch blade use for 5/16-inch minimum radius cut
1/4-inch blade use for 5/8-inch minimum radius cut
3/8-inch blade use for 1-1/2 inch minimum radius cut
1/2-inch blade use for 2-1/2 inch minimum radius cut
5/8-inch blade use for 4-inch minimum radius cut
3/4-inch blade use for 5-1/2 inch minimum radius cut
1-inch blade use for 7-inch minimum radius cut
- Measure and mark out your cut lines on your target using a visible chalk or color marker. If you are making more than one cut on your target object, in your mind, also determine the sequence you will make the cuts.
- Secure your object properly against sliding or moving during the cut. If possible, safe, and convenient, use a clamp or vise to hold down and prevent the object from moving while cutting.
- If you are using a cordless, rechargeable portable band saw, charge the battery fully before starting your project. If you are using a portable corded band saw, keep the electrical cables intact and away from your cutting path.
Items You Might Need:
- A portable band saw
- Appropriate blades for your task (have some extra copies at hand)
- Vise or clamp
- Protective gear (goggles, gloves, earmuffs, etc.)
How to Use a Portable Band Saw? (Step-by-Step Instructions)
Once you have taken the above safety and precautionary measures, you are now ready to make your cut.
- Hold the band saw handles (using each hand) and stand in a firm and comfortable position.
- Bring your saw blade to the first cut line, ensuring that the blade is parallel to your cut line, and slowly press the trigger. As the blade begins to spin, bring it right into your cutting mark. Allow the shoe of the band saw to rest firmly on the material.
- Hold the band saw firmly as you push it gently through your cut line. Apply little pressure and the saw cuts through the material, but do not force the band saw into the object. Keep an eye on your cutting line all through, making sure the saw repairs parallel to the cut line.
- As the saw cuts through the end of the material, there is a tendency for both sides of the cut to bend in against the saw blade, putting pressure on the blade and making it slower or slightly more challenging to cut. If you have some persons to assist you, one person may hold one end of the cut straight to give you a smooth cut all through.
- If you are cutting off pieces from your materials to drop freely on the floor, make sure that your feet are not under the drop path to avoid any injury.
- Once you have made your first cut, repeat the process for every other cut you have marked out on your material.
A portable band saw is useful in situations where the target item is too big to be moved or brought into your workshop. The tool is also very straightforward and easy to use. The above set of instructions have provided you with detailed steps of what you need to do when using a portable band saw.
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