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Cutting sheet metal on Ridgid Bandsaw

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  • Cutting sheet metal on Ridgid Bandsaw

    Hello, just got my bandsaw from HD, 20% off $300. Can it be used to cut sheet metal, 16-22gauge? What kind of blade; TPI and thickness, bimetal? Do I need some kind of lubricant for cutting? Lastly, what about speed control? Doesn't metal cutting require a slower speed?

    Wow, lots of questions.

    Thanks,
    Chuck

  • #2
    Chuck----the first place I'd look is your owners' manual---personally, if I'd just bought a new tool and it didn't say it was OK to do something different---I wouldn't do it.

    Most of what I've seen is that you can cut things like copper, brass, aluminum or other soft metals, with a dedicated metal cutting blade. But, you really have to consider what the metal fines will do to the tool----seems metal fines would eventually kill of tires and may not be good for other parts, motor, etc.
    Dave

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    • #3
      Well said, grey44ghost. Bandsaws are also used by meatcutters, but I won't use mine for that either. I also won't cut metals with my mitersaw or table saw, even though blades will fit.
      If it don\'t fit, force it. If it breaks, \'needed fixin\' anyhow. 8{~

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      • #4
        Thanks for the info. If I were dead set on using my band saw to cut metal sounds like I would need to do the following 1- figure out how to slow the blade speed, 2- use a metal cutting blade, 3- CLEAN the saw thoroughy afterwards. Don't know how to control the motor speed.

        thanks,

        Chuck

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        • #5
          To cut metal, the blade speed must be really slow. They make a speed reducer to fit the old Rickwell Delta 14" band saw. It will easily fit the Ridgid, since it is a knock off of the Delta.

          Since the motor is an AC capacitor start unit, the speed cannot be simply reduced using a VARIAC or variable speed transformer. You must use a mechanical means to reduce speed.

          A fine tooth blade with little or no rake is necessary. The number of teeth needed will depend on the thickness of the metal. At least 24 to 36 teeth per inch. Basically, at least two teeth must contact the metal at all times. Less than that, the teeth will bind or may be sheared off during cutting.

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          • #6
            I would not recommend cutting any hard metals with your bandsaw. The unit was not designed to deal with the metal shavings. If you do not clean it with surgical precision you run the risk of damaging the shafts, bearings, etc. from metal shaving contamination!

            If you want to cut metal then I would recommend a metal-cutting blade and a jig saw. If you build a small jig to hold the jigsaw with a gap underneath you will be able to use it much like a bandsaw without potentially damaging your investment.

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            • #7
              Power shears are a much better way to go. My friend is an A/C contractor and that is what they use.

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              • #8
                I agree with Andrew. Use a Kett Double cuts for straight cuts or Bosch Uni-Shears for radius. Or you could just use hand aviation snips...little slower and makes your hand sore if not used to it.

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