When a saw blade breaks and you don't have a ready replacement, it can cause productivity to come to a grinding halt. The problem is amplified when you rely on rare custom blades for special projects. Ordering replacements can take time and cost more than conventional saw blades. Here's a look at how custom blade cutting is achieved for saws.
Usually a professional fabricator is the answer for many workshops that rely on outside vendors for parts. But it's possible to create your own blades if you have the proper tools and follow the right steps. The advantage to working with a custom steel fabricator is that they already likely have a wide variety of metals and steel alloys to choose from in either sheet or coil form. That's important since different types of steel serve different purposes, such as:
The various types of steel suitable for custom blade cutting include carbon steel, stainless steel, tool steel, molybdenum steel and chromium steel. Additionally, aluminum, copper, and brass can be used for certain blades. Another reason for making custom blades is you may want a certain spacing style or number of blade teeth. Making sketches or diagrams of your desired blades will help a fabricator know exactly what you have in mind. Other variables beside material and teeth specifications include blade thickness and length.
A bandsaw blade is unique from other saw blades in the sense that it forms a giant loop that rotates on spinning wheels. The metal material of the blade must be soft enough to allow for circular motion. Too wide of a blade can cause problems, whereas narrow blades can provide more accurate cutting. In order to create this loop, it requires welding or soldering two strips of metal with teeth together. Here are other important tools needed:
Blade ends should be smoothed by a disc sander, then each end should be feathered until they match perfectly. The fabricator must be careful of sparks from the contact of the blade and sandpaper. The joint must be seamless so that the blade can spin freely around the bandsaw wheels. It can be smoothed out further by filing both sides of the metal.
For a coarse blade with 6 teeth per inch the fabricator needs to line the teeth up so that they are evenly spaced across the joint, as the blade ends must be properly tapered. Finer blades usually take less time and effort to accurately taper. Then a scrub pad is used to clean and refine the blades more.
When clamping down the blades in a vice, there should be no space between the blade ends. Flux is applied, then with a torch or soldering iron the blade is heated up, causing the flux to melt into a watery liquid. After solder is applied and dries, it's important to clean off excess solder. A small portable sander is a useful tool for grinding down the joint until it's pelush without making the blade too thin. The custom blade should then be ready for cutting.
It's always useful to have a supply of spare saw blades in case one breaks. If you have the right tools, you can create your own custom blade. Otherwise, contact Echols Saw and Supply at 602-278-3918.