Keeping up with production demands for cut tubing and pipes can be made easier with the help of a band saw. However, maintaining a low cost per cut takes a bit more consideration and effort. Everything from the blade pitch and the workpiece geometry needs to be considered in order to get a proper cut without damaging the blade or the saw. Therefore, blade settings and blade variables need to be adjusted depending on whether you are dealing with stainless steel fabrication, aluminium fabrication or steel fabrication.
The blade pitch the number of teeth per inch. This is a very important determinant of both the durability and performance of the blade in cutting tubing. Two forces act on the teeth as they cut through the tubing. They are, the downward force pushing into the tubing and the pulling force as the blade cuts through the tubing.
There are problems with having too many teeth or too little. For example, if the blade pitch is low, there are only a couple of teeth in contact with the tubing. This leads to teeth becoming dull much faster or sometimes, not even penetrating the tubing. In worse cases, the teeth might even be stripped off the blade. On the other end, where we have a very high blade pitch, too many teeth are in contact with the tubing. This leads to the force being so low that the blade will have barely any penetration into the tubing. This makes cutting very slow, and in some cases, leads to work hardening making the tubing almost impossible to cut.
What’s the right pitch?
It is recommended to have 25 in contact with the workpiece at any given time. This ensures that the right amount of force is exerted in order to penetrate through the tubing, and the teeth can withstand the pressure on them.
Some blades come with multipitch specifications. The first number indicates the coarsest pitch and the second number illustrates the finest pitch. Having a multipitch blade is recommended as sometimes, in the case of single pitch blades, as the blade works through a piece of tubing or pipe, the vibrations and rhythm caused by the uniformly spaced teeth may match the natural frequency of the work piece and this might lead to amplification of the minor vibrations which might significantly damage the blade. Therefore, a multipitch blade can help eliminate this possibility.
This is another important factor in choosing the right blade for sawing through tubing and pipes. The material of the tooth tip determines the abrasive qualities of the blade and how it will function with certain materials. For example, in the case of mild steel tubes and pipes, bimetals blades with a Matrix II 8% cobalt tip is perfect as it provides a good balance of abrasiveness and toughness. In the case of tougher tubing, such as stainless steel, bimetal blades with M42 teeth are recommended as they are very resistant to abrasive materials.
Using the appropriate settings and adjusting blades according to the workpiece is crucial to achieving a low cost per cut. It also prevents your equipment from being damaged. Similar precautions can be applied to other processes in the fabrication industry such as laser cutting, metal bending and, metal rolling to ensure cost-effectiveness.