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Bandsaw guide blocks from solid carbide endmills

Bill D

Diamond
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Location
Modesto, CA USA
I need to make some better guide blocks for my 14" delta wood working bandsaw. It currently has some 1/2" oak on both sides of the upper blade. I think the factory is steel, maybe hardened. Any reason not to use the shank of a worn out /12" carbide endmill. I know round has less contact area. Lower blade guides will need at least one cut and polished at 45 degrees.
I could use brass or bronze but I have none in stock big enough.
Bill D
 

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I don't know the guides should be that hard.

I'd use regular steel..A36 or 1045 or whatever. Just cut it fairly square and be done with it.

I have various guides on my DoAll saw, some are OEM and some I made out of keystock. They all seem to work well. Over years they start to wear a little but they are also very 'compensatable' as they can be nudged in. Life goes on.
 
If I had to use wood it would be Ebony, Cocobolo, Wenge, or something as dense.
But when I am done messing around...

Look at some more pictures and make custom ball bearing guides.

And Cool Blocks have been around forever.

I think it's not good for the blade to have it rubbing on carbide guides.
 
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I agree that use of carbide might be too much of a good thing. If the carbide gets chipped, it may end up doing some machining of the saw blade, and hastening its demise.
 
Hi All:
So far as I know, several makers of saws use carbide guides, but the ones I'm most familiar with are metal cutting saws so the blade speed is low.
The bigger problem is: How do you intend to cut off the endmills to make carbide blocks out of them.
1/2" of carbide is a lot to get through with a bench grinder and green wheels...you really need a wire EDM for work like this, or, at a minimum, a surface grinder with a skinny diamond wheel.

Even then, it's a good bit of work, and you'll need to need to round off the corners so you don't shave the bandsaw blade...also not so easy if you don't have diamond paste and a buffer. (and lots of money...diamond paste is expensive).

So yeah...workable idea, but hard to implement unless you've got a shop with lots of gear in it.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 
Tannewitz used to offer carbide faced guides for their woodworking bandsaws. Their saws were pretty high speed, over 8000 fpm, so I'd guess they worked out ok. But an much easier alternative would be Lignum Vitae, a very hard and wear resistant wood, has a lot of oil in it. Any wood is going to eventually wear, but is so easy to refresh the face.
 
If there are times when you want to do tight curves with thinner blades, something like graphite-impregnated phenolic or an oiled hardwood will give you better control and reasonable blade life by burying it partway up to the teeth.

Touching up and eventually replacing guides is cheap and easy once you have the stock cut to size. Replacing blades is considerably more expensive and takes more time to re-establish tracking.
 
My Startrite horizontal bandsaw came with carbide blade guides from the factory. I bought it used over20 years ago. It gets used on a daily basis and as far as I know still has the original guides. Even if they’re not the originals they’re over 20 years old and show no signs of wear
 
As others have mentioned, I wouldn't consider carbide for use on a wood band saw. I switched to Olson Cool Blocks a long time ago. They work great and have no reason to go back to stock blocks. If you've done any tight corners with steel blocks, you no doubt have seen a few sparks when you get too aggressive, which cannot be good for the blade.
 
Hi Garwood:
You wrote:
"The method I like to use is installing the endmill in a toolholder then removing the flutes with a rapid impact with hold downs or vise jaws."

Owww, you made my teeth hurt with that one!
Here I was hoping for an elegant artistic solution and now my confidence and self esteem is forever shattered...shattered I say! :D
I may never be able to face the wire EDM again...I will be thinking of you every time!

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 
it's fairly trivial if you have a diamond slitting blade and diamond wheels for your surface grinded (needed them to make carbide feet for autocollimator mirrors when re-lapping the surface plate). The little 300mm Startrite woodspoiling bandsaw needs them desperately, since the original hardened steel blocks are a mess. Carbide faces will be silver soldered (silver braze) on and ground afterwards.
 
I silver soldered carbide inserts on my guides about 20 years ago, they work great. I replaced that stupid ball bearing thrust set up on the backside of the blade on my Do All with carbide and I'll never go back, It is wonderful. The carbide never damages the blade whether I am crawling through steel plate or slicing through aluminum at mega thousand speed with a 3 TPI blade. Another case of the nattering naysayers babbling on about something they know nothing about.
 
I replaced that stupid ball bearing thrust set up on the backside of the blade on my Do All with carbide and I'll never go back,
That's interesting as I just rebuilt my DoAll's guide yesterday. Show a photo of the bearing replacement...I'd be interested to see how you did it. My bearings last right at 15 years, but I agree the off-center button running on a bearing is a bit weird.
 
The 14" bandsaw runs without coolant like a metal saw.
Used the steel guides.
Used Cool Blocks.
Staying with Carter guides.

Using a hard material for a guide will work for straight cuts. Look at the small plate that inserts into the table.
If it gets all messed up than you know that the blade is not staying straight. I made a few plastic plates and
got rid of the stock metal plate.

Signed: Naysayer who owns a Delta/Rockwell 14" like the OP. :nono:
 
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That's interesting as I just rebuilt my DoAll's guide yesterday. Show a photo of the bearing replacement...I'd be interested to see how you did it. My bearings last right at 15 years, but I agree the off-center button running on a bearing is a bit weird.
I can never get photos on this site, all I did is use a bolt with some shank on it, cut the threads off and turn the the head to about half height then silver solder an old school carbide insert, (one with no chip breaker) on it. Install it , start the saw and track the blade where you want it then slide the new guide against the blade and your good to go. My saw spends most of its time well up in high range and those bearings and caps will not take it for any time but the carbide lasts forever.
 
I have a start rite 320 I think, the guides are chill cast iron, fairly hard due to the cementite, they aren’t carbide, I can grind them on an ordinary wheel.
There was a kit available from a firm called Axminster over here to change to a roller bearing guide like a doall.
I do mis the doall in work, I actually cut a meteorite on the meteorite setting!, always amused me that setting.
Mark
 
The worst thing that happens on this model band saw besides the blade breaking:
When the user forces a cut radius that is too small for the blade.

The best blade system is the one most forgiving of a medium sharp blade.
I would experiment with the carbide end mill idea. Shouldn't throw out carbide shanks.
 








 
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