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Bandsaw drift

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Matthew S

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Hi

I have the basic entry level bandsaw from Titan / screwfix. I know it’s not the best of bandsaws

However I am getting excessive drift (of a few cm) when cutting even with the fence.

The blade seems tight.
I wondered if others have had similar experiences and can provide some tips. There seems to be a number of adjustments possible using an Allen key but the manual explains it very badly

thanks in advance
 

petermillard

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Morning. I’ve done a few videos on entry level bandsaws, including the Titan, which I still own. The Titan took more setting up than the others, but works well. You might be interested in the ‘bandsaw makeover’ videos where I changed the fence and blade. A better blade will make a big difference (references in the video descriptions) but the original worked OK for me for best part of a year.

On mine the Blade quick-release lever doesn’t do anything, so You have to tension it manually every time you change blades, otherwise it’s a decent little machine - I was getting very clean cuts in birch ply yesterday with mine. HTH, P

148 Cheap bandsaws

293 Bandsaw Makeover P1

294 Bandsaw Makeover P2

edited to add - there’s also a bandsaw playlist on my YouTube that may be of interest. 👍
 

MikeG.

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Steve Maskery has a guide to tuning your bandsaw which should help. And a new blade solves 90% of bandsawing issues. In the meantime, take the fence off and free-hand your cuts. Don't attempt to follow the fence until your set up issues are resolved.
 
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Matthew S

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Thanks for the reply and @petermillard I love your videos. In fact your Titan bandsaw videos convinced me to try it out. The problem with the drift is even when I do it by hand without the fence I am unable to move the wood back in line. I have upload a short video 40 sec video to explain what I mean


Also, the align adjustments on the right side (not the front). What are their purpose?

In terms of the blade, I will try that but will it really solve the problem? I've only used the bandsaw a few times over the year since I bought it because I was never able to use it successfully

Thanks
 

novocaine

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Lower your top guide to about 1/2" above the work piece. first step and it matters.
an aside, I'll put money on it not moving parallel to the blade and putting one side guide on the blade as you lower it (assuming they are set tight enough, see below). you can adjust this by slacking of the screws that hold it to the back of the top box and moving it around then tighten back up. you want the blade to be in the same place between the guides at the top and bottom of it's travel. easy bit of setup, it isn't what is causing your issue but it matters for the next steps.

Your rear thrust bearing is screaming, most likely because it's to close to the blade, can't tell if it's top or bottom but most likely top one.
Your side guides aren't close enough to the blade nor sat far enough forwards (just behind the gullet of the blade). The rear thrust bearing means you are putting pressure on the back edge of the blade, the side guides being to far back and not tight enough to the blade is letting the pressure translate to twist and this is exaggerated by the height of the top guide.

for what it's worth I can recommend a new blade too while you are at it.
 

Matthew S

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@novocaine Thanks for the explanation. Really helpful. I had thought the bearings needed to touch the blade and the guide to not touch but be close. I have now made some set-up changes. It is improved but still perfect.

For the guides, I made the right guide touch the blade and the left guide to be a playing card gap. I did the same on the bottom guide but interesting there was only a left guide and not a right guide. I assume this is how Titan designed it
 

novocaine

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no, there should be a guide block on both sides top and bottom.
I set my guides by letting them touch the blade and snug up the lock screw to just holding them then nudge the blade a hair so they are only just off the blade, then tighten the lock screw completely, in shop parlance, there is a gap of about a blond one. a playing card is about 10 blond ones.
same process top and bottom. you don't want the touching the blade, just to be really close to it. :)

do the same with the rear thrust bearing but give it 20 blond ones (or 2 playing cards). :)

think you might have found your issue as it's missing a side guide (or is it pushed right in to the block so you can't see it, they are teeny tiny.
 

Matthew S

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@novocaine you were right....that bottom right side guide was hiding. Things are much better now and thanks for your help. Tried some cuts and the last 10% drifts just a small amount now but certainly a major improvement. I'll do some more adjustments and also look into getting a better blade. Any brand of blades to recommend?
 

sometimewoodworker

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@novocaine Thanks for the explanation. Really helpful. I had thought the bearings needed to touch the blade and the guide to not touch but be close. I have now made some set-up changes. It is improved but still perfect.

For the guides, I made the right guide touch the blade and the left guide to be a playing card gap. I did the same on the bottom guide but interesting there was only a left guide and not a right guide. I assume this is how Titan designed it
A playing card gap is too much for the guides it should be a piece of copy paper on both sides. The rear bearing should have the same gap so that when you start pushing the wood into cut it makes contact but before that it dosen’t quite. The top guide is way too high and doing nothing.

if the weld catches then grind it down until it doesn’t, if the join at The weld on the back is not in perfect alignment the blade is junk

You haven’t adjusted the blade to reduce drift, probably one side is sharper or badly set. So to cut the straight line you need to angle the wood off square or do the work to eliminate the drift. As has been said the blade could be totally naff so get one from Ian at tuffsaws
 
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MikeK

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I agree with Jerome and novocaine about buying a quality blade, or set of blades. Of all the modifications I made to my bandsaw, I think the best was getting rid of the questionable blades that came with it and replacing them with TuffSaws blades. Ian was wonderful and recommended a good mix of blades for my bandsaw.

Most of the blades I bought are M42. They are pricey, but last much longer. I can easily resaw thick slabs now, which I was never able to do with the saw before.
 

MikeG.

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no, there should be a guide block on both sides top and bottom.
I set my guides by letting them touch the blade and snug up the lock screw to just holding them then nudge the blade a hair so they are only just off the blade, then tighten the lock screw completely, in shop parlance, there is a gap of about a blond one. a playing card is about 10 blond ones.
same process top and bottom. you don't want the touching the blade, just to be really close to it. :)

do the same with the rear thrust bearing but give it 20 blond ones (or 2 playing cards). :)

think you might have found your issue as it's missing a side guide (or is it pushed right in to the block so you can't see it, they are teeny tiny.
I agree with all this, but I think your suggested gaps are too wide.
 

novocaine

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my gaps are based on having used this machine and it working, but other's may have different mileage so fair comment.
 

sometimewoodworker

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my gaps are based on having used this machine and it working, but other's may have different mileage so fair comment.
The side gaps you suggest sound correct, there is the point that the style or material of side guide may effect the gap. Solid blocks need a little more than roller bearings. The rear gap seems a bit on the big side to me, but then I don’t have that saw.

Mine is very much older and as it has a flat tyre needs a different setup to the vast majority of bandsaws.

5C088B42-574D-4D55-ACDF-38B655D1FFB2.jpeg468EB89E-FAF0-4027-92B7-9B9AC645FC19.jpeg
I’ve realised that the left guide is a little far away and the rear a tiny touch close
54624DA2-B04A-45F3-AB8A-7EABCA2B9C3E.jpeg

As you can see the blade is quite big so the guides are a little further back than I would use for a thinner blade
 
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MikeG.

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Just to chuck in a new line of conversation regarding blade drift, one that applies only to worn blades.

Setting your saw up perfectly doesn't mean it will stay that way until the blade needs replacing. If you wear your blade teeth more on one side than the other, for instance by cutting a lot of curves all on the same side of the blade, then despite your blade location remaining spot-on on the top wheel, and all your guides and so on being absolutely perfect, you can still find you cut drifting. Essentially you have one side of the blade cutting better than the other, and so the cut tends to veer towards that side. I have a similar thing with a handsaw at the moment, which although sharp (and straight) must have a slight setting issue, and is pulling a little to one side. If your bandsaw does this, then either change the blade, or abandon the fence until you next change the blade.
 

novocaine

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Agreed Mike. that's the next think to consider, but getting to within 10% has to be a massive improved.
I've spent an hour before now redoing the set on a bandsaw blade just because I needed to make a cut and the order hadn't arrived yet, really isn't worth doing though unless you have no choice.
personnally, I rarely use the fence on this machine, not because it isn't capable, just because it's easier to use free hand, but I also use a scrollsaw so guess I'm used to following the blade.
 

sometimewoodworker

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Just to chuck in a new line of conversation regarding blade drift, one that applies only to worn blades.

Setting your saw up perfectly doesn't mean it will stay that way until the blade needs replacing.
The other thing you can do, I just did, is sharpen the blades. Even sharpening a new blade can make a huge difference in cut speed.

This is really only useful on blades with a lowish TPI (10 or less) unless you have a lot of time and a really steady hand.

cutting test with a piece of MDF
a new blade 25 seconds
the same blade sharpened 7 seconds
sharpening time for 450 teeth about 20 minutes or just over 2.6 seconds per tooth

 

PAC1

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One consideration is that the fence does not need to run parallel to the mitre groove. A couple of months ago I set the machine to cut perfect thin veneers. A week later I moved the fence only to discover that it was about 5 degrees off parallel, but cutting perfectly straight for that blade (not sure what was wrong with it).
 
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