Ferm Bandsaw

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Rev. Osmosis

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10 Feb 2021
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My secondhand Ferm FLZ 275 bandsaw came with a sharp blade which was encouraging, I also liked the well built table and fence. The first cuts on thin scraps of softwood went well but the saw sounded as if some metalic component was rubbing inside the case. Looking inside I couldn't see anything obviously wrong but on removing the red cover to reveal the top guides it was obvious that the previous owner had not been wearing the right glasses as the rear bearing was several mm away from the back edge of the blade and one of the guides had been worn away with the corresponding one untouched. With new sections of mild steel 5mm rod replacing the old guides and the bearing set to just prevent any travel of the blade I started up again. The grinding noise persisted. I repeated the operation to the bottom guides but the grinding noise was still there. By a process of elimination I firstly determined that the sound was coming from the lower driving wheel. With the brush removed the noise could by traced to the lower guide cover region and there it was. The red painted pressed steel blade cover projected down so far that its lower edge scraped on the drive wheel. It could not be resolved by adjustment so the offending cover was removed and put on the grinding wheel until sufficient clearance was created. A clear case of original sin or abysmal Chinese build standards. I felt so pleased with myself in correcting this succession of inherited issues that I set everything up for perfect running and double tested it in a power off free wheel condition. One final check for blade tension and running centralisation on the tyres. All good, cover on, power on, press the start button. A chorus of metallic protest bursts from inside the machine accompanied by the band slewing off and a shower of cheese rind coming from every opening. Stop. Cover off and the upper idler wheel has completely shed its tyre. The remains of the tyre lie in brittle fragments about the machine.
I had dreaded this happening as replacements were as common as hens teeth. My only recourse was to order some from the States and pay the shipping cost which rendered the whole exercise financially pointless. I saw several unconvincing solutions used by other people in the same predicament which employed electrical tape - Yuk! The original tyre material was 14mm wide and 3mm in thickness. Drive belts were all of the multi V format or toothed variety so that source of material was dismissed but this lead me to recall an image of those horrible rubber straps used by equally horrible Danish imported furniture in sixties. The same strap material is currently available from upholstery suppliers in the UK in either 1.5 or 2 inch widths and is manufactured by Pirelli. It is only 2mm thick as opposed to the original 3mm but will cut down to size with a sharp blade and can be added to the wheels using contact adhesive. I began by drilling a 9mm hole through one end of a batten offcut to receive the M10 thread in the wheel bearing. The other end of the wood was held in the vice making glue application much easier. I firstly abraded the surface of the wheels with a 180 grit paper to provide a better surface for the glue to key onto. The new tyre was laid on a piece of wood with the ends held down by tape. Dont forget the length is found by 3.142 x D . For the 200mm Ferm wheel this is 3.142 x 200 producing 628.4mm plus an extra bit at each end. My first tyre cut was slightly too wide but the second strip sat down perfectly with the help of some pressure applied to the outer edges with a small paintbrush handle; this ensured the new tyre followed the bevelled contour of the wheel. Happily I set up the saw once again and turned on the saw. The band remained in place, running central and true, however when I removed my finger from the start button the saw failed to keep running. This was due to the contactor coil in the switch going open circuit. I'm now waiting for a generic replacement switch ordered from Ebay and no doubt imported from China!
 
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