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Bandsaw Vibration-How Much?

ohcomeon's picture

In looking at bandsaws, it seems that they vibrate more than I anticipated.  What is typical for vibration, and what is too much? Should it be virtually nil, or is it typical that you have a little vibration?  The Jet 18" at Woodcraft rattled a lot.  The Rikon is 220 and there was no plug nearby so I coudn't see what that was like.


Also, will the blade contribute to vibration (potentially)?


JH

gb93433's picture

(post #93780, reply #1 of 15)

You can balance the wheels by taking them off and using a balancer much like a lawnmower blade balancer. If the wheel drops on one side place a piece of material like they use to balance aluminum wheel on cars on the lighter side. Place the material on the inside of the wheel so when it is turned on the material is forced against the rim on the wheel.

forestgirl's picture

(post #93780, reply #2 of 15)

The Rikon can't be re-configured to 110?  If it can, WC should do that for you.


My Grizzly (14" 1019Z) vibrates "some" -- we need a unit of vibration here <g>....  Very inexpensive machine, never expected it to be perfect and I haven't found it to interfere when cutting to a line for instance.  The one time it became a problem, it was because the bolts that hold the body to the stand had lossened some.  I cranked 'em back down and the excessive vibration disappeared.  I mention this because it could have been much more serious -- tire out of balance, bearing going bad, but the first thing to check is fasteners.  An easy, easy thing to fix!


Another user, late last year, found that his stand wasn't level and solid on the floor.


forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 
Do unto others as you tell them they should do unto you....

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

fingerlessHack's picture

(post #93780, reply #11 of 15)

For what it's worth, I read in my bandsaw manual, do not tighten the band saw base bolts all the way snug. Add lock washers to the base bolts and snug them up just enough to allow the lock washers to act as shock absorbers. All band saws have vibration due to the mere design of the machine... two massive cast iron wheels spinning at a high rate. Good machines have paid more attention to balancing the wheels.  If the base bolts are fastened snugly, the saw's vibration could hit a resonate frequency... vibration keeps accumulating into a massive run away vibration.


I have owned a Laguna 18" and now a MiniMax 16" bandsaw, both saws vibrated and both saws had balanced wheels. But, the vibration was never noticeable as to cause a problem. I can say this, my past X31 combo machine (table saw) had significantly less vibration.


I like your thought on a unit of vibration... we sort of already do, hertz. But we do not have a specific measure of quantity of hertz, thus the new unit, relative to acceptable, or expectable, frequency ranges for band saws... I like your thinking.


Cheers

PeteBradley's picture

(post #93780, reply #12 of 15)

I don't think just leaving the bolts a little loose on some lockwashers will make the slightest bit of difference to resonance, since the base would still be solidly in contact with the stand.

I have had good results isolating motors by putting sheet rubber under the base and isolating the holddown bolts from the base with rubber washers, but both are needed to avoid a hard connection.

None of this is likely to be revant to a serious vibration, but it can significantly reduce annoying sounds.

Pete

fingerlessHack's picture

(post #93780, reply #15 of 15)

I agree the rubber is better... thanks. You have reinforced (now I see it was implied) original attempt of communicating the necessity to avoid hard connection/ snuggly-bolted-down bandsaw.  I kind of had the rubber shock absorber action too... had bandsaw attached snuggly to large mobile base, acting like a diaphram, which had four large rubber wheels. Machine never had problems with vibration. Though I did not plan this out for vibration abatement; just wanted non-falling over bandsaw during earth quakes and good mobility. However, I am quite certain machine would have been fine despite the large base and rubber wheels... machine wheels were well balanced.


Cheers

forestgirl's picture

(post #93780, reply #13 of 15)

Interesting!  Just for fun, I'll check my Grizzly manual.  Don't remember seeing anything to that effect.  All I know is that when I re-tightened the bolts, that nasty vibration went away.


Unit of vibration:  A crude approach would be to start with a nickel and then make a series of discs incrementally larger, give them labels.  If my saw doesn't pass the nickel test, it might pass the next one up.  Silly, I know.


forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

PeteBradley's picture

(post #93780, reply #3 of 15)

If you're noticing it enough to post about, it's probably too much. You mention "bandsaws". Did you see vibration in more than one, or just the Jet in the store? If just that one, the issues that forestgirl mentioned are most likely.

The two criteria I would suggest for "too much" are noise and usability. If the machine doesn't run quietly, it's going to be a constant annoyance in your shop. If the table vibrates a lot, that will be at least a nuisance, and may be sufficient to impact cut quality.

Someone mentioned balancing approaches, but this should not be necessary for a new machine.

Pete

highfigh's picture

(post #93780, reply #4 of 15)

Not all bandsaws have a quick way to relieve the tension on the blade and with people in stores messing with machines the way they like to, it's possible that the tension was left on the blade,which created a flat spot on the tires. This would cause a lot of vibration and is easy to verify by unplugging and opening the saw and feeling the tires as they are turned manually. Also, removing the blade and turning the saw on will tell if the drive wheel is balanced. Spinning the upper wheel will be the other indicator. It's still possible that the wheels aren't true. This is also easy to check.
"I cut this piece four times and it's still too short."


Edited 1/31/2006 12:58 pm by highfigh

"I cut this piece four times and it's still too short."
hammer1's picture

(post #93780, reply #5 of 15)

I think band saws are some of the smoothest running machines in the shop. Something is wrong if it vibrates. One easy way to check the wheel for balance is to just spin it with the blade off. You can do the same with the bottom wheel if you remove the belt from the motor. When the wheel stops spinning mark the bottom and spin it again. If the mark lands on the bottom again, the wheel is out of balance. You can simply add a wrap or two of lead solder on the opposite/top spoke of the wheel. When your wheel is balanced, the mark will stop at a different point each time you spin it.

There could be other issues. The motor and/or pulleys could be out of line. The stand could be loosely bolted, bearing could be bad. Good for you for getting the store to actually fire up a machine. You may have averted getting a lemon or a machine that is not set up correctly.

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

ohcomeon's picture

(post #93780, reply #6 of 15)

I appreciate everyone's input, but what I am really getting at is; what is a reasonable expectation of level of vibration.  I realize this is hard to quantify, but one poster said it shouldn't vibrate.  Lonnie Bird's book says "little or no vibration", etc.  So what is acceptable (I'm looking at mostly 18" saws)?


Is the nickel test valid?  Will a cheap blade potentially contribute to any vibration (since most saws seem to come w/ a cheap blade).  I have virtually no time on a bandsaw so I have no idea of what is a reasonable expectation.  I don't want to spend time trying to find the holy grail of saws that is virtually vibration free, but I also want to make sure I am not overlooking a problem.


Here is a little more info on what I am thinking: is it normal to feel a little vibration in the table (passes the nickel test), but more vibration in the upper cabinet?


Thanks for the help. JH

PeteBradley's picture

(post #93780, reply #7 of 15)

The basic criteria is usability. If it will pass the nickel test and the noise isn't annoying, the vibration isn't a factor in the usability of the machine. Another way to look at it is that a good quality band saw in good shape shouldn't make you think about vibration. I suggest you check out a different machine, maybe at a different store. Maybe take a class somewhere and get a bit of experience with a BS. That will give you a much better feel for it.

Pete

hammer1's picture

(post #93780, reply #8 of 15)

JH, you are right that describing vibration is difficult and subjective.
With a blade on my band saw, a nickel will balance on it's edge for a few seconds. If a piece of scrap was left lying on the table, it would slowly walk. If I put my hand on the table, I don't feel vibration. If making small scrolling cuts, I can let go of the piece to reposition my hands without the work jumping around. Blades can make a difference but they would be low on my list for vibration causes. Vibration that is visible, audible or easy to feel would not be right. It could be a simple adjustment or an indication that a part is bad. Drive belts vibrate. Good quality belts and pulleys, properly aligned can make a difference. A new belt may take a little while to smooth out. I'd try to see some other saws run so that you have a frame of reference. If you have a gut feeling the saw vibrates too much, you are probably right. The question is whether the saw is flawed/flimsy or it's just an adjustment.

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

wdrite's picture

(post #93780, reply #9 of 15)

One source of vibration , other than bad blades and being out of balance, could be the drive belt and, or pulleys.  Some of the older Deltas had a long "V" belt connecting the saw pulley to the motor pulley.  The motor was located in the bottom of the cabinet.  This belt can take a set if the saw is not used often and create a lot of vibration.  Replace worn belts as needed or replace belts and pulleys with newer types.  Another source of vibration could be that your blades may not be welded straight.  I had this to happen and had to return 6 new blades for rewelding.

bones's picture

(post #93780, reply #10 of 15)

I have the Griz 17" HD, and there is no vibration in mine. It sounds like the one you looked at has an issue. 

...For that old machine lovers:  http://vintagemachinery.org/home.aspx

UnclePablo's picture

(post #93780, reply #14 of 15)

I was just reading through these posts, it got me thinking........ I just ran out to my home shop and my 14" Jet w/riser block passed the nickel test with flying colors. I would tend to agree with some other posts that if you are noticing/annoyed by the vibration then there is too much of it. Good blades, clean balanced wheels, good drive belt, and solid footing should make for a smooth machine.


The shop where I work has a 20" and  32" bandsaws. Both run without significant vibration. Heck the 32" is so massive it would shake the foundations if it were out of tune. That thing takes a 19'-8" blade- I think everybody should have one!!!


-Paul