Need help choosing a Band Saw and Program - Router Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-23-2013, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Default Need help choosing a Band Saw and Program

So, I have changed my question...after seeing your responses, I am leaning towards using a scroll saw to cut my 10" letters (out of 2x12" pine), instead of a band saw. Now, I'm wondering what the best scroll saws are. I have looked into the Hawk BM-20 which I think looks good, but it is pricey at $1200. Are there saws out there that compare or are better? I like the fact that the Hawk is fairly quiet and has little, if any, vibration.

Thanks for your comments! This is very helpful! =D

Last edited by jagoehring; 06-24-2013 at 05:07 PM. Reason: Change in question.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 01:14 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

Maybe you should be looking at a CNC machine, but I am not sure if a smaller unit will cut 2" thick material.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 06:17 AM
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What you have described is a 3-way oxymoron. Blade saw blades flex, CNC - to the best of my knowledge has never been married to a band saw with any degree of accuracy and the word cheap has no place in this equation. I would suggest a CNC / router and glue these together until your needed height is reached. These are available in all sizes, very accurate and repeatable.

Very good luck - Baker
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 09:18 AM
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Hum, lets get creative here. One possibility is to carpet tape a number of thicknesses of whatever thickness ply you want to use. Then use a scroll saw to cut out the letter(s) you need.

You could simply use your computer to print out the exact size and font letter(s) you need. Test print on plain paper til you have it right. Then print on a full sized sheet of unperforated label paper. Adhere this to the front of the stack.

Cut with a scroll saw, which will make it easier to cut out the openings in letters such as A, O, P etc. Smooth the edges or round them over slightly.

I would stack as many sheets as there were of the same letter that appear in the sign.

If you make a mistake the sky won't fall and you can start over. If you are making production quantities a CNC machine is a better bet, but those are not cheap. But for less than say 6 at a time, the scroll saw sounds like a good bet. They're not very expensive as tools go and you might even find a good used one on the cheap.

I have a sign to make and this made me think about ways to do it. Thanks for making me think this through.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 09:23 AM
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You might want to look at scroll saws and see if you think that might be a better option. They will turn much tighter corners and the very best scroll saws are at the bottom of the price range of decent bandsaws. You can also drill a hole through the closed parts of the letters A, D, O, P, etc. and insert a scroll saw blade and then cut out the inside portion, something a band saw will not do.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 09:35 AM
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I would also suggest the scroll saw if economics are any factor. You can pick up an older (1960's) Delta or Powermatic for under $200 or get one of the better new ones for $500, DW788 or EX16.

I have a 10" Rikon clone band saw and after a good set of tires and Carter stabilizer guide, it still went over $400. The stock rubber tires are junk. Another issue would be a band saw blade is continuous, so any interior cuts like letters "D" and "O" aren't possible without an extra cut to get into that area.

A traditional CNC bit to cut 2" thick would need to be 3/8" diameter minimum if you can find them, so letters would need to be large plus only a very few fonts would work. Cutting that thickness with a 3/8" will eat bits pretty fast. CNC/router bits and pine are not friendly in my experience.

The fastest and most accurate way would be a water jet. But, suspect $200,000 is not practical.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 09:44 AM
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The best computer program is the one you know how to use. That said, there are freeware programs. My recommendation at this time is Corel. You can get a home edition for under $60 that would work just fine for your task.
Amazon.com: CorelDRAW Home and Student Suite X6 - 3 Users: Software
It has some quirks, but does a lot of things well, especially fonts.

My method using the scroll saw is to print the pattern out and then use a craft store spray glue to put it on the board. Some people like to put the painters blue tape on the board and then glue to it, saved time getting pattern off the wood.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 11:21 AM
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A 14" bandsaw with a 1/8" blade and a Carter Stabilizer will make easy work of the outside of letters but for the inside of the letters a scroll saw is a good choice. You can also make templates to do your letters with a router.

If all you are looking for is fonts for different letters check out the cheap programs for sale online. Print Artist works well for many types of projects and runs around $50.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you!
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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I found a 9" band saw with program from Craftsman at Sears, but that won't cut a 10" pattern. I don't know if there's anything else out there. And I am looking for "less-expensive", not cheap. Thanks anyway.
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