Bandsaw vs Coldsaw? It’s a common question we get asked. ‘Which machine is best for my application, a bandsaw, or a coldsaw?’
While there is no clear-cut answer, there are multiple factors you can take into consideration to help decide for your own workshop.
Are burr-free cuts your most important issue?
Do you favour accuracy over capacity?
What are your mitering requirements now, but also in the future?
These are all important issues to ask yourself.
Below we will attempt to go through these issues and help make your decision easier!
Do you want a hands-on or hands-off cutting experience?
Despite the name, even ‘manual’ bandsaws offer a hands-free cutting option, with adjustable speed hydraulic descent. This hydraulic descent is completed by a limit switch that stops the blade when the cut is complete, and the blade meets the bed. With coldsaws, unless you opt for a semi-automatic model, you’ll be controlling the blade and the descent the whole time.
A win for the bandsaws.
Even though bandsaws have a far superior arrangement of speed and feed combinations, coldsaws are known to cut through material much faster than bandsaws. Despite coming in a respectable not-too-slow second, this is an easy win for the coldsaw camp.
By their very nature, bandsaws can cut a larger capacity, with much more versatility. Due in full to their design style, the band of a bandsaw blade allows for an empty space above it. this is because the drive comes from one of the wheels enclosed either side. Compare this to a coldsaw, where in its nature, the blade is fixed at its centre; the diameter of a coldsaw blade directly determines its maximum capacity.
Advantage to the bandsaws.
No matter how precisely you fine-tune the speed and feeds and your blade and descent, a bandsaw cut will very often leave a burr that requires attention. Compare this in contrast to a coldsaw cut, which allows no burr finishes to the material. Ask yourself whether burrs are a dealbreaker, or whether you can live with them.
Coldsaws are generally seen as more accurate with their thick 2 or 3mm blade thickness, compared to the slender 0.9mm average of a bandsaw blade, which can deflect. However, having said that, with the appropriate descent and feed speeds, bandsaws can still be extremely precise. Advantage (just) to the coldsaws.
‘Which machine is best for my application?’
It’s difficult to say exactly how long your blade will last. Everyone’s applications are different, and their usage varies greatly. However, if you’ve chosen the right blade for your application, and you’re operating at the correct speeds, both blades will last well. The considerations to make are as follows; bandsaw blades are much cheaper, but are disposable once dull. Coldsaw blades present a greater initial spend, but can be resharpened many times, for a fraction of the cost. Perhaps, if you require blades of varying tooth-counts for multiple materials, a bandsaw would be your best option. Conversely, if you are cutting only one material, and need only one blade, a coldsaw would be the path. These decisions are yours to consider.
All DIMAKIN machines, both coldsaws and bandsaws, have integral flood-coolant systems. This helps to keep both the blade and the material at optimum cutting temperature, maximizing the life of the blade, and the quality of the cut. This result is tied. Both coldsaws and bandsaws come out equally well.
With a quick-release cam-lock mechanism in both types of machine, this is also a tie. Both machines can quickly secure and unsecure the material with only a few millimeters movement of the vice. The advantage of this can be realised fully when processing large batches of the same OD material. Simply bring the vice close, and then apply the cam-lock vice to quickly secure and release the material. Your arms will be grateful!
Here you should consider your current application requirements, but keep in mind the future. While both coldsaws and bandsaws can mitre up to 45 degrees, that is the limit for the coldsaws. Bandsaws, on the other hand, can often mitre much further. You may be fine with limited mitering today, but will you need to expand your options in the future?
Advantage for the bandsaws.
While both machines are very compact for their impressive capacities, the nature of coldsaws as an upright units allows them to be more economical in their footprint, no matter the model. Bandsaws on the other hand increase in size depending on the capacity. Bigger capacity – bigger bow – bigger machine. This could be a non-issue, or it could make all the difference in your workshop.
Small advantage to coldsaws for being slightly smaller.
In reading through the above, hopefully you’ve been able to answer some questions specific to your own applications and requirements.
What finish do you require? Is capacity more important than speed?
Whatever conclusions you have come to, we would love to hear from you!