JBasham Reader
8/1/17 2:02 p.m.

I just bought a WEN 3975. There isn't room in the shop for a 4X6, I don't like chop saw dust, and I don't like dry saw chips.

WEN saw

The use is for cutting round DOM tube and square tube, flat, rod, and angle 1018, and mild steel exhaust pipe. Making brackets and exhaust for custom motor swaps; track car miscellaneous fabbing, strut tower reinforcements, roll cages, tow bars, etc.

Does anybody else use one, or the Northern Tool competitor? Any tips to pass along, or mods to the stock unit that make it more capable? Anybody figured out how to set it up vertical and bolt a table on it?

Looks like there's no miter capability from 61 degrees to 89 degrees. But for that, I can still use the old paper template/hand cut method.

Anyway, it's too late to tell me that you like something else and I should have gotten that instead. Though I'm always interested in people's preferred tools and the little tricks they apply.

RevRico UltimaDork
8/1/17 2:09 p.m.

that looks a heel of a lot like my portaband, except for that table thing it's sitting on in the picture. Is that permanent? Edit: looking closer at that picture, does that base part have a hinge that the saw uses, like a chop saw? That might prevent my suggestion from working. I put mine on a foot switch and built a small frame from 2x2. I put on a vertical piece to bolt it to, but it sits against it just fine. It's hard to describe but very simple.  Like this, but wood. You *might* be able to adapt it to a swag off-road table, but I don't have either your saw or the table to know for sure.

JBasham Reader
8/1/17 3:07 p.m.

Cool, thanks. It's not a portable in a Swag type of thing. It's like a horizontal floor model -- it swings down into the material, and the base clamps it to the angle of cut desired. But it's small enough to fit in my shop, where track tires and motors and such eat most of the floor space.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/1/17 3:22 p.m.

This thread is relevant to my interests. Been trying to decide between a cold saw and a non-crappy bandsaw for a while. I have that Harbor Freight bandsaw that has the feature where if you so much as look at it funny the blade pops off. Need to actually cut some metal at some point.

stafford1500 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/1/17 4:23 p.m.

Cold saws are nice for cutting straight lines thru heavy material, but band saws offer more versatility. I too would like a cold saw, but it would only get used for cutting cage tubing and angle iron. I have a few adapters I have build for my second hand HF band saw and it does almost everything I ask of it. I have made tooling to precisely cut exhaust bends and a raised post so that I can cut thin sheet with serious curvature and not have to worry about it flattening on the over-sized table I fitted (thanks for the idea from some of the REAL fabricators I have worked with).

JBasham Reader
8/2/17 10:50 a.m.

I'll try to update as I go along. It's widely available for around $210. Almost twice the HF portable's price, but I'm hoping it's actually set up out of the box to do something in the realm of repeatable, symmetrical angle cuts.

The blade is a weird size, but I will use Lenox and they come in custom sizes for the same price as a decent off-the-shelf. Also Starett sells a bi-metallic 8-12 tooth in the right size at Amazon Prime if I ever need a replacement in a hurry.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Associate Editor
8/2/17 12:04 p.m.
JG Pasterjak wrote: This thread is relevant to my interests. Been trying to decide between a cold saw and a non-crappy bandsaw for a while. I have that Harbor Freight bandsaw that has the feature where if you so much as look at it funny the blade pops off. Need to actually cut some metal at some point.

I shopped around a bunch, and ended up deciding that I was just going to keep an eye out on Craigslist for the oldest, heaviest thing I could find.

That led me to the middle of the woods (literally, I almost got the van stuck), where I bought this: Along with a parts washer for $100 total. After some lubrication, some adjustment, and a new blade, I've got a totally kickass bandsaw for half what Harbor Freight charges.

JBasham Reader
8/2/17 2:45 p.m.

Kick-ass indeed.

There appears to be less room in your garage than I would have expected. Are you keeping the saw in your dining room? If so, you can get a Lenox saw blade that's made especially for meat.

JBasham Reader
8/11/17 2:17 p.m.

Okay, so I used it to build a tow skid for my E36 Fubari. I did a bunch of cuts in 1018 mild steel square tube, most of it 0.120 thick, and 1.125 solid rod of the same material. Also some 2 X 1/4 flat stock for gussets, and some 0.875 x 0.120 tube for bolt channel tubes.

Much quieter and cleaner than cutting with the grinder, and the cut is essentially a cold finish. I won't miss that grinder hassle for one second.

Takes a minute to cut a 1 x 2 x 0.120 tube. As in, you stand there and have time to catch your breath. As I understand it, this is the way band saws work. You can't walk away from it while it cuts, like you can with most of the on-floor models.

The vise for the work piece and the miter gauge are plenty steady enough for cage tube and the like.

When I was setting up 90 degree cuts in square tube for butt joints, it was worth taking five seconds to use a caliper and check the plane of the blade and the vise edge in two spots to verify parallel.

The vertical blade plane of the swing arm is good; it checks out as perpendicular to the floor of the vise.

The front blade guide has an adjustable blade slot plate for vertical alignment of the blade, and it works.

Three weaknesses:

No. 3 is the blade cover. It attaches with six little screws, making it a PITA to take off and put back on with every blade change. I need to replace them with some kind of wing nut posts or something.

The rear blade guide is the No. 2 weak spot in the machine. It slides back and forth horizontally on a slotted boom, and the instructions say to slide it out to get the wheels as close to the work piece as possible. It's reasonably sturdy when I tighten down the holding screw, but in the extended position it still allows a slight amount of blade twist. There's no adjustable slot guide to counteract that.

So on a piece of tube, the horizontal cut is square but the vertical cut has a slight pull to the rear at about 8 o'clock. I need to try running it with the rear blade guide retracted into its widest position and see if that makes it better.

The cuts are clean and it's only off a degree or so to that spot, and a 3-second blip of the cut in my Harbor Freight 12" disc sander squares it right up.

If I'm making a bracket cut or a slip-fit exhaust joint, there's no need to fuss with it at all. If I want weld a butt joint, it's still close enough to weld even with the little gap, if I have some way to clamp the work pieces square at the angle I want while I tack the weld. But for a perfect-fit butt joint, it's easiest just to pop it in the sander for 3 seconds so I can just use magnet clamps while I tack it. #

No. 1 weakness is the blade guide wheel bearings. They must be wear-prone because the Wen site sells replacements for $21 a side, AND the manual tells you not to use any cutting fluid because it will "damage" the wheels.

Only time will tell whether the blade drive wheel bearings and posts are durable.

Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/11/17 3:24 p.m.

I have a HF floor bandsaw that works perfectly.

I usually cut metal with a 4.5" angle grinder or my Porta-Band.

Unless you have a dedicated place to set up up, the floor model saws are too much of a PITA to get out for one or two cuts.

JBasham Reader
8/11/17 4:30 p.m.

Well, this at least solves that problem. It sits on top of one of my half-height Craftsman tool chests, ready to go at a moment's notice for any emergency welding stock sizing exercise.

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