Bandsaw blade tracking problem


Hey all!
I'm brand-new to this forum.... I just got a 14" bandsaw (the Craftsman/Jet/Delta/Ridgid model built in Taiwan) for my birthday and am having trouble with the blade tracking on the BOTTOM wheel...
I set it up with the blade-guides and rollers all out of the way and the blade tracking true in the center of the top wheel, but it wants to run on the outside of the lower wheel. 1/2" and bigger blades seem to be OK, but my little scrolling blade runs right on the very edge of the rubber and looks like it's ready to jump off.
Conversely, if I adjust the tracking so the blade runs on the extreme inside edge of the top wheel, it runs pretty much dead-center of the bottom wheel.
Everything else is A-OK, and the saw seems to run like a champ.
The only thing I can think of is that I may need to put a shim behind the lower wheel to move it out 1/4' - 1/2" or so... There seems to be lots of room on the shaft to do it.
Has anyone ever had/heard of a similar problem?
Thanks,
Cheers!
Gary
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Just look for an Iturra Designs catalogue. Lower wheel shims. I figure, as long as the teeth aren't being run in a bad place, it'll be okay. I think. Tom
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Thanks Tom.
I did a quick web search for "Inturra Designs" and was flabberghasted at the good things people have to say about this guy, and the number of upgrades someone can do to a cheap saw like mine... Wow.
Needless to say, I'm gonna call for that catalog tomorrow.
Thanks again,
Cheers!
Gary
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wrote:

Well that's a good start. Bandsaws are finicky beasts - far too difficult to try and set everything up in one go. Get the wheels right first, then tension (this affects the wheels too), then worry about guides.

The phrase you're looking for is "coplanar". Yes, shimming the wheels is not uncommon. You'll want a big straight edge, a wedge to hold the doors open, and a bright desklamp behind the saw. Packing washers can usually be found in a local hardware shop.
Duginske's "Bandsaw Handbook" is the usually recommended book for all new bandsaw owners. Google might have some advice too.
BTW - there's a bandsaw blade thread in the last day or two that you might want to read.
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Thanks a ton Andy.... Coplanar, huh? Sounds scientifical ;)
I'm feeling a lot better about this now.
Cheers!
Gary
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wrote

Well, while you're at it, remember that tracking is done with _no_ contact with any guide. Possible to get what you've got by having a thrust bearing mis-set.
Then there's the distinct possibility that you have an off-center crown on the lower tire.
Remember, you want _shims_ , not your garden variety stamped washer.
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I'm brand-new to this forum.... I just got a 14" bandsaw (the Craftsman/Jet/Delta/Ridgid model built in Taiwan)
Your brand name sez it all! When you buy junk, expect to completely re-vamp it to work properly. Sounds like the top and bottom wheels are not parallel or aligned. There may or may not be an adjustment to correctly align them. Bugs
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Thanks for your awesome support Bugs! ;) Yeah, I guess it's "junk" but I did get a brand-new 14" bandsaw for less than $200 so if I have to spend $5 or so on shims to align the wheels, that ain't TOO bad....
The fact of the matter is that there is no real Brand Name in this class of band saw... There is an overseas factory that mass-produces them and sticks badges on them (Craftsman, Jet, Ridgid, Delta, Matercraft, Jobmate, etc., etc.) as necessary.) In this day and age, brand-name loyalty is mostly a waste of time unless one has very deep pockets. Telescopes, cars, tools: Same-same. A smart shopper who does some research can save a bundle, though, as long as you don't care what name has been stuck on the tool. Example: "Delta" benchtop drill press: $200. "Jobmate" benchtop drill press: $50 on sale. Same tool, different sticker on the belt cover. Hmmmmmmm....
I didn't have the cash for the Rikon I want (10-340) but I guess I should be happy that my wife (thoughtful gal that she is), who knew I wanted a bandsaw, picked this one instead of a 9" benchtop model (also built offshore and rebadged as necessary), even if it is junk. Junk at 75% off retail , mind you :)

Ahhhhhhh: "May or may not be... " That clears it up! :)
Seriously, thanks for responding.
Cheers!
Gary
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That doesn't mean the products aren't different. I've been comparing a lot of metalworking tools recently. Jet has a lathe, for example, that is nearly identical to a chinese lathe available under a number of different brand names. But the jet has a more standard spindle taper (and somewhat better fit and finish). The price of accessories could easily exceed the savings over the Jet version. Replacement parts were available for the Jet and probably will be for some time. There was absolutely no ready availability of spares for the no-name lathe and no guarantee the Jet parts would fit.
I've also seen some apparent differences in castings, with the higher quality apparent in the name-brand machine.
Here's a real life example. I asked a relative who sold tooling to gillette why the generic k-mart blades were always noticeably duller than the name-brand gillette ones, when they were made on the exact same production line. He pointed out that the tooling was good for a certain run before resharpening, and the first 75% of production was the name brand product, and the last 25% was the generic. So it was made on the same production line, by the same factory, with the same tooling... and was still noticeably worse.
I'm not suggesting that the name brand is always a better deal. You just can't assume you're getting the identical item somewhere else.
Gary wrote:

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All this talk about what is junk and what isn't. I have a Craftsman bandsaw and yes, I think it is junk. Craftsman quality has gone way downhill. As for tracking problems on MY Crasftsman, I think all bandsaws are tough when it comes to the 1/8" thin scrolling blades. I have tracking problems myself. If you read your instruction book, it will tell you that the narrow blades tend to run more to one side and not in the center. Getting your tension right is the first step. My bandsaw has a place on the wheel in the back to adjust the tracking. The next step is setting those small little wheel guides and your cooling blocks up properly. Those will also help with the tracking. Too loose and it will slide off track, too tight and your blade will probably break, not to mention that terrible noise it makes.
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wrote:

I can't speak for those other guys, but the imported Delta 14" Band Saw is made in their owned factory on mainland China, not Taiwan. No claims that it is any better or worse but it is not a rebadged copy (of anything other than the U.S. made version)

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I have the same saw, with the orange paint and ridgid brand... great saw for the money..
IMHO, if you can't easily align the wheels and blade, take it back and get another saw... Mine tracks well and when I added the riser kit (grizzly was the best deal) the alignment stayed right on and the tracking is within the adjustment range..

mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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Update to this thread, for anyone interested:
I read the replies here, read some more material, bought some shims, and then stopped to take a good look at the machine.
Upon inspection of the big honkin' bolt that holds the two halves (top and bottom) of the saw together, it occurred to me that there may be room for some adjustment there. I loosened the bolt and sure enough there was just enough space around the two alignment pins/holes to move the top half enough to make the wheels coplanar.
I buttoned it back up and she tracks like a champ.... I started looking around for stuff to cut just for the heck of it :)
Anyway, the moral of the story is to not go off half-cocked and start stuffing spacers behind your wheels (or other such remedies) until checking to see if the tool itself provides for adjustment/tuning.
Cheers!
Gary

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