Experience with Cast Iron wheels vs Cast Aluminum


I am looking to get a bandsaw for my wood shop. I do woodworking for a hobby, but would like to be able to resaw up to 12" thick wood. For the number of times I will need to do this, I don't think I need a 2HP or other industrial strength bandsaw.
I have done some searching of reviews and news groups and see that people recommend cast iron wheels over cast aluminum. Does anyone out there have experience with both to give some good reasoning for the choice ? I know the weight of the cast iron helps reduce the vibration, but would like some specific comparison like "my saw with alum wheels vibrated a lot on this 10 inch piece of oak, but my saw with cast iron went thru it like butter."
I am leaning toward the Grizzly G0555 and also the 6" riser kit. Since this is a 1 HP saw, I know I wouldn't have much luck resawing a 12" piece of hardwood, but I'm ok with that.
Price isn't much of a concern, unless the saw is over $1,000. Since I will use this in my spare time, I can't justify spending that much on the saw.
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Brad, I am sure you are going to get all sorts of conflicting advice on this subject. Honestly I think from my experience that the cast iron vs cast aluminum will be hard to pinpoint. I haven't seen identical saws with the wheels being the only difference. Usually they go along with all sorts of differences in the hp of the motor, size of the table, quality of the tension screw, etc.
I started off as a hobbiest with a G0555. It worked fine even for resaw. I would think if you are resawing rarely it will suffice for you as well. I have now moved into a more commercial application, and am attempting to use bookmatched elements in virtually every piece I design. This means alot of resawing, mostly of 8/4 african and domestic hardwoods. I found that with the G0555 I was unable to get cuts that didn't wander. Meaning when I went to joint the now split book-matched panels I would loose alot of material, and the bookmatched grain. This was unaceptable for my application, so I chose to buy a new machine. I ended up buying a 17" General bandsaw, 2hp dual voltage motor, welded frame and a huge cast iron table. The wheels are also cast iron. The difference is night and day. With the general I can easily run 3/4" blades to the proper tension, something I was unable to feel comfortable with on the G0555. The extra power, and greater stability make resawing MUCH faster, and the cuts are wavering much less than with the G0555. All of that said, I don't regret the G0555 a bit. I purchased it at a point that I was working with smaller woods, and less frequently than I am now. When it came time to sell it I made 3/4 of the money I invested into the machine back. It's well liked and a solid green machine. Hope these thoughts help somewhat.
Andrew
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I don't think such a comparison exists. I don't know that any saw maker offers the wheel material of your choice. A well designed saw with aluminum wheels will out perform a poorly designed saw with cast iron wheels. Toss in the variables of guide blocks, blade tensioning and setup, you truly have to compare the entire package. FWIW, a cast iron base will make it more stable than sheet metal, but you won't find them easily either.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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The one material advantage cast iron has is mass. More rotating momentum makes cutting smoother (flywheel effect) by further reducing speed fluctuations. Either material can be machined and balanced to perfection (or not).
I'd look for a solid wheel (versus spoked) if you plan on lots of blade tension (1" or wider)
-Bruce
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