Welded plate vs cast iron bandsaw frames.


I'm still sitting on the fence about making a decision about a decent, yet affordable bandsaw.
The 'high-end' ones seem to rely on welded plate-style frames. They must achieve the rigidity they're after, otherwise they wouldn't go that route, eh?
That creates a fair bit of confusion as the crowded price-range under 1000 dollars for a 14" - 16+" unit is also covered by cast-iron units.
In some cases, virtually identical machines, in all aspect/features, can be had either way for the same money. ONE of them has to be better?
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wrote:

FWW multi-test of 14" machines a year or two back seemed to favour the welded steel frames.
IMHO, it's a red herring anyway. If you look at the upper bearing carrier of a typical "retail" bandsaw, then engineering there is so shoddy that frame rigidity doesn't really come into it. If you want to fix something, then start by looking at that.
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The reason cast iron is so popular in machinery is damping characreristic. steel pings, that is mechanical waves resonate and propagate well through it. The thing about cast iron is that it is supersaturated with carbon, during cooling some of this precipitates out in a fine lath as graphite. These flakes of graphite absorb acousti-mechanical waves, and thus provide damping. The welded steel may indeed be the better machine. These are just the properties of the two materials.
riCh
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The reason cast iron is so popular in machinery is damping characreristic. steel pings, that is mechanical waves resonate and propagate well through it. The thing about cast iron is that it is supersaturated with carbon, during cooling some of this precipitates out in a fine lath as graphite. These flakes of graphite absorb acousti-mechanical waves, and thus provide damping. The welded steel may indeed be the better machine. These are just the properties of the two materials.
riCh
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Get TAUNTON'S 2005 TOOL GUIDE magazine. They review both 14" and 18" bandsaws. I have reviewed this subject to death and they seem to have all the right answers. In the end analysis, cast iron vs welded steel or any other comparison is not the critical factor. The only thing that really matters in the end, is the quality of cut and the amount of machine setup required to achieve it.. For what it's worth, I will be buying the 18" RIKON.
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Of all the tools in the world, I think bandsaws must be the most frustrating to purchase. You pick one and then look and "for just a couple $100 more, I could get...." First thing you know, you've ratcheted your wishes up to a $2100 welded steel Italian wonder that slices veneer like a razor and cuts 12" logs without breathing hard. It seems that there are two very happy groups of buyers - those that bought very low priced Grizzley saws and those that bought top end Minimax - each getting his/her particular value priority satisfied. The middle is a frustrating compromise. That's why I've put off buying a bandsaw for two years in a row. I've got a middle sized budget with a high end want.
Good luck!
Bob
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<snip>

There's some interesting buzz going on right now about a MiniMax E16, made in Europe, with an 'intro' price at about $1k + freight.
That wouldn't work so well for those in the Great White North, though...
Patriarch
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Yeah... the freight prices for the dog-sled teams will kill ya!
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MiniMax reportedly has no means of dealing effectively with Canadian sales.
It's a very tempting machine, however. The sort of tool a high class feller such as yourself would want to own... ;-)
Patriarch
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I have a contact address in Port Huron MI, literally less than 10 minutes from my house if the bridge isn't too busy.
Still doesn't solve the igloo problem though.
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wrote:

No 240V in the igloo?
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Hey, I was born in Sarnia. Grew up in Michigan. Now living in Texas.
Max D.
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Cool! I love it around here. 1 hour from Detroit, 2 1/2 from Toronto. 1 hour from Lee Valley *G*
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Oh hush up. Good thing I don't still live there then. I'd be gone from home most of the time. <G> Max D.
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Not to mention the problem getting it in through the igloo's entrance as well has having to rewire the igloo for 220v as well as running a ground line some 3000 miles to bedrock.
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Bob, I hear you with the "middle sized budget and high end want." I just boight the Laguna LT14SE. In fact, I made my first cuts with it yesterday. It is a "welded plate" design. It seems preety darn stiff to me. I've seen the Delta 14" and Powermatic 14" in use (but not used them myself) and I think the Laguan runs a lot quieter -- a non-scientific comparision and obvioulsy a biased one, too.
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