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Feel the Flutter- Flutter Testing Your Bandsaw Blades

Saw Blade

Flutter testing is one of the most important and efficient ways to ensure your bandsaw performs a clean cut every time. Recommended by almost all blade and saw manufactures the flutter method is an easy and efficient way to guarantee your blade is ready to face even the toughest materials. The steps are relatively simple and easy to follow along and we have listed our own version below to help you out. As always if you ever have any questions or need help troubleshooting, our team at BladeTec is here to help.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Unplug the saw.
Step 2: Install the blade
Step 3: After installing the blade, set both the upper and lower blade guides as wide as they can go or remove them altogether, then remove the throat plate from the table.
Step 4: Center the blade on the wheels, modifying the tracking whilst turning the top wheel manually. Close the wheel covers.
Step 5: Turn the tension on the handwheel until the tension gauge is at or slightly above the recommended tension for your blade width.
Step 6: Plug the saw in, turn it on, and make any final adjustments to blade tracking, as needed.
Step 7: With the saw running, slowly begin to release the tension with small incremental turns on the tensioning wheel, about 1⁄2 turn of the tensioning wheel at a time. Continue until the blade starts to flutter.
Step 8: Gradually continue to increase tension until the fluttering stops, then turn the tension wheel another 1⁄4 – 1⁄2 turn tighter.
Step 9: Power down the saw, and reset the upper and lower blade guides to their original spots.
Step 10: Start cutting. You’re back in business.

Use this method each time you change blades, and remember to de-tension the blade with the quick-release tensioner when not in use.

De-Tension After Use

De-tensioning is an important component of ensuring blade dependability and amplifying the blades’ life. As we all know, blades will heat up from cutting, causing them to expand and contract. Leaving your blade under tension, strapped around the drive wheels, will automatically create a memory in the steel that could lead to early failure from metal fatigue. If the band is left too tight on the saw it can also distort the crown and flatten the drive tires, making them very hard. Unfortunately, this tension also stresses the motor, shaft V-belt and drive pulleys. Causing your blade to wear out a lot faster. After every use, ensure you release blade tension. Always, keep track of how many turns you use to release tension so that you won’t have to perform the flutter test every time you want to use the saw for your designated materials.

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