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The band speed of a saw is measured in surface feet per minute (SFPM) or surface metres per minute (SMPM). 
 
This can be worked out by doing a simple calculation which involves determining the RPM (the machine manual should tell you this or you can find out yourself by noting the revolutions per minute of the wheels). You then measure the circumference of the drive wheel and multiply it by the RPM. 
 
Vary bandsaw speeds for different materials 
 
Bandsaw blade speeds range from 40 feet per minute to 5,000. Most bandsaws though are set for wood cutting which is around 5000 SFPM. Those with multi speed capabilities have a secondary speed which is around one half to a third slower than that of the 5000 SFPM. And, in fact, it can be anything from 60 up to 300 (SFPM). This is the type of speed which is used for cutting metals such as titanium, aluminium, brass and copper as well as thin steel. It’s worth noting too that each material has its own characteristics and requires a different speed rate for optimal cutting performance. Harder metals usually involve using a specific bandsaw and speeds greater than 300 SFPM. Using the wrong speed for a particular material will result in premature blade wear and bad cutting. 
 
Special metal cutting bandsaws have own lubricants 
 
To change speeds on a bandsaw it may involve moving the drive belt on both the drive and the motor pulley. It’s also better to use the right blade for cutting particular substances. 
However, some machines have mechanical and electronic speed variators with the addition of a gearbox. When cutting metal, you’ll also need to use a lubricant. That is, unless you have a bandsaw which is specifically designed to cut metal and in which case, it will have its own system for delivering, capturing, filtering and recirculating the oil for the blade. 
 
If you do have to alter the speeds on your bandsaw because you are changing the material you want to cut to metal, then keep a cloth nearby. That’s because your blade will need to be thoroughly cleaned before you cut wood again – otherwise the lubricant will probably stain the wood. 
 
For more information- or if you’re not sure of the right blade, our expert team can give you a chart to ensure you choose the right one for your bandsaw machine. Just call us on 01892 663398 or email [email protected] for guidance. 
 
Alternatively, you can buy a selection of lubricants and blades online or order custom blades from our helpful team. 
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