Cheap bandsaw


We are looking for a new (cheap) bandsaw to our lab, and as I know, some teams use Harbor Freight tools, so does anyone havethis bandsaw?

If your team has, it is worth? It’s easy to find a replacement saw?

We found too the SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw and the POWERTEC BS900 Band Saw, 9-Inch that runs a 1/2 hp motor.

If anyone has any experience to share with any of these items or have another to suggest, we really appreciate!

Ps.: I know that these are limited equipment, but are ok for what we need and are willing to pay. Plus weight is a restriction, the weight can not be greater than 70lb.

I looked at each image and they look to be nearly the same except for the doors. The PowerTec lists the saw at a 1/2 hp, but both HF and Skil say their saw is 2.5 amps.

Using this online calculator for 110v and 90% eff, I get .3 hp.
So I would not buy the PowerTec just because it claims a 1/2 hp motor.

For the last 5 years we have been using a similar band saw made by Ryobi.

Home Depot was nice enough to donate it to us. So if they all cost the same, I would say buy it at HD. They also stock wood and metal cutting blades.

Our band saw cuts sheet aluminum and wood just fine. You can even make a cut with a moderate curve. It comes with a miter gage, but the saw doesn’t track well enough to make its use worthwhile. Cutting 1" square aluminum tube is slow going thru the wall at the beginning and end of the cut.

A small band saw can cut a long piece of stock, but if the material is longer than 9" you will have to angle the stock to miss the throat. Just remember to mount the band saw in a location where the material will fit.

We also have a metal cutting chop saw, with a 2 hp motor and a big blade. Infrequent mentors much prefer the slower and less powerful band saw.

If you overpower the cut, the blade will stop and the motor will stall. Quickly turn off the machine, remove the piece and start over.

Build Mentor

I own one of these.
You can run it horizontal or vertical and it’s made for metal.

If you plan on cutting wood it may be OK. The specs do not tell us how slow it will run. For aluminum it needs to get down to 300 fpm. Steel around 200 fpm.
Mr. Mike

Its too heavy though. 1156 is from Brazil. If you see in their post it has to be under 80 pounds. I don’t know if its to bring to competitions (They come to SBPLI every year) or if there is simply laws not permitting importing tools over 80 pounds.

Brazil is known for harsh laws regarding imports. An Xbox one costs almost $2,000 in Brazil where it is only $400 in the US.

I have one of these, Makes crooked cuts in aluminum just as good as any other cheap bandsaw.

We have this same Ryobi bandsaw, and found many of the same limitations. It cuts wood fine, works on thin sheet aluminum and lexan but is annoying for cutting box tubing and L brackets when you hit the side wall. We brought it to the week 0 scrimmage in AZ last year and went through a new blade in one day when it served as the community band saw. Since almost all our cuts were on long tubing pieces we are looking at alternatives as the low power and throat limitation lowered our productivity (we didn’t have a chop saw so it frequently meant hacksaw and a freshman).

I’d like to get some feedback on how well these handheld bandsaws work. We borrowed one at a scrimmage and the Regional last year from my old team and I felt it was much more effective than the ~$100 tabletop saw above. I’m strongly considering getting one before build season this year and then only using the table top saw for cuts in large sheets.

That’s a good option for teams that can’t afford or don’t have the space for a horizontal metal cutting saw or if they want to have something they can take to an event.

As far as table top bandsaws go this is my favorite. It’s served us well cutting wood and thin metal. Try to reduce the amount of metal touching the blade when cutting through box extrusion by not going through the entire face at same time.

Basically it’s the same saw as this one that costs a lot more.

Thank you for the feedback.
We have in our lab this Rockwell RK7323 Blade Runner and it work just fine for wood and thin aluminum sheet, some aluminum tube as well, but it works with standard t-shank jigsaw blades, and as you can imagine the blades don’t last long. So we are looking for a new one that uses band saw.

The weight restrictions is due the luggage limits, we can ship 70lbs volumes without paying for overweight. So we can bring it to Brazil in the box without problems.

This looks like a good option! Thank you