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    Returning Member AmishWarlord's Avatar
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    3 Wheel Band Saws

    I saw a Delta band saw for sell on Craig's List. However looking for reviews on it I saw "3 Wheelers are bad!" over and over. Is this true or just a myth?

    http://charlotte.craigslist.org/tls/2616474476.html

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    Never had one, but I've seen the same complaints. I can see keeping 2 wheels co-planner, but 3 may be problematic.
    Always be yourself because the people that matter don't mind, and the ones who mind, don't matter.

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    I had a Delta three wheel for several years and got frustrated every time I used it. Finally gave it away just to get it out of my shop and bought a Rikon 14" which I love.
    R.J. in Graham

    "The older I get, the more vividly I remember things that never happened."

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    The primary (and only major) issue with 3-wheel bandsaws is the narrowness of the 3 wheel's radius/diameter. Three-wheel bandsaws have wheels with much smaller diameters than two-wheel bandsaws and, as if that were not enough, they have 50% more such narrow wheels than a traditional two-wheel bandsaw. This greatly increases the bending strain on the blades versus a typical two-wheel bandsaw of similar capacity with each revolution of the blade. The result is much shorter blade life versus a two-wheel bandsaw of comparable capacity.

    Otherwise it is just another variation on the bandsaw. If you limit yourself to very small blades, say 1/4" and below, then the penalty is less severe. Anything larger and you may encounter issues with blades breaking well before they dull.

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    I've never owned one, but I have friends that have had them in their shops. They only complained about lack of clearance between the blade and the body of the saw. However, they were very casual users; their saws were not used much. Besides the small diameter of the wheels causing the blade to flex more, the blade length is much shorter, also contributing to shortening blade life. Sometimes I've considered picking one up just so I can have it set up with a 3/16 or 1/4" blade, freeing up the 14" for dedicated resawing. I have yet to talk myself into obtaining one. (Maybe if its real cheap!)
    Experience is a hard teacher; she gives the test first, and the lesson later.

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    I had a Delta 16" three wheel band saw and loved it. ZI had to sell it when we moved to NC 20 years ago, but if not for that I'm sure I would still be using it. In Fact I have a Craftsman three wheel waiting in the wings for some time to refurbish it and it will take a place in my shop for small work.

    The thing you have to be aware of with a three wheel is the blade has to be thin. As long as you keep a thin blade on it you'll be fine. I think my Delta used .018 thickness blades.
    Most people who are into preparedness, didn't get there because it makes sense. They got there because they suffered and chose not to suffer again.

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    Found this which may be helpful...

    Bulletin No. 30
    BS09
    Delta Product
    Machinery Information
    Bulletin
    November 25, 1986
    Subject: Three Wheel Band Saw Blade Life Considerations
    We occasionally receive inquiries concerning short blade life on the 10" and 16", 3-
    Wheel Band Saws. Below are some thoughts and observations we have put
    together on the subject that may help you in resolving this type of problem:
    We have tested Delta's blades in the lab and find them to be acceptable in
    quality and durability. We have done cutting and idle testing, and the
    blades last from one hour (cutting with 1/4" blades) to 72 hours plus (idling
    with 1/8" blades)!
    Proper blade guide adjustment and cutting technique can have a
    tremendous impact on blade life.
    We have investigated several dozen chronic blade breakage reports and, in
    the vast majority of cases, the users were not using Delta blades. They
    were having their blades "welded up" locally from bulk band stock. We
    have acquired some interesting knowledge on the subject of blade welding
    in the field:
    Butt Welding Machines are inexpensive (about $500-$800) but they
    cannot be used efficiently on blade stock thinner than .022".
    Electronic Welding Machines will properly weld ultra thin blade stock (.012"
    to .022"), but they are very expensive! About $8000 to $10,000.
    Few, if any, mill supply houses, dealers, hardware stores etc., have
    Electronic welding equipment. Therefore, they do not stock "ultra thin"
    blade band stock.
    Most three wheel band saws utilize smaller diameter wheels than
    comparable capacity two wheel machines. Therefore, the blade must bend
    around very small radii three times for each band revolution, as opposed to
    larger radii, two times on a comparable capacity two wheel machine. This
    condition results in increased blade fatigue which shortens blade life.
    To minimize the impact of the fatigue factor on three wheel machines, we
    use much thinner (more flexible) blade stock. Delta's 16" model uses blades
    that are either .018" or .020" thick. The 10" machine uses blades that are
    only .014" thick.
    -2-
    To use blades welded of commonly available band stock (.025" to .035") invites
    premature blade failure. The thicker the stock, the quicker the blade will
    fatigue and break.
    Delta catalogs a limited offering of 3 wheel band saw blades for general
    purpose applications. Customers requiring special purpose bands (such as
    1/4" x 18 TPI for cutting plastics) can obtain these blades in ultra thin band
    direct from manufacturers such as Starrett or Simmons on a special order
    basis. But, lead times may be long and prices high. To save time and money,
    many users tend to go to their local mill supply house and have their blades
    welded out of whatever blade band stock is available. Usually .025" to .035"
    thick. The result - premature blade failure!
    If you've read this far you have learned that:
    1. Three Wheel Band Saw Blade life will, in most cases, be less than comparable
    capacity two wheel band saw blade life. This is due to the fact that the smaller
    wheels used on 3-wheel band saws increase blade fatigue which shortens
    blade life.
    2. In order to minimize the effect of this fatigue on blade life, three wheel band
    saw blades are made of very thin band stock which is not normally available
    from sources other than the band saw manufacturer, and,
    3. To use band saw blades that are thicker than the manufacturer's
    recommendations invites excessive blade fatigue and breakage.
    Assuming you are using the proper blades and still experiencing excessive breakage,
    you should look to one or more of the following areas for the source of the problem:
    1 Improper blade tension.
    2 Improper guide adjustment.
    3 Improper blade support bearing adjustment.
    4 Forcing a wide blade around a short radius.
    5 Dull or pitch covered blade or insufficient set of the teeth.
    Most of the above problem areas are addressed in your owner's manual but certain
    points deserve additional comment.
    Excessive blade tension on three wheel band saws is unnecessary and will contribute
    to excessive blade breakage. Make all tracking and tensioning adjustments with the
    blade guides and back up bearing away from the blade. Apply only enough tension to
    keep the blade on the wheels. Rotate the wheels by hand while making initial tracking
    adjustments. Proper tracking is achieved when the blade runs in the center third of the
    wheel tires. Once initial tracking is achieved, readjust the tension. Because three
    wheel blades are thin and flexible (see discussion above) they require only light blade
    tension. Adjust the tension to the point where the blade does not slip on the wheel and
    then add 1/4 to 2 turn of additional tension. That should be sufficient for most cutting
    operations with most blades.
    -3-
    Once the blade is properly tracked and tensioned, adjust the table 90 degrees to the
    blade and set the table tilt scale indicator, if one exists, to 0 degrees. As with the
    tracking and tensioning adjustment above, this table square adjustment should be
    made with the blade guides and back up bearings away from the blade.
    Next, adjust the blade guides and back up bearing. Important: the guides and back up
    bearings should not alter the blades path from the top to the bottom wheel. They serve
    only to keep the blade in that path when cutting forces are applied. To move the blade
    out of its natural path will bend the blade as it passes each set of guides causing
    fatigue and premature blade breakage!
    The side guides should be brought into the blade and locked into position. Get into the
    habit of placing a piece of paper (a corner of this bulletin would do nicely) along side the
    blade when the side guides are adjusted. After locking the guides, remove the paper
    and you will have sufficient clearance for the blade weld to pass through the guide
    without hanging up and damaging the blade.
    Finally adjust the back up bearing, again using a paper "shim" to insure the presence of
    a slight gap (bearing to blade) after adjusting. Remember the blade should contact this
    bearing only when cutting pressure is applied otherwise both the blade and bearing will
    fail prematurely.
    If you need assistance beyond the scope of this publication, we suggest you visit your
    local library or contact your high school's vocational education instructor. Both are
    excellent sources of information on the use and care of general purpose woodworking
    machinery.
    Delta Technical Service /pag
    Doc. No. 2478C
    Most people who are into preparedness, didn't get there because it makes sense. They got there because they suffered and chose not to suffer again.

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    Returning Member AmishWarlord's Avatar
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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    Wow! Now that is an informative reply!

    Thank's Mike!

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    One of these days.........am gonna snag a 3 wheeler on the mega-cheap and convert it to run sanding belt in a "knife grinder" sort of way.Seein as how everybody feels they aren't worth much?BW

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    I have a 3 Wheel INCA Band Saw. I've only broken blades when I over-tensioned them. Typically use a 3/8" blade with no problems - but I have used blades up to 3/4" wide.

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    Quote Originally Posted by BWSmith View Post
    One of these days.........am gonna snag a 3 wheeler on the mega-cheap and convert it to run sanding belt in a "knife grinder" sort of way.Seein as how everybody feels they aren't worth much?BW
    In fairness, I don't think any of us, here, are saying that 3-wheel bandsaws are bad saws, just that they have, as with most any machine, their own unique issues and limitations that buyers should be aware of when purchasing. If you purchase a 3-wheel bandsaw knowing these limitations then you will likely be a happy buyer who gets many hours of use and enjoyment out of your purchase. But, if you do so without being aware and use ordinary bandsaw blades then you are likely to waste more money in broken blades then you saved in purchasing the saw -- and will likely be quite aggravated and annoyed as well (hence all the bad press)! In my own [humble] opinion, the primary factor in choosing a 3-wheel bandsaw over other choices would be the (very) small shop owner who needed deep scrolling ability, but little resaw capacity, and only had room for a benchtop bandsaw in his/her shop -- they do offer a deep throat in a small and lightweight package.

    I could see one being adapted for 1" sanding bands (provided you can order custom lengths -- I've never researched such), though I wonder if a true 1" band sander would not be more practical since it will have been designed specifically for such. If you ever follow through, though, I know I and many others would love to see the pictures and a writeup of how it went and what you had to do.

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    Quote Originally Posted by AmishWarlord View Post
    Wow! Now that is an informative reply!

    Thank's Mike!
    We don't ask Mike about the weather. By the time he's through explaining it, it's the next season.
    All seriousness aside, it's what we're here for.
    WHAT BOX?

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    I had a great library teacher in 7th Grade, she told me I didn't have to remember everything (which is good because I can't) but you have to know how to find anything. And I'm great at that.
    Most people who are into preparedness, didn't get there because it makes sense. They got there because they suffered and chose not to suffer again.

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    I have one of these delta 3 wheel saws and like it very much. I am running a 3/16" blade for small work and it does all very well. It cuts very smooth with no drift or vibration. I did change the steel guide blocks to ceramic blocks. Reason I bought it, other than the price being very right, is that I run an 1 1/4" carbide blade on my 24" Laguna and to change that beast to a small blade is not a 5 minute job. If you can get it at a price that you are happy with; go for it - you won't regret it

    The lyf so short The craft so long to lerne

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    Re: 3 Wheel Band Saws

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Davis View Post
    I had a great library teacher in 7th Grade, she told me I didn't have to remember everything (which is good because I can't) but you have to know how to find anything. And I'm great at that.
    I never commit to memory anything that can easily be looked up in a book.
    -- Albert Einstein
    Nonetheless, despite the calibre and credentials of the above quote, it never did help me convince any of my college professors to go open-book for our exams.

    The sad thing is, between my own and my parent's book and periodical collections we probably have more books and periodicals than many small libraries! Woodworking books alone probably occupy at least 12 linear feet of shelving and magazines considerably more, and then there are nearly 30 years worth of computer (hardware, software, programming, security, etc.) references and a good many books on electronics and other areas of interest. I just hope the trend towards eBooks never replaces printed and bound books because I take some real solace in the knowledge that printed books preserve a wealth of knowledge even in the event of a complete technological collapse -- just think how fast our society would collapse if electricity disappeared tomorrow!

    It is a saying that I live by as well. I put far more trust in the engineer that looks up and double-checks their memory and assumptions than I do the engineer that simply assumes they remember everything correctly and without error.

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