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What is a Portable Bandsaw?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2016
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When cutting a variety of materials, it is sometimes necessary to make cuts that are not straight lines. A bandsaw works well for such cuts; it uses a single band of metal as a blade with a cutting edge on one side. The blade is mounted vertically and the piece to be cut is placed on a horizontal surface to be steadied. The bandsaw can make precise cuts and is useful for irregular shapes and angles, though it can be used for straight cuts as well. A portable bandsaw works in much the same way, but is more versatile than a fixed bandsaw because the portable bandsaw can be used in tighter spots and a larger variety of cutting situations.

Because of its size, the portable bandsaw is not capable of cutting larger pieces like its stationary relative. However, because it is much lighter--typically between 13 and 15 pounds (6 to 7 kilograms)-- and movable, the portable bandsaw is useful for smaller projects that require the user to cut from several different angles or in tight spots. To measure how large a piece a portable bandsaw can cut, measure the distance from the blade to the throat. This distance is slightly larger than the largest piece you will be able to cut.

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A portable bandsaw is ideal for cutting pipe because of the fine, clean cut it produces. It is an ideal choice for woodworking projects as well, and various other materials can be cut with the portable bandsaw; its light, easy-to-use design is perfect for job sites. The portable bandsaw can cut several pieces in the same pattern as well, but again, it cannot handle the larger sizes of material that a fixed bandsaw can.

Many portable bandsaw models are battery operated, though others may use a power cord instead. Corded models typically contain a 6 or 6.5 amp motor, and cordless models can use a battery of up to 28 volts. Generally, the corded models are more consistently powerful, and the user does not have to worry about battery drain. However, the battery operated portable bandsaw can be moved and used anywhere, regardless of availability of plugs.

When choosing a portable bandsaw, be sure to consider extra features, such as a variable speed option. This can help control the accuracy of your cut. Some models of portable bandsaw come with built-in lights aimed at the cutting area, allowing greater visibility in low-light situations. As with any bladed tool, be sure to choose the correct blade for the job you will be taking on, as the blade selection will have the greatest impact on the quality of cut you make.

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