|It is a very good $200 tool. Remember that it IS a $200 tool and don't expect it to perform like a $2,000 tool, and you'll do fine. The first and foremost thing to realize is that there is no blade guard as it is right now. With a little creativity you can add one.
With a small try-square, set the 'fence' square with the blade. Make a trial cut on a piece of 3/4" sq. Look at the cut. Does it look square and plumb? If not, adjust your blade guides (rollers) to make the cut square. You may have to make several test cuts before you get it right.
There are 2 blade guide 'bars' (the 1/2" x 1,1/2" sliding flat bars that the 'blade guides' are attached to.) They have a plastic handle, they move the 'blade guides' closer and farther from each other. Drill & tap another hole for the plastic handle in each, so that you have greater adjustment capabilities. Make another table for the bottom blade guide. Make it of material at least as heavy as the original little table. Make it with a notch so that you can still use the saw in the horizontal position.
Run your "bi-metal" blade as tight as you can get it by hand. Use a LOT of oil on your blade guides at all times even if you don't build the stand / oilier. Always clamp your material VERY securely in the vice and try to wiggle it before you begin to cut. Round stock will have the greatest tendency to come loose.
If you use the saw much in the vertical, (free hand cuts) you can expect to dull the teeth on one side or the other of your blade. When you go back to cut horizontal, it will cut crooked. If you are cutting very thin wall tubing and your blade teeth are too course, feed the blade very gently by hand through the cut (of course you should have the correct blade, BUT...)BE CAREFUL !! BE CAREFUL !! BE CAREFUL !! BE CAREFUL !!
Buy several blades at once, because as you are learning to use your new tool, you will make mistakes and perhaps break some blades. In my opinion, the BEST DEAL on blades is
TYLER TOOL CO. TYLERTOWN, MISSISSIPPI, 1-800-222-8404
64,1/2" x 1/2"
They cost about $13.00 ea. (compare that to $10 for trash blades from Harbor Freight)
I started with a hack saw, then I got a power hack saw, then when I got this band saw it was like a whole new world. Now I have a BIG band saw for horizontal work and I use the little saw for 45 deg. cuts and for free hand work.
CONVERTING TO 220V
I prefer to run all of my stuff on 220 volt ac. You get more power for less cost. So if you can wire your motor for 220, do so. I'm going to assume that your saw has the same motor that mine has. Be sure that it's NOT plugged in, ( sorry ).Remove the plate on the motor that covers the area where the wire, (plug in) comes from the motor. If you're lucky, there will be a little chart on the back side of that plate.
The chart will show you 3 to 5 terminals that are numbered or lettered, or both. One configuration of wiring will be for 110/120 volt. (probably the way that it came from the factory). The other configuration will be for 220/240 volt. It's
simply a matter of un-plugging the wires and changing the configuration. Then I suggest going to the hardware / electrical supply store and buying a replacement wire. (plug into the wall) Get it longer than you think that you will ever need. Stranded 10/3 will be heavy enough. You'll need a 220 v. male plug and perhaps an outlet for the wall if you don't have several already. You'll need some crimp on terminals for the motor end of your new long heavy duty wire.
Running your stuff on 220 is more economical, stronger, and much cooler running than 110.
One of the great things about this little saw is it's portability. You can move it all about the studio, turn it around to fit that outrageously large (long) piece that you have to block up on a roller stand just to hold up the other end. That's another "must have" tool, some adjustable (up & down) stands with rollers on top.
Why? Well, suppose that you are cutting 2" wide brackets from a 20' long piece of 2" x 2" angle. You set up the "stop" at 2", set up 2 roller stands adjusted to the height of the saw's vice table, one perhaps 10' and the other 15' from the saw, and go to work. Cut, feed, cut, feed and before you know it, you'll have a big pile of stuff on the floor and no more angle iron.... :-)
above applies mostly to the older model band saw. the newer ones are
with a 110 volt motor and the blade guide adjustment arms are now thin
and located on the outside of the frame.