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Proxxon Micro MBS 240/E Band Saw Review

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Proxxon Micro MBS 240/E Band Saw Review
 

Since I posted my new toy on my build log it has been suggested I write a review of this Band saw.
This is really first impressions by a novice user.
 

It may be of interest to those in the UK that the machine was purchased not from Chronos the UK Proxxon dealer, but from TBS- Aachen in Germany. Delivery was very quick, I was able to pay by Paypal, and there was a saving of £52.72 over the Chronos price, including a modest postage charge.
 

http://www.tbs-aachen.de/Proxxon/table_top_tools/bandsaw/Proxxon_27172_MICRO_bandsaw_MBS_240/E_i2486_42358.htm

 

A few general shots

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Note the push stick hanging on the side of the machine, this is included.

 

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First impressions.
This is the largest of the Proxxon tools I have, measuring  19½" high x 15½" deep x 11" wide. (including the motor on the side, and the table) It sits on a base of mdf 1” thick, 9¼" wide x 12¼" deep. The machine feels sturdy, it is quite stable, but portable, and I can pick it up one handed.
As can be seen below it sits comfortably on my desk.

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The machine arrived with a standard blade already fitted, and all that was necessary to set it up was to attach the table and get familiar with the operations.
I found it useful to photocopy the exploded views in the manual so easy reference could be made to the parts etc; when reading the text.

 

Changing blades is fairly straightforward but as a complete novice with band saws it would have been comforting to have some sort of tensioning gauge when fitting blades rather than the narrative dire warning:- putting too much tension on the blade can tear apart and damage the device.
How much tension is too much tension, should there be any lateral play in the blade at all or should it feel rigid when pressed from the long side. It seemed to me that there is a range of tensions where I can’t detect differences in performance, but which is the optimum one.
Tensioning is done by degrees using the knob on top of the machine, best done with the cover off where the blade can be felt. I worked on the basis of when there was minimal play in the blade on the long side and the motor ran quietly, it was about right.
Access to the internals is via four Allan bolts to remove the cover which remains attached to the machine via a chain. A hinged door system would have made for quicker adjustments/cleaning.

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The lower running wheel with the drive pulley attached. The wheels have a plastic cover around them over which the saw blade runs. In the photo you can see a brush which clears away bits of plastic scuffed off the wheel. These are replaceable items and I have noticed that the rate of wear changes depending on the tension, but again as a novice user it is difficult to know what is normal for this machine.

 

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The machine has quite an efficient dust clearing system using the vacuum cleaner hose attachment.
 

Using the machine.
My initial use was limited to practising curved cuts on scrap wood which it easily accommodated. I progressed to cutting out the keel and false keel for my attempt at a 1:64 scale Pinnace.

 

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This is fairly fine stuff using 1.5mm boxwood sheet, and it (or perhaps me) struggled a little with the internal curves given the scale.
I rather think a scroll saw would be more suited to the job, and certainly for the boat frames which are quite small.
Even so this is a very useful addition to the workshop and apart from cutting more complex shapes it will replace my table saw for many jobs also.
 

Here’s the official video of the machine.

Any member who has perhaps more experience in using this particular machine please feel free to comment.

 

B.E.

 

 

 

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Hi BE. I have two questions, if you don't mind.

 

1. How tall of a piece can be cut, that is fit under the blade guide? It looks fairly tall.

 

2. Where did you get your desk cover? I have only seen those mats in 24" lengths or so. I would love to cover my work table like that, although I imagine that could be a little pricey.

 

Thanks.

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I like the guide bearings on that saw except for the one below the table. I bought a cheap band saw with soft metal blocks used for the blade guides both above and below the table, never licked it much. Might be a good saw if I rebuild the guides now that I am semi retired and have some time. Good Grief, just started to count the things I want to get done now that I have more time, going to need to set priority's, that saw will be near the bottom of the list.

 

I purchased my drafting table self healing drawing pad from an instrument company that sold sextants, surveying instruments as well as drafting supply's. It was 4 feet X 7 feet when purchased, had to downsize the table to a little under 6 feet wide and 3 1/2 feet deep a few years ago. Have had this cover about 14 years, a smaller one that I had purchased a few years earlier is still being used on a desk. The material was available at any length from differentl width rolls that the company had in stock, just cut what you need, the price if I remember right was about $ 12/foot. My drafting table top is a solid core hospital door that I bought from salvage, Bought a piano hinge and mounted the door to a large steel desk, put the pad on and added a drafting machine and ended up with a 400lb +/- drafting table, a pain to move but a good solid table. I would look for a pad at an office supply house that also sells drafting tools for a pad, bet you could get along without the printed grid without much hardship and the cost probably would be much cheaper than a hobby shop offering.

jud

Edited by jud

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Thanks QAR :)

 

Hi Keith
The Band saw can deal with heavier gauge stuff, is more robust, can still cut fairly tight curves, but for very small delicate work a scroll saw is probably more appropriate. I would envisage using the band saw for many of the tasks I would otherwise use the table saw for.
 

Hi Tom,
85mm is the maximum cut height.
My cutting mat measures 90 cm x 60cm and I got it from a supplier in the UK Cost £26.95
 

http://www.creativegrids.com/acatalog/Industrial_Cutting_Mats.html
 

Thanks for your input Jud, I like the idea of buying cutting mats by the foot, very large mats in the UK cost an arm and a leg. :o

 

Cheers,

 

B.E.

 

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I am also using that saw a lot. I even started to use it for straight cuts instead of a cheap table saw :)

There is just one problem. It is quite noisy, and looks like the main source of a noise is a ball bearing in a top wheel. I reduced it a bit by adding some soft material between the top wheel mount and the case, but it is still too nasty loud. The main issue is that the plastic case of a saw acts like a resonator, enhancing the sound. Anybody had the same issue?  

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Hi Mike,

 

I don't have the Proxxon bandsaw, but I have reduced noise on quite a few machines (computers, drill press, cheap scroll saw, and some others) by gluing cardboard sheets (as big as possible) to the inside of the housing or housing parts that act as a resonator. You need the dense variety of cardboard, and it should be thick or you can use two layers if possible. The additional mass of the cardboard is important because it reduces the "vibrational mobility" of the resonator. I normally use epoxy glue on metal and plastic parts. Of course it is also important that the saw's door is firmly closed, without any play. Reading your post you apparently already have hunted down the latter issue, but maybe you still can improve on that one.

 

Cheers,

Markus

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B.E. I am glad to see you promoting TBS-AAchen. They are the dogs nuts in my humble opinion.

 

Good saw too. I love mine.

 

Mike.

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Markus, followed your advice. Thanks!

 

Before:

post-5430-0-46005700-1414266626_thumb.jpg

 

After: 

post-5430-0-72097300-1414266645_thumb.jpg

 

It is 2-3 layers of a thick corrugated fibreboard, glued with a thick double sided sticky tape.

Plus some foam-style packaging material between the case and wheel mounts.

 

It does make a difference. It is not dramatically silent, but definitely less noisy then before. The method is very cheap and has no drawbacks, so why not :)

To make it really silent I am probably need to make it from a massive wood piece. But that is an overkill. At least now I can use the bandsaw without worrying about my neighbours :)

Edited by Mike Y

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Cheers Mike. I don't know if it makes a difference, but I always have used plain cardboard, not corrugated. However, I'm glad you could achieve some noise reduction with the cardboard fix. I see that you damped the aluminium(?) housing, which certainly is not wrong (I guess you did the same with the door which I believe is made of some kind of plasic).

 

- Markus

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If this is one of the versions of a 9 inch bench top bandsaw (59 1/2 inch blade length) there is a very useful addition to help it in cutting tight curves ( 1/8  inch blade ).   The Carter products Blade Stablizer is fairly expensive, but is worth the cost.  I bought a 9 inch bandsaw from MicroMark when it was on sale - they no longer vend it.  The mount did not match any Carter model, but it does use a rod and fortunately, a larger rod, so I could use K&S telescoping brass tubing as bushings for an exact fit.

http://www.carterproducts.com/band-saw-products/band-saw-stabilizer/standard-model-2-std2

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Small update: I dramatically reduced the noise by removing both wheels and applying tri-flow silicone lubricant to the internal sides of the ball bearings. They do not take any lube from the outside, but quite open from the inside. Now the bandsaw is running very smooth! I can use it without forcing my family to run away :) 

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Keith, frankly - never tried. Guess that thin brass does not really count as "metal".

But I read a number of reviews by modellers who cut aluminum, etc - they say it works fine, especially with a metal blade ;)

Proxxon advertises it as capable or cutting metals and offers blade for it - doubt that it is a lie.

Saw is powerful enough, so it is only a question of picking the right blade.

There is also an optional watercooling kit

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I have this same saw for several years now and I was very happy with it, but recently no more. Last month alone it broke 5 blades with very light use - and they are 23$ each. I don't know what is wrong with it but I don't think the issue are the blades.

 

Here is what happens: after installing a fresh new blade and a little usage I start hearing a repetitive noise like the blade is hitting something at each turn and shortly after the blade breaks ALWAYS at the welding point. When the toc-toc-toc noise starts the blade will break even if it turns empty without cutting anything.

 

I always buy the same Proxxon blades from Amazon and I don't think the problem are the blades. I think that in time the saw parts got worn by extensive usage and miss aligned. I am not an expert by any measure but what I can see is that the plastic on the two wheels is worn and I am guessing the blade does not sit true on them and get a bit twisted which makes it hit the guides and after a while it breaks. The upper guide is three bearings and the blade touches their exterior rounded part but the lower one is just a notch in a piece of steel. My money are on the lower one.

 

I just got a new batch of 4 blades and I will try one without the lower guide - see what's happening.

 

If someone has more experience with these tools and can share some light on what could be the cause of this problem, I would greatly appreciate.

 

Regards,

Alexandru

Edited by guraus

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Alexandru, proxxon service can send you new plastic for the wheels.

Also, try removing the blade, detach the motor belt and rotate wheels by hand - maybe wheel bearings are broken and they glitch from time to time, breaking the blade when one wheel gets stuck.

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Hi all. I join you in this thread of Proxxon band saw users and I would like to add my experience.

Noises can also being produced by the ball bearings on the blade guide.

The same can happen if for some reason the lower, inside the case, blade guide has moved-turned  from his vertical position. At this case you might come even to a broken saw band.

post-617-0-83742300-1444672580.jpg

Alexandru. I think you’re right guessing that the noise and the result of the broken saw blades might comes from the worn plastic on the wheels. In addition I consider the upper wheel (as adjustable) as the main responsible for the failure.

What I faced was that for the same reason of the worn plastic on the upper wheel, the band saw blade was stepping in and out of a formed by the use groove. That was causing me either broken bands or bands that frequently were slipping out of the wheel.

After some thinking I came to a simple solution which is still working…I placed a small piece of wood (it could be from plastic) in 3-4 mm (0.11811 inc) of thickness, at the bottom of the slider of the upper wheel. See photo.

post-617-0-34537100-1444672664_thumb.jpg

This way and by screwing the back knob (tensioning the blade), the wheel comes to a position where it will be spinning with a small angle, towards to back of the case.…This angle “forces” the band saw to stay at the inner part of the plastic, preventing from stepping in and out of the formed groove… In a way it fixes an alignment…See whether it might work for you as well…

As another option you may try filling (or replace the entire plastic) the formed gap-groove by making-placing loops of insulating tape around the wheel. I have seen it in the web but I haven’t tried it (yet…).

Another tip to keep the drive belt in tension when it’s been loosened by the use, is to make some loops from paper tape on the motor pulley. With the drive belt in its position and by turning the motor pulley by the hand, you apply layers of tape on its surface and from the free side. After some loops there will be a "new" tension.

If you face the problem where the belt slips over the pulley, then you can extend the length of the pulley, so that the belt can rotates in a longer surface.

You can do this by using some cylinders (from plastic or rubber) at the same diameter of the pulley. These cylinders can be placed as extensions and stay in place by applying paper tape over them.

Although I have bought a new belt, I keep using the first one (from the factory) to see how long is going to last…I have been using it in this form over a year by now.

post-617-0-61822700-1444672715_thumb.jpg

Last tip, you can replace a worn brush from the motor belt with an old toothbrush. Seen it in web...

 

Needless to say before anything else, unplug the band saw.

You may find my tips a bit of crudity but it isn't the right time to spend money in Greece.

And please don’t stay on my poor English… :unsure:

Thx

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what about the band saw from micro mark it is 50 dollars cheaper .does someone have it and is it the same quality ? 

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I found my bandsaw (a Metabo, slightly larger too) following the grain of the wood when it needs to cut through thicker wood ( > 1" ), thus making a curved cut. Very annoying. Anybody encountered that on the Proxxon, and if so, found a solution?

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Small update: finally got around to replacing the stock ball bearings on the top wheel.

Luckily they are a pretty standard size, so I ordered SKF 608-2RSL  http://www.skf.com/group/products/bearings-units-housings/ball-bearings/deep-groove-ball-bearings/single-row-deep-groove-ball-bearings/deep-groove-ball-bearings/index.html?designation=608-2RSL

Works like a charm! The nasty noise is gone! Should have done it from the very beginning, especially since these bearings are quite cheap (even SKF ones). Got fooled by Proxxon support who claimed that everything is fine and the bearings are fine, even after watching the video with the noise captured on it. 

Replacing the bearings was easy, no temperature fit required - just gently bump out the old bearings with a hammer, and squeeze in new ones using a clamp for the even pressure without any stress.

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My 2 cents about band saws in general  (I use a 14" and a 12"). 

 

1. The wheels on band saws should always be co-planar.  To check this, remove the blade and covers, and place a straightedge across both wheels - with no or very light pressure the straightedge should touch both wheels across their diameters, on both sides of the axles.  If it doesn't, then one or both wheels will need to be shimmed with washers to correct the misalignment. 

 

2. Next, the wheels and tires are crowned, and the blade should ride on the peak of the crown with the teeth just forward of the crown.  This is usually set by a knob that tilts a yoke that carries the upper axle. 

 

3. Considering the thicknesses (thinnensses?) of wood that you are usually cutting, the tension on the blades is not extremely critical.  Tension the blades so that they do not make a barrelled/bowed cut, but do not over-tension them because it's hard on the bearings and frame.  Once you have determined the tension for a particular blade, at the end of the day loosen the tension by 5 turns so that the tires and wheels do not develop flat spots.

 

 Note: the Timberwolf brand of blades require a lower tension that most, and their installation instructions say to install the blade at 'normal' tension and then loosen it until it just starts to flutter, and then increase the tension until it lessens or stops. Again, at the end of use, loosen the tension by a known number of turns.  (Here's maybe more than you'd like to know:  http://timberwolfblades.com/blade-tension.php  )

 

4. If the blade cuts in a skewed direction, the cause may be a misaligned guides or more likely the blade's teeth are dull on one side.

 

5.  The guides should be adjusted so that there is a very slight gap between the blade and guide, and it may skip along the guides when it's run without cutting.  The side guides should be set behind the tooth gullets.  (In the perfect world, no guides should be necessary.)

 

6. If possible, mount a toothbrush inside that brushes and cleans the tire(s) of sawdust.

By the way, I like the idea of placing material on the covers to reduce noise.  I think I'll try it with 6mm polyurethane craft foam instead of cardboard. 

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On my last post (#23), there are several points that do not agree with those presented in a bandsaw demonstration video by Alex Snodgrass of Carter Products.  I'm not disputing his views, and in fact I think it would be a good idea for others to watch the video, because there is certainly useful information there.  

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Hi all, excuse me bringing this thread to the top! ....but pretty much a first-time caller, and callow novice in this sphere of the hobby. Now I've always wanted and often needed a bandsaw, bought a second hand Burgess three wheeler but frankly, it seems more of a liability than anything - plus it seems impossible to get blades for it now?

Anyhoo, since I've been mooching around these here parts, and everyone appears pretty knowledgeable on the subject, I've read all the reviews I can find on small hobbyist bandsaws and whilst it hasn't done much to diminish my confusion - this model somehow appeals (I know not why over any other) - I think I perhaps followed and understood the resulting thread more readily. It looks like it will do all that I ever ask of it, and that it's not that highly strung and precious that I'll never have the ware-with-all to set it up and maintain it?

 

I'm thinking strongly about pressing the "buy it" button ..................... any reason why not anyone??? current wisdom dictate anything else?? And the current price is 245euro's with a small shipping charge - Good/Bad?

 

Thanks for reading, would appreciate any thoughts ..... cheers  Andi.

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Andi, do you have a space for a slightly larger saw? There are plenty of models in 10 inch range, starting from the one sold by axminster in UK. They are even cheaper than proxxon, have a fence, you can find more blades in that size.

The only reason to buy the Proxxon saw today is if you can't find a place for a slightly larger saw. That is basically the only reason I bought mine, and the only reason I haven't switched to anything else.

 

The saw is OK, but the lack of blades (like a resaw blade, etc) is annoying, and the lack of fence as well.

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Mike ... thanks for your timely reply. And YES, this is exactly the kind of advice/opinion I was hoping for - so thanks again.

This is obviously where my thinking and knowledge falls down, as in that I can read and view as many Bandsaws as there are featured, but that doesn't give any real world knowledge of what is the best for one's circumstances. This coupled with an amazing talent for always going in the wrong direction with decisions like this.

 

I have read a review that came out reasonably well for an Axminster saw (cannot remember where or what it was though) I think it was quoted as being about £189?? and I think the fence was an accessory on that model - might this be the way to go as space isn't critical, but it's a definite consideration.

I will try and search for the thread - if you think of any thing else that would help with this decision I would be extremely grateful for your thoughts.

 

Cheers for now.

 

EDIT ...................................

 

I found this as an example .................... thoughts/opinions anyone...................

 

http://www.axminster.co.uk/axminster-hobby-series-hbs200n-bandsaw-102266

Edited by Andi Little

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Looks like the side blade guides are round brass.  This is not a horrible design, but rarely seen on modern saws.  You have to be very careful that you always have the rear thrust bearing set properly, so that the teeth of the blade do not touch the side guides.  They can chew them up.  Also, if you use small blades the round shape allows only a small amount of the "circle" to contact the blade on the sides. 

 

This saw is sold in many incarnations from other companies.  There must be 5 versions available here in the states.  Each one has some slight difference from the others.  Look around and see if the same basic saw is available with a different blade guide system.

 

I own the Microlux band saw.  It seems to be the same saw as the proxxon.  I also have screaming bearings, which I think Mike addressed well.  I have an issue where the upper blade guide arm moves up and down in a different plane than the blade tracks.  This is not a tuning issue.  The blade tracks perpendicular to the table, the guide arm does not.  That means when the arm is up for thicker material the guides must be re adjusted, which is a pain.  Mike, do you have this issue?

 

-John 

 

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1 hour ago, john_wilmer said:

Looks like the side blade guides are round brass.  This is not a horrible design, but rarely seen on modern saws.  You have to be very careful that you always have the rear thrust bearing set properly, so that the teeth of the blade do not touch the side guides.  They can chew them up.  Also, if you use small blades the round shape allows only a small amount of the "circle" to contact the blade on the sides. 

 

This saw is sold in many incarnations from other companies.  There must be 5 versions available here in the states.  Each one has some slight difference from the others.  Look around and see if the same basic saw is available with a different blade guide system.

 

I own the Microlux band saw.  It seems to be the same saw as the proxxon.  I also have screaming bearings, which I think Mike addressed well.  I have an issue where the upper blade guide arm moves up and down in a different plane than the blade tracks.  This is not a tuning issue.  The blade tracks perpendicular to the table, the guide arm does not.  That means when the arm is up for thicker material the guides must be re adjusted, which is a pain.  Mike, do you have this issue?

 

-John 

 

Hm, I probably have a newer version of the saw. I saw the previous version of it, it looks slightly different, maybe that is what you have?

The blade guides are proper bearings, not a round brass rods. And I never had a single issue with that bearing guides - they work properly, easy to adjust and they keep the adjustment. No extra noise from them either. Zero complains to that part of the saw :)

Also no issues with the alignment of the blade guide arm.

 

So the only issues I have with my saw are:

1) Lack of fence (and not so easy to clamp smth since the underside of the table is not flat, but full of shapes to increase its rigidity).

2) Screaming upper bearing (cheap and easy to fix, just buy proper bearings from, say, SKF instead of the crap that is provided out of the box)

3) Super rare blade size, which means you can't buy any aftermarket blades. The Proxxon blades (3 or 4 types of them) are quite ok, not that I don't like them, but they do not offer any resaw blade, and you can't find it anywhere else due to a small size of it

 

But for the shipmodelling use it is more than enough. We do not need a resaw capability or a fence, it is mostly used as a sort of a powerful no-vibration scroll saw. And it is really good for that - even with regular blades you can make pretty fine curves, while the narrow blade will allow even more.

 

Pros:

1) Speed alignment

2) Overall construction is quite good and precise

3) Blade guide 

4) Size. It is the smallest bandsaw in the market (excluding some chinese plastic crap). 

5) Quality is good (except bearings). The table is flat and level.

6) Pretty powerful for it size - never made it stall or bog down when cutting smth big. 

 

 

Few years ago there was no alternatives to this saw (at least in Europe). Nowadays I see more and more 10 inch saws of decent quality, according to the reviews. And cheaper than proxxon.

Edited by Mike Y

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