Chip Consistency – What to look for.

Checking the chips that come from cutting material on band saw blade is as important as choosing the right blade, breaking in that blade, properly setting the machine, using the correct feed rate for the material, running the saw blade and cutting with or without coolant.

The ultimate goal is to achieve tightly curled, thin chips that feel warm to the touch. These chips are created while cutting metal and must be checked for shape, feel and color. These all give a good indication of feed and speed rates.

When the chips are curled, silvery and warm they indicate ideal pressure with optimum cutting time and blade longevity.

When the blade chips are fine and powdery they indicate insufficient feed pressure and the possibility that the blade teeth are rubbing the surface of the material instead of clean-cutting. If this is happening a remedy would be to increase the blade feed and decrease in speed.

When the chips are hard, thick or discolored it indicates that the feed pressure and speed rate is too heavy.  To remedy the situation you must decrease the feed and speed rate and check the cutting fluid mix.

When the chips are hard and thin they indicate a too slow speed rate and a too high of feed pressure. You must double check the appropriate speed and feed rate and check the pitch of the blade.

When the chips are thin and straight, the feed rate must be changed.

In summary, if the chips are discolored, hard, thick or powdery, there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

To make sure you are always getting the desired chip consistency you want to make sure the operator is constantly checking the chips that are cut. In addition to seeing the chips, they must also listen for a grinding sound, this would signal overfeeding material.

And as we mentioned last week, the chip brush is best to keep in working order as it removes the chips from the bandsaw blade and from inside the band wheel, which ensures the band saw machine is running effectively.


Ensuring that each of the parts on your band saw is in working order to help achieve optimum cutting results, longer blade life and quality output.

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