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Saw Blade Performance Specifications

In today's fast paced get it done now manufacturing environment sometimes using the proper tools and setups gets thrown to the wayside. Most of us either don't know how to or don't have the time to calculate the proper specifications for every tool and application. Some rely on the cutting tool suppliers to tell them what to use and others just guess.

This article is for those people wanting to know how and why to setup there sawing applications for the best tool life, cut quality, and efficiency. Below you will find formula's and charts to make the chore a little easier.


Formulas & Definitions

Without the right formulas to calculate your information all of this is worthless. So below are the correct variables, specifications, and formulas.

Variable Definitions

  • RPM = Rotations per Minute

  • Chip Load = Material Removed by Each Cutting Edge in Inches

  • Feed Rate = Rate which the part is feed into the cut in Feet per Minute

  • Diameter = The Distance from the center of tool to the farthest cutting edge multiplied by 2.

  • p (Pi) = 3.14159265358979323846 (Round as Necessary)

  • Rim Speed = The speed in feet per minute that a tool spins at its diameter

  • # Wings = The number of teeth in the cutting tool


Feed Rate = (Chipload x # Wings x RPM) / 12

Max RPM* = (12 x Max Rim Speed) / Diameter x p

Chip Load = (Feed Rate x 12) / (RPM x # Wings)

Rim Speed = (Diameter x p x RPM) / 12

*Just a note, Max RPM is the fastest you should run each blade. The recommended RPM's are usually between 50% and 75% of Max RPM.

As you can see all of these formulas are interrelated in that some of the information from one formula is required to use the other. This can be a real problem if you don't have enough information up front. So to make this process easier we have included some very useful charts below.

Maximum Rim Speed by Material
Wood 18,000 ft./min.  
Non-Ferrous 13,200 ft./min.  
Recommended Chip Loads for Saws
Material Low to High
Softwood: With Grain 0.008 to 0.035
Softwood: Cross Grain 0.004 to 0.008
Hardwood Any Direction 0.002 to 0.006
Chipboard & Manmade Wood 0.004 to 0.010
Veneered Panels 0.001 to 0.004
Plastic Laminated panels 0.001 to 0.002
Aluminum / Plastic 0.001 to 0.003

Practical Use & Demonstration

OK, now lets put all this information to use. We will use a scenario using Bob and his new power feed for his table saw. Bob has never used a power feed and has no idea what speed to run for the best tool life, cut quality, and efficiency. He is going to rip cut some softwoods using a 12" diameter blade with 30 teeth.

First he calculates the Max RPM:

  • Max RPM* = (12 x Max Rim Speed) / Diameter x p

  • Max RPM = (12 x 18,000) /  (12 x 3.14159)

  • Max RPM = 216000 / 37.69908

  • Max RPM = 5,729 (Rounded to the whole number)

This means the the best RPM's to run the blade at falls between 2,865 and 4,297 RPM's. He knows his machine runs at 3,450 RPM's so he will use that number to figure the rest of his information.

From the Chip Load chart he chooses a Chip Load for softwood figuring that he needs a midline finish quality. He picks 0.021 as his chipload from the with grain softwood row in the chipload chart.

Second he calculates the Feed Rate:

  • Feed Rate = (Chipload x # Wings x RPM) / 12

  • Feed Rate = (0.021 x 30 x 3,450) / 12

  • Feed Rate = 2,174 / 12

  • Feed Rate = 181 Feet per Minute

Bob's done. He now knows the information needed to setup his application.

Now all of this information is for reference, and gives guidelines to setup most applications. Limitations of your machine or application may cause you to be unable to use the numbers you get. If this happens simply plug in the limiting specifications into the supplied formulas. Adjustments in any and all specifications may be needed to fit your particular application. These formulas are not law by any means and you should use good judgment and common sense in setting up any cutting tool. Safety is always your top priority.

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