Femi 782XL Metal Cutting Bandsaw – Review

Femi 782XL Metal Cutting Bandsaw – Review

I have wanted a bandsaw for some time but have been deterred by their size and weight in as much as one would have needed a permanent space allocating in the workshop, which I do not have! I then discovered the Femi portable saws, the 782XL being the smallest and only weighing 16kg. It will cut solid metal up to 41/2 inch diameter at a reasonable speed and the blade requires no lubrication during cutting. It stores away under my bench. 
I also obtained one of the matching tables which folds flat so also takes up no space. Although the table is sold as matching the bandsaw I could only match up one hole to slip a bolt through to make sure it is stable in use when being used as a table saw. It seems perfectly stable when used otherwise resting on a bench or the floor.
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Extras available are a small cutting table which attaches easily by clamping in the material clamp and a quadrant kit which in retrospect I probably will not use as it appears to be designed to help feed a large sheet at an angle, the size of which I cannot envisage using. Oddly Femi do not supply a fence guide which I think you really do need when cutting small pieces on the table. It is possible to purchase generic fences from places such as Axminster but I do not know for sure if they will fit.

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I made a makeshift fence out of aluminium angle which is secured by a couple of long throat clamps. It works well enough and can be quickly squared up with the edge of the table with a combination square. I did discover that aluminium angle is in fact NOT square and required milling flat on the two outside faces to be accurate. The blade guard is in two pieces, both adjustable for length. The main part reduces the actual length of the saw blade for rigidity and a second outer sliding piece is merely an extra finger guard, though I remain nervous when feeding pieces into the saw on the table as this has to be done by hand.
So far I have used the saw to cut 2 inch mild steel and aluminium, steel cycle tubing, smaller steel and aluminium bars and some longitudinal cuts on aluminium block and a bronze heat sink made on the lathe, the latter two items on the table. Longitudinal cuts may need milling flat afterward for a good finish but it is probably better than using a slitting saw and a lot quicker.
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The end of the material clamp is about 1 inch from the saw itself so realistically you need about 2 inches extra length of the metal you are cutting to be able to clamp it in place and use the saw in the conventional way. The clamp is quite good at holding even a short length at the edge, as shown in the pictures below, but small pieces have to be cut on a table.
The finish is very good and better than that obtained by a hacksaw. From subsequent facing of cut pieces on a lathe I would say the accuracy of cut is about 0.5mm from square on 50mm aluminium, certainly it should produce less than 1mm deviation.
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The saw can be angled up to 45 degrees and a simple stop enables a quick return to 90 and a degree of adjustment. I was amazed by the accuracy of a 45 degree cut I performed. The picture shows the cut ends next to a 45 degree angle plate straight after cutting.
Whilst using as a table saw the trigger switch can be disabled by a rather crude bit of bent metal which seems rather unsophisticated although it seems to work.
The saws are made in Italy and available from Stakesy’s (https://www.stakesys.co.uk/femi-782xl-swivel-head-portable-bandsaw-230-volt). As far as I know they are the only Femi retailer in the UK. From a price point of view I would say they compare favourably with heavier Chinese saws usually sold by other retailers apart from being a lot lighter, enabling them to be stored away. The downside is all the extras have to be purchased separately rather than being included in the price and this is perhaps where the perceived extra expense of non-Chinese saws lies. I have since seen some cheaper portable saws for sale which I presume will be of far eastern manufacture and can be found by specifically searching online for “portable metal cutting bandsaws”.

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