In a bandsaw machine, the blade guides provide additional stiffness and help to align the blade near the cutting region. Typically, these are either in the form of blocks made of carbide or ceramics or as sealed bearings. Abrasive particles, generated while cutting hard and brittle materials like natural stones, settle between the contact surfaces of the guides and the blade causing wear and premature failure. The hydrostatic guide system, as presented in this work, is a contactless blade guiding method that uses the force of several pressurized water jets to align the blade to the direction of the cut. For this investigation, cutting tests were performed on a marble block using a galvanic diamond coated bandsaw blade with the upper roller guides replaced by hydrostatic guides. The results show that the hydrostatic guides help to reduce the passive force to a constant near zero in contrast with the traditional guides. This also resulted in reduced surface roughness of the stone plates that were cut, indicating a reduction in laterial vibration of the band. Additionally, it has also been shown that using hydrostatic guides the bandsaw blade can be tilted to counter the bandsaw drift, opening opportunities for further research in active alignment control. This original research work has shown that the hydrostatic guide systems are capable of replacing, and in fact, perform better than state-of-the-art bearing or block guides, particularly for stone-cutting applications.
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