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Looking for opinions on the PM 1500 bandsaw.....

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Forum topic by TungOil posted 10-16-2017 02:26 AM 1016 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TungOil

708 posts in 306 days


10-16-2017 02:26 AM

....from LJ’s that own one and have some time on the machine.

I’m looking to upgrade my BS. I used a PM 1500 last week and it seemed like a decent machine. Not too big but has good HP and decent resew capacity. Looking for opinions from anyone that has used and lived with one for a while since the reviews seem mixed at best.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"


11 replies so far

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1250 posts in 731 days


#1 posted 10-16-2017 02:09 PM

TungOil,

I do not own nor have I used the PM1500 bandsaw but thought I would offer some thoughts from 3 years ago when was shopping for a bandsaw. The PM1500 was on my short list of potential machines. Hopefully these comments are helpful.

While I gave serious consideration to the PM1500, I ultimately purchased a Grizzly G0636X 17” 5 hp. bandsaw. However the decision was not an easy one and suspect that had I bought the PM1500, I would be well-satisfied. Powermatic seems to continue to manufacturer fine machines.

The major factors that led me to the Grizzly machine were lower guide bearing assembly location, capacity, table tilting mechanism, power, weight, and price. Overall I felt the Grizzly G0636X (and its higher priced sister machine G0636XB) offered greater value.

The lower guide bearing assembly was probably as close to the underside of the table as it could be located while the PM1500 lower guide assembly was further away. I felt that lower blade guides closer to the underside of the table would provide greater blade support.

Re-saw and blade to column distances were a couple of inches greater for the Grizzly machine. But that extra capacity increases the footprint of the Grizzly. The PM1500 could handle a 1” wide blade while the Grizzly claims to support a 1-3/8” wide blade.

I figured the geared table tilting mechanism would make tilting the table on the Grizzly an easier set-up than the design found on the PM1500.

The PM1500 offered a 3 hp. motor while the Grizzly was powered by a 5 hp. motor.

The Grizzly weighs over 600 pounds while the PM1500 is 400 pounds. I assumed some of the added weight of the Grizzly was attributed to its heavy gauge column. But then I assume the column of the PM1500 also is stiff enough to properly tension wider blades.

The PM1500 higher price ($3000 + $0 shipping) made the selecting the Grizzly ($2650 + $150 shipping) a slightly easier choice.

On the other hand, the PM1500 blade de-tensioned lock-out feature is a nice feature. It would have been nice if Grizzly had included that feature since I tend to de-tension the blade and then forget about it. I also wonder whether the PM motors are superior to the Grizzly motors, including those on Grizzly’s higher end machines.

I remain satisfied with the performance of the Grizzly. Based on my experience with Powermatic equipment I am also sure I would have been equally satisfied with the PM1500.

View JohnJenkins's profile

JohnJenkins

8 posts in 477 days


#2 posted 10-16-2017 04:08 PM

I’ve had a PM 1500 for almost a year.

I had two issues setting up the saw. The zero clearance plate was proud of the table. This caused a few minutes of confusion as I checked everything for square. It was easily remedied with some sand paper on a smooth surface.

The second issue was disconcerting in several ways. The upper blade guide was off center – a manufacturing defect. The upper bearings could not properly engage the blade. The lower blade guide was fine. I talked to customer service a couple times and received two suggestions. The suggestions were shots in the dark. I got the impression that they were looking at manuals or schematics and guessing. Neither suggestion worked. At that time, I decided I could machine the hex post to accommodate the problem, which I did. It now is perfect.

Initially, that left a bad taste in my mouth. But now months later, the saw’s performance and features have won me over. It really is good engineering and a pleasure to work on. I recently built a project that involved a lot of bend laminations. I resawed a ton of stock about 1/8” thick and was quite satisfied.

So, while I expected better out of the box and customer service, the performance since has made me satisfied overall.

Best of luck!
John

View scrubs's profile

scrubs

43 posts in 71 days


#3 posted 10-16-2017 04:53 PM

I’ve used one and it’s likely going to be my next purchase. I find in the world of bandsaws it fits that in between size that’s missing. It’s not as huge as a 17”+ bandsaw and far more capable than your typical 14” bandsaw.

For me it’s a size/space/capability thing. It’s just a real nice size and all around saw. :)

-- It all seems like a good idea at some point...

View msinc's profile

msinc

90 posts in 315 days


#4 posted 10-16-2017 05:27 PM

I also have had mine for about a year…I also had an initial problem, but the customer service was fantastic. The table was crowned. Hard to believe someone actually surface ground a table with a high spot in the middle, but I was unable to set the table 90 degrees to the blade on both sides. Not by a little bit either…I could seriously rock a flat edge across the table 3/16” easy. One phone call had a new table delivered next day air. Problem solved and I have not had an issue since. I am glad I bought the saw and could not be happier. It is smooth, quiet and has plenty of power and precision to do exactly what it was built for.
In all fairness to Grizzly, I have owned some Grizzly equipment and never had a problem, it is definitely good stuff especially for the money. I would say that you should probably approach the HP ratings of grizzly stuff cautiously. No one tests HP ratings and they know it. The biggest factor for me between the Powermatic and other machines is the resale value. I will probably never sell it, but I know that it wont sit around long if I decide to.
Bottom line, buy with confidence, you will not be disappointed.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

708 posts in 306 days


#5 posted 10-17-2017 12:11 AM

Thanks for the great feedback everyone! I have ordered several PM products over the past few years and for the most part find them to be of good quality. Not as nice as they used to be, but not shabby either. Every one except my 8” jointer was damaged in shipping and PM customer service sent replacement parts immediately and without any issues. My experience with their customer service has been great so far, which is important. I also like the 5 year warranty.


I ve used one and it s likely going to be my next purchase. I find in the world of bandsaws it fits that in between size that s missing. It s not as huge as a 17”+ bandsaw and far more capable than your typical 14” bandsaw.

For me it s a size/space/capability thing. It s just a real nice size and all around saw. :)

- scrubs


Scrubs – Exactly why I’m interested in this model. I don’t want another 14” saw and i don’t have room for an 18”+ machine. This seems to fill the bill quite nicely.

I was at the Marc Adams school last week for a class and had the opportunity to use a variety of bandsaws. everything from the usual 14” Delta (and other brands) up to some really large PM saws. The big PM’s were of course awesome, but there is no way I could possibly get one into my basement shop and I would not have room for it even if I could. I used the one PM 1500 they had on the floor as often as I could and it performed nicely for the chair parts we were making (tons of bandsaw work). I spoke to one of the shop guys to get his impression on the saw and what issues they have had with it. He said the only issue they had was the rubber tires on the the wheels needed to be replaced almost immediately. other than that it has been trouble free. It seems like a very good saw and is quite a bit larger that a typical 14” saw, but not huge either. Is I agree with you msinc, I think it fills that in-between spot nicely. It is interesting to note that Marc made a point to tell us that they do not accept any promotional machines from manufacturers- they buy all of their equipment. This way they get what they want, no strings attached. It is also interesting that most of the equipment was PM.

Nothing against Grizzly, Rikon or any of the others, but if I were to consider another brand it would likely be a European model like a Minimax or Hammer. I’m not looking to get the biggest saw at a certain price point, I’m looking to get the best saw I can that will fit my available shop space.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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scrubs

43 posts in 71 days


#6 posted 10-17-2017 03:58 AM

I’ve got a few Powermatic pieces as well. I ordered them all from CPO Powermatic. Haven’t had any shipping damage yet. :)

-- It all seems like a good idea at some point...

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

501 posts in 1395 days


#7 posted 10-17-2017 04:54 AM

I frankly don’t find it very surprising that a $3k PM is a good machine that performs nicely.

It is true however, that I have not had the luxury of phrasing an objective along the lines of “I want the best thing I can get almost regardless of price, that will fit my space.”
(I wish I could get away with that for a sports car that will readily fit under my carport.)

One thing for sure, at ca. 400 lbs, it will take a couple of extra hands to transport it on a flight of stairs. And, it sure does use long blades. It ought to be a stable, wood cutting beast.

I will look forward to seeing a review write up after you have used it for a while. It is a somewhat unique bandsaw and I would like to read more about it in practical use. I can always dream, even if I doubt I will be able to spend that much on one.

Btw, I took a look, TungOil, and you sure have a nice looking shop setup and have posted some gorgeous project work.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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TungOil

708 posts in 306 days


#8 posted 10-17-2017 06:24 PM


It is true however, that I have not had the luxury of phrasing an objective along the lines of “I want the best thing I can get almost regardless of price, that will fit my space.”

- jimintx


I wasn’t meaning to sound snobby with my comment, but rather was just being realistic. My biggest concern is to select a machine that has more capacity than my current machine without taking up too much space and being impossible to get in to my basement shop. I also tend to be a quality/performance shopper rather than a price shopper- I’m happy to pay more for things that perform better, are easier to adjust, run more smoothly, etc. but regardless, a machine that I can’t get into my shop or is in the way once I get it there is of no value to me, regardless of the price.

It’s encouraging to hear that folks are finding this a good machine to use after some stick time. That makes me feel better about possibly going this route. Does anyone know if there is a PM sale coming up soon? I seem to recall tehy usually have the sale around Black Friday.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View scrubs's profile

scrubs

43 posts in 71 days


#9 posted 10-17-2017 06:45 PM

CPO Powermatic usually has a sale of some sort. My eyes will be peeled. :)

-- It all seems like a good idea at some point...

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jimintx

501 posts in 1395 days


#10 posted 10-17-2017 07:50 PM


I wasn t meaning to sound snobby with my comment, but rather was just being realistic. ...
- TungOil

Pleased know I didn’t take it as anything like snobby, and that I was just envious. And also making a personal joke about my latent desire for an Italian sports car that will never be satisfied, but I do have a spot for it!. I should have just enjoyed reading this thread, and refrained from a comment.

In my case – the basis for the envy – I wanted the biggest bandsaw most powerful most amazing bandsaw I could get for right about 1/3 of a PM1500 budget. I was reading the menu from right to left, starting with the price rather than the description. I do admit that I am super happy with my bandsaw selection, however.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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TungOil

708 posts in 306 days


#11 posted 11-09-2017 03:51 AM

I thought I’d follow up on this thread. In the end I decided to get a Minimax MM16. They happened to be on sale which put it at nearly the same price as the PM1500. Feature wise it is a more capable machine as well. With help from a few friends I was able to get it into my basement shop. At 500 lbs, it was a real challenge to move.

I have the electrician lined up next week to pull a new circuit then I should be good to go!

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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