When cutting metals, coolant is often used to provide a constant flow of liquid coolant over the blade. The coolant keeps the blades cool, which prolongs blade life. Wire brushwheels are sometimes used to remove chips and encrustation from the blade as it exits the material. Metal-cutting band saws are available in vertical and horizontal designs. These units range from manually operated machines to fully automatic machines. Band speeds range from 40 feet per minute to 5000 feet per minute.
Machine shop bandsaws come in two styles - horizontal and vertical. Small, manual shop saws usually employ a gravity-fed blade that falls in an arc around a pivot point and are of the horizontal style. The rate of descent is controlled by a hydraulic cylinder that has an adjustable valve. When a manual saw is set up for a cut, the operator raises the saw by hand and leaves it in a 45 degree up position. The material is put into the saw, clamped, the saw is turned on, and the blade slowly falls into the material, cutting it as the band blade moves. When the cut is complete, a switch is tripped and the saw automatically turns off.