January through March 2000 - Issue No. 156
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VariSharp: CNC option for No. 4 Band Saw Sharpener

VariSharp is the name of the new CNC option for the No. 4 Armstrong band saw sharpener that is being developed for shipment in mid-2000. This factory-installed option will be available only on new No. 4 sharpeners. The high performance of the CNC components work best with the heavy-duty rocker arms, oversized self-cleaning carbide faceplates, solid grinding wheel arbor and low vibration poly-V belt grinding wheel drive of a brand new machine. By late in 2000, the VariSharp CNC option may be available as a kit to upgrade older model No. 4 and 6 Armstrong sharpeners by replacing the cam mechanism.

When the VariSharp option is ordered, the traditional two-cam mechanical tooth generation system will be replaced with a 2-axis CNC system featuring a PentiumŪ Processor, a touch screen control, and servo driven ball screws.

"Computer will draw either conventional or variable pitch teeth"

The operator can input tooth values (tooth spacing, gullet depth, hook angle, etc.) and the computer will draw either conventional band saw teeth or variable pitch patterns on screen. Maximum and minimum sawing feed rates for the new tooth shape will be calculated in the computer and displayed on the control panel. If the operator selects a Variable Pitch & Depth (VPD) band saw segment, the computer can shrink or expand the tooth spacing to achieve the saw length required by the band mill. The operator can modify and save drawings at the VariSharp’s control panel. A complete onboard Armstrong tooth library plus the capacity to save hundreds of customized tooth shapes is instantly available to the operator.

The VariSharp option features:

  • PC controlled on/off the face and depth control, for precise grinding. For example, the operator can choose to remove exactly .004" of material from the face and .001" from the gullet of each tooth. The operator can mechanically override these functions at any time.
  • Touch screen control of machine operation also reports information about the sharpener, such as number of teeth being sharpened per minute, and a picture of the tooth.
  • Complete onboard Armstrong tooth library with a picture of the current tooth or variable pitch pattern.
  • New teeth or VPD patterns can be drawn or modified on the screen and saved to the tooth library.
  • DXF (Drawing Interchange File) export capability: the operator can download tooth parameters to a floppy disk that sawmakers can use to program a laser or a waterjet machine to make the exact tooth pattern the operator has designed at the control console.
  • Constant power supply for the PC to minimize machine interruption.
  • Superior grinding results from the same standard grinding wheels most sawmills already own.
  • Complete control of machine speed. The operator can change the number of teeth sharpened per minute and also control the speed that the grinding wheel moves across specific parts of the tooth geometry. On a freshly tipped Stellite saw, it is possible to slowly grind the face and top of each Stellite tip while quickly skipping over the rest of the tooth on the first grinding pass.
  • Capacity to sharpen conventional constant pitch saws or repeating segments of teeth with variable pitch or depth, with up to ten teeth per segment.
  • Air back feeds units and StrongArm II power clamp gates will be precisely timed via computer outputs.
  • Step-by-step instructions will be available on demand through the touch screen console to make it easy to train new operators. A detailed operator’s manual covering installation and machine operation will be provided.

Machine specifications for a No. 4 sharpener with VariSharp option installed are the same as for conventional No. 4 Armstrong band saw sharpeners. All No. 4 sharpener options will also be available for the VariSharp version. A ShapeUp grinding wheel shaping/dressing/truing system is especially recommended. Final specifications of this machine are subject to change. 


A No. 4 Armstrong sharpener with the VariSharp option is ideal for sharpening Variable Pitch & Depth (VPD) teeth such as VPD-25. The operator can input values and the onboard computer will display the tooth shape on the control screen.


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