The DeWalt DW3401 and DW3501 bandsaws were small, but capable hobbyist machines, with one of their unique features being their variable speeds. This helps with cutting plastics and some other materials.
They were sold in both a 3-phase and single-phase version, which had a 3 at the end of their type number instead of a 1 (3403 and 3503 instead of 3401 and 3501). It was also sold under the ELU brand, with the same type numbers.
The only difference between the 3401 and 3501 is that the 3401 has two speeds, while the 3501 can be set to a variable speed anywhere in between the two maximum settings. The slow speed (330 RPM) is used for cutting plastics, while the high speed (800 RPM) is used for cutting timber.
Most other vintage bandsaws in this category, like the Inca Euro 260, or the Kity 613, lack the ability to set the rotation speed. This sets the DeWalt apart and makes it much more suitable than its alternatives for cutting materials that require slow speeds (like certain metals and plastics).
Switch-on Safety Key
Another interesting feature of these saws is the switch-on safety key, without which the motor cannot be started. I haven’t really seen it on any other bandsaw before. It may be helpful to people who don’t want their kids accidentally starting their machines.
Tip: The downside is that if you lose the key, you can’t start the machine anymore. There is still someone selling replacement keys on eBay, in case you lost yours.
Plastic vs Cast alloy wheels
Throughout its production there seem to have been two versions, one with closed plastic wheels, and one with spoked cast alloy wheels. The metal wheels are considered to be of noticeably better quality, so this might be something to take into account on when you’re looking at a used machine.
Replacement Tires: If you need to replace the rubber tires on the wheels, you can find some replacement urethane tires on eBay. They seem to ship globally.