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Metal Cutting Saw vs. Miter Saw with Metal Cutting Blade?

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Forum topic by wilschroter posted 09-26-2019 10:48 AM 1186 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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wilschroter

111 posts in 1082 days


09-26-2019 10:48 AM

I’m going to be cutting a small amount of metal, and was looking into the DeWalt DW872 which is designed for metal cutting. I’ve cut a small bit of metal on my DeWalt Miter Saw with a metal cutting blade and had reasonable results.

Just curious – are metal cutting blades OK for most work and at what point do you move up to a metal cutting saw. Not gonna lie, I kinda love having an opportunity to buy new tools, but we also run into the issue of losing workshop space and all that…


20 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile (online now)

HokieKen

11518 posts in 1696 days


#1 posted 09-26-2019 03:31 PM

This depends greatly on the type of metal and what size it is. If you’re cutting some small brass bars, no worries. If you’re cutting 3” square steel bar, that’s a different story.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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MrRon

5780 posts in 3801 days


#2 posted 09-26-2019 03:52 PM

I cut aluminum all the time on my band saw and table saw using a metal cutting blade. Steel, no way. I would not cut using a miter saw; too easy for small pieces to go flying; not enough control. For steel, get a metal cutting band saw. They cost around $300.

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MartyZ

26 posts in 72 days


#3 posted 09-26-2019 07:39 PM

Keep in mind that when cutting ferrous metals, you will get a lot of sparks. Those sparks will not be very friendly to the miter saw’s plastic housing and blade guard. Metal cutoff saws have metal housing and blade guard for that purpose, among others.

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bigblockyeti

6107 posts in 2278 days


#4 posted 09-26-2019 07:48 PM

Just use the miter saw, I doubt anything would go wrong.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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splintergroup

3053 posts in 1780 days


#5 posted 09-26-2019 07:54 PM

I cut 1/8” wall aluminum tubing with my miter saw and a cheap “plywood” blade (non-carbide, fine teeth). I also cut small brass rod on my bandsaw with whatever blade is installed at the time and I will cut 1/4” aluminum plate on the BS with a fine tooth blade.

Basically anything steel (ferrous) I’ll use a 14” cut-off chop saw (abrasive wheel) or a plasma cutter.

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CaptainKlutz

2016 posts in 2052 days


#6 posted 09-26-2019 08:25 PM

+1 for cutting steel, get a real metal cutting miter saw, or a metal cutting band saw.

The key issue with wood working miter saw cutting metal is blade speed. Wood miter saws run 3600-5000 rpm. Metal saw runs 1250-2250 RPM. If you attempt cut ‘hard’ ferrous metal at high speeds it doesn’t work well. Composite blades tend to glaze over, and lose cutting action. Carbide blades get dull fast due extra heat. The higher speed also generates more white hot sparks. Once you use a MK Morse or Evolution miter saw, with proper blade made for cutting metal, compared to using a wood saw; the reduction is sparks is huge and the sparks are lower temperature.

Same speed issue holds true for metal cutting band saws. Most run < 500 FPM, while wood saw runs well over 1000 FPM. Cutting ferrous metal on wood band saw will ruin blade before you finish cutting a single 1×1 angle iron.

+1 Soft metals like aluminum or thin brass, are usually cut at higher feed rates; and work OK on wood miter saw. You can use a TCG grind carbide blade on thin aluminum angle stock with great success. Try same thing on 3” thick bar stock, the carbide teeth over heat and dull quick.

FWIW –
I took a retired old 10” miter saw, and used it for cutting small amounts of ferrous metal for several years. It cuts slow, creates a ton of sparks, melted all the plastic on saw, and trashed it for any wood use every again. Worse, if you attempt to use a carbide metal cutting blade on it, the results are disappointing. The first couple of cuts on a 2×2 square tube were amazing, like cutting a fir 4×4. Then blade was dull, and it stopped cutting. Even the composite blade cut faster after the 3-4th cut.

Oh yeah: Metal cutting carbide blades can be resharpened. But you must stop using them when it takes more pressure to make cut. If you wait too long, they can’t be salvaged. Metal cutting with carbide blades can have an expensive and long learning cycle, if you don’t follow mfg recommendations. If you don’t cut metal often, using composite blades and some extra patience costs much less.

As always, YMMV.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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SMP

1442 posts in 463 days


#7 posted 09-26-2019 09:24 PM



Keep in mind that when cutting ferrous metals, you will get a lot of sparks. Those sparks will not be very friendly to the miter saw s plastic housing and blade guard. Metal cutoff saws have metal housing and blade guard for that purpose, among others.

- MartyZ

Yep, this ^. When I researched it that was exactly the issue. Kind of like when working with metal your clothes always get little holes in them. Sam thing with your saw. Or it could spark sawdust etc and cause a little fire etc. I just bought a cheap one at HF with coupon, think it ended up being $60.

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MSquared

808 posts in 472 days


#8 posted 09-27-2019 12:37 AM

May I take this opportunity to ask you metal workers for a good forum for beginning welders/metal workers?

-- Marty, Long Island, NY

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SMP

1442 posts in 463 days


#9 posted 09-27-2019 03:27 AM



May I take this opportunity to ask you metal workers for a good forum for beginning welders/metal workers?

- MSquared

For welding i frequent weldingweb, miller, and hobart forums. My welder is a hobart(made by miller) so thats why, but i think Lincoln has good forums as well. As far as fabrication, let me check, there is one i use but its been a while since i was making steel tube etagere cases

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MSquared

808 posts in 472 days


#10 posted 09-27-2019 03:40 AM

Thanks SMP! Much appreciated…

-- Marty, Long Island, NY

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SMP

1442 posts in 463 days


#11 posted 09-27-2019 04:25 AM



Thanks SMP! Much appreciated…

- MSquared

Found my other bookmarks:

Allmetalshaping.com
Metalmeet.com
And sometimes shopfloortalk

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therealSteveN

4271 posts in 1131 days


#12 posted 09-27-2019 04:51 AM

You don’t show a location on your profile, not suggesting an address, but SW Ohio, something like that might net you a person here with better metal cutting abilities for your cuts.

As far as welding groups, especially if you are pretty new to it, I’d suggest going to a forum based on your equipment. You can get twofold answers about process, and equipment at the same place. Once you have the equipment part nailed down, look around a bit.

On the DeWalt DW872 you are close to 500 bux, plus it has a chop saw footprint, you mentioned shop space, it also needs work space. For around 300 bux you start with lower cost horizontal metal cutting bandsaws, they tend to stuff into smaller storage, and with good blades will cut more stock choice. Plus running them you need to deal with the stock, more than where to sit the saw. If it’s heavy, and long stock, I see you using the floor. Having a cutting area for large stock at standing level is a commitment to welding.

-- Think safe, be safe

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HackFabrication

159 posts in 269 days


#13 posted 09-27-2019 09:43 AM

I purchased a HF horizontal metal cutting bandsaw a year or so ago. Got it with the 25% off coupon, so it was quite reasonable. With a little bit of ‘tuning’ (actually a lot of tuning), it cuts ferrous metals fine. And with even more ‘tuning’, along with a better blade, can be quite accurate. Check out the various videos of people that have dialed these horizontal band saws in, and you’ll be surprised.

-- "In the end, it's all Hack..."

View MSquared's profile (online now)

MSquared

808 posts in 472 days


#14 posted 09-27-2019 10:42 PM

Thank you Gents for all the welding forums info! LJ’s, as always, are a fine, knowledgeable and generous with their time lot! At the moment I have a Lincoln Flux Core welder which, I’m told, is a decent entry-level rig. Have most of the basic accessories as well. Grinders, cut-off tools, table, clamps, etc.. Ran another 20A line to the garage/workshop. Just picked up a used Milwaukee 6230 Porta-Band Saw, which I’ll be making a vertical/horizontal cutting rig for. (Any suggestions?) This oughta be fun!!
Again, many thanks!! :)

-- Marty, Long Island, NY

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Dark_Lightning

3675 posts in 3666 days


#15 posted 09-29-2019 12:34 AM

I made a square tube frame for my SawStop’s Incra fence, and cut the parts to length with my compound miter saw. I had to go slow, to keep the fire hazard to a minimum. I’m not dropping money on a saw I’d likely only use once.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

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