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Which was do you choose to cut metal?

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  • Which was do you choose to cut metal?

    So I am new to metal fabrication, but I am starting my own side company after graduating from welding school and having worked at a fabrication shop welding for the last 6 months. I have already purchased pretty much everything I need to start fabricating but I am completely stuck at which saw to purchase. I will be cutting any and everything. Some will be mild steel (square tubing, angle iron, etc). Some will be pipe up to 1/4" thick. Some will be rebar and possibly some hardened steel.

    So in all my research it seems like most people prefer a carbide steel blade (cold cut) for a saw, but the downsides seem to be that if you have to cut rebar or something fairly hard, you run the risk of breaking teeth off a $100+ blade, or at least dulling it very quickly. So then there is a chop saw with a abrasive blade, but everyone says it makes a **** of a mess and breathing that crap in is obviously not good for your health in the long run. By the way, we use abrasive chop saws at work but its in a shop that stays messy, this will be in my garage where I prefer not to cover everything in black dust. Then my most recent research brought me to benchtop band saws... yes they are a little pricey but I want to get something that can cut through almost any metal (up to 1/4") and not have to worry about it breaking a blade. I have a hard time finding much info on band saws so I figured I would ask here. Can the bench-top band-saw with a bi-metal blade cut through stuff that a carbide metal saw blade can't?

    I appreciate any help as this is the last piece of the puzzle I need to start doing side jobs. Thank you!

  • #2
    You are not going to get away with just one saw. I have a band saw and a chop saw for the tougher metals. Band saw gets used 99% of the time but the chop is there if I need it...Bob
    Bob Wright

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    • #3
      I have a 7x12 Northern Tool Klutch bandsaw with coolant and have cut Grade 5 Titanium, so yes it is very versatile if you use it correctly.

      But then again, I have loads of cutting tools That all get used---3" & 4" air cut off tools, angle grinders with cut off blades, abrasive chop saw, plasma cutter, Oct-acet setup. Everything has its place. In fact, I need to buy a carbide metal cutting saw, probably an evolution rage3.
      HTP Invertig221 D.V. Water-cooled
      HTP Pro Pulse 300 MIG
      HTP Pro Pulse 200 MIG x2
      HTP Pro Pulse 220 MTS
      HTP Inverarc 200 TLP water cooled
      HTP Microcut 875SC

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      • #4
        sawblade.com has a lot of resources and information about bandsaws, how to break in the blades, etc. I can't speak for the saws they sell, but they're blades are USA made. I don't think their prices are out of line for what you're looking for. Plus, if you have trouble with it, there is someone to call for advice or assistance.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SLP82 View Post
          ... I will be cutting any and everything. Some will be mild steel (square tubing, angle iron, etc). Some will be pipe up to 1/4" thick. Some will be rebar and possibly some hardened steel...
          Congratulations; you've just narrowed it down to a chop saw.

          Once your budget allows, you can get a band saw or carbide saw next, etc, etc. But the chop saw will be the one that can do all of that right away.

          I think one of my most used tools after the chop saw is a handheld carbide saw. It's often far handier to take the saw to the workpiece when it's a quick non-precision cut.

          Eventually, you will have almost as many saws as you do grinders with different wheels.

          But get the chop saw first.

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          • #6
            Ok, I already have a grinder, with cut off wheels, and I have a torch. So I do have some other ways to cut stuff, but for building some nice stuff (like a/c cages), I need to have something that will cut tubing straight and flush, over and over. I am really leaning towards that Klutch Band saw, or even a WEN band saw, but I too think the chop saw is the only one that really can do "everything". I just know it is going to make a mess in the garage. Guess a chop saw followed by a band saw is my only choice. Thanks.

            Do you guys wear dust masks while using a chop saw?

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            • #7
              You could always watch Craigslist for a power hack saw. Most of them go cheap because people have discovered horizontal band saws are faster. But if your not in a big rush they work fine.
              ---Meltedmetal

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              • #8
                Those power hack saws are interesting... I have never seen one before. I just looked them up on ebay though and everyone is putting "vintage" before the name so I think you know what that means... I didn't see a single one under $500... some that looked beat to crap but were old were going for $3,000!!! Seems like the blade would wear out fast compared to a band saw. So I have three related questions now:

                1. Do you guys wear a dust mask when using a chop saw?

                2. Seems the two best chops saws are a toss up between Makita and Dewalt, which would you recommend?

                3. Is there a specific abrasive wheel that lasts longer than other or will one of these "general purpose" $9 dewalt blades work fine?
                Last edited by SLP82; 12-18-2016, 10:28 AM.

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                • #9
                  http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/1724452...000&rmvSB=true
                  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Craftsman-Po...3D172445248000

                  They are out there. If there are any old shops around you they may have something laying around. I have 3 in various states of being a project. Like any cutting equipment the blades last pretty good if you look after them. Add you location and maybe someone can help you out with something local to you.
                  ---Meltedmetal

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                  • #10
                    I've had to go to my chop saw to make cuts because of bolts or other obstacles welded on a work piece that kept my bandsaw's vise from holding the work piece sufficiently tight. Bandsaw blades can get ruined in a heart beat too if you don't get the proper purchase on a workpiece your wanting to cut.
                    Last edited by tackit; 12-18-2016, 11:06 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Or build one-
                      http://www.ebay.com/itm/Make-Build-P...QAAOSwWTRWuBUN
                      ---Meltedmetal

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                      • #12
                        https://hartford.craigslist.org/tls/5895969690.html
                        There is one for $100.
                        Use Searchtempest.com
                        Search for the type of saw you want in your area & be patient.
                        ---Meltedmetal

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                        • #13
                          I have a power hack saw. Forgot I had it It will cut all day on like 6" solid round bar...Bob
                          Bob Wright

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                          • #14
                            I am located in Houston, Tx. Tried to put it in my profile but it wouldn't allow me to save the changes... something about cant change custom field. Anyways, is a power hack saw more forgiving than a bandsaw blade? Seems like it would be...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SLP82 View Post
                              I am located in Houston, Tx. Tried to put it in my profile but it wouldn't allow me to save the changes... something about cant change custom field. Anyways, is a power hack saw more forgiving than a bandsaw blade? Seems like it would be...
                              Yes, I tried to change my profile - It said " Can't Change Custom Field " .
                              This site is Not like it used to be - I wish they would Not make change for the sake of making changes !

                              Norm
                              www.normsmobilewelding.blogspot.com

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