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Cutting advise

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  • Cutting advise

    I need a good general purpose saw for cutting metal projects. My immediate needs are to cut 1" round and square tubing with .125" wall thickness I'll be using to fabricate a mounting bracket for a set of Tilton overhanging master cylinder/pedal assemblies in my car. I also need to cut some 1"x2" square tubing to make up some seat adapters. I've done a search on this forum for "cutting tubing" and read a lot of good advise, and the choice appears to be between a chop saw and a 4"x6" bandsaw. Since my shop is a 1/2-car bump-out in my garage I'm leaning towards the bandsaw as it sounds like the bandsaws produce a lot less dust, which is important as my car-in-progress sits next to my shop area, with various expensive engine-innards covered but still susceptible to contamination during the fabrication.

    Any suggestions either way?

  • #2
    Definitely stay away from an abrasive wheel chop saw, because you're guaranteed to create a bunch of air born dust that is very abrasive. The bandsaw is the way to go, no air born dust at all. Just a bunch of small metal chips for you to sweep up off the floor or the catch pan of the saw.


    • #3

      Don't know where you are located, but I like to use my chop saw outside, or at least in the open doorway pointed outside. The price for a decent chop saw and something like a Jet 5 x 6 bandsaw is about the same. The bandsaw will run just a tad higher - $275 - 300, depending on where you buy it. The chop saw is faster, louder, and far more messy than a bandsaw. I have a 5-gal. bucket sitting under my bandsaw that catches virtualy everyting that comes of the saw band. There is no cleanup, except to dump the bucket now and then. And, a big plus, especially when cutting solid stock or large tubeing, is that you can do something else while the saw does it's thing.

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      • #4
        Band saw

        I would recommend going with the band saw. DAN is right; the clean up is easy and there is way less noise. We have a chop saw in our shop and I am counting the days until the motor burns out on it. If you're cutting bolts they work great but anything else there not that great. I have used the $180.00 saw that Harbor freight sells and believe it or not it actually does a great job. The stand and belt guard is not very good but it cuts very straight. We built a complete chassis for a mustang including roll cage with one blade. It cut 2 X 3 Tubing very well.


        • #5
          I agree with hankj. I bought a chop saw and love it. I use it outside as well because I have All my stuff and my racecar in a 1 car garage! The only thing is if you don't sweep up well you get rust stains!! Don't ask me how I know that?

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          • #6
            I agree the band saw is a much better deal.......I have one of the Grizzly' seems to be better made than some of the HF, Clarke, etc.......for about the same amount of cash.......

            If one has the cash, then a cold saw would be my first choice........clean, dust free, burr free, Fast and square.......


            • #7
              I have/use the chop saw. Less expensive, easy to move and store. The dust is only an issue of you work in a drafty area.
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              • #8
                I have used both types of saws and if I want an acurate cut the band saw is the way to go. Chop saws are fast but cant give the precision of a band saw and band saws are not that slow to make a differance in my opinion. Given the choice of one I would definately go with a band saw.
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                • #9
                  I just picked up a Makita multi cut chop saw. fast clean cuts. if your doing fab with tubing its the way to go.


                  • #10
                    I have been using an abrasive chop saw for 20 years (Milwaukee). They are noisy, dusty, and when the abrasive disk exits out of the stock you are cutting the disk flexes and produces a slight bevel. A word of caution, if you choose this type of saw for inside shop use, where a dust mask every time you use it. So, unless you need maximum portability, or are OK with marginal accuracy, I wouldn't buy this type.

                    I have not used a multi-cut saw, but the literature/video and recomendations by those who have are something to consider.

                    My first choice would be a vertical band saw, I believe they are the most versatile. DAKE makes a very nice saw (but pricey). The space they occupy could be an issue in your shop.

                    I have observed a cold saw in action, very - very nice. A friend just recently bought a Doringer ( made in southern CA), a mere $4200. This saw is amazing, the blade is lubricated from a wet sump. This saw cuts through material very fast, clean, quiet and accurate with a milled finish at the cut line. It is hard to beat that with any other method except with a vertical mill or lathe.

                    Hope I helped.


                    • #11

                      If you have time to look around, search for a good used dry cutting mitering bandsaw so you can cut angles also. ELLIS is a great saw and a lot of the race teams use their model 1100 portable dry saw. They also use the ELLIS 1600 which is overkill for most fab work. Mine is an older model I bought used, but it cuts like a brand new unit and you cannot beat the accuracy. If you want to know more, then check out the ELLIS site.

                      Band saws are slower and more accurate than chop saws. They are also much cleaner and quieter. The ELLIS portable saws easily convert to vertical cutting saws with a pull of a pin.


                      • #12
                        Good question! I have a Ridge abrasive chop saw and as chop saws go it's not a bad one.I also have a Turn Pro 7"x12" Horizontal/Vertical bandsaw and I got to tell ya the band saw is BY FAR a better way to go. The fact that it's convertable to a Vertical saw alone is reason enough to recommend it over a chop saw. Now the fact that it cuts MUCH more accurately and if you get a saw that has a coolant system your blades will outlast an abrasive wheel 10 or 20 to 1, and when the cut is made the cut piece won't be hot. Also with a band saw once you start the cut you can walk away and do something else. The saw will shut itself down once the cut is made. There are a ton of reasons that a "good" bandsaw is much better then the "best" abrasive style chop saw.I haven't even touched on all the safety reasons why bandsaws are better then chop saws. The Turn Pro that I have is a DH137-3190 and it's offered under alot of different names. I bought mine from Enco for around $700.
                        Now as far as the circular cold saws go I have one at a plant down in Kingston and it's awesome! It's an Enco model DH422-3687 and it cost about $3000. The cut is awesome but the cost is high. I would love to have one in my home shop but I can't justify spending another $3000 for a saw when I have the band saw.
                        If I had to have one... It would be the bandsaw. I like the vert/horz option.
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                        • #13
                          cheepo to get started

                          i agree with all above the band saw is the way to go if you have the space and the $$$$ last year i got a chop saw for fathers day, it was intended to be a short term fix till i could get a better 1 or a dand saw. i got it at big lots for $49.00 so figured when it died i would upgrade well almost a year and manny manny cuts later it is still going strong. it is a 15Amp 3500 rpm just like the big name saws even came with a spare set uf brushes for the motor. its cuts are a lil off due to blade bending as stated ubove but can be cleaned up with a 4 1/2" grinder with a sanding flap disk. you might try it for now to see if it will work or use it till you get the big dog, you might find as i did it will do the job fine and as you get the hang of the clean up itis quick and simple. you might just decide to keep it as your only cutting option as i did. eather way at $49.00 it will make a great backup or quick cut option. it was $49.00 on sail for fathers day i think it runs $59.00 or $69.00 when off sail.
                          it is a BENCH PRO modle# J1G-355C 120V 15Amps 3500 Rpm's

                          normaly i would say buy the best saw you can aford but this 1 is defenetly the exception to the roule. and more than werth every pennie

                          you can try it out next time you are down to help with the roof
                          thanks for the help
                          hope i helped
                          feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
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                          • #14
                            I have a portaband that I use all the time.
                            You can get one for under 300, and it will last forever.
                            If your careful you can make some very good square cuts.


                            • #15
                              I was given a DeWalt chop saw for chrstmas, from a friend. I have the DW871 chop saw, very high marks for this model. I admit I would like a carbide tipped dry saw, but hey a $200 chop saw as a gift I like it very much. The thought that counts, and it cuts like a beast. Stay away from Harbor freight models they just wont last!