Author Topic: What is a good chop saw for metal cutting?  (Read 5208 times)

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Offline Tom Gensmer

  • Posts: 696
  • Residential Remodeler in Minnesota
What is a good chop saw for metal cutting?
« on: March 25, 2008, 10:54 PM »
Ok, so I'm kind of a tool freak. I don't like using the wrong tool for the job, even if I only do the task infrequently. Sometimes I just want to know what would be the right tool for the task, even if I haven't had to perform the task yet! So, right now what I'd like to know is, what is a good saw for cutting thick (1/4"+) steel. Specifically, I'm interested in cut-off saws specifically designed for cutting metal. I am aware that the Kapex is available with an aluminum cutting blade, and that the TS75 has a steel blade. Alas, from everything I've heard the steel blade on the TS75 isn't really meant for cutting thicker steel, and I'm looking more for a saw that would have greater material capacity. I'm especially interested in the "Multi-Cutter" or "dry cut-off" machines made by Dewalt and Milwaukee, where rather than utilizing and abrasive wheel they use a 70 tooth carbide tipped blade.

Do these saws cut significantly better than regular abrasive-wheel equipped saws? Would I get more utility from a portable, handheld bandsaw?

Here are some products I'm looking at:

http://www.dewalt.com/us/products/tool_detail.asp?productID=159

http://www.milwaukeeconnect.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_27_40028_-1_678586_192151_192137

http://www.makita.com/menu.php?pg=product_det&tag=2107F
CT-MIDI, C-18, RO-150, RO-90, OF-1010, OF-1400, MFK-700, MFK-700EQ/B, EHL-65, DTS-400, LS-130, MFT/3 (x4), MFT/Kapex (x3), KA 65 Conturo, endless Systainers

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Offline Scott W.

  • Posts: 333
Re: What is a good chop saw for metal cutting?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2008, 11:05 PM »
Depends....

I had a dry cut, they are fine for tubing and small thin stock - way better than abrasive IMHO.

BUT... if you may ever need to cut larger solids, or thick stock you just can't beat a band saw for the $$

I sold my dry cut and got one of these and couldn't be more happy with it.

Scott W.
PA, USA

Offline Eli

  • Posts: 2501
  • A Yankee in Kangaroo Court
    • Metafizix
Re: What is a good chop saw for metal cutting?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2008, 12:47 AM »
I've used abrasive wheel cut-offs, Milwaukee porta-band and Dewalt and Milwaukee dry cut saws.

The first assumption I'll make is that you aren't cutting enough to use a dedicated horizontal band saw. Superior to many things. It often has a coolant reservoir. Unless you're cutting really big chunks of metal, not necessary.

The Milwaukee Porta-band is great because..... it's portable. Sometimes tough to get a straight cut on circular stock, you have to go slow. Wrap a length of masking tape all the way around at your mark, that's a good one. But it'll cut anything at all, and it's super easy to change bands. Probably heresy, but I saw a knock off really cheap at Harbor Freight.

The D and M drycut saws are great especially if you cut both aluminum and steel because you can use the same blade. An abrasive wheel is useless for aluminum, so otherwise you might need both a carbide and abrasive bladed saw. It's also the speed of the saw that makes a big difference, as these run much slower.

I have cut aluminum already with my Kapex, but I probably wouldn't cut steel.

Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline ccmviking

  • Posts: 411
    • Blue River Cabinetry Kitchen and Bath
Re: What is a good chop saw for metal cutting?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2008, 09:52 AM »
I have the DW872 (your first link) and it works great.  I have cut a lot of metal with it and haven't had a problem with the blade yet.  It will cut through a 1/4" 4X4 pretty quickly.  You actually have to hold it back to save the blade.  What I mean is that it wants to cut much faster than you should cut with it.  The nice thing about this saw vs an abrasive wheel is speed, more square cuts, and the metal doesn't have to be cleaned up so much (abrasive wheels leave way too much sharp junk hanging off the cut).  My biggest issue with this saw is that I don't have a specific place to use it so clean up is a bear.  It leaves a lot of small curly metal shards in it's wake.  I don't regret the purchase of this saw since the blade has lasted so long with normal usage.

Chris...