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IndustryArena Forum > Tools / Tooling Technology > Metal Working Tooling > Metal Cutting Chop Saw vs Abrasive Chop Saw
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  1. #1
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    Question Metal Cutting Chop Saw vs Abrasive Chop Saw

    Hi folks,

    Im thinking that Im going to buy an abrasive chop saw, but....

    Before I purchase can someone please outline for me the advantages/disadvantages of an abrasive chop saw vs a dry cut metal chop saw?

    All I can see so far is that the abrasive chop saws are cheaper and the discs are much cheaper, about $5. Whereas the more expensive metal chop saw has blades costing about $100.

    Even if the metal blades last longer I cant see that they would last over 20 times longer to balance out the consumable cost.

    Two pics are below so you know what Im talking about.

    Im also confused about the metal blade. Using a metal blade to cut metal dry doesn't seem like a good idea. I know they are carbide, but are the blades diamond tipped?

    Thanks for any advice.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ScreenHunter_002.jpg   ScreenHunter_003.jpg  

  2. #2
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    I'm no expert but here's my thoughts.
    Advantages.
    1. You can't use abrasive on aluminium. The carbide saw is ideal.
    2. When cutting steel the chips carry away most of the heat which can be a definite advantage if you don't want heat marking of product.

    Disadvantages.
    1. I think you can cut much faster with the abrasive.
    2. Think you could over heat the carbide to the point where the teeth fall off.

    Paul

  3. #3
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    I have used the cold cut and it is amazing.No sparks, cuts clean ,no filing,no burning.Much more accurate than abrasive wheels.Donot get the idea to just buy the blade.The saws are more expencive as they are geard down to 1800 rpm while a cheap chop saw is 5000rpm.Even though I have used the Makita I still don't beleive what it does.
    Larry

  4. #4
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    The blades are carbide.

  5. #5
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    Hmmm...thanks for the replies. that leaves me with a conundrum, because I want to do some aluminium cutting. But the blades are SO much more expensive. I dont mind the actual machine, as its about twice the cost, but that wont break the bank once its worth the extra which so far it seems it is, and its a once off.

    So how long would a metal blade and an abrasive disc last?

    Is there a set amount of one specific material cut into, that is used to gauge their durability.....

  6. #6
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    .....maybe I need both!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by diarmaid View Post
    Hmmm...thanks for the replies. that leaves me with a conundrum, because I want to do some aluminium cutting. But the blades are SO much more expensive. I dont mind the actual machine, as its about twice the cost, but that wont break the bank once its worth the extra which so far it seems it is.

    So how longe would a metal blade and an abrasive disc last?

    Is there a set amount of one material cut, that is used to gauge their durability.....
    Unless you really need the 14" diameter get a simple woodworking style miter saw, 10" or 12". This can take an abrasive blade for cutting steel and you can also buy what is called a 'triple chip' blade suitable for cutting non-ferrous metals and plastics.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the advice Geof. As per usual its very useful because Im getting a miter saw, but wasn't sure about just changing the blades over and using it for metal. Was worried about the rpm, but if thats not a factor it'd be great to use it for everything.
    Will the miter saw's rpm be ok with a metal cutting blade, its stated as 3,600rpm?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ScreenHunter_007.jpg  

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by diarmaid View Post
    ...Will the miter saw's rpm be ok with a metal cutting blade, its stated as 3,600rpm?
    Not if you mean the metal cutting blade for cutting ferrous metals, i.e. steel. Use abrasive for steels and triple chip for aluminum and plastic. If you ever have a need for cutting a lot of thin wall tubing 16, 18 gauge or thinner get a friction blade and a saw with a blade speed around 5,000 or higher.

  10. #10
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    Great! That sorts that one. Something I can scratch off my list to save a bit of money is always a good thing! Also means I can afford the painfully expensive miter saw sooner. L8rs.

  11. #11
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    I don't know what other equipment you have, but keep the hot saw away from anything you expect to stay precision. The grit goes everywhere once airborn.

    Edit: To add a precaution of sparks in the shop, these things really do need a space of their own. I have seen rags 3-5ft away left vapored with flammables burst to a life least expected when several projects and multiple workers are in the shop at the same time. It is easy to become oblivious to what other people have going. For these reasons and the above, the hot saw was moved outside under a lean-to. Not many wanted to haul the material outside, so the constant moisture or condensation eventually killed it. Guys in the shop just adapted to the horizontal band saw.

    DC

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lgalla View Post
    I have used the cold cut and it is amazing.No sparks, cuts clean ,no filing,no burning.Much more accurate than abrasive wheels.Donot get the idea to just buy the blade.The saws are more expencive as they are geard down to 1800 rpm while a cheap chop saw is 5000rpm.Even though I have used the Makita I still don't beleive what it does.
    Larry
    I don't get it, with a 12" blade @ 1800 rpm that is like 4700 fpm - I thought with carbide AL topped out at just over 1000 and steel 300-400? granted technology may have changed in 25 years, but we had a carbide tipped cold saw in high school machine shop that couldn't have been doing much more than 50-60 rpm. a quick google shows rpm's around 50 like i thought - what are you buying that is going to do 1800rpm and what can you use it on?
    http://www.vansantent.com/dake_coldsaw.htm

    on the abrasive saws, yeah like one of many says, it's messy. the abrasive saw only gets used out doors. The blades wear fast and its engineered to become completely airborne and seek out machine ways in every corner of your shop to settle on.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    I don't get it, with a 12" blade @ 1800 rpm that is like 4700 fpm - I thought with carbide AL topped out at just over 1000 and steel 300-400? granted technology may have changed in 25 years,...
    Carbides certainly have changed but I think it is also related to the fact that the saw teeth are in contact with the material for a small part of their total travel. It is similar to the difference between milling and turning pointed out by HFD in a different thread; turning buries the tool in a hot zone 100% of the time while milling exposes the tool to cool air for at least half the time so you can use much higher sfm when milling. Another thing is that when the cutter is moving very fast the chip is heated well above the Curie point and loses most of its strength when it is just a simple carbon steel; don't try to use these blades on stainless or high alloy steels unless you want a shrapnel of teeth around your ears.

    The heating effect and fact that the blade is only briefly in contact is taken to the extreme in the friction blade and these can be used on stainless. Friction cutting literally melts its way through the metal being cut; it works fine on materials with a low heat conduction such as steel but will not work with aluminum or brass. It will even work with stainless and high speed steel, a 10" friction blade running at 5500rpm will go through a 1/2 HSS tool in about 30 seconds and through 7/8" diameter 16 ga 304 or 316 stainless in about 12 seconds; we have a blade that is coming up on 20,000 cuts in 7/8" 16 ga 304. It is even possible to cut through carbide tools with one of these blades.

  14. #14
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    Checked the mikita web site. The saw is 1300rpm capacity 6mm mild steel.75% faster than abrasive blades.Can cut 115mm pipe.We also cut aluinium.I understand your aprehension. I have used the saw for three months and still don't beleive it is cutting 1/4"steel tubeing without heat and no need for filing.It does spark if pushed to hard, you just ease off.I know it is hard to beleive but it does work.Ask your supplier for a demo.
    larry

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  16. #16
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    Look at the dewalt web site.It cuts ferrous and non ferrous metal and has a capacity of 4.5"X6.5".I know it is hard to beleive ,but we cut alu or steel daily.Maybe I sound like I work for Dewalt or Mikata and am giving a promo.I don't think Dewalt or Mikata is going to lead us astray and get a facefull of shrapnel.One more time, I don't beleive what it does,but it does it well.
    Larry

  17. #17
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    I own the multi cutter, and I love it. I've used it for over a year now on the original blade. The speed and quality of the cut is so much better than an abrasive blade! The blade dosn't get smaller with use, so you always have a full cut capacity. The only problem with the saw is it's cheasy stamped base. I know I have tweaked it, with some heavy use (cutting 3" sch 80 pipe that was over 15' long). Even from new trying to get a good feel if the material was level on the base was impossible. This winter I'm going to build a good (1/4" plate) base on a stand that matches up with 2 tables that I have in my shed. I figure my struggle with 20' stock should be over with 2 8' tables supporting the load, with some rollers of course!
    On all equipment there are 2 levers...
    Lever "A", and Lever F'in "B"

  18. #18
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    I have seen what looked like a standard circular saw at IMTS a few years back cutting steel pipe and 1/4" plate. The saws were geared down and the blades were carbide ground with a rake that would support the loads and interrupted cuts quite well. Certainly not an off the shelf wood cutting carbide blade. Very impressive if you do a lot of tube and plate fab work.

    I think I'd still spray a little WD-40 or something on aluminum to keep it from loading up on thicker stock.

    DC

  19. #19
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    Fellow Canadian DSL PWR Eh! or is itA.
    Thanks for the backup. It is 12.22 in my zone , time for sleep.Maybe waste of time giving good fedback on good product?
    Larry Eh!

  20. #20
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    diarmaid, what do you intend to do with the miter saw? that machine is not set up for metal working.(as pictured in your thumb nail)
    I am not the all knowing shop master but I have cut many thousands of parts on various " chop saws" over the years and I feel compelled to share some knowlage with you not only to help you but to keep you safe.
    As was stated by others you should not cut alumn.,brass, bronze with an abrasive cut off wheel. Likewise you should not cut steels of any kind with a carbide toothed blade. having said that I need to further explane a couple of things.
    The three saws you post pictures of are not intended for continuose daily use. I don't care what anyone says to the contrery. I have a Wilton 14" abrasive cut off saw and two Kaltinbach automatic cold saws that are all 30 + years old that run production every day all day.
    The saws you're looking at are fine for occasional use but, only the abrasive cut off saw should be used to cut steel.
    A quick word on safety. NEVER cut any metal that is not being held in a vise or some kind of work holding fixture. Then it should be held on bothe sides of the cut. Yes, yes,yes I can hear all of you speed deamons out there crying about how much time it takes to operate two vises ect... one must learn to crawl, walk, and run with out getting killed along the way.
    I know of a foundry that uses a 24" abrasive cut off saw to remove the sprues and risers from their castings, free hand. The guys that run that equipment are like gorillas and still have all the parts they were born with.
    No insault intended but, it sounds like you sould do some more research before you start cutting. Money lost from buying the wrong equipment is nothing compared to getting seriously injured, burning your shop down, or worse.

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