Cutting metal on a Sears Radial Arm Saw

I bought an old 10" mitre saw at a yard sale, and use it with a 10" disc for cutting steel. It works well, and as I have only $30 invested, I don't really care too much about it. It has cut a good amount of steel and shows no signs of wear. The one advantage is that angle cuts are quick to set up. The only problem I find is that the swivel table gums up pretty fast with grit. Cutting aluminum should be easier. tape/cover up the gap around the swivel table to prevent the grit getting in though.

I should mention that I have a seperate saw for cutting wood, and could not bring myself to cut metal on it, ... bordering on abuse!

Good Luck.

Reply to
Loading thread data ...

I own a Sears 10" radial arm saw that I purchased when my son was in the Cub Scouts. He's now 40 just to give you an age fix on the saw (which actually still looks like it's new).

Recently I purchased an 8" abrasive metal cutting blade from Home Depot and used it to cut some thin-wall aluminum tubing to length and it did a fine job (except for the fact that the hot fiber blade made my shop smell like a wet dog for about 12-hours). I also chopped some steel angle stock and, except for all the sparks, that appeared to work fine too.

Is there a problem with cutting metal on a radial arm saw normally intended for woodworking?

Why I ask is that I have some 1-1/2" hard aluminum (7075?) bar stock that I need to cut down to machine on my lathe. Am I in for some unexpected problems if I try to cut it on this saw using a 10" abrasive blade?

Thanks in advance.

Harry C.

Reply to

DON'T use the abrasive blade for aluminum, use a fine tooth carbide blade. Try and find one with negative hook (blade is tilted back from the direction of travel) or at least one with a minimum of forward hook. Wear safety glasses, it throws hot metal chips everwhere! Not the best for everyday work but a lot of folks cut aluminum this way.

Cutting steel with an abrasive blade has a few more issues: The sparks are all shot in a line, they can get hot enough to start a small fire in the back of your machine. The old Sears units were not very well shielded from the fine abrasive grit, they tend to die a quick death from toasted bearings. If yours is 30 years old, the grease and seals are not too good already. And yes, the stink is bad.

For steel, I'd suggest getting a cheap 14" cutoff saw and use it outside on the driveway. They look like this:

formatting link
?itemnumber=91938If you are patient, you can usually find them on sale for well under $100, I've seen HF advertise them for $49 wrote:

Reply to

Cutting steel with wood working machines is a no-no, especially with abrasive blades. The grit gets into everything and ultimately hurts the machine. That being said, it's your saw, go ahead as long as you understand the long term consequences. Watch where the sparks are going!!!!

For the aluminum, get rid of that d____d abrasive blade. Use a good carbide wood cutting blade and cut what you want. Radial arms are very prone to climb cutting (running toward you). Have a good grip on the stock and keep control of the saw head. A touch of wax stick helps keep the aluminum from gumming up the saw teeth.

(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens)

Reply to

I've sliced up 4 inch thick slabs of solid 6061 aluminum with a 10 inch 80- tooth carbide woodworking blade on a 12-inch radial saw. It works, but my advice is to absolutely clamp the work securely on each side. Don't try to hand-hold the work, even something light.

I keep a small museum of "oops" souvenirs on the shop shelf. One of them is a small end of 4x4x1/4 square aluminum tubing that I didn't clamp on the radial saw. It caught on a tooth at the end of the cut, and flew several hundred feet (the saw is on wheels and I cut outdoors). Don't wanna think about getting hit with that kind of large sharp-edged shrapnel.

A Sears (Emerson) radial arm saw has a lot of wiggle and slop in the table, carriage, bearings, etc. This, plus the high speed blade, makes for a rather risky metal-cutting experience. But I do it.

Reply to
Richard J Kinch

The abrasive grit from cutting steel will play heck with the rollers and any sliding interfaces. You can either accept the damage or take extraordinary measures to protect these areas, and suffer the damage anyway.

Aluminum cuts way better with a saw blade. Negative rake or zero rake teeth are better, as they will not dig in or self feed. Nice clean cuts. Clamp everything. There are abrasive blades for aluminum, but they are a poor second choice to a saw blade.

You can pretty much give up on ever cutting wood for fine projects with the saw. There will be bits of grit finding their way to the wood forever. Worse than trying to do varnishing in the driveway during fly season. :-)

There was an article in Home Shop Machinist a while back on the use of a RA saw in this manner.

Cheers Trevor Jones

Reply to
Trevor Jones

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.