Metal cutting chop saw basics

There's more to running a metal cutting (abrasive wheel) chop saw than
just pulling the switch, as most of you know.
Just in case there's somebody out there who is thinking about getting
one or who has had bad results with one and doesn't know why, it may be
worthwhile to look here:
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I wrote this article 20 some years ago, but I just put it on my website
today. Comments on or off list are welcome.
Pete Stanaitis
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Nice writeup Pete. I would add a couple of points from my limited experience with abrasive chop saws. I appreciate using a little 4x6 bandsaw more, after having used an abrasive saw.
At minimum, a dust mask should be worn, or an even better fitting breathing filter, if the operator has facial hair.
A chopsaw should only be used outdoors, when possible. Since many of the RCMers live where they do their metalwork, it's far better to keep that kind of dust away from anything else that they care about owning.
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Not only outdoors, also on a non-combustible surface. Mine builds up a red-hot deposit underneath around the left front foot. It throws red- hot sparks about 20 feet so don't run it with dry vegetation or your car nearby.
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Jim Wilkins
Good comments, both. Yes, I use my 4X6 band saw most of the time. It is inside and it is quieter. But whenever I am cutting tool steel, or even something suspected to be tool steel, I go to the chop saw, which I take outside. The blades for my 4X6 cost about $25 each, so I don't want to screw up. Actually, I have the chop saw, the 4X6, a Milwaukee portaband and a reciprocal saw, so I can choose. By the way, don't EVER try someone else's portaband unless you are ready to shell out the bucks to buy one for yourself. I said "yah, yah" when others were telling me how great they are, when they first came out. Then I used one at a blacksmith gathering where we were cutting lots of steel to make 10 8 foot chandeliers. I was hooked. They really work well!
Pete Stanaiitis -----------------------------------
Jim Wilk> >
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There is a new basic how to on chop saws:
Chuck the noisy dirty fire breathing dragon and buy a decent band saw.
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Steve B
--And FWIW cold saws are getting cheaper... ;-)
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Now yer talking.
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Steve B
My favorite dry saw, a Makita LC1230 is now $30 cheaper than I paid. ...And $109 cheaper, adjusted for inflation!
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I had a long bar of steel I needed to cut into smaller pieces for something or another.
After watching my 7x12 bandsaw simply riding on top of the bar...I scratched my head, and looked the bar over.
Bandsaws dont cut D2 very well....
"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer." -- Benjamin Franklin, /The Encouragement of Idleness/, 1766
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Gunner Asch
That's retarded advice. I have an abrasive chop saw, a band saw, and a dry saw. Each has its place. But if I could only have one, it would have to be the abrasive saw. It's the only one of the three that can cut the really nasty/hard/oversize stuff that I wouldn't dream of subjecting the band saw or the dry saw to. It's also the only one that can be used freehand when desperate. You must have some really limited work to do if you can get away with just a band saw.
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Copy that on the "cover everything!".
Several magnets in baggies behind a thin aluminum shark shield really help contain the "dust".
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Let the Record show that Gunner Asch on or about Mon, 04 Jan 2010 10:42:36 -0800 did write/type or cause to appear in rec.crafts.metalworking the following:
Would a different blade work? I know I've cut Titanium with a band saw, which I hadn't thought possible. (Live and learn.)
Bandsaws don't do well when you put the blade on backwards. My Buddy the Machinery Geek did that. - pyotr filipivich We will drink no whiskey before its nine. It's eight fifty eight. Close enough!
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pyotr filipivich
One of the main things I use my chop saw for is cutting up tool steel like truck and car axles. When I get one, I usually don't need the whole thing. Since I can't get the whole thing into the coal forge for annealing anyway, I cut the stock into appropriate sized pieces for the job at hand. It I intend to machine some of this kind of stock, I cut it into lengths that I can heat evenly in the forge and then get into the ash bucket or fiberglass blanket or the vermiculite pail to anneal. Often, when I only NEED one cut from, let's a truck axle, I cut the whole thing into 8" pieces or so, anneal and label for future use.
The point is, the chop saw IS my tool of choice for the job, outside, and with at least a face shield on.
Pete Stanaitis ---------------------------
spaco wrote:
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And after a speed-mis-reading and "WTF?" double-back, you don't want to do it with your cat nearby either - or the dog. They're flammable too. And always have a hose handy.
That's how they started a billion-dollar brush fire out in Riverside County a few years back - 50 MPH windstorm, and a highway crew out repairing guard rails in the middle of nowhere. Using a chainsaw- style abrasive chop saw, and a Blue Point Wrench to punch the holes - No water, no fire extinguishers, and most important no brains.
If they were prepared with a water source and/or extinguishers it would have been a non-issue. BUT they didn't, and you have maybe thirty seconds to react on something like that. By the time they got the Fire Department called and out there, it was far too late.
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Bruce L. Bergman

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