Looking for an alternative to the second hand chop saw I currently have. I've used a horizontal bandsaw at work...nice, but seems a bit expensive. What do you use for sawing metal? Anyone found a good inexpensive horizontal bandsaw? Anyone try to use a metal cutting blade on their chop saw? Looking for opinions. Thanks, Chuck
In my life, I have gone through about three Makita chop saws. I used them primarily to cut square tube, although I cut a lot of things with it. Some odd things, and some things that I won't admit to, since it was stretching the limits of safety and imagination.
I recently got a HF cheapo $129 4x6 horizontal band saw. Now I just cut square tube, some occasional solid stuff up to 1/2", and I cut some 1/2" x
2" FB with it. I really like this little saw. I can see if I were to really do a lot of production work that it would not last that long. But for what I am doing, it is infinitely better than the Makita that sits there in the corner. Sparks, noise, dust ......... the Makita is just step above a big axe, IMHO.
Maybe I've slowed down, and I know my projects have shrunk in their sizes. But the little HF saw is great so far, and it is so easy to set it up, turn it on, drop the blade, and just let it do its thing. Cuts off automatically, too.
I have used cold saws, and they are the cat's meow. They are also a little pricey, especially for the average hobbyist. I have used larger horizontal saws, and yea, they are a lot better. But again, more $$$.
It depends on you, how much stuff you are going to cut, your budget, what the break even point will be on a $750 saw, etc. One size doesn't fit all, and try to buy a little bigger so if you grow, you don't outgrow it.
I asked about this very same question a month or so ago.
Last week I was at the welding shop and they had a Makita "dry saw". It's exactly like a chop saw with a slower, gear-reduced motor and a metal blade like a cold saw. It uses no lubicant though. I had been told of them and seen them on-line but was a little hesitent to buy sight unseen. Well they let me try out the demo machine and except for the fact that it was a little noisey (About the same as an abrasive wheel chop saw) it really kicked butt on the abrasive saw.
It cuts very cool, can pick up pieces immidiately after cutting and they are only warm. No sparks flying 50 feet, no smoke and it cuts incredibly fast! It's ALMOST like cutting wood with a regular chop saw.
It was a little expensiev though, $399.
Blade replacements are about $100 but the blades (suposedly) last quite a while. In the end costing about exactly the same as using abrasize wheels.
I can finally put the saw on the work bench and use it in the garage instead of dragging it out onto the driveway every time I need to cut a piece of metal! Yay!
Dewalt makes what they call a "multi-cutter" saw (DW872), which is equivalent to the Porter Cable and Makita dry cut saws. I have one, and I think it's superior to the Porter Cable I used to use. The sweet deal on these saws is Costco, where they sell them for about $200. They're $400-plus on Amazon for the exact same saw.
Amen, amen, and amen. I am getting ready to make my side yard (currently we call it my Sanford yard because of all the junk) into my work area. I am going to put up racks for the metal, and be able to bring down metal and put it on rollers. I got some conveyor belt rollers about 12" x 1 1/2" from a friend for free. Got about 25 of them. Gonna make a system that is much better than doing it on the ground or portable stands that I now have. ]
Whether in the garage, or whatever, a system to store, retrieve materials and feed a saw and catch cut pieces really makes life easier. Plus, you can put a stop, and do repetitive cuts when you have to cut fifty of one length.
--Bandsaw (chopsaw variety) is something I rarely use; for most stuff I use a cold saw. It's an old Pedrazzoli; nothing fancy, but easy to service and fast to use. Nowadays there are a couple of under-$1,000 coldsaws out there worth a look.. --For hard stuff I've got a wet abrasive chop saw; it's particularly useful for cutting hardened stuff and for stuff that's got a slender cross-section like capillary tubing, as it leaves very little burr. The only thing I've found that I *can't* cut with it is titanium; for that I resort to a plasma torch.
At work we have most of the cutting options you could hope for; power hacksaw, bandsaw, several types of wet and dry drop saws, oxy acet and
3 plasma cutters; one of them on a profiling table.
At home I'm not that rich so I went with a used industrial three phase power hacksaw that cost me $200 second hand. its probably about 20 years old and weighs in at just over 1000lbs. The blades last just about forever and will cut through anything you fancy. This is the type of saw that has the hyrdraulic controls for drop and so on. I converted it to single phase by just swapping the 3 phase motor for a single phase; cost me an extra $50. These saws a liquid cooled, accurate and not too loud, but they arent that fast. They will cut heavy materials (over an inch solid).