Newbie question, only mildly 'welding' related

I'm just starting out, went out and purchased a mid-range MIG box, but that's not where my problem lies - I'm getting good solid welds, good
penetration, etc.
My question is: what is the best tool for cutting stock? I can't afford a Plasma setup yet, and the hacksaw is getting tiring. Would a moderately priced Miter type saw work (with the appropriate blade, of course)? Would I be better off trying to find a band saw somewhere? Most of what I plan to cut (now I know everything doesn't always go as planned) will be smaller than 2" either square or round tube, some angle iron, and some flat iron. All either 1/4" wall thickness or thinner.
Any pros have any suggestions, maybe even something I haven't thought of yet?
TIA!
Jeremy
-- It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. -Albert Einstein
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Jeremy Chavers wrote: (clipMy question is: what is the best tool for cutting stock (clip) ^^^^^^^^^^^ I use a portable hand-held metal-cutting bandsaw. Mine is a Milwaukee, but I have also used the Portaband, and I think they are both good. They will cut work that is held in a vise, but they can also be used to trim off pieces on an assembly that is too large to move. I couldn't live without it. I recommend getting the vaiable speed model.
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14" Abrasive chop saw ($150 - $200) Able to cut steel and stainless steel tube and pipe up to 3" dia, as long as the wall thickness isn't too thick, light bar stock. Not good for aluminum, brass, bronze or magnesium. Can also cut hardened steel. Very Loud.
Standard Wood Mitre saw, with a Triple-Chip blade.($100 - $300) Good for aluminum, can cut brass, bronze, copper and magnesium, but not steel or stainless steel, as long as you use a cutting lube of some kind. You can mount an abrasive wheel, but the heat and sparks will not do good things to plastic blade gaurds. Loud.
Reciprocating saw - "Sawzall" . ($80 - $160) Lightweight portable, versatile, fast. Hard to get long straight cuts, but did I mention fast. Blades are cheap and plentiful. Medium Loud.
Hand Bandsaw ($150 - $300) Highly portable, light weight, takes some skill to get straight cuts. Will cut most materiels except hardened steel. Blades are cheap. Very Quiet.
4" x 6" Horizontal/Vertical Bandsaw ($150 - $225) Excellent for cutting heav stock in Horizontal mode, and cutting details in Vertical mode. Slow, but steady and very cost effective. Buy good b-metal blades. Can miter cut with some accuracy. Somewhat portable, and compact for cramped shops (garage). Quiet.
12" or 14" Dry-Cut Miter Saw. ($350 - $450) The most amazing saw you will ever use. Extemely accurate straight and miter cuts Special carbide tipped blade slices Steel, stainless steel, brass, bronze, copper, Magnesium, wood, plastic, like a hot knife through butter. Will not cut hardened steel unless you mount a abrasive blade. All metal blade gaurd makes that an option. Blades are expensive, but cheap to sharpen Very Loud, but so worth it.
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I'll add my 2c to Ernie's excellent review:
Abrasive cutting is not only loud but a) smells and b) spreads a lot of 'grinding dust' (metal and abrasive particles) around the shop--i.e., messy and a dust hazard. It makes a LOT of sparks. Many, many fires have been started by sparks from abrasive cutting.
An additional cutting method, not listed by Ernie, is a thin kerf disk mounted in a hand held angle grinder. There are some situations that call for this approach but in addition to the grinding dust there is a level of danger from the dust and spinning unmounted wheel that does not exist with a cold cut saw. The wheel could kick back and/or disintegrate so caution is needed.
Ernie's right about the dry cut saw. They are the best things since sliced bread. On a recent project, I had to cut-off 1" X 6" steel and the saw went through just fine. These saws produce a pile of small chips but no dust and few sparks so fire hazard is much less of an issue. Also, once the cut is complete, the metal is cold and can be picked up by muleskin--ungloved hand--unlike the hotter-than-heck cut-off results of abrasive cutting. This saves time in the shop.
Your question wasn't 'mildly' welding related. Cutting and fit-up usually take more time than the actual welding!
Ciao, David Todtman
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Just to add one more method, the old blue blade. I still use my torch often for cutting.
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I didn't mention the cut-off disk in a grinder or a torch because I was trying to stick with practical methods to cut stock in a fab shop.
Cut-off disks are great for metal surgury, but I would not classify them as a good method for cutting 100 pieces of steel tube.
Torch cutting works well for large steel sections, or cutting shapes from plate steel, but once again it kind of sucks for cutting thin wall tube.

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I would think a chop saw with an abrasive blade would be the "cat-ass" easiest way to cut what your asking. Go buy the cheap one at Harbor Freight and get after it!
They are good for more than just metal. One time we installed 25 miles (yes miles) of irrigation for an orchard. It, of course was PVC, but we used a table set up with the chop saw to cut risers to length. The abrasive blade did a beautiful job and never even wore down with the soft plastic. Works with masonry, too, but your better off with a different blade.
Bottom line is you will get the cleanest, fastest cut for thin walled stuff this way.
Scott
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oxy/acet torch.
Angle grinder with disks to cut or wheel to clean up the oxy/acet cuts.
Dan

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I don't see this mentioned very often here, but a jigsaw works quite well for metal and you probably already have one laying around. Use some lubricant on the blade.
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I
Chopsaw or electric band saw.
Steve
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Jeremy Chavers wrote:

"$200" 4x6 horizontal/vertical bandsaw with a good bi-metal blade. Ernie mentioned it amongst the others but I'll just add that I have a plasma cutter, the bandsaw a small abrasive cutoff wheel and a few hacksaws. The bandsaw does 90% or more of the stock cutting in my (home) shop. Second is the plasma.
Note that a number of the suggestions are restricted as to what metals they can handle.
Ted
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Portaband

I
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I picked up a Makita "cold saw" with a metal blade (carbide) today, for $412.00. Cuts through small stock like a knife through warm butter.
--
Randy Howard _o
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I have most of the items mentioned in this post. My bandsaw gets the most use, but I recently picked up a plate shear (Enco...sale price $72.00) and I tell you what...that is the only way to cut small stock. Mine cuts up to 1/4 inch by 3 inch flat stock and will cut 1/2 inch round stock. If you do any small stuff..look into a shear..fast, easy, clean,

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Sounds nice! Which one of these http://www.irvansmith.com/catalog2/parts/enco_plate_shear.shtml do you have?
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This plate shear sounds very interesting. I'd like to hear more about these tools. I have a OA setup, grinders and a cut off saw but this seems to fill a "clean cut" nitch that the other tools I have don't. One question I have is how much steel can you cut before replacing the blade. I realize it would vary based on what you cut. I'm just trying to get a general idea.
SGF

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