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Cutting stainless steel rod. Bandsaw or chopsaw?

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Will Cole03/11/2019 20:08:25
24 forum posts
4 photos

Hi Guys. Back again for more advice.

Got the lathe and tools all sorted. Now need to look at something to saw the rods down to size. Ideally want something that will cope with 25mm diameter 303 grade stainless bar (occasionally up to 28mm), and perhaps the odd brass or bronze rod of a similar size.

Whilst I was originally looking at chop saws, I noticed that Aldi have their 1100 watt portable bandsaws back in stock again.

All thoughts, ideas and suggestions would be welcomed, but as always I am not looking for a huge beast of a machine, as floor space is at a premium.

Not looking for heavy usage, with perhaps only a dozen cuts a week at most.

Thanks...

Clive Brown 103/11/2019 20:29:15
283 forum posts
7 photos

I can't imagine an Aldi bandsaw blade lasting very long cutting an austenitic steel such as 303. I'd consider an angle grinder for that purpose. OK for non-ferrous and ordinary steels though.

JasonB03/11/2019 20:34:44
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One of the small Femi bandsaws would be worth looking at, my 782XL will cut 303 without a problem, about 60secs to get through 25mm dia

Will Cole03/11/2019 22:38:51
24 forum posts
4 photos

Thanks guys.

Whilst browsing online and looking at YouTube reviews, I actually came across a stand that turns an angle grinder into a chop saw. The reviews were quite positive, so just bought one off Fleabay for the grand sum of £17.99 delivered. Cheaper than a chop saw if an angle grinder is already lying around.

Am still looking at bandsaws as well, but am guessing that I'll need to have a decent quality blade available, certainly to cope with stainless and I'm guessing probably for bronze too. There is the cost factor element to consider too, as to how many cuts I'd get out of a blade if cutting stainless vs cost of said blade. Imm wide stainless cutting discs for angle grinders work out at about 75p each, to be balanced out against speed, ease of use, plus noise of course.

Really enjoying getting more into practical home engineering....

not done it yet03/11/2019 22:52:56
3544 forum posts
15 photos
Posted by Clive Brown 1 on 03/11/2019 20:29:15:

I can't imagine an Aldi bandsaw blade lasting very long cutting an austenitic steel such as 303. I'd consider an angle grinder for that purpose. OK for non-ferrous and ordinary steels though.

I would expect that a better blade, than supplied by the OEM, could be sourced (which immediately adds to the price). But Femi appear to be of generally much(?) superior quality to any of the cut-price offerings. If buying cheap means buying twice, one of the smaller Femi machines would win hands down, for me (although my saw was made by another higher-quality supplier).

duncan webster04/11/2019 00:23:32
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2262 forum posts
32 photos

When I was still being paid not to know what I was doing we did a series of tests to increase the life of band saw blades cutting Austenitic stainless, in particular heavy wall pipe. Using cutting lubricant, Rocol or Trefolex or similar, massively increased blade life. Running a bit slow helped, and keeping it cutting was essential. Once it rubs you've had it.

robjon4404/11/2019 08:37:56
111 forum posts

Hi all, +1 for the stands to convert an angle grinder into a chop saw, the 1st one I acquired, new in box from a car boot sale, was of sheet metal construction & proved more than adequate for the task, the most memorable thing was that when I set about assembling it the instructions began "set the baseplate with 3 chinks at the front" I assumed this to be a private joke by whomever translated the sheet, I muddled through as I didn't have time to rope in some guys from my takeaway of choice to help as they always seem so busy, anyway some time later another one showed up, you guessed it £4 at the car boot sale brand new, made in Germany, with a heavy cast iron base & chromed parts, even more marvellous than the original one, which I donated to a local "Men's Shed". The 1mm slitting discs certainly do a good job & are readily obtainable from Toolstation & the like, or if you are as tight as me, from the discount supermarkets & have proved just as durable.

Cheers, Bob H.

Windy04/11/2019 09:12:28
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747 forum posts
221 photos

I have one of Aldi bandsaw and pleased with it for the price the vice is the weak point but will eventually be modified.

Have cut various materials with it and bought a set of three milwaukee bandsaw blades.as spares cost £26.45 .

A coolant system would be handy for it.

Before had to cut some 2inch en24t and used a 4inch angle grinder with a metal cutting disc the bar was 6foot and was on axle stands.

Noise was the downside so neighbours might not be happy if used regularly. .

Anthony Knights04/11/2019 09:51:34
287 forum posts
109 photos

I have a cut off stand for an angle grinder, which I bought from Aldi. It works well with 1mm cutting discs, but after cutting some 8mm stainless steel bar, the cut ends were hard enough to take the edge off HSS tools. I now do stainless the hard way with a hacksaw.chopsaw.jpg

JasonB04/11/2019 10:09:13
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Posted by Will Cole on 03/11/2019 22:38:51:

There is the cost factor element to consider too, as to how many cuts I'd get out of a blade if cutting stainless vs cost of said blade. Imm wide stainless cutting discs for angle grinders work out at about 75p each, to be balanced out against speed, ease of use, plus noise of course.

Lets say you might use one disc per cut, I would say you will get far more than 25 cuts from the Femi saw, the M42 blades seem to last very well and are meant to run dry on these saws. These are far better quality blades than the carbon steel ones supplied with a lot of cheaper saws

Brian Wood04/11/2019 10:34:36
2007 forum posts
37 photos

I did a lot of 30 mm diameter 304 bar cutting recently on my Axminster bandsaw and was getting through good name 10 tpi carbon steel blades in two cuts per blade. I expected rapid failure and was glad of the excuse to clear my stock of four in favour of far better specification bi-metal blades in the same tooth pitch from Tuffsaws. The customer will have the cost of the new stock added to his bill anyway.

The difference in performance is marked with 10 cuts in that diameter on this material already and now I have a number of 12 mm diameter pieces in 304 to cut to go with this job. So far it happily cuts away without wandering or struggling

Noise of an angle grinder probably wouldn't bother most of my neighbours being elderly and hard of hearing, I just didn't fancy the heat induced hardening through which I needed to drill and tap deep holes [M6] at the bottom of 10 mm diameter reamed pockets.

Brian

IanT04/11/2019 13:19:54
1357 forum posts
137 photos
Posted by Brian Wood on 04/11/2019 10:34:36:

I did a lot of 30 mm diameter 304 bar cutting recently on my Axminster bandsaw and was getting through good name 10 tpi carbon steel blades in two cuts per blade. I expected rapid failure and was glad of the excuse to clear my stock of four in favour of far better specification bi-metal blades in the same tooth pitch from Tuffsaws. The customer will have the cost of the new stock added to his bill anyway.

The difference in performance is marked with 10 cuts in that diameter on this material already and now I have a number of 12 mm diameter pieces in 304 to cut to go with this job. So far it happily cuts away without

Brian

Good feedback Brian - thanks.

I'm a happy Tuffsaws customer of their wood bandsaw blades and will use them for metal cutting blades on the Aldi metal bandsaw (that is now mounted vertically). I don't saw much stainless currently but for the modest uplift in price (over the carbon blades) I will just go to TS's M42 blades, as hopefully they will serve for most of my use. I will probably go for a higher TPI than the blade Aldi originally provided though...

Regards,

IanT

Ron Laden04/11/2019 13:26:17
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1448 forum posts
256 photos

+1 for the Femi, I was considering the Aldi saw but in the end went for the small Femi SN105XL the quality is very good indeed.

I havnt had the saw that long but have cut a variety of metals including some 30mm stainless (spec unknown) all with no issues and the blade seems to be as good as new.

Brian Wood04/11/2019 14:41:48
2007 forum posts
37 photos

IanT

I don't know what tooth count you are considering but my experience has been that 10 tpi is a good general purpose choice for hacking though stainless steel bar, cast iron to 4 inch diameter, the cuttings literally pour out of that and other materials.

Not good on thin walled tube though, it hates it and for that I use 14 tpi as a compromise between getting some pace out of the job and cutting it cleanly. Good on S/S tube as well

Tuffsaws are now selling variable pitch bi-metal blades; my old choice of 10 tpi is now catered for by 8-12 tpi. I haven't actually tried one yet as I'm using the last of my older stock.

I certainly won't be using carbon steel blades again in the future, their life is desperately short on the more demanding materials

Regards Brian

larry phelan 104/11/2019 14:48:00
526 forum posts
11 photos

Rocol , great stuff, but the price of it !!

Last time I went looking for it, the guy in the suppliers said "You must be feeling flush"

Sad to say they did not have it anyway, only had spray on stuff.

Will Cole04/11/2019 17:06:19
24 forum posts
4 photos

Thanks for all the input guys. As usual lots of interesting and informative comments.

The stainless cutting is essentially a back up for those rare occasions where the supplier is out of a particular item and I need to make my own. They import from China and other places, so I can hardly tell my own customers I am waiting 'on a slow boat from China'.

The angle grinder stand has been bought on a whim as a back up device, but I'm sure it will cope with cutting stainless when needed. The angle grinder is one of those tools I have buried away that usually only comes out when I need to chop concrete, but of course it will also cut metal, albeit with some noise.

The bandsaws I have seen used with Damascus Stainless, which is challenging, so they are certainly up to the job. I would be looking at a bi-metal blade or similar if I purchase one, as apart from the cost, I don't want the hassle of changing and setting up blades with too much frequency.

You know I was thinking today, that it been fifty years since we put a man on the moon, we have all the modern technology in our homes and cars, but you still can't buy saw blades or drill bits that can cope with tougher metals and have a reasonable lifespan. Or perhaps that's just a marketing ploy...

JasonB04/11/2019 17:13:43
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You can get carbide tipped bandsaw blades if needed

jimmy b04/11/2019 17:27:05
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534 forum posts
29 photos

I have quite a lot of 304 and 303 stainless on my Chester saw.

M42 blades and going slow are the secret!

Jim

IanT04/11/2019 18:31:45
1357 forum posts
137 photos

The decision may have been taken for me Brian, as I've just checked TS website. Assuming a 3/8th blade (< 2280mm) the only (M42) TPI option seems to be a 10/14tpi vari-tooth blade.

However, that probably suit me very well, as I think the Aldi saw will normally be used in vertical mode to cut steel plate - which will rarely be over 8-10mm. For heavier rod, I have a McMaster power hacksaw that will chew through most materials given time and can be kept lubricated.

Regards,

IanT

old mart04/11/2019 20:00:16
775 forum posts
76 photos

I bought a 180mm cut off grinder from Lidl earlier in the year, everything is good except the clamping vise is poor and needs looking at. The only possible drawback of grinding is the localised heating which could be a problem.

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