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mitre saw use for roughing out/ vertical milling mild steel?

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jon hill 305/03/2021 14:50:59
105 forum posts
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I guess this is one of those questions that will have some screwing up there face at the thought of such a suggestion but here goes:

As I have a hobby grade milling machine which would struggle to cut say even a 4mm grove in mild steel, could a wood mitre saw be used for 'rough' horizontal milling with suitable metal blades and perhaps a taylor made clamp?

I am just thinking out load and wondering if this is a practical shortcut?

Emgee05/03/2021 15:43:51
1988 forum posts
250 photos

jon

The brief answer IMO is no, don't even try it.

The blade speed will be far too high and for such work rigidity is the clue to success, I doubt very much it would be successful, however you may prove me wrong.

Emgee

JasonB05/03/2021 15:46:37
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I wouldn't either

What mill is it, even the little milling head on my old Unimat 3 could cut a 4mm slot

Les Jones 105/03/2021 15:47:37
2225 forum posts
153 photos

If the saw blade was 80mm diameter then for the same cutting force the torque required would be 20 times as much as required for a 4mm diameter end mill. So if the saw blade was 2mm thick it would be like a 2mm depth of cut with a 4 mm end mill. I don't think I would attempt a 2mm depth of cut using a 4mm end mill on steel. To use the same motor you would need to gear it down by a ratio of 20:1 to increase the torque by 20:1
I agree with the other replies that the answer is NO.

Les.

Edited By Les Jones 1 on 05/03/2021 15:49:42

HOWARDT05/03/2021 15:58:36
707 forum posts
25 photos

No. Blade speed and control mean a no no. Use a hacksaw to cut grooves or a suitable bandsaw.

Ady105/03/2021 16:04:59
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4292 forum posts
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There aren't any shortcuts with metal, unfortunately

You need metalwork equipment to attempt any successful shortcuts with metal

Nigel Graham 205/03/2021 21:54:59
1275 forum posts
17 photos

As well as agreeing with the others I would suggest you will be far better off anyway diagnosing and curing whatever is that is stopping your "hobby grade" milling-machine from milling.

Adding to the reasons already stated, I reckon trying to "mill" steel with a wood-worker's powered mitre saw would be very dangerous.

There are circular sawing machines for metals, using appropriate blades at very low speeds to give accurate cuts with a finish like a horizontal mill, and I once used one for cutting some small gibs and cotters from flat strip; but other than cutting slots to the blade thickness even these are still not substitutes for milling-machines.

Pete.05/03/2021 22:41:06
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457 forum posts
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If your bench top Mill is struggling with a 4mm end Mill, something is wrong, you might as well work out what it is, then you can use you milling machine for its intended purpose.

larry phelan 106/03/2021 08:41:26
976 forum posts
14 photos

There is an old saying to the effect "Horses for courses "

To put it mildly ,I dont think it,s a good idea.frown

Nigel Graham 207/03/2021 22:28:49
1275 forum posts
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Right, we've all gone and screwed up our faces and leapt down the poor bloke's throat.... I think we now owe it to him to try to help!

Jon -

You say you have a "hobby grade" milling machine....

Well, so do many people on this forum - probably, most us, really; either now or in the past. So that comment does not tell us much, but if you identify it there's a good chance someone has the same or a very similar machine so is familiar with what it can and can't do.

"... that would struggle to cut, say, a 4mm groove in steel".

As written that suggests criticising it on sight, but I'll assume you have tried it, and struggled to make it cut the groove.

If so, is the machine actually so small and light that you were trying to push it beyond its designed limits (given its handbook). There are very small mills ones available that seem to have a good reputation, but are intended for fine-scale model-making, clock-making and similar very small work. They'd probably cut a 4mm groove, but only at very gentle rates. Nothing wrong with these machines, but even big industrial machine-tools have their own limits.

Otherwise...

What sort of cutter were you using - and, daft question I know, was it still sharp?

Were you using appropriate speed, depth of cut and feed-rate? (The last is not easy to achieve on a small machine with a hand-wound table, and really only comes with experience with the machine in question - plus at times a lot of patience when you can take only shallow cuts and the far end of the work-piece seems a very long way away.)

What was the material? Did you buy a known, reasonable-quality free-cutting grade or were you fighting something second-hand that was the same colour as any other "pre-loved" steel (grey or rust) but actually some high-tensile or similarly resistant stuff? We've all done it - well, I certainly have.

Finally, what actually was the struggle? Trying to cut the steel anyway, or trying to obtain a good finish without a hedge of burrs along the edges? The groove ending up over-size?

Emgee07/03/2021 23:43:44
1988 forum posts
250 photos
Posted by Nigel Graham 2 on 07/03/2021 22:28:49:

Right, we've all gone and screwed up our faces and leapt down the poor bloke's throat.... I think we now owe it to him to try to help!

Nigel

The question was related to using a cross cut wood saw to cut steel, that's what most answered.

Emgee

Ed Duffner07/03/2021 23:44:46
827 forum posts
94 photos

I think it would be handy to know what material Jon is trying to cut and which type of cut he is thinking of using to rough it out. A sketch maybe.

The way I'm reading it is, the 4mm slot in mild steel was a description of the capability or lack of, of his milling machine.

If the material in question is aluminium for example, there are aluminium blades made for mitre saws, but great care would have to be taken making cuts in solid stock. Personally I wouldn't attempt that.

Bulk material can be removed by chain drilling and/or a hacksaw, or a roughing cutter, or a fly cutter if it's a face. It just takes longer on a small machine like many of us have.

Ed.

Speedy Builder508/03/2021 06:37:20
2257 forum posts
170 photos

I had an EVOLOUTION mitre saw that was rated to cut wood, mild steel, Al alloy etc. It didn't go so well on HTS re-inforcing bar, so with careful use, it could be used. They also make blades especially for metal, as used in their metal chop saws.

Evolution Saw

Chop saw

JasonB08/03/2021 07:48:09
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Looks like the mill in question is a little Proxxon FF400 so will indeed struggle to do the cut expediently.

Seems the OP also has a Myford so may be worth setting up the part and milling on that.

David Colwill08/03/2021 08:48:20
739 forum posts
38 photos

All previous points noted and mostly agreed with, there are a few ways you can help yourself. Drilling is one of the cheapest and easiest ways of removing metal. Sawing is also another cheap and efficient way of removing metal, so you are on the right track but in my opinion using the wrong weapon. A metal cutting bandsaw or wood bandsaw modified to run much slower will allow you to make multiple cuts into a block to form a rough slot or cut out a step etc. The Aldi metal cutting bandsaw is a cheap and pretty good choice if you don't have anything already. There are also a few videos on youtube where people have modified the cheap small wood working bandsaws to use on metal.

Regards.

David.

Edited By David Colwill on 08/03/2021 08:48:59

Paul Lousick08/03/2021 11:51:24
1707 forum posts
627 photos

According to the Proxxon FF 400 User Manual

**LINK**

It can use commercially available milling cutters with a maximum shaft diameter of 12 mm and a tool diameter of max. 40mm can be used. For an optimum working result, it isnecessary to adjust the milling machine and the milling parameters (feed, depth of cut, speed) to the workingconditions and to choose these accordingly.

We can recommend the milling cutters from our accessory range such as the end-milling cutter set (2-5 mm) 24610 or, for larger jobs, the end-milling cutter set(6-10 mm), Item No. 24620

Therefore should be able to do a 4mm cut in mild steel.

Paul.

Oldiron08/03/2021 12:12:08
763 forum posts
23 photos
Posted by jon hill 3 on 05/03/2021 14:50:59:

I guess this is one of those questions that will have some screwing up there face at the thought of such a suggestion but here goes:

As I have a hobby grade milling machine which would struggle to cut say even a 4mm grove in mild steel, could a wood mitre saw be used for 'rough' horizontal milling with suitable metal blades and perhaps a taylor made clamp?

I am just thinking out load and wondering if this is a practical shortcut?

Most if not all "hobby" machines should be able to cut a 4mm groove in M/S. My little Chester Conquest will cut 10mm wide by 2mm deep in one pass with out struggling. A lot more if I take it easy. It all depends on diameter/RPM/speed (FPM)/depth of cut & sharpnes of cutter.

If you are having trouble at 4mm diameter maybe if you tell us in what and how you are trying to make a slot we may have some tips for you.

regards

Frances IoM08/03/2021 12:17:40
1072 forum posts
27 photos
maybe the endmill is blunt? or possibly the mild steel is not 'mild'
jon hill 308/03/2021 15:46:59
105 forum posts
18 photos

Looks like I have some answers to make, to stop all the guess work as Jason astutly observed I inherated a proxxon ff400 which in my view is only suited for light work such as clock making.

Trust me when I say I have put it through its paces and its not worth any modification eg more powerful motor.

This is why I thought it might be possible to do the heavy material removal with a metal saw and clean up in the mill.

I do posses an axminster meal bandsaw which might survice, as previously stated the question was hyperthetical.

Thanks for all the answers.

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