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Cutting up bits of metal

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Steve35513/11/2021 13:56:08
215 forum posts
150 photos

Hi

I am getting fed up with my hacksaw. I want to get a cutting machine of some sort.

I guess I have 2 requirements:

1) chopping things off, such as metal bars, billets etc. Absolute accuracy not required.

2) cutting accurate straight lines

i have a mitre saw with a TCT blade, but it’s pretty knackered and inaccurate. I also have a vintage woodworking table saw, which is pretty accurate. I also have a small lathe and vertical mill. I quite like fixing up old machines, so don’t necessarily need something new or modern,

what do others use for cutting duties?

thanks

Steve

ega13/11/2021 14:01:44
2487 forum posts
199 photos

For your 1) small items including hard material could be cut freehand with an angle grinder and cutting disc or the same in a stand.

Have you tried the Rage/Evolution metal cutting blades in your mitre saw?

If you have the space a bandsaw of some kind is the way to go.

HOWARDT13/11/2021 14:07:27
900 forum posts
39 photos

I use a Machine Mart 6x4.5 bandsaw. Before I got that I used to hacksaw or mill but it was time consuming. An alternative would be a horizontal mill and narrow side and face cutter. The usual thin slitting saws don’t last long and would be expensive per cut, a bandsaw blade in a hobby shop can last for years. Having said that it does depend on the material size and hardness you are cutting.

Andrew Johnston13/11/2021 14:08:04
avatar
6574 forum posts
701 photos

Small stuff, up to 3/4", I use a hacksaw. Bigger than that I've got a secondhand Axminster horizontal bandsaw. For sheet metal I use a guillotine which will cope up to 4ft wide and 1/8" thick. Above 1/8" I flame cut. For accurate straight lines on sheet/plate I guillotine/hacksaw and then file to a marked out line, or mill, depending upon work size and accuracy needed.

Andrew

Peter Cook 613/11/2021 14:08:26
258 forum posts
73 photos

As ega says a bandsaw is the way to go if you have space.

If you get one with a vertical table capability e.g.

Stakesys Stakesy’s Vertical Table Kit for Femi SN105XL & 782XL Bandsaws

then the bandsaw itself will cut the billets and bars, and in vertical mode can be used to cut to lines very (depending on the skill of the user!) accurately. For straight lines simply clamp a fence onto the table.

Clive Foster13/11/2021 15:07:12
3103 forum posts
107 photos

I consider the old Manchester Rapidor power hacksaw much better at stock cutting duties than the common 6 x 4 horizontal / vertical bandsaw. In 6" size it doesn't take up much more space. Usually found with a 3 phase motor which tends to hold down the price but, being belt drive, a motor swop for single phase is easy. Or small VFDs are cheap but the motor may need digging into to find the star point.

I've always considered the 6 x 4 HV saw horribly compromised and price constrained by what its market will pay. Tend to need moderate to considerable fettling to get working well and angle cutting arrangements generally are somewhat iffy in concept. As are the stands. Next size up are pure cut-off machines and highly satisfactory performers at a keen price. But still double (ish) a 6 x 4.

The small Femi has a decent reputation and, as per Peters post above, can be fitted with a vertical conversion kit. But they are small and not inexpensive.

A big, good quality, vertical bandsaw like my 14" throat variable speed Startrite is a lovely machine to have but it does take up considerable room. Throat size is a major constraint if cut off from stock duties are envisaged. Not something mine gets to do. Regrettably compact, affordable vertical bandsaws tend to be aimed at wood workers so blade speed and rigidity are not generally appropriate for metal bashers.

For cutting sheet down I'm well pleased with my 18V Makita metal cutting saw. But I already have other tools taking the same battery, chargers too, so could purchase a bare body at acceptable price. Complete kit with battery, charger and case is probably too expensive to justify for home shop use.

I've learned from experience that thinking "Its only rough cut-off so cheap'n cheerful will do." is false economy. Rough cutting needs to be reliable, whether manually guided or automatic. Babying an unsatisfactory machine wastes time and mental energy that should more properly be spent on the real job.

Clive

Edited By Clive Foster on 13/11/2021 15:34:34

Dave Halford13/11/2021 15:27:12
2004 forum posts
23 photos

Kennedy 90 for bar stock.

For plate my new fav is a cheapie plasma, straight or circles any gauge no distortion.

Harry Wilkes13/11/2021 16:03:01
avatar
1322 forum posts
65 photos

I have the room for either a band saw or power saw but can cut straight with hacksaw just get fatigued if to much, also a friend left me some stuff when he passed one being a disc cutting saw which I used once to cut loads of 10mm dia mild steel bar and I must say was glad to have it

H

clogs13/11/2021 16:13:08
626 forum posts
12 photos

Beware

using a METAL carbide circ saw blade in a wood chop saw will not go well...the wood machine is to fast (RPM)...

If u end up with a metal cutting bandsaw u'd do well to buy a new TUFFSAW blade....

I only use cobalt blades now but even their HSS blades are great....

U can buy a Tuffsaw m42 or 46 blade (better qual Hss) for the same money as a machine mart /ebay Hss blade.....which are c@rp....

A good blade will do wonders for even a cheapie saw....

I bought a new 12" Sip metal bandsaw some 14 years ago still is accurate and so much cheaper to use than an abrasive cut-off saw....

wouldnt waste my money on a Rapidor style saw now....they are really expensive used if u can find one...

and soooooo slooooow......

Douglas Johnston13/11/2021 16:31:14
avatar
767 forum posts
34 photos

My 6 by 4 bandsaw was quite put out when I read Clive's post to it and it has been sulking ever since. I have had the poor thing for many a long year and I know it has a number of faults but it has done a lot of work for me and seems pretty bombproof. With a decent blade it is a good compromise for a small workshop.

Doug

Howard Lewis13/11/2021 17:19:17
6005 forum posts
14 photos

being, and still am, short of space selected a small bandsaw that would store under the bench. The first one ATE blades, no matter how I tried to adjust it. If I was lucky, it would cut a piece of 1 1/2" angle before the blade broke!

Warco changed it without demur, but the breplacement had paint bin a crack in the casting!

So it was changed for the cheaper 4 1/2" variety, with exctra blades to makem upmn the difference.

Once set up it, worked nfairly well, until the tin mspacer between the bearing went through the lower bearing and oil seal.

Fitted new bearings and seal with a shop made brass spacer between the bearings. At the same time skimmed up the driving and driven pulleys and adjusted all the guide rollers very carefully.

Having made, and used, a Jacques Maurel blade tension meter, it has worked well ever since. The blades wear out rather than breaking.

A trial cut cut, produced an unlikely to be repeated difference in thickness of a 1/16" slice, circa 0.001"

Applying excess pressure will cause the blade to wander and cut a curve.

It seems that despite being very much made down to a price, if set up well, it will perform well. But it takes time to achieve that. It seems that the machine needs fine tuning to optimise performance.

HTH

Howard  Typos again!

Edited By Howard Lewis on 13/11/2021 17:21:03

Gary Wooding13/11/2021 17:54:39
967 forum posts
253 photos

+1 for the humble 6x4 bandsaw. I got mine quite a few years ago and it's done everything I've asked of it. I made and added a hinged vertical table so I can use the saw in the standard horizontal mode, or, by simply hinging the table down, can use it with the saw vertically.

vertical mode on.jpg

vertical mode off.jpg

Nicholas Farr13/11/2021 21:04:28
avatar
3310 forum posts
1524 photos

Hi, well I've got a Rapidor in my garage, which I bought 16 years ago at a nice price and I also acquired several new blades for it of which I've only about a couple left, it's more than earned its keep and will probably keep going for a good while.

I've used bandsaw in my day jobs, but the best one was in my last one, the arm could swing 45 degrees each way with the clamping jaw being able to be slid either side of the blade. The photo below shows where I was trimming up a pressing of 10mm plate section of 500mm wide by 240mm high, took about 10 minutes with a blade with 6 teeth per inch pitch, the arm was raised and lowered by a hydraulic ram, the lowering feed was controlled at a speed suitable for each job and the blade speed could be adjusted by one of those variable "V" pullies.

cutting#2.jpg

Regards Nick.

Steve35513/11/2021 23:33:43
215 forum posts
150 photos
Posted by ega on 13/11/2021 14:01:44:

For your 1) small items including hard material could be cut freehand with an angle grinder and cutting disc or the same in a stand.

Have you tried the Rage/Evolution metal cutting blades in your mitre saw?

If you have the space a bandsaw of some kind is the way to go.


yes, my mitre saw is a evolution and those blades are surprisingly good. However, maybe because I abused the saw somewhat cutting hundreds of bricks and slates, it’s not accurate, the blade doesn’t run true etc. Although it went through 6mm angle iron very nicely.

Other problem with it is that it is big and lives under the bench. When I’ve used it to cut metal in the workshop it showers sparks and grit everywhere. So I tend to use it outside when I do. What I think I need is something up and available that I don’t have to get out and set up when I use it.

good saw overall for the money though, for example I cut all the bricks, all the slates and all the wood for my “pizza palace” below with it,

5ee20705-907e-4a58-813d-ffb477622e31.jpeg

Steve35513/11/2021 23:36:07
215 forum posts
150 photos
Posted by HOWARDT on 13/11/2021 14:07:27:

I use a Machine Mart 6x4.5 bandsaw. Before I got that I used to hacksaw or mill but it was time consuming. An alternative would be a horizontal mill and narrow side and face cutter. The usual thin slitting saws don’t last long and would be expensive per cut, a bandsaw blade in a hobby shop can last for years. Having said that it does depend on the material size and hardness you are cutting.

I’m definitely interested in the idea of a horizontal mill, because I’d be able to do so much more with it also.

Steve35513/11/2021 23:36:07
215 forum posts
150 photos
Posted by HOWARDT on 13/11/2021 14:07:27:

I use a Machine Mart 6x4.5 bandsaw. Before I got that I used to hacksaw or mill but it was time consuming. An alternative would be a horizontal mill and narrow side and face cutter. The usual thin slitting saws don’t last long and would be expensive per cut, a bandsaw blade in a hobby shop can last for years. Having said that it does depend on the material size and hardness you are cutting.

I’m definitely interested in the idea of a horizontal mill, because I’d be able to do so much more with it also.

Steve35513/11/2021 23:41:11
215 forum posts
150 photos
Posted by Gary Wooding on 13/11/2021 17:54:39:

+1 for the humble 6x4 bandsaw. I got mine quite a few years ago and it's done everything I've asked of it. I made and added a hinged vertical table so I can use the saw in the standard horizontal mode, or, by simply hinging the table down, can use it with the saw vertically.

vertical mode on.jpg

vertical mode off.jpg

Looks very interesting.

ega14/11/2021 00:03:32
2487 forum posts
199 photos

Steve355:

Love the palace and not the least bit surprised that your saw blade is worn out.

Stuart Smith 514/11/2021 00:46:01
273 forum posts
40 photos

Steve

I have an Evolution saw as well. It worked ok until I used it with a diamond blade to cut a load of block pavers.

After that, it wouldn’t cut true when I tried to use it to mitre some mdf mouldings. I found that the main bearing was worn out. I manage to fix it by replacing both bearings and it cuts true now.

Stuart

Steve35514/11/2021 06:34:23
215 forum posts
150 photos
Posted by ega on 14/11/2021 00:03:32:

Steve355:

Love the palace and not the least bit surprised that your saw blade is worn out.

Thanks.,I just had to ge that one in 😎 Never laid a brick in my life when I started, never wanted to lay another by the time I’d finished. That was the summer of brickwork, then I had a year learning woodwork, now I’m having a go at metalwork. All good interesting stuff.

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