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Author Topic: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed  (Read 866 times)

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Offline GDinMaine

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Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« on: February 19, 2019, 09:08:45 PM »
I know there are many welding and fabricating board out there, but there must be plenty of people here who do some basic fabricating work.

So. After 13 years my chop-saw is dying and I am in search of an new one. I ruled out the cold-cut saws as being too pricey.
 Considering only the abrasive ones, what brand did you folks have had good luck with? I am not brand loyal, but have a certain fondness for Ridgid tools.

As far as what I need to cut? I dabble in some basic fabricating having made several trailers, a logging winch and a large number of other smaller projects. So the saw would not get used much by professional standards.
Please share your experiences to help me decide which one to buy.
It's the going that counts not the distance!

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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2019, 10:08:44 PM »
In my opinion chop saws will be smart to purchase either very cheap or quite good but that middle ground, brand name big box stuff is probably just a marked up chinese turd.  

Id either buy my bottom dollar throw away at harbor freight, or buy my really good expensive one at the local industrial welders supply shop.  They usually stock the best grinders, mag drills, abrasives, clamps, gloves, bandsaws etc.  Metabo makes excellent grinders and id not think twice if they made a chop saw.  

They arent hard to make either.  My dads is a 5hp electric mounted to a huge cast iron table outside and she eats. You cant slow that wheel down.  It just cuts faster.
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Offline AZ_builder

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2019, 10:13:22 PM »
I agree with mike. What’s your budget? Some of the “cold-cut” saws are priced pretty well. 

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2019, 10:39:02 PM »
For what you are doing there are some mid-line cut-offs that might fit your bill. I have had several L liked, but they are all sold off for stupid reasons (Kid needed shoes, mortgage payment, etc.). I had a Milwaukee table top that wasn't bad, but it was a table top, and if you are cutting long stock, a table top is a pain. I also had a Dayton (W.W. Grainger) and I liked that one best, it had legs and I cut a lot of angle, tube and bar stock with it, the price was good too. Don't remember the details of selling it, but I wish I had it back. Never had a lick of problems with it and went through a lot of disks over the years. I don't think a cold saw is a good choice for steel, too slow, blades cost a lot more. Otherwise, just go for the cheap one and you should still get a lot of mileage out of it. It's just a motor and a disc. I have used a ton of them in the various shops I have worked in, up to 24" diameter discs, none are really special.
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Offline charles mann

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2019, 12:12:42 AM »
i had a tractor supply brand abrasive, that after 8 yrs, finally keeled over. i bought a steel max cold cut, i think is what you would call it. it was $600 with 14" blade and i buy blades that are colored exactly like the steel max, but with a different name on it, but as i stated, exact same paint/color scheme, for $40 less than the steel max brand, costing me i think $80, compared to the $120 name brand. only downfall is it won't cut anything over 6" and i don't want to buy another piece of equipment that i will use very little after my sawmill build. 
but iv been told the abrasive blades work just as well on the cold cut saw as they do on the abrasive specific saws. so it would be a 2 in 1 so to speak. 
Temple, Tx
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2019, 06:17:55 AM »
I think my cutoff is a dayton from grainger too, and its been fine.  But i got it out of a scrap when the trigger interlock button fudged up and someone tossed it.  All i ever cut with it is hydraulic hose and occasional rebar.  Ive got a 2stroke abrasive demo saw i rebuilt from the dumpster that gets more use than the stationary chop saw. 


If you have a worm drive skill saw already, a $40 steel demon blade will turn it into a pretty nasty metal cutter.  Ive done up to half inch with lube and a lot of safety gear! Mean chips.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2019, 06:43:03 AM »
I have a relatively inexpensive, bright orange Rigid metal abrasive chop saw from my local Big Orange box store.  Its noisy, throws sparks everywhere like a 4rth of July show, and when I push it hard, trips my 20 amp breaker.  So I reset the breaker and keep on cutting.  It also cuts straight, has a great fence and vise, is easy to use and does what I ask when fabricating for the farm or mill yard.

I didn't expect it to last as long as it has, so here's really why I bought it, but it just keeps on cutting:

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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2019, 07:29:54 AM »
I agree 100% with Mike. 

I would seriously look at harbor freight. the only problem I know of with their units is the cheezy hold down clamp. but depending on what you had before can be swapped over.

I have a metal cutting sliding compound miter saw. it works pretty good but the blades just don't seem to last and the chips coming off the thing fly everywhere and are hot as h*** coming off of it. I put on a full kevlar suit when using it. 

did the motor die on your saw? is everything else ok? look on ebay for a new motor for it. Then find a set of linear bearings and turn it into a sliding saw. :) I am not sure I am a big fan of abrasive cutting just because of the amount of sparks. but at this point the sparks may be better than the crazy chips off mine.

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2019, 08:08:13 AM »
If you’re not familiar, Zoro.com has many tools and if you get on their email list there are frequent sales of 20-25% off with free shipping. Customer Svc is great.

25% off today 11-4 central time. Coupon code is hurryup.
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Offline gspren

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2019, 08:34:50 AM »
I almost always worked in a machine shop so I've cut a lot of metal mostly with band saws. Here on the farm I mostly just cut angle iron and pipe and use a Harbor Freight abrasive, set it on the ground outside usually, it's held up OK.
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Offline GDinMaine

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2019, 10:05:03 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions. My current saw is a Ryobi that has done an awful lot of work over the years. It is to the point when I start cutting, even thin metal, the motor bogs down very easily and it eventually stalls out, unless I only put very light pressure on it. Also the blade or the motor just starts vibrating rather violently and it hardly cuts. I am afraid to shatter the cutting disc, so I don't push it. I checked the brushes and they seem fine, other than that, I have no electrical expertise or much time to try to take it apart. 
It's the going that counts not the distance!

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Offline muggs

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2019, 10:12:16 AM »
Do you have a objection to a horizontal bandsaw. In my opinion, a much more pleasant tool to use.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2019, 10:18:50 AM »
Typically the carbon dust from the brushes fills in the gaps between the commutator keys and then instead of the brush energizing the coil ahead so that the armature chases forward, a portion of the current energizes the winding that the shaft is currently on so it tries to park there.  Your donkey finally catches up to the carrot on the stick youve tied to his saddle bag. 


Also the commutator face will just glaze over and not conduct as much current.  Starters do both of these and as long as the bushings havent let the commutator machine itself to death against a brush holder, brush spring or casing, i bring them back to life about 80% of the time by scraping out the segment cracks and sandpapering the copper back to smooth and shiny. 


Agree on bandsaws. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2019, 10:21:41 AM »
Do you have a objection to a horizontal bandsaw. In my opinion, a much more pleasant tool to use.
I use my horizontal for everything that will fit. been contemplating modifying it so I can cut 6x6 at 45 degree angle.

Band saw is far superior to everything else. only reason I use other is to much stuff will not fit.

Offline muggs

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2019, 12:52:15 PM »
Do you have a objection to a horizontal bandsaw. In my opinion, a much more pleasant tool to use.
I use my horizontal for everything that will fit. been contemplating modifying it so I can cut 6x6 at 45 degree angle.

Band saw is far superior to everything else. only reason I use other is to much stuff will not fit.


Did you see the movie Jaws. You're going need a bigger saw. :D

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2019, 12:54:26 PM »
I have a band saw mill to cutup sharks :)

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2019, 01:34:36 PM »
Highly valuable live edge hammerhead.  They tend to have a lot of figure between the eyeballs. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2019, 02:19:52 PM »
but iv been told the abrasive blades work just as well on the cold cut saw as they do on the abrasive specific saws. so it would be a 2 in 1 so to speak.
I bought a cold cut saw (carbide blade) from that place-that-won't-be-mentioned here ;).  I think it was less than $300?  It works ok, cuts pretty fast, the chips are not hot but it does vibrate a bit.  My neighbor was needing to cut a LOT of angle iron for some fancy trim work he was doing on his deck.  Anyhow, he wasted the blade after a LOT of cutting (broke most of the teeth off).  Anyhow, they didn't offer a replacement blade and he could not find one anywhere so he bough a 5 pack of abrasive blades from HF.  They do NOT cut as good as the carbide blade on this saw.  The arbor speed is much slower for the carbide blade to cut effectively and not overheat.  Abrasive blades need to go real fast.  Anyhow, my neighbor did eventually get me a diamond blade (14"), dry cut steel (I didn't think there was such a thing) from Lenox.  It cuts faster than the abrasive (throws some sparks) but not as fast as the carbide.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2019, 03:06:40 PM »
I use a Milwaukee hand held bandsaw, also. Its sweet. The Rigid abrasive saw cuts faster though. 
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Chop-saw (for metal) advice needed
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2019, 03:20:22 PM »
sparks and wood shop not the best idea :)


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