Saw purchase

Discussion in '<a href=' started by vandrv, Sep 15, 2002.

  1. vandrv

    vandrv LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I am trying to decide on a saw for cutting steel. I was wondeing which would be more practical, a chop saw or a portable band saw. If I go with the bandsaw, what is the best method to use to make my cuts straight. Also I f I go with the chop saw, I was wondering in general how long the blades last. When using cutting blades in my angle grinder they dissapear very quickly. Thanks for any ideas
  2. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    I have a chop saw. When using the abrasive 14" blades I seem to get a long life out of them. They are relatively cheap as well. I know they last longer then a grinder type blade. I think a chop saw is good for cutting typical angle, straight and tube. For heavier guage I think the bandsaw may be better. When I have to cut real heavy stock I will use a torch, plasma cutter or sometimes even a sawzall instead of the chop saw. I always cut proud of the line and then just grind it down and straight.
  3. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    Chop saw. Once you get a good blade they are great.

  4. micromike

    micromike LawnSite Member
    from SW/PA
    Messages: 38

    If you go with the chop saw look for the one with the deepest depth of cut. I looked at Craftsman, Mekita and others. I found my DeWalt had the ability to make a 1/2" to 1" deeper cut than some other brands. It was about $50 more but worth it.
  5. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    I'm inclined to say "chop saw" because they are easily portable and can be used on the bench, floor, outside etc as required. As for blade life, as has been mentioned a good blade lasts quite a while when used properly. One reason the angle grinder blades have a shorter life is they are turning at a fairly high RPM (generally around 10,000 or so on a 4" - 5" grinder, 8,000 RPM for the 7" ones)

    Since the chop disks are designed for cutting as opposed to grinding, they wear rapidly when pressure is applied to the face of the disk. Cutting with a hand-held grinder, you usually end up putting some pressure on the face of the disk even when you're careful which also leads to fairly quick wear of the disk. With a chop saw, the workpiece is clamped in place and pressure is on the edge of the disk so the blade doesn't get much side loading.

    Bandsaws have their place too of course, and are nice machines. They work best if you can devote an area of the shop to cutting only and have a proper table (or stands) to support the material being cut. To get a straight cut with a bandsaw, first of all make sure the vise is square to the blade. Don't rely on the little marks they may be provided to line it up: Use a square between the vise and the blade. (Same thing works on a chop saw too)

    Second, be sure that the workpiece is sitting flat. This means that the saw needs to be level and the support stands or table holding the stock be level with the saw.

    Finally, make sure the guides which support the blade on either side of the the cut are as close together as possible. The more the blade can flex, the more likely it will wander.
  6. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    If your into lots of steelfab I would say buy both we have both in our shop but then again we do heavy steel fab and our bandsaw is used when we gotta cut a shafting or a stack of angle iron.

    A chopsaw (Cuttoff saw) is sort of best of both worlds it works good for general use I wouldn't try do production cutting with them. We use ours for small projects and cutting redi rod or anything else that we don't want to try cut with the bandsaw like stainless.

    The blades to wear out fast you really gotta watch out for them shattering you can have one explode on ya if your not carefull but can be avoided by buying the thicker blades. The thin kerf chopsaw blades are bad for this so wear the eye protection and a heavy jacket to protect your upper body.

    When you do buy a saw look at its amperage make sure the motor has 15 amp or larger motor.

Share This Page