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Unread 03-17-2011, 09:07 AM   #1
Apollo21
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2002 WJ 
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Chop Saw/Sawzall Cutting metal

Hi,

I'm new to the welding side since i normally hang out in WJ tech and GC GD. But I've been learning how to weld recently. I took up stick welding on the ship at night while out at sea for the past 4 months. I had a friend teach me and give me pointers. It got to be ok at it. Now that i'm back i'm buying a Mig welder. I don't want to go above 110v yet. So i was looking at 140 machines. Loved the miller but to $$$ for me right now at this stage i can't justify it. I loved at the Hobart 140 and the Lincoln 140 (wanted to stay big 3). I recently found a brand new still sealed in the box Lincoln 140HD (the kind from Home Depot) for $350. I'm picking it up on Monday.
My Father has a bunch of tools but he has always been more of a car (BMW 2002s) and wood working guy so we have no metal working equipment. In the next couple years i plan on practicing my welds ALOT then building rear tire carrier, sliders, and maybe a front bumper. I need a way to cut the metal. Based from my time on the ship i know i need an angle grinder. I found one nearby a refurbished DeWalt 4.5 for $40 that i'll get. I understand it can be used to cut metal but my dad has some old (maybe 10 years) Craftsman Sawzall and Chop saw. Can i just switch the blades and use those for metal cutting and save the grinder for grinding?

Thanks

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Unread 03-17-2011, 09:39 AM   #2
jatepper
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Unfortunately you cannot. Regular chop saws for wood and such spin at a much higher RPM then a metal cutting saw. You will break your blades and/or wear them out real quickly.

I have a Dewalt dry metal cut off saw. It was pricey at $450, but works great! The problem with angle grinders and cut off wheels is it is hard to get straight cuts...not to mention they are dangerous.
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Unread 03-17-2011, 10:40 AM   #3
timatoe
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You can get a cheap abrasive wheel chop saw from Harbor Freight for like $50. No, it's not going to be a high quality unit, but it will get you started until you can save for something a little better. I bought the $169 Makita and it lasted about 13 months with light duty use (of course one month past the one year warranty), now I've got a Milwaukee and it's awesome although I wish I had the money to get the dry cut one.
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Unread 03-17-2011, 10:51 AM   #4
DT5150
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you can use the sawzall, get yourself some good metal cutting blades though. i use milwaukee "the torch" blades, they work very well. as stated, can't use the chop saw. they spin too fast for cutting metal. harbour freight, northern tool or tractor supply co. have inexpensive metal cutting chop saws. the only bad thing about those is, they don't make a very clean cut. you usually have to do some extra grinding on the cut pieces to clean them up enough for them to fit together. they do work well though.. last year i picked up a jet horizontal/vertical bandsaw. since then, i don't think i've used my chop at all. much cleaner cuts and it's a little faster. 4.5" grinders are mandatory equipment i'd say. get 2 of em. one for a cutting wheel, and one for a flap disc etc. for grinding. it'll save you from having to switch back and forth between a cutting wheel and a flap disc. they're cheap enough.. look around on craigslist too. i see dewalts, makita, milwaukee etc. grinders all the time on there for 20-40 bucks.

oh, and get a full face shield. mine has saved me from exploding disks and debris more times than i can count. good, heavy duty welding gloves are a must too. and some good safety glasses. ear plugs are always good too for cutting and grinding.
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Unread 03-17-2011, 11:47 AM   #5
Apollo21
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Ok thanks for the advice and information. My father also has a band saw but i'm willing to bet it's wood only too since that's what he used it for. I have a full face shield, ear plugs, and safety glasses (Navy Issue). But i'll be getting the rest of the stuff soon. I'll also figure out which torch blades fit my dad's sawzall.

As for the HF chop saw i'll look there this weekend if i can get it cheap enough i will. I'll also try and find another grinder cheap.

Thanks again!
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Unread 03-17-2011, 01:09 PM   #6
Machinist
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I have used my HF chop saw for years and it still works good.Just make sure its square and you are good to go.When cutting angles I made a set(out of wood)angle guides for setting the vise,the angle numbers are not very accurate so the easiest way was to take my dewalt chop box and some good hardwood scraps and make the angles I use most to set the vise.Just make them long enough to clamp in the vise and put the head down and set the vise.
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Unread 03-17-2011, 01:10 PM   #7
Apollo21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinist View Post
I have used my HF chop saw for years and it still works good.Just make sure its square and you are good to go.When cutting angles I made a set(out of wood)angle guides for setting the vise,the angle numbers are not very accurate so the easiest way was to take my dewalt chop box and some good hardwood scraps and make the angles I use most to set the vise.Just make them long enough to clamp in the vise and put the head down and set the vise.
sound advice, so i'm guessing the $5 magnetic welding angle holders at HF are
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Unread 03-17-2011, 01:13 PM   #8
Machinist
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They are ok but to set the saw the magnets can be a pain in the butt,with the wood it slides nice right up to he abrasive wheel.All my angle guides are on a piece of rope right next to the chop saw.
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Unread 03-17-2011, 01:14 PM   #9
DT5150
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they're fine. i've got a bunch of em... work just as good as the more expensive ones i have.
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Unread 03-17-2011, 01:16 PM   #10
Apollo21
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Great thanks i'll keep them on the shopping list.
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Unread 03-17-2011, 06:03 PM   #11
jatepper
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A sawzall will work good for regular cuts, but when/if you need to cut 45*, then I am willing to bet one side (top-bottom of the same cut) will be off a bit.
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Unread 03-17-2011, 07:08 PM   #12
rinking
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I bought a Rigid 14" chop saw this past december. I don't care for it. You can't do anything to fancy with it! So far I've only used, and burned up the stock blade that came with the saw. Maybe a better blade would help. I do most of My cutting with a 4" Makita/cut-off blade. Who ever said ya cant cut straight with an angle grinder, I disagree. Clamp a straight edge to what your cutting! If you look up anything I've built, almost every piece was cut with a grinder. I rarely use a grinding wheel, give Me a flapper disk any day over a grinder. I used to use a sawzall but the blades cost more than cut-off wheels and I can cut a straighter line with the grinder.
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Unread 03-18-2011, 08:26 AM   #13
TJnProgress
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Been using a 4" grinder, and reciprocating saw with torch blades to make my cuts, but I have the HF 14" cutoff saw on the way.

I've got one of the small Lincoln wire-fed MIGs, and love it. Wish I had the gas setup for it, and that'll be the next investment. If you're buying one to start, make sure you're setup for gas. Flux core works, but gas will be much cleaner and easier to work with.
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Unread 03-18-2011, 09:02 AM   #14
KMD
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I have several 4 and 4 1/2" grinders for cutting,grinding and flap wheeling as well as brushing.
I have a couple sawzalls,a chop saw, and a metal band saw.

To me each one has its place. Band saw is nice and clean. Chop saw fast. Grinders and sawzall highely portable and manuverable. Some times I will even use my jig saw for fine details. Also find the oxy acetelyne torches quite usefull and quick.

You will find everytime you get a new tool to do something you think up another that will work better for a given situation. Best bet is just to do as you are doing and pick them up of craigs list and yard sales when you find good deals. When harbor freight has the angle grinders for ten bucks I usually grab at least one. When home depot has two makita or dewalt grinders for $100 I like to snag those. You can never have to many grinders.

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