View Full Version : Scrollsaw usefullness

JR in TX
09-12-2002, 10:12 AM
I'm thinking of purchasing a saw to cut small pieces of metal for modelmaking: aluminum up to 1/4 inch thickness and sometimes steel of 1/8 inch thickness. The question is: Would a heavy duty scroll saw be usefull for this or do I need a metal-cutting bandsaw?

09-12-2002, 11:22 AM
The only time I use a scroll saw for metal is when it has an internal cut out to save welding blades and it is slow.


George Hodge
09-12-2002, 08:48 PM
It would be slower than a bandsaw,but the blades will be cheaper by far! I have a small scrollsaw and three bandsaws.I've cut steel on both. They both work good .Scroll saws for intricate work,band saw for outlining shapes. I have a bunch of DoALL band files,from an auction,I've never tried.

09-13-2002, 01:03 AM

I have one of the inexpensive high speed scroll saws, the kind that permits U-turns in wood and plastic. I have never tried to use it for steel cutting. I have assumed that the carbon steel blades that are the only ones that I have used or know of would not hold up on steel. Do you have a source of high speed steel blades for these high speed saws.

09-13-2002, 01:32 AM
I use my el cheapo on brass & aluminium all the time - don't think it would handle steel of any thickness tho'

09-13-2002, 07:02 AM
By "scroll saw" are you talking about a stationary machine with a very thin blade held top and bottom, or a hand-held "saber saw"?

JR in TX
09-13-2002, 10:35 AM
The stationary type like Delta, Dewalt or Hegner and others make. I'm sort of getting the idea that a slow running bandsaw that would take a narrow blade may be best. But they sure are expensive.
Thanks to all for the input; any further thoughts are welcome.

09-13-2002, 03:02 PM
I guess it depends on what scale of work you're doing. Obviously, you need both! :-)
For intricate work on thin aluminum or brass, a scroll saw would be dandy. I'm guessing you might get a little bored cutting 1/8" steel with one though...not that I've actually tried it.

George Hodge
09-13-2002, 07:36 PM
Crypto,does your saw have clamps to hold the blades,or do you yse the pin end blades? If it's clamps,cut your blades out of bandsaw stock and go to it. If it's pin end or some other type of holder you might have to reconcile yourself to buying what the mfg. sells,which will limit the thickness you can handle.
JR,what radius's will you be cutting? "Thrud" mentioned using a abrasive stone to round the back edge of the blade to cut tight radius's.
About the smallest blade width for a bandsaw is 1/16 in. which isn't very useful,but you can get all different width scrollsaw blades from jewelry suppliers.
I'd try the scrollsaw,blades are cheap.

George Hodge
09-13-2002, 07:41 PM
JR,had a thought.While at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show,there was demonstrated a 'Ring saw',It used a diamond impregnated metal ring,with coolant,to cut all kinds of designs in stone. They might have a similar blade or ring, to cut steel.

09-13-2002, 10:40 PM

files on a bandsaw are neat, fun, great, cool. Try them and you will grin ear to ear.
e-mail me if you want to sell them. sorry guys, I know this site isn't to be used for business but if you had ever used the DoAll files you would understand.

09-14-2002, 12:49 PM

Thanks for shaking the dust out of that cluttered attic I call my brain. Your entry reminded me that I have a substantial supply of that round blade that DoAll suppliers once stocked. It has been stored for 20 years. It can't be used in a bandsaw without the rubber-tired guide wheels that DoAll supplied, but there is no reason that I can't cut it up into lengths and use it in my little hi-speed scroll saw or the old conventional Sears scroll saw or the Keller die filer.

You have added 3 more machines to my storehouse of useful tools to use (when the need arises)in this madhouse of tooling that I call a prototype machine shop.

Oscar Ortiz

09-17-2002, 09:23 PM
I use a Hegner scroll saw with variable speed to do intricate work in brass, aluminum and nickle silver - it is slow! I make "O" scale loco frames from .090" nickle silver using the Hegner at its lowest speeds. Can use at slightly higher speed for aluminum. Cheaper models do not slow down as far as the Hegner, so they are not useable for metals. I use my Oliver die filer with saw overarm for steel. It will cut 1" tool steel - ground flat stock - but not to an intricate pattern. It goes somewhat slowly. I clean up both the nickle silver and steel with the Oliver die filer with a file instead of a saw blade in it - actually have two machines - one for sawing and one for filing. Oliver of Adrian is still in business and can supply parts, etc. Their die filers come up occasionally on Ebay in the $200 range. You can buy a new one from them for only $2,200!!! A.T.