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Mr-Mike
01-12-2016, 09:22 AM
Following up with a quick comment on recommendations received here - for what it's worth.

DeWalt DWE 7480 @ 5K rpm cuts aluminum and steel effortlessly with and excellent edge finish.

For 1018 steel - a Metal Devil NXT 8" dia. (42 teeth) went through 3/8" so easily I wouldn't hesitate running much thicker or harder stock.
For Aluminum - an Amana Tool 10" dia. non-ferous 60 teeth went through 3/4" like butter.
For Grade 8 threaded rod - a 6" dia. 3/32 thick 36 grit aluminum oxide cutoff disc left a mirror finish and perfect threads on 1/2 rod in a matter of seconds.

That's all. Cheers!

LKeithR
01-12-2016, 12:43 PM
That's all good but do be aware that all it takes is one tiny slip-up for things to go south real quick. Wear lots of protective equipment and have some spare blades on hand. I hope your a**hole is puckered up real good when you're making those cuts--there are reasons why it's not common practice...

Paul Alciatore
01-12-2016, 01:25 PM
The trick, if there is a trick, with cutting metal on a wood saw is controlling the feed rate. You can't control the width of the cut by very much (blade width) and generally the cut depth will be the full thickness of the material. And the cutting speed is not easily controlled on a wood saw: they deliberately run fast for cutting wood. So you must feed the work into the saw slowly. It can be done, but it is not the best thing to be doing. Get a metal cutting band saw.

Doozer
01-12-2016, 03:28 PM
It is like playing Russian Roulette.
Just waiting for the inevitable jam and
to fling the piece across the shop.
I would much rather do my work an a machine
where I an hold my job in a vise or bolt it to
the table. If you light dynamite and throw it
enough times, you might find a fast fuse.
You are a living example, my friend, of what
NOT to do.

--Doozer


-Doozer

Mr-Mike
01-12-2016, 03:46 PM
Oh krapp. I was completely oblivious to any to risk other than that associated with power tools in general. The only thing that kept me from cutting (or trying to) a 1-1/2 inch thick steel block (about 14 " long & diagonal) was the fact it was too long to fit on the table of the saw and was too heavy to support reliably. I will look into a band saw as I seem to be doing this at some level of frequency.

Thanks.

darryl
01-12-2016, 03:50 PM
I cut through some cast iron on my table saw one day- actually the cutting took place 30 seconds at a time, with cooling times of several minutes, over a period of a couple days. I used a cheap skil saw type carbide blade, and it made it through the job- about 10 sq inches in total, with the thickest parts being about 1-1/2 inches thick. It was a puckering experience for sure. This was something large enough that I couldn't get it through my bandsaw.

I have, at times, while cutting scrap on the table saw, cut through nails and screws, sometimes lengthwise, using a carbide blade. Screws in particular give a spectacular display of sparks, and at one time I set the sawdust in the bottom of the saw on fire. I had to reach in and scoop out handfuls of swarf with a growing, glowing ember in the middle of it. That's another shower of sparks as you toss it on the floor.

Aluminum is pretty good to cut, but you do have to be aware that the softer stuff is gummy and will easily clog a blade tooth. Once that happens you immediately start to generate a lot of heat. Yes there's a considerable danger involved and any activity like this is not for the faint of heart.

chipmaker4130
01-12-2016, 04:51 PM
Good grief, some of you guys are so gloomy-doomy. The average homeowner's table saw is under 2hp, and when the blade binds it just stops. The end of the world isn't yet, for heaven's sake. In addition to chips finding their way into motors, the biggest worry is likely hot chips on your bod. You take care of that, and don't care about the longevity of the saw, and have at it. Most of you guys howling about the horrendous danger have probably not done it yourself. Half of you talk like you're related to lawyers. I get so damn sick of the incessant 'what if's. You can 'what if' yourself into doing absolutely nothing.

Mr-Mike
01-12-2016, 06:00 PM
Good grief, some of you guys are so gloomy-doomy. The average homeowner's table saw is under 2hp, and when the blade binds it just stops. The end of the world isn't yet, for heaven's sake. In addition to chips finding their way into motors, the biggest worry is likely hot chips on your bod. You take care of that, and don't care about the longevity of the saw, and have at it. Most of you guys howling about the horrendous danger have probably not done it yourself. Half of you talk like you're related to lawyers. I get so damn sick of the incessant 'what if's. You can 'what if' yourself into doing absolutely nothing.

I have to admit this my favorite response. Of course that's mostly due to its self-serving content. My lack of experience or depth of experience forces me to seek-out opinions. I pay attention to all opinions and alter my actions accordingly to fit my personal risk/benefit tolerance. In this case, I will likely avail myself to more cutting on the table saw, but I will increase my focus and take additional precautions. I also won't push beyond reasonable limits - It's pretty hard to argue against safety. With that said, the cautions above are appreciated, respected and will help me to form my own methodology.

Here's where I relate to chipmaker's comment (beyond just convenience of the self-serving benefit). An activity I have extensive expertise in and that is inherently dangerous is technical diving. I will spare you the boasting and long list of quals but suffice to say, I have been diving deep wrecks and caves since the early 1980's and was part of the movement into mixed gases when it started gaining traction in the early 90's. Anyway, I will keep this short because I doubt there is much interest, however communities today are riddled with fear mongering about dangers like getting bent, oxygen toxicity, narcosis effects, micro-bubbles, embolisms, blood thickening and so on (all relevant but in context). Without going into details, the limits that these 'collective' groups preach, borders on absurd - that's all. :)

Anyway, no disrespect to anyone here and of course, my sincere gratitude to all for sharing your advice!

Carm
01-12-2016, 06:02 PM
Mr.Mike
Thanks for the follow up. It's fair that people should point out hazards since anyone can read these boards and a neophyte could get bit in the a$$.
Assuming someone who has done what appears hazardous doesn't have a clue is short sighted.

goose
01-12-2016, 06:03 PM
Good grief, some of you guys are so gloomy-doomy. The average homeowner's table saw is under 2hp, and when the blade binds it just stops. The end of the world isn't yet, for heaven's sake. In addition to chips finding their way into motors, the biggest worry is likely hot chips on your bod. You take care of that, and don't care about the longevity of the saw, and have at it. Most of you guys howling about the horrendous danger have probably not done it yourself. Half of you talk like you're related to lawyers. I get so damn sick of the incessant 'what if's. You can 'what if' yourself into doing absolutely nothing.


I've had kick-back with non-ferrous. It was one of the scariest things ever. It is a far different event than with wood kick-back. Fortunately I was un-harmed and got out of it with only a trashed 80 tooth carbide blade.

Many on this forum will (rightly so) condemn anyone who advocates/practices not clamping a workpiece to a drill press table. But somehow hand feeding a piece of metal into a high rpm circular blade is OK, as long as you hold on real tight?

Cut metal with metal working tools only.

Doozer
01-12-2016, 07:27 PM
I have plenty of dangerous shlt including cutting aluminum
on the table saw. I admit I don't have the balls to steel.
I would not ask any man in the shop to do something that
I myself would not do first. That is because it is my azz because
I set the man up with the job. I would not set up a man to do
something dangerous or sketchy. Makes sense to me.
If in your home shop you want to do something sketchy to save
a dollar, have at it.
The video from ThisOldTony running steel in his gantry router is
totally a different thing. It was about speeds and feeds and rigidity.
Not about how unsafe can we do something and still live to tell the
tale. Cutting even aluminum on the table saw scares the crap out
of me. And for good reason. Sheet metal is one thing, but not
1/4" or bigger. Just too heavy, and can hurt if it smacks you in
the 'ol Jimmy Johnson. I seen it happen with a table saw.
Got this 300 pound guy right in the Chotchkie. He was rolling
around on the shop floor, trying to make sure he still had a Frank
and beans. Not kool.

--Doozer

chipmaker4130
01-12-2016, 09:03 PM
The biggest reason for kickback with a table saw is keeping the blade low. For some reason, people seem to think that it is somehow safer if the blade height is barely greater than material thickness. Keep the blade high and the cutting/grabbing force is DOWN into the table. Even with narrow cuts (close to the fence), keep it high and use a pusher. There are, of course, times when the blade must be lowered such as rabbeting, etc.

cameron
01-12-2016, 09:16 PM
My brother regularly cut aluminum on his table saw . One time he wanted to slit one side of an aluminum tube about 1 3/4 " diameter. This had been used as a post for a traffic sign and had broken from fatigue due to vibrating in the wind, leaving a long jagged spear-like point on the broken end.

He started to cut, square-cut end first, and decided he didn't like the look of the spear end pointing towards his entrails. He grabbed a short length of 2X2, hammered it into the end, and proceeded to cut.

Part way through, the cut closed on the blade, the tube shot back, hit him, spun him around so fast he was completely dis-oriented for a few seconds.

It left a massive bruise, but luckily he had stuck the wood in the end, and luckily it hit bone (the right side of his pelvis), and not a couple of inches inboard of that.

Apparently, that blade did not stop when it jammed.

darryl
01-12-2016, 10:36 PM
I've had a lot of stuff jam on me, and get shot out. One day I saw that a piece was going to jam and as usual I make sure I'm out of the way and that my fingers aren't going to get pulled in. The piece shot out and ended up sticking straight out of the cement wall behind. Another time I was cutting acrylic and had no warning of the impending jam. Suddenly I heard a bang, felt a sting in my stomach, saw a shadow fly by in my peripheral vision, and saw that the piece was no longer on the saw table. All in about 1/4 second or so-

I got lucky that time as the piece hit me edge on and not corner on. I had a good welt that was exactly as long as the piece was wide- looked kind of cool actually, a linear bruise :)

Our saw at work gave us a flying saucer one day. A piece of sheet goods decided to climb up onto the blade and do a little spin as it launched towards me. I was out of the way, and my real concern was whether it would punch through the drywall and go into the office. This was a case where the fence was out and would pinch the material as you pushed it past the back of the blade.

I'm not a safety nazi, but ship can sure happen. What it really boils down to is using your brain. If you're not comfortable with an operation, then don't do it. If you are performing a risky procedure, have it all worked out in your head before you start cutting.

garyhlucas
01-12-2016, 11:19 PM
A 2" block of aluminum I was cutting on the table saw grabbed and it hit me right in the stomach. Knocked the wind out of me and dropped me to the floor. I couldn't catch my breath and lay there gasping for about 5 minutes. Left one hell of a bruise! I had a face shield on but it would've punched right through that. Wrecked a $60 blade too.

A.K. Boomer
01-12-2016, 11:24 PM
The biggest reason for kickback with a table saw is keeping the blade low. For some reason, people seem to think that it is somehow safer if the blade height is barely greater than material thickness. Keep the blade high and the cutting/grabbing force is DOWN into the table. Even with narrow cuts (close to the fence), keep it high and use a pusher. There are, of course, times when the blade must be lowered such as rabbeting, etc.


Good quality safety post CM... some of this also applies to using a skill saw - ask me how I know lol

J Tiers
01-12-2016, 11:32 PM
This stuff all adds up to one concept.......

Yes, you CAN do stuff that you probably should not, but if you do, you need to think out the ways it can fail, and try to make sure that WHEN those happen (because they will) no problems you can't handle will occur.

Going to the moon was clearly something that was so crazy dangerous (as proven by both Russians and us) that it shouldn't be done.... But we decided to, and had a lot of very smart people looking for problems and trying to keep them from screwing things up. And even then, on our end, we screwed up bigtime once and lost some people. Another time a fault was unanticipated, and almost lost another set of people out in space.

So the takeaway is that if you can make sure the bad results will not happen, or you accept the risk, go right ahead.... But remember that nobody can be perfect at doing risky things forever, you will overlook something and have a bad outcome eventually. So it is wise to avoid the risky way if there is an alternative available. The boss that screams at you is NOT gonna be the one with his hand laying on the floor and his arm squirting, or the piece sticking out of his belly. Is saving the time really worth that?

PStechPaul
01-12-2016, 11:34 PM
Along these same lines, what about cutting steel and other metal pieces with a hand-held circular saw with a metal cutting blade? Or using a chop saw? I have thought about doing that for some of the metal shapes I got from the machine shop that closed. Some of the pieces are really too large to cut using my 4x6 band saw, especially a piece of steel channel I've had for a long time, that is about 2" x 6" x 3/8" thick and about 8 feet long. Part of it is bent, and it weighs probably close to 100 pounds.

I found a review of several metal-cutting circular saws that are apparently used regularly for cutting various types of metal, including structural steel, aluminum, and copper pipe. I have recently used my circular saw with a segmented diamond blade to cut firebrick, and it worked very well. I don't think diamond abrasive is good for steel, but I have a metal-cutting abrasive blade, probably silicon carbide or aluminum oxide. So I wonder if the main problem is the table saw configuration, and perhaps it would be safer if the work were supported somehow.

http://www.toolsofthetrade.net/boring-bursting-jacking-and-ramming/metal-cutting-circ-saws.aspx

Harbor Freight has this which has a 5-3/8" blade:
http://www.harborfreight.com/5-38-in-59-amp-heavy-duty-metal-cutting-circular-saw-69702.html

A variety of metal cutting blades made by Morse:
http://www.metaldevil.com/

And Home Depot has many blades from $3.50 (for abrasive type) to over $100:
http://www.homedepot.com/b/Tools-Hardware-Power-Tool-Accessories-Saw-Blades-Circular-Saw-Blades/Metal/N-5yc1vZc2jqZ1z13133

This looks easy, simple, and safe enough:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqaqTy2ppFY

gellfex
01-12-2016, 11:50 PM
Dunno. Sure sh*t can happen, but I've been cutting aluminum on table saws for decades, and on miter saws too. Once did 1" on a humongous and ancient 14" Rockwell. Now I have a little 10" Ryobi, and cut 1/16 to 3/8 all the time. Used to use cutting wax as I was taught, but got out of the habit. Scary was cutting extrusions on a radial arm saw as I was told to in a lighting factory when I was a lad. That MF could kick, and you'd lose carbide teeth on the saw. Even scarier there was using a carbide router in a wooden jig to cut a rabbet in 4 to 12" diameter cast AL elbows. If the shaft snapped the bits would come out like a rocket! Good times.

Made this ball turner 27 years ago (when my business was new) with the 14" rockwell, a hand jigsaw, drill press and a router. The main plate is set into a dado I cut in the mounting block with the table saw. Best part was in those days I could walk 4 blocks to Canal St in Lower Manhattan and just grab a sq ft of 1" AL at one of the several surplus metal shops.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v358/gellfex/DSCF0178sm-email.jpg

davidh
01-13-2016, 08:46 AM
i have that Evolution saw with the metal blade in it. its a heavy machine and quite scary but cuts great, not much of a mess and leaves a great finished edge. noisy as can be and not for the faint of heart. great investment for those that cut lots of physically large material.

J Tiers
01-13-2016, 09:26 AM
Aluminum cuts ok. At least many grades do.

Where you really get into problems is the old old problem of coarse teeth and thinner material. Common on table saws, and often just ignored with wood. With wood you can get away with it mostly, if you don't mind splintery cuts, but with metal it can launch things.

The table saw blade and motor has a lot of stored energy when spinning, so if it catches a tooth it has the power to throw material hard. And it normally is set up so the blade is opposing your pushing the material into the cut. Only your push keeps the material moving into the cut instead of being launched out. A bandsaw moves slower, and also is cutting crosswise, the force goes into the table and not "at you". You are not pushing material against the cut, but only pushing into the position where it gets cut.

A table saw is actually a pretty stupid design, really. It's like trying to push material against an 8 inch milling cutter that spins really fast. Everyone would agree that is a stupid idea. But it's seen as OK if it's a table saw......

The harder the material is to cut, the stupider the design is. The motor will be stronger than you, the design relies on the cut material being weak enough that you can push the material against the cut. That's not so true of metal as for wood. You have to be careful about the feed, and avoid any pinching or grabbing of material onto the blade.

Yes you can do it. No it's not nearly as safe as a bandsaw or sabre type saw, and they are not "safe", they just have different and more manageable hazards. Nothing in the shop is "safe". If you are looking for "safe" then shop work is not for you.

dian
01-13-2016, 09:42 AM
you can do it with the right blade. this is for a hand held saw:

http://kaindl.de/en/werkzeuge-tools/werkzeuge-saegen-tools-sawblades-sawing-cut/multisageblatt-topcut-120-x-25-4-mm-396.html?___from_store=de

George Bulliss
01-13-2016, 09:44 AM
At my first shop we cut a lot of aluminum and plastics on the table saw. Never did like doing it, but it was quick. We had a very heavy sled that was keyed to the table slots and it had holes and a hefty rail that could be used for clamping the workpieces. That made it pretty safe, but there were times when we did have to push things through by hand. One guy's kickback launched a piece of aluminum at the wall, hitting just above the supervisor's window – two feet lower and it would have beaned him. His fix was to move the table saw. Think I mentioned before the worst kickback accident on that saw. A guy had a thick piece of plastic kick back, dislocating one of his testicles. After that no un-clamped cutting was allowed.
I cut thin stuff on my saw from time to time, but it's not my first choice.

Paul Alciatore
01-13-2016, 11:16 AM
Hand held circular saw? Well, just what will go flying if it jams. A ROTATING SAW? And where will it land? OUCH!!!!!'

A chop saw would be safer. It pushes the work against the saw, not outwards. Many of these are used with abrasive blades to cut metal. Lots of fireworks so DO WEAR GOGGLES.

THE problem with the table saw is the blade is pushing the work toward the user. And the high speed. High speed is for wood. Metal requires a slower speed.

GET A BIGGER METAL SAW.




Along these same lines, what about cutting steel and other metal pieces with a hand-held circular saw with a metal cutting blade? Or using a chop saw? I have thought about doing that for some of the metal shapes I got from the machine shop that closed. Some of the pieces are really too large to cut using my 4x6 band saw, especially a piece of steel channel I've had for a long time, that is about 2" x 6" x 3/8" thick and about 8 feet long. Part of it is bent, and it weighs probably close to 100 pounds.

I found a review of several metal-cutting circular saws that are apparently used regularly for cutting various types of metal, including structural steel, aluminum, and copper pipe. I have recently used my circular saw with a segmented diamond blade to cut firebrick, and it worked very well. I don't think diamond abrasive is good for steel, but I have a metal-cutting abrasive blade, probably silicon carbide or aluminum oxide. So I wonder if the main problem is the table saw configuration, and perhaps it would be safer if the work were supported somehow.

http://www.toolsofthetrade.net/boring-bursting-jacking-and-ramming/metal-cutting-circ-saws.aspx

Harbor Freight has this which has a 5-3/8" blade:
http://www.harborfreight.com/5-38-in-59-amp-heavy-duty-metal-cutting-circular-saw-69702.html

A variety of metal cutting blades made by Morse:
http://www.metaldevil.com/

And Home Depot has many blades from $3.50 (for abrasive type) to over $100:
http://www.homedepot.com/b/Tools-Hardware-Power-Tool-Accessories-Saw-Blades-Circular-Saw-Blades/Metal/N-5yc1vZc2jqZ1z13133

This looks easy, simple, and safe enough:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqaqTy2ppFY

RB211
01-13-2016, 11:50 AM
Cutting metal on the table saw is one thing, but being too damn stupid to realize that you shouldn't place yourself in the direct line of fire in case of a kickback just begs for a darwin award. Really, worst case scenario should be that you send a metal spear through the wall of your house, into the neighbors house. NOT through your testicles or abdomen.

cameron
01-13-2016, 09:13 PM
Cutting metal on the table saw is one thing, but being too damn stupid to realize that you shouldn't place yourself in the direct line of fire in case of a kickback just begs for a darwin award. Really, worst case scenario should be that you send a metal spear through the wall of your house, into the neighbors house. NOT through your testicles or abdomen.

Congratulations. You are the only member of this forum who has not, at sometime in his life, done something which was, with hindsight, stupid.

RB211
01-13-2016, 09:45 PM
Congratulations. You are the only member of this forum who has not, at sometime in his life, done something which was, with hindsight, stupid.

In this particular case, I knew better.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Arcane
01-14-2016, 01:55 AM
Apparently Milwaukee is marketing a diamond cutting wheel for steel.

http://www.coptool.com/milwaukee-steelhead-diamond-goodbye-abrasive-cut-off-wheels/

http://www.coptool.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/steelhead2.jpg

Does anyone have any first hand experience with them?