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  • Metal Cutting Circular Saw

    Can you use a metal cutting circular saw blade on a circular saw meant for wood? I am considering a used DeWalt chop saw.

  • #2
    Yes, kind of. Been there before, it works great on softer metals like aluminium, but mild steel is a bit more of a challenge. Itll work, but the blades dont last very long. High carbon and stainless steels are right out

    Im assuming youre talking about the actual saw blades meant for cutting metals, not the abrasive wheels. If you did mean the abrasive wheels, then that works too, but the plastic parts on most woodworking saws dont much agree with the sparks

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    • #3
      I have a heavy duty DeWalt circular saw, a DW369. I have been using the abrasive wheels for years. It just never gets tired. Weighs a ton. I wear out before it even gets started.

      I've been looking at chop saws and miter saws to cut metal. While I've learned some neat welding tricks to fill wide gaps, I'd rather have a good fit the first time.

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      • #4
        Metal cutting circular saws spin at a much lower rpm than wood cutting saw blades. If you put a metal cutting saw blade on a circular saw meant for wood, it won't last long at all. It will generate so much heat from the higher rpm that the blade will die very quickly---it will lose all of the "temper in the teeth.
        Brian Rupnow
        Design engineer
        Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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        • #5
          Ahhhh. OK. Then I should look to using abrasive disks with a miter saw for precision cuts, so all lasts longer. I'm too cheap to put out $400 for a metal cutting saw, but I do want the more accurate cuts.

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          • #6
            In the machine shop business these are known as Cold Saws.
            An example of inexpensive manual machines for ferrous metals https://www.elitemetaltools.com/tool...nual-cold-saws

            Power feed machines can be considerably more expensive.

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            • #7
              I use an Evolution hand held metal cutting circular saw to cut 3/8 hot rolled plate. Need to wear a faceshield as hot sparks go everywhere. Leaves a nice edge. So far I probably cut about 60 inches on this blade, and it is about done. I think the metal cutting blades for it were about $30, and the saw was maybe $80 on Amazon.

              for the money, it was the cheapest way to cut large 4 x 4' plates down to useable size.

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              • #8
                Metal Cutting "Skilsaws run about 3700 RPM your average Skilsaw is about 4500.
                The blade on the Metal saw is ground differently and uses different grade carbide.
                If you were to be cutting non ferrous it would be fine and im sure you could cut most mild steels wit a skillsaw with the right blade.
                Beaver County Alberta Canada

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                • #9
                  Another thing about metal cutting circular saws you should set the blade to maximum depth when cutting unlike wood cutting saws/blades. This makes the angle of attack of the grind of the carbide teeth most effective and also minimizes the time the teeth are in the material allowing them to cool better and last longer.
                  Sole proprietor of Acme Buggy Whips Ltd.
                  Specialty products for beating dead horses.

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                  • #10
                    It would seem that it might be possible to use a speed controller on the circular saw to get a more appropriate speed. They are used on routers, which also have universal motors. But a brief internet search only turned up admonitions against doing this, mostly warning of overheating and reduced life, as well as reduced chip clearing because of less fan air flow. I would expect an old style variable resistance controller might reduce torque, but a PWM or TRIAC/SCR type might be OK. Perhaps even just using a series diode for half-wave rectification and running on effective half voltage DC would work. Maybe even a Variac or a VFD?
                    http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                    Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                    USA Maryland 21030

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                    • #11
                      In other words have two teeth in the cut, and not more than three- get a pretty decent material removal rate and not have as much heat build-up. Slower speed definitely, and a strong framework to resist the higher torque without flexing is an attribute. I wonder about the ability of the typical chop saw motor to operate at the slower speeds required for metal cutting- would they do it or would they overheat? I want to check out the gear ratio on a metal chop saw vs the wood saw- I expect it will be different.
                      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                      • #12
                        I also have an Evolution hand circular saw. It runs at the same speed as an equivalent wood saw (and it also cuts wood). They say they use heavier duty gears, as cutting metal with a carbide tipped blade gives more shock loading to the gear teeth. It does have a "special" blade (that looks pretty normal to me), but it does cut through structural steel very nicely. No sparks, just hot chips.

                        I bought it to replace my Makita 7 1/4" wood saw. The Makita was nicer to operate, but the Evolution does the job. From what I can see, there's no reason you shouldn't buy an Evolution blade and use it on any other wood saw.

                        Ian
                        All of the gear, no idea...

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                        • #13
                          yes, if you can instal a smaller blade. check the speed on the blade.

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                          • #14
                            "Temptation":........Milwaukee hand held 8" metal circular saw is on various sites for about $310.
                            S E Michigan

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                            • #15
                              My experience with them (circular saws in particular, not chop saws): they're great and sucky at the same time. Incredibly quick (like 40 seconds for 20" of 3/8" plate quick) but incredibly fragile. I've destroyed them on tough material in an instant. Welds aren't friendly to them, and I even chipped one cutting roofing tin.

                              Here's a video I made on converting a worm-drive saw for no more than the cost of the blade and a little machining. The video is kind of cringe to me now, but maybe you can get something out of it.

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p7zIJCgfDI

                              Dad sold the Milwaukee 8" because the blades were too expensive and died too easily for our materials.

                              Here is another device by dad and I, a table saw converted to run steel/aluminum. It works ok, pretty good cut quality, but the blade life has been atrocious. Very expensive cost per cut. Works great on aluminum with a standard wood blade though.

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqdpvaXUWo4

                              In short, I think these circular saws are a honey pot for the hobbyist. They look great on paper but they are just too expensive to run, especially with mystery metal. If you have pretty much any other device for cutting plate like a torch or plasma cutter, I'd probably use that.
                              21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
                              1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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