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Sabre saw for chopping rods?

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  • Paul Alciatore
    replied
    I have a shop built table for my router. Since I built it, I was able to use a 1/8" hard aluminum plate for the central support of the router. Then I also drilled some holes so one of my saber saws could also mount there.

    With the saber saw upside down and the blade sticking up, you have a lot better control over the cutting process.

    I think some of the commercially sold router tables will allow a saber saw to be mounted like this. But don't ask me which ones.

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  • BCRider
    replied
    I started out posting over some concerns that a jig or saber saw used in this way has only a very small segment of blade actually engaging the metal and that the teeth would wear rapidly. This means going through blades quite often. I suspect that it is still the case. But also out of curiosity I stuck a metal saw blade into my jig saw to try it out. I'm pretty sure that the DeWalt brand blade is one that came with my DeWalt brand jig saw when I originally bought it about 30 years ago...

    I tenderly used the speed control to reach around 3 to 4 strokes per second. I didn't want to get anywhere near to exceeding the surface feet per minute. The tube cut rapidly through the middle and a little slower on the two ends. Time for the cut was about 15 to 20 seconds.

    The 3/8 bar took more like 30 to 35 seconds and I was "rocking" the saw slowly in the cut through about a 20 to 30 degree angle so I limited the number of teeth in engagement and kept the amount of pressure needed both into the cut and downward on the saw to keep the rest plate against the bar.

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    So how do I feel about using a saw like this now? I'd say it's more than reasonable. And in fact up to around 1/2"... wait a minute.... .OK I'm back after one more test...

    Cutting through a piece of 3/4 round mild took just over 70 seconds. But it was a fairly stressful 70 seconds. Even with slow rocking the saw to minimize the teeth in engagement there was more more binding in the cut and a lot more times where the saw slightly bumped up and back down. I kept it under control but it was clearly by "just". It felt like it could easily end up dancing me up and down and slamming the saw against the bar stock if I had relaxed even a little. I'd rather not make a habit of doing things this way for that size of stock It always felt like a vibration filled ride that slammed my saw into pieces was only a slight relaxing away.....

    Oh, and I was using my big burly bench vise to hold all the pieces. To stop the saw from jumping up and down due to the extra grab from the metal a very firm downward hold is needed. I don't see doing anything like this with the metal in one hand and the saw in the other. ESPECIALLY with small round items where the blade will just spin the round stock in your grip way too easily. So some setup is still needed.

    All in all I'm still thinking that if you can re-arrange things to permit mounting your Portaband in some out of the way spot where you can also use it that you'd be by far a happier guy. Some time back I watched the Blondihacks video where she made a table for her own Portaband that has a piece of angle iron that permitted clamping the saw in her vise. HERE IS THE LINK. And in fact if you search on YT simply for "portaband saw stand" (<-Just click the link) you get back about 28 options with about 6 or 8 seemingly different options. Between all of them there should be a solution that jumps out which will fit some little corner.

    I know you're working in a compact spot but if the saw is in there now then it is already taking up room. So you just need to shift things so it takes up room where it can also be used... Right? Am I making it sound SOOOOO easy? Sorry...

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  • Paul Alciatore
    replied
    They do make variable speed saber saws. The ones with a speed limit on the trigger are specially helpful as you can set it and not worry about the speed creeping up as you cut.

    I have a couple of saber saws and love the one with the variable speed. But I guess my shop is somewhat larger than yours (two car garage) so I have and use a 4x6, horizontal/vertical band saw for most of my metal cutting. It is behind my lathe bench and I can pass long stock under that bench when cutting it to length. That 4x6 band saw and my drill presses are the most frequently used metal cutting tools in my shop.

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  • gellfex
    replied
    Sure, why not? Before I got a bandsaw I used my Bosch jigsaw for all sorts of crap including 1" thick aluminum and 1/2" steel. I got into the Ryobi 18v system not long ago in addition to my Makitas, because the gear was so much cheaper for stuff I might use less frequently. The jigsaw rocks! And I don't need to keep track of the stupid long screwdriver you need to change blades on the 37 year old Bosch.

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  • BCRider
    replied
    The speed is just way to fast to cut steel well. They do worry through in time. But it's a nasty venture from the occasions I've used them for that sort of job. What I'd suggest is an angle grinder and thin cuttoff "Zip" disc and a way to perch the stock being cut and engage the cut so the sparks are thrown down into a steel bucket with a little sand in the bottom. Or if you don't mind the rusty soup even a 5 gal plastic bucket with a few inches of water in the bottom. It'll catch and hold the lion's share of the sparks so you don't get grinding dust over everything and not make much, if any, more noise than a saber saw with an angry metal blade.

    Another option is to mount your portaband in a vertical mode in a storage position so it lives there plugged in and can be used for cutting small hand held items like you're asking about. And for bigger needs you can lift it out and away to use with two hands.

    After all, you need to store it somewhere. Why not in a place and positioned such that it can be used right there?

    This could even be down below bench level and require you to lean over a little to use it in this "stored away" position. It's not like you need it a lot, right? Ideally it would be in a way that permits some reasonable length to both sides of the blade.

    Of course this will likely mean I'm also suggesting that you'll need to re-arrange things yet again to let you "tetris" the saw into such a storage/use position while finding new locations for the displaced items take over by the saw.... Sorry 'bout that.....

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  • wierdscience
    replied
    I recently used a corded Milwaukee recip saw for cutting some small stainless steel frames apart. It was just 1/8" thick angle sections, it did the job, but was tediously slow and fairly rough on the saw. I don't think the saw in your link would last very long cutting metal, it looks like it's intended for woodwork and home remodeling to me.

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  • Cenedd
    started a topic Sabre saw for chopping rods?

    Sabre saw for chopping rods?

    I've got a portaband and it's great for chewing through stock to cut itntto length and all the sorts of things you've seen them used for. But it's a bit of a pain to get out in a small space - my space is literally just large enough to wield it provided its relatively tidy so I'm not just being a wuss about it. For smaller stuff (Im thinking 20mm of less of steel/aluminium/brass), I was wondering about a small 12v sabre/reciprocating saw like this that can be had fairly cheaply if you've already bought into the battery system.

    Anyone tried this already and know if its a good idea or terrible? In my head its a mini power hacksaw...but is it a lot less finessed? Enough to not be useful for roughly cutting stock to length before chucking it in the lathe?
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