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  • Metal chop saw table re-design.

    I have what I think is a fairly simple question. I have a Dewalt brand 14" Mutlticutter cut off saw. If you are not familiar with what it is, it's brief description is as follows. It uses a ~1500RPM motor and 14" carbide toothed blade designed for metal cutting. It will cut virtually any material, wood, plastic, and metal. I use it almost exclusively for metal cutting, it is faster than abrasive, or a band saw and the cut it makes is very clean and low heat.

    Anyhow, the table on the saw is junk. It is stamped sheet steel and in the 6 years or so I have owned the saw, I have already replaced it once. The sheet metal base warps easily with heavy stock weight and after that it is difficult to get square cuts out of it. As if that isn't enough, the clamp and adjustable fence are about garbage. I have no complaints about the saw, other than the table.

    This leads me to my question, I intend to make a new table for it out of solid plate. Originally I was going to use some 3/4" thick sheet steel, but I recently discovered that on Ebay I can get some cast aluminum 3/4" thick plates for less than I can buy the steel locally. My question is, do you think the base will hold up if made from aluminum? It will be much easier to work with when compared to a 100Lb chunk of steel. A lot of wood saws have an aluminum table, but I have yet to see a metal chop saw with a aluminum table.

    My intent is a heavy solid table. A heavy, solid fence. Eliminate the tool less fence design and make one that can be bolted at common angles I cut. I haven't worked out how I will provide locking at other angles, but I will come up with something. Anyhow, will aluminum work, or should I stick with my original plan of a steel table?

    Thanks,
    Jason

  • #2
    Jason,

    If I were building it I'd stick with steel. Main reason: If I'm useing it to cut steel I would like something that wouldn't scatch easily.

    Just curious...do you have the facilities for welding Aluminum? If so, then that might change my mind as I would like my table to look as if it was designed with it orginally. For me, steel is easy to weld and make it look like the table was cast.
    Last edited by Mike Burdick; 01-06-2008, 01:58 PM.

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    • #3
      I do have the ability to weld aluminum. Aluminum castings are more difficult, but if it hasn't been subjected to a lot of contaminents it will typically weld easily too.

      Looks of the saw have nothing to do with it IMO. I want it to hold 90° when I set the fence. I dont want the clamp pressure to move the fence. I dont want the table to warp or move durring the cut. As it sits, I can push on the table and it will deflect about .125", that is enough to screw up your cut, even if you got the fence at a perfect 90°.

      I can't see how welding has much to do with it either, unless you are talking about repairing nicks and such. My two concerns are that aluminum wont be rigid enough, and that it will get beat up too quickly and will be unusable.

      Thanks,
      Jason

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      • #4
        BTW, the size of the current table is 12"x22" if it makes a difference to the rigidity. It seems like a small enough area that 3/4" aluminum would be sufficient, but I don't know.

        Later,
        Jason

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        • #5
          What is the rest of the saw made from as If like most DeWalt stuff it will be made from some diecast material so I would think the aluminium would be sufficient.
          Although you could go for a composite as in my Elu flip saw in that the rotating part is made from die cast running in a galvanised 1/8th plate, so far lasted 20yrs in a DIY workshop.
          But if you want to 3/4 steel plate then doit it wont hurt it the more bulky the better.
          Will this saw cut steel or is it limited to Ally and wood
          Peter
          I have tools I don't know how to use!!

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          • #6
            Yes, it cuts steel. Up to 4"x6" at 90° IIRC. I can cut a piece of 2"x4" rectangular tubing .125 wall in less than 10 seconds, cuts it about like a carpenters wood cutting saw cuts a 2x4... The heaviest solid stock I have ever cut with it is 1"x5" bar stock, or possibly 2.5" solid rounds for the lathe. The 2.5" solid bars are a bit more struggle due to the cross section at the mid line, but it rips right through the bar stock like buttah.

            The pivot for the saw looks like it is cast aluminum, but it could be die cast pot metal of some sort. As for the described Elu flip saw, I have no idea what you are describing, but I am off to google it to see what it is

            Thanks,
            Jason

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            • #7
              I looked up that Elu, neat critter. I have never seen anything like it.

              Dug up a picture of the dewalt saw in question. This looked to be about the best view on their site.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jacampb2
                ....I can't see how welding has much to do with it either, unless you are talking about repairing nicks and such. My two concerns are that aluminum wont be rigid enough, and that it will get beat up too quickly and will be unusable.

                Thanks,
                Jason
                No, I was thinking more about welding it so I could put 'ribs' under the table for strength and still keep the bulk down.

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                • #9
                  Thats a neat looking saw - base doent look to be too big so I would go for steel if you can get it at the right price.
                  I assume you are not going to transport it about on site or that.
                  As thtas the usual reason most of these devices are a bit flimsy looking although I wouldnt say my flip saw ia all that portable seeing as it has an induction motor of 2 1/2 hp so its nice and quiet unless cutting. They can be used on ally but I wouldnt try it on steel.
                  The original base looks a bit like its pressed steel.
                  Peter
                  I have tools I don't know how to use!!

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                  • #10
                    I am going to keep an eye on these two aluminum plates. They are almost perfect match for my dimensions, and are dirt cheap right now. They are also commercially cast by Alcoa, not a back yard setup, so they should be fairly high quality. If they are cheap enough, I may buy them regardless of whether or not I use them for the saw.

                    As for the other question, no I don't transport the saw. I built a permanent stand for it in my shop a few years back. I am pretty sure the steel supplier here wanted close to $100 for a 1" thick slab of "red" steel they had sitting out back in their drop pile. It was more than I needed, but not by much, less than twice the width and within a few inches on length, so roughly a 2'x2'x1" torch cut chunk of severely rusted plate...

                    I do a lot of business with these guys buying full sticks and sheets, so I normally get a more than fair price on drops, but $100 seemed too rich for well weathered steel... I figure whatever I end up using, I will have to face it on the mill, but this piece was just too much...

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                    • #11
                      If you use steel you never have to worry about it again. Especially if you have minions to lift it for you.
                      Last edited by ; 01-06-2008, 08:05 PM.

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                      • #12
                        FWIW, I love my Multicutter. I have not used my bandsaw at all since getting one. I'll probably build a table for the bandsaw and set it upgright some day.

                        Meanwhile, I look forward to seeing what improvements can be made to the Multicutter. It just can't be beat for speed and convenience IMHO.

                        I do agree, the table and vise stink, but they're no worse than my bandsaw was. Should be straightforward to beef it up. You might consider a square tubing frame and some 1/4" steel plate depending on how large a table you want to make. I would think a couple rollers like the woodworking people use to support the ends of long stock would be a versatile addition as well.

                        Cheers,

                        BW
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                        • #13
                          See reply #6 in this thread.

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                          Last edited by bob ward; 01-07-2008, 03:34 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bob ward
                            Pretty slick, but I am not really looking to increase the area of the table, just the rigidity.

                            I like the idea of building a frame and using lighter plate, however, I think .25 may still be too thin. Part of the idea is to be able to firmly bolt the fence in place and I think .25 might bow or pull threads under clamp pressure. The aluminum plates just ended for more than I wanted to spend, so I will toy with the steel idea some more...

                            Later,
                            Jason

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                            • #15
                              Instead of plate, how about a section of C-channel? That is what I plan on using to replace the stamped mount for my cheap abrasive disc chop saw when I get done carting it around.

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