Chop Saws?

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Mar 9, 2004
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I am going to be building a welding table and then doing a bunch of body repair work. I have a recip saw, circular saw, jig saw, air nibbler, grinder and probably some others.

I do not have a chop or band saw.

In building my table I will need to do a lot of 45 degree cuts on 2 1/2" angle iron and would think that a chop saw would probably do the best. I know that I haven't used my circular saw on wood as much as I used to since I bought my compound miter saw so I am thinking I'd probably do the same w/ a chop saw.

But once I build the table I don't know how much I will actually use it.

I am would like to pay <$200 for a good quality chop saw if that is the best option.

What do you all think are some good brands?

I have read a couple of reviews on chop saws and a lot of people recommend to buy either one w/ an aluminum or cast base vs. stamped because the angles are better. Any coments?

I have never studied band saws or other options - so any personal feedback would be great.

Enlighten me about what would be the best.
 

lowenbrau

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We wore out a 14" chopsaw in the first year we had the shop. The replacement one went into the corner when we got the bandsaw and hasn't been used in years.

I'd vote for a bandsaw for sure... Quiet, can be left unattended, leaves the metal claner and cooler, and generally more acurate.
 
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For a one time deal you could just rent a chop saw. Then save your pennies for a nice band saw if you decide you want to get serious. If I were buying I'd buy a Milwaukee. Most of the other home center brands I have used were not up to the task IMHO.

Nick
 
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i got a burnt up HF chopsaw for free, and my grandpa rebuilt the motor for me ($7).
when he had it apart i asked him if the motor on it was of decent quality, and he told me it was no worse than any dewalt, craftsman, makita, that he had ever rebuilt.
as he explained it to me, chop saw's draw a few amps (around 4) while gathering speed, and only pull around 1/2 an amp while at full speed. if you don't allow the saw to gain speed before you begin your cut, you are cutting at around 4amps. this will burn up ANY saw.
he told me this was the reason the HF saw i got for free was burnt up (something about the rings/springs that hold the brushes had melted in half.

just a thought.
 
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Oct 18, 2002
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I would buy a harbor freight band saw(http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=37151) about the same cost as a good Millwake chop saw ~150-200 dollars. my dad got one for free, put a new motor, gears, bearings and cut away...i sold my chop saw because it was A) messy, B) loud, C) inacurat, D)...did i mention it was loud? It's nice to be able to cut steel at 2am and not worry about waking the neighbor hood up!
I have not had a use for the chop saw since i got the band saw a running...i now have a much larger one ..that needs a 3phase converter and i will be cutting away even better:)

Stew
 
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So a bandsaw would be able to do all the things that I am looking for?

Can you cut 45% angles? Angle iron?

What is a good brand of bandsaw?

Anything I should look for in a good saw?

I have never even seen a bandsaw work so I am completely clueless...
 
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>So a bandsaw would be able to do all the things that I am looking for?

Yes

>Can you cut 45% angles? Angle iron?

Yes, set the vise to 45 degrees and start cutting.

>What is a good brand of bandsaw?

They are very close, shop by price.

>Anything I should look for in a good saw?

They are made in the same place in China, paint color and minor options are the only differances.

>I have never even seen a bandsaw work so I am completely clueless...

Pick up the head, clamp the part in the vise, turn on the saw, lower the head to the work and walk away, it will turn off when done.
 

MrMoMo

That's not rust, it's Canadian patina...
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No a bandsaw will not do all the things you are trying to do. Yes you can cut 45's, yes they are much quiter, yes they are much less messy and make nicer cuts, but you cant cut anything wider than the throat depth. Take a 24' length of 1x1 angle iron. Cut it into 4 6' sections. Hmm, can't do that on a bandsaw any way that I have fuggerd out.

You need both. Come on man - TOOLS!! you can never have too many!! Look in the paper, look at aucitons, buy used stuff - hey christmas is coming!!

To be honest, I use my Ridged chop saw all the time, I also use my Trojan bandsaw alot. - totally different purposes though. At work, we have both. Like I said, you can't cut anything longer than the throat of the bandsaw, so if you are looking to end up with two pieces, one of which over about a foot, you need a chop saw.

Chop saws are dirty, loud, messy, can be sloppy, dangerous when the wheels fly apart (from incorrect use), but isn't that half the fun of metal fabrication? When you are done you're covered in soot, got a few cuts and some burns?

If your 45deg cut actually turns out to be 43.5 - are you a good enough welder to fix that? I sure hope you are!
 

MrMoMo

That's not rust, it's Canadian patina...
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Hold on... before the flames start, I am referring to a vertical bandsaw, and just realized that perhaps what you folks are talking about is a horizontal bandsaw, totally different story........
 

spressomon

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I have a little 4x6 Delta cutoff/band saw and love it...I think it cost me about $400 brand new. I have cut all sorts of things with it including all the cuts for my sliders, t-case struts and plate, etc.. I also have a nice cut-off/chop/mitre saw...but what a mess when I have to use it! If I had more storage space I think I would get the 7x12 metal band/cut-off wet/dry...but I don't so the 4x6 will just have to do...
 

MrMoMo

That's not rust, it's Canadian patina...
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We just got a nice new horizontal bandsaw at work.. NICE NICE Can cut up to 10" pipe - any length!!! Oh to have the room and cash for one of those - they paid a grand for it!! I got my vertical band saw used for $300!! Full size with lift block & 14" throat it takes a 105" blade.
 
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I have used just about all the name brand cut-off saw's. The best one by far is the milwaukee 14" cut-off saw. This saw is the only one out there with a cast iron base. Cutting with a chop saw is all in the blade. You use those cheep HF,or ace hardware ones and it take for ever. Use the milwaukee ones and it cuts way better.My cut-off a 14"/3900 rpms/15 amp. I've cut 1" rebar like if was nothing. A band saw is cool to you can cut almost anything. Just depends how big of one you get. I would get both It's just more tools to have around.
 
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LandCruiserPhil said:
Buy both you wont be sorry. They both have there place.
I'm with Phil on this. Band saws are nice. A chop saw is great. I have a Chinese knock-off that cost $70. I have beat the thing to death and it still goes. It cuts a medium hunk of metal like butter! But don't put away your skillsaw and sawsall just yet. Like the band saw, they can do things that a chop saw can't.
 
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The horizontal bandsaw is my favorite thing. I'm on my second one now - the first was a good old American made biggie but it had real problems running straight. after fixing it a bunch of times and seeming like I had to mess with it for each cut I sold it for $150. and bought a $750. on-sale- from-Enco-with-free shipping gear driven saw. Didn't like it being Chinese much, but now I trust it and it does a beautiful job of perfect square cuts with zero hassles. I bought a good bi-mettalic blade with it and never used the one supplied, and I made a dolly so I could roll it around. The only problem is making room off the backside sometimes when I'm taking a piece off of long stock.

In other words, here's a vote for a bandsaw :D


edit to add: there is no one does it all metal cutting tool.
 
Last edited:

Poser

Oh...Durka Durka Durka.
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Have a chop saw...have had it rebuilt...it has sat idle, other than cutting an axle shaft or two, for the last two years...


Ellis makes some pretty nice stuff..


I have no idea what I did before that sander...











:beer:
 

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