Cutting Metal With Circular Saws



All I hear is carbide (uh 30-60 teeth I guess) and some sort of lube (kero, wax, WD-40..). And protection *everywhere*! I've chopped castings on the miter saw before, it's something like 32 teeth on a 12" blade. Works good. I'd hate to see what would happen to a person if it caught though...

-- Tim Williams tmoranwms@charter.net


I've cut 1/2" steel plate on my table saw before. But I did it with an abrasive blade, i.e. NO TEETH!!! Have cut steel roofing and 12ga. sheet steel with my skill saw with a common combination blade installed backwards. But that sheet steel has also cut me back too and it wasnt fun... Anyways cutting metal on a tablesaw with a toothed blade doesn't sound like a good idea at all. Heck you ever seen what a piece of wood kicked back off a table saw will do? My old high school has an industrial general bandsaw sitting offset behind the table saw and after bouncing the wood off my hip the band saw ended up with a 1 x 4 pine sized hole in the lower wheel cover. So if you can I recommend using a different piece of equipment for cutting your aluminum with. After all, if you're just gonna melt it, do you have to cut it on a precision machine? Unless your table saw is the $99.00 Craftsman firewood cutter that my new saw is only good for. Sloppy assed miter gauge is no good for jack $hit. This is why I need to get my foundry going so I can cast a curved rack gear for my 1949 Atlas table saw. Which by the way is a simply beautiful piece of Cast Iron. But the gear was made of pot metal which I don't know why. But soon it shall be brass, I hope.

-- mcgiver1969@yahoo.com


I've been working wood for several decades (as well as mild steel, stainless, non-ferrous/ferrous and recently melting aluminum), still have all my fingers, unlike most woodworkers I know...knock on wood. Other than actually contact with the blade (fingers, etc.), the greatest danger is kick-back. I've seen pieces of wood fly across the shop and embed in the shop wall, not to mention the various cuts and bruises through the years, usually my fault (in a hurry, lack of proper caution, setup and technique). Only once did I tried to cut aluminum with a toothed blade on a table saw, I'm old enough and WISE enough to never try that again. So be careful.
I have had very good success using a bi-metal blade in a woodworking bandsaw. Much safer. Just be aware of the risk and keep your body out of line with the table saw blade! Think Safe!

-- Waygat


When I had my table saw I had cut alum plate up to 1/2" thick quite routinely. I then sold the TS and bought a radial arm saw which cut the same alum stock for many years as well as a host of other materials. It's noisy as hell and throws a shower of chips so eye protection, hearing protection and long sleeves, etc. is a must. It's relatively safe and not much different from cutting wood. Most any blade will do with thinner plate up to about 1/8" thick but I would recommend carbide toothed of 40 or 60 teeth for cutting any aluminum stock. You can get a carbide toothed blade relatively cheap from online sources or H/F. Depending on the width of the carbide teeth and the thickness of the stock you're cutting you may or may not need a stick lube such as wax, etc. to lube the blade.

Cutting thin sheet metal with a RAS and an abrasive blade is what helped to do in my RAS. Those abrasive particles from the wheel are 1000 times worse than any regular chips of metal or wood.

-- Chipmaker


Easy answer: None... if you just absolutely have to use a table saw, use an abrasive wheel. If the scrap is not too thick, a mini grinder (or cut off grinder) with an 1/16" thick cut off wheel does beautifully.
As noted earlier, the wood type blades are dangerous, the metal cutting toothed blades tend to clog up, lose their temper and basically become useless very quickly.
Either with toothed blades, or abrasive ones, you will get tough shavings that are a royal pain to get out of your saw, and tend to tear your saw up very quickly.
Unless you want to buy a new table saw, go for the grinder, it is made for it and can cost a lot less in the long run.

-- cvedrick@yahoo.com



All opinions are those of the persons who wrote them. All names are forum handles at backyardmetalcasting.com's forum.
Collected and styled by Tom, edited by Tim.