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I know these are the bomb for ripping through pipe or tubing on the jobsite, but I’m a little uncertain as to the usefulness of one of these in the home shop environment.  It’s been my experience that they make a crapton of debris and fling it everywhere, which wouldn’t be a good thing if you’re in a shop that’s shared by the significant other’s car.

On the other hand, it’s probably a good ten times faster than a band saw.

What do you think?  Let us know in comments.

 

13 Responses to Hot or Not? Metal Chop Saws For Home Shop Use

  1. Tom says:

    We have one in our scene shop and it comes in handy for cutting all types of metal stock. We have a Porter Cable, but you can get one from HF for under $100 for the occasional use if you have the need. They are cleaner then trying to use an angle grinder, or sawzall.

  2. DaleC says:

    I use one of the HF one’s with a dewalt blade in my home garage for metal projects. When cutting, I place it in the driveway and shoot the sparks to the edge of the drvieway for easy cleanup. It’s very loud.

    I’ve cut square tubing, angle iron and 2.5″ exhaust tubing for welding. In order to make a square cut with the cheap HF saw, you must not press too hard. Flat bar stock is difficult/time consuming. If you are cutting something that is really too large for a 4.5″ cut-off wheel to handle, and doing it more than once, I would buy one of these. It’s always in my way, or taking up space on a shelf, but when I need it, I really need it.

  3. Steve Thompson says:

    I have an inexpensive HF saw as well. They’re 85 bucks right now, but I think I got mine on sale for a lot less – hence I didn’t feel bad about buying a little-used tool. That said, once I had it, and bought a 110v welder I find this tool essential. Most of the welding I end up doing involves mitre cuts, or at least square cuts – usually in square tube stock – and I don’t know how I would do it without this tool.

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=44829

  4. Piett says:

    I would avoid using one of these indoors at all costs. Too noisy and they leave bits of metal and cut-off wheel all over the place.

    Compared to using a 4.5″ cut-off on a grinder they are great, much more precision.

    Not good for taking off small amounts of material though. In those cases the blade will wander away from the intended cut line off to where there is less material and the cut ends up angled.

    Still if you are cutting tubing, pipe or narrow stock with straight cuts these are hot.

  5. Eric G. says:

    Hot. I do not have a band saw so making cuts in metal bar or tube that are _square_, having one of these is essential.

  6. dlone says:

    I have one of the HF models, and mostly it works OK, but I’m wondering if anyone has good or bad experience with different brands of blades. I’m guessing that some may be more accurate than others. Any suggestions?

  7. olderty says:

    Aren’t there water (or some liquid) based models? Like a tile saw? I’ve seen those… I’m sure they keep down the debris.

  8. james b says:

    I use the HF version with a Dewalt blade, and like it (HOT).

    I keep it in a metal lined corner of the garage, and wear hearing, eye and face protection, heavy gloves, and a leather apron when I use it. It still throws sparks down the back of my shirt sometimes. But it cuts fast compared to my horizontal band saw, and cuts straight if I don’t push so hard the blade deflects. It definitely needs to stay away from sawdust, but it is right next to where I weld, so it is an area that I expect hot sparks to fly around.

  9. Bill says:

    I like DaleC’s point of using the CS outside, I’ve seen a charging battery explode when someone just made a “quick cut” in a busy garage shop. “Cold saws”
    can make very accurate cuts at 10x+ the cost.

  10. Don says:

    I have a cheap Ryobi in my shop and it has been very helpful. Thankfully the mess isn’t a big deal because my signifigant other doesn’t park her car in the shop. The mess does seem to be directly behind the saw so a sheild would probably work pretty well. One problem I have with my saw is that square tubing or angle iron seems to stall when the cut reaches the bottom, flat edge of the metal. Is that normal? I usally have to reset the metal peice to finish the cut. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Also, could these comments be changed so that replys could be directly under the original comment. Thanks friends.

  11. Weldo says:

    Hot, hot, hot. I have two. A little 6″ model that was $35 at HF that I got when I was reallly poor. Once I had a little more income I ‘upgraded’ to the full sized HF model. Though I don’t see either model on the website they’re very quick and I feel accuracy is pretty darned good.

    I keep some paperboard (like what cereal boxes are made of) over a set of welding magnets behind them to catch the debris. That way you just peel off the paperboard and let the filings fall into the trash.

  12. DaleC says:

    Don, regarding your question about the cut stalling when it reaches the flat bottom of angle iron or square tubing, this is exactly what I meant in my original post about flat stock not working too well unless you turn it up on end. When it reaches this flat portion of the cut, it’s no longer focusing the energy on a narrow portion of the metal, but rather spreading the cutting area over the face of the stock you are cutting. Pushing harder will only deflect your blade and cause it to get hotter. I have found that being patient, or turning the stock on edge works best.

  13. Clinton says:

    I’ve cut flat stock and solid bar with a chop saw. When doing big cuts I clamp the piece down really well lower the blade and bungie cord the handle to the table then let it sit there and chew at it for awhile. If the saw blade it making contact with alot of surface area the feed needs to slow down. Works great if you’re not in a hurry. Just don’t go too far. I wouldn’t leave that beast unattended in case it stalls.

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