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Trip

Time for a new shop saw... Have no idea which would be best

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hey everyone.

 

So I've been pretty busy in the shop blacksmithing, welding, and building new shop tools and equipment. I'm gearing up the shop to go from light duty blacksmithing and welding to tool, and equipment building. one of the steps i'm taking is getting a new metal saw for the shop.

 

I currently have a Black Bull 4.5" bandsaw, and have had it for 4 years. It has been a great saw, but I have had to jerry rig parts, and now the motor is now over heating and is making a weird noise.

 

I am looking at 3 different types of saws the Dewalt DW872 multi cutter, abrasive chop saw, and a larger band saw.

 

I will be cutting small stock metal (1/4", 3/8",1/2", 3/4" round and square stock),  larger tool steel (3" round is the biggest I see cutting), and pipe steel.

 

Now I cant be spending no 1K on a saw of any kind, just can't afford that.  I would like to stay around the $500.00 range, but would stretch to $800.00

 

Trip

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If you've used a bandsaw and liked it that is probably the best option. Bandsaws and hired help don't mix. It's nice to have an abrasive saw to cut alloy steel but hard to get any decent precision.

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Greetings Trip,

 

I have several saws ..  My favorite is a Roll In Vertical band saw...  Too picey for you...  What I consider the best combination is an abrasive drop saw as you suggested AND a deep throat porta band...  The porta band is the greatest tool and I use it daily .. The abrasive saw is very handy for cutting unknown steel that might be hardened..  You can buy or make up a vertical stand for the porta band which is table mounted and is again handy...  Good luck with your purchase... 

 

Forge on and make beautiful things

Jim

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With a band saw you will not be able to efficiently cut 1/4" round then cut 3" with the same blade. You need a very high number tooth per inch blade to properly cut small stock and need a blade with few teeth per inch to cut large stock. You can use a middle range blade but not the best option. I do not cut single pieces of 1/4 bar on my horizontal saw. It's much to easy to strip off blade teeth. I generally just such things with a hand hack saw or abrasive saw. I draw the line at 3/8 round, anything bigger gets cut on a horizontal saw, smaller does not. I most often cut stock 1/2 sq or larger.

Maybe get a good abrasive saw for little stock and hardened metals, then a horizontal bandsaw for the larger stuff.

Good luck

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I have two sugestions for you. The first if the majority of what you will be doing it the 3/4" and under you could get a large manual bar shear. They will be the fastest in the sizes you listed and require no motor. Something like an Edwards #5 shear or larger. They can be found used for $200 or less. They are not listed on Edwards site but you can still buy them new for $875. The second if you will be cutting much of the larger size listed and pipe an old power hacksaw would work well. Power hacksaws are heavy, ridged, cut square, and inexpensive; also around the $200 mark. They also cut slowly compared to a bandsaw so not that good for a production environment. They do self feed and shutoff after the cut so you can do other stuff while it cuts.

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Something like this may be a part of your solution.  It the cuts  stock up to 5/8" round, when a clean saw cut is not really needed.  I use mine for cuts of stock which will be forged.   This and a used horizontal band saw for cutting larger stock are a good combination.  

 

The only reason that I have an abrasive saw is to cut hardened tool steel that I do not intend to forge.  I consider them dangerous both from the dust that they produce and the potential for the blade to diintegrate.  So I seldom use mine.  

 

http://www.waresdirect.com/products/Commercial-Products/Jet/Rebar-Cutter252641?trackURL=froogle&gclid=CLnm7-qOs70CFYt9OgodZU4AUA

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I have two sugestions for you. The first if the majority of what you will be doing it the 3/4" and under you could get a large manual bar shear. They will be the fastest in the sizes you listed and require no motor. Something like an Edwards #5 shear or larger. They can be found used for $200 or less. They are not listed on Edwards site but you can still buy them new for $875. The second if you will be cutting much of the larger size listed and pipe an old power hacksaw would work well. Power hacksaws are heavy, ridged, cut square, and inexpensive; also around the $200 mark. They also cut slowly compared to a bandsaw so not that good for a production environment. They do self feed and shutoff after the cut so you can do other stuff while it cuts.

 

I just sold an Edwards no.5 for $285  They are great tools.  I sold mine because they are heavy/ non portable and my new shop is much to small to accomodate all of the tools that I have.   That shear really needs to be bolted down in a dedicated location and have clearance in front for the lever arc as well as side clearance for long bar stock.  If you have space they are a good choice.

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You might consider a quality hand operated bandsaw. There are companies that make components to put your saw in. One to make it work as a horizontal saw and another to make it work as a vertical saw. I bought one for a vertical saw off of EBay some years ago for my Millwakee and I still use it today even though I have bigger saws. It all would fit in your budget I think?

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Greetings,

 

Hey Harold I guess great minds ECT ECT..  I just said that...  

 

Forge on and make beautiful things

Jim

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Portaband or similar gets my vote as well.  I've found the Milwaukee to be xxxx near bulletproof.  After the tig welder it's the most used fabrication tool in my shop.  Don't buy the Home Depot/walmart version, they have cheaper internal parts.  Buy from a reputable industrial tool seller. 

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Hi I have a Jet band saw which I have cut up to 6" round on works great but what I use most is a Steelmax  Cold cut saw no smell like chop saw beautiful clean cut & fast I quite often cut up to 2" square with it. I've had it for 7 or 8 years paid about $550 for it supposed to get about 1200 cuts per blade, I've replaced 2 blades in 8 years @ $90 each. John

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The DeWalt is a very good saw on channel and tube and angle, not so much on larger solid stock. But be advised that it is 15 Amp, and like most serious shop tools does better on a dedicated 15 amp or 20 amp circuit. If you use multiple outlets on a circuit, or a small wire welder, you need to talk to an electrician about an upgrade over standard household breakers and outlets.

 

A port-a-band or similar is the most versatile option. Blades are relatively cheap and available compared to the DeWalt.

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Hey yall

 

Thanks for all the info. 

I like the idea of a porta bandsaw, but I need something that will cut straight miter cuts for my fabricating work

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Hey yall

 

Thanks for all the info. 

I like the idea of a porta bandsaw, but I need something that will cut straight miter cuts for my fabricating work

 

What are you fabricating that requires a miter joint ?  Is ther one particular typ of material, such as angle iron, or several different variatons of that joint type ?

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Hey yall
 
Thanks for all the info. 
I like the idea of a porta bandsaw, but I need something that will cut straight miter cuts for my fabricating work


If you buy a horizontal holder it will make beautiful cuts. I wish I could post links form you to see. My computer skills are still some what limited.

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What are you fabricating that requires a miter joint ?  Is ther one particular typ of material, such as angle iron, or several different variatons of that joint type ?

Mostly stuff for the farm. Mostly pipe steel.  I'm also having a issue with straight cuts. my saw keeps cutting at a slant, so when I am welding table legs, the tend to lean to much to one side, and mess me up at times.

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I think you are going to have a very hard time making any entry level type band saw give you good straight cuts for doing things like the table legs you mentioned. The guides and frames are not ridged enough to keep the blade tensioned and square. The blade tracking guides are rarely square to begin with. They are really meant to be used for cutting stock to length which then would have further operations like facing in a lathe or mill to get it square and to the correct size. There are several sites dedicated to these types of saws and how to tune them to make good cuts. A Google search for tuning a 4x6 bandsaw will yield some results showing what can be done to improve them.

 

If you are looking to upgrade you Black Bull bandsaw I hardly see how a portaband will help. It seems to me to be the completely opposite direction on how to cut structural steel and pipe at accurate angles. If that is your goal and you want to stay with a bandsaw you will need to look for something like a used Ellis or other industrial saw.

 

Another option, in addition to the two I have already listed, would be a dry cut cold saw. They are in the $500 - $600 range and can make good miter cuts. If used sparingly for things that need cut accurately the blade should last a long time. Use in conjunction with your current bandsaw for stock cutoff would make a good combination.

 

I have a power hacksaw and bought is to replace the cheap 4x6 bandsaw I started out with. For me it has been very usefull. I cut all my large stock and anything that needs and accurate cut with it. It is slow but makes a very good cut. The blades for it are much thicker than a bandsaw blade and held under a high tension. This combined with the large powerful table clamp make for an accurate cut. Another thing I like about it is that the blades are inexpensive and can be changed quickly so is make using the correct blade much easier than on the bandsaw. For bar stock smaller than 3/4” I use a bar sheer.

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I think you are going to have a very hard time making any entry level type band saw give you good straight cuts for doing things like the table legs you mentioned. The guides and frames are not ridged enough to keep the blade tensioned and square. The blade tracking guides are rarely square to begin with. They are really meant to be used for cutting stock to length which then would have further operations like facing in a lathe or mill to get it square and to the correct size. There are several sites dedicated to these types of saws and how to tune them to make good cuts. A Google search for tuning a 4x6 bandsaw will yield some results showing what can be done to improve them.

 

If you are looking to upgrade you Black Bull bandsaw I hardly see how a portaband will help. It seems to me to be the completely opposite direction on how to cut structural steel and pipe at accurate angles. If that is your goal and you want to stay with a bandsaw you will need to look for something like a used Ellis or other industrial saw.

 

Another option, in addition to the two I have already listed, would be a dry cut cold saw. They are in the $500 - $600 range and can make good miter cuts. If used sparingly for things that need cut accurately the blade should last a long time. Use in conjunction with your current bandsaw for stock cutoff would make a good combination.

 

I have a power hacksaw and bought is to replace the cheap 4x6 bandsaw I started out with. For me it has been very usefull. I cut all my large stock and anything that needs and accurate cut with it. It is slow but makes a very good cut. The blades for it are much thicker than a bandsaw blade and held under a high tension. This combined with the large powerful table clamp make for an accurate cut. Another thing I like about it is that the blades are inexpensive and can be changed quickly so is make using the correct blade much easier than on the bandsaw. For bar stock smaller than 3/4” I use a bar sheer.

I was kinda thinking the same thing on the porta bandsaw

 

I found a Ramco RS90P  bandsaw on Craigslist for $850. Are these good saws?  I will know after today if this will be a option for me (waiting to see how I'm gonna fare on taxes  :blink:

 

I am also looking at the hand sheers for the smaller rod stock.  I found one on ebay I kinda like http://www.ebay.com/itm/12-HAND-SHEAR-Cutter-Cutting-Sheet-Metal-Steel-Plastic-Brass-FREE-SHIPPING/360884732332?_trksid=p2050601.c100085.m2372&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140211132617%26meid%3D5877141190998607082%26pid%3D100085%26prg%3D20140211132617%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D360884732332%26clkid%3D5877143995777722567&_qi=RTM1562569

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I was kinda thinking the same thing on the porta bandsaw

 

I found a Ramco RS90P  bandsaw on Craigslist for $850. Are these good saws?  I will know after today if this will be a option for me (waiting to see how I'm gonna fare on taxes  :blink:

 

I am also looking at the hand sheers for the smaller rod stock.  I found one on ebay I kinda like http://www.ebay.com/itm/12-HAND-SHEAR-Cutter-Cutting-Sheet-Metal-Steel-Plastic-Brass-FREE-SHIPPING/360884732332?_trksid=p2050601.c100085.m2372&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140211132617%26meid%3D5877141190998607082%26pid%3D100085%26prg%3D20140211132617%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D360884732332%26clkid%3D5877143995777722567&_qi=RTM1562569

 

The title line for that shear says it is for metal sheet.    I doubt that it would work for bar stock .  Look for a concrete reinforcing bar cutters and just look at the difference in construction.

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It says 1/2" capacity rod in the details.

 

Grizzly has one that lists up to 1/2" rod for $89.00. https://www.grizzly.com/products/T23100 I'm not sure I'd trust either to work at maximum capacity for long but the Grizzly one will probably have better customer support for blades and returns.

 

If you want this style of shear I would look for used Roper Whitney #39 bench shear. You could probably find one for what you will pay for one of the new import modles.

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I mostly use a cutting off saw with a SHSS blade for up to 4" box and tube as well as small solid stuff, have a power hacksaw for heavy stuff, an abrasive saw for hard stuff

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All of the above are best for different cuts.  You need to decide what type of cuts you will be doing most and what the ends of your stock needs to look like. 

 

I really like my dry cut saw for quick cuts in 5/8" and under.  It leaves a really nice clean cut and would probably work well for pipe and tubing as well but I have not cut a lot of that since I go this saw.  I also use it for some miter cuts in 1x1.5" solid bar which it does not cut efficiently but the clean cut which is a finished surface makes it worthwhile.  The vise which is similar to the vise on an abrasive chop saw is terrible for cutting miters.  For the mitering I use it for I actually don't use the vice I have a fixture that mounts to the vice jaw.  If I had the room I would set it up mounted in a table with a rear fence with a moveable stop.

 

The abrasive chop saw is a horrible tool but if you are hard or potentially hard material it is the way to go.  Mine sits on the shelf most of the time but is the only way to go for the odd job.

 

I bought my big industrial bandsaw used for only $500  and it is THE tool for cutting 1" and up and I can cut multiple bars at the same time but it is slow to set up and the factory stop is not that accurate and difficult to set.

 

I don't have a shear apart from a pair of bolt cutters and a scissor cutter which I both use to cut bars 3/8and under if the end condition is not important.  The bevels on the end do make a nice end for welding penetration.   A shear usually distorts the end of the bar somewhat but is often the fastest cut.

 

The roll in saw mentioned above has a lot of versatility and while not as good for production as a horizontal saw it more than makes up for in versatility.

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You just can't beat a good used industrial horizontal bandsaw for general fabricating. 

 

Some good names; Kalamazoo (the best) Wells, Johnson, Ellis. 

 

Some "good" machines have come out of Taiwan with the Dayton tag on them. 

 

I wouldn't take a Grizzly anything for free but that is just the proud American in me. (I know the Taiwan is OK but not the Grizzly, what can I say?)

 

A Marvel Roll in is the ultimate saw, but too big for a farm shop and usually very expensive unless very worn, in which case it will be very expensive (to repair). 

 

 

Nothing wrong with a Power Hacksaw either, just no longer a production tool. 

 

I have a very old Marvel #1, I can't quit it, even though I also have a large modern wet Kalamazoo. 

 

Don't disdain the 4x6 Taiwans too much either. It takes very little work to make them cut true; sometimes as little as 1 washer slipped in somewhere, 

though more than once I have gotten one out of a dumpster and had to recut the wheels to keep them from casting the blade off. 

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