By: Gord Thorogood
There are a number of saws on the market today with similar configurations but each is used for an entirely different task.
The most common is the mitre saw which uses a blade of either carbon steel or carbide with a positive hook that draws the material or carbide into the teeth and usually rotates at around 5000 RPM.This is a wood cutting machine exclusively.
The abrasive wheel or chopsaw usually has the arm supported at each end for more rigidity, and the moving parts are protected from the cuttings and abrasive particles. This unit will have a vise to hold the material being cut and will also be less vulnerable to damage due to its simplicity. The abrasive saw will run in the 4000 RPM range for a 12" model. This machine is for ferrous metal only.
There are now low priced hand feed cold saws on the market that are true metal cutting machines. These units utilise carbide blades with neutral or negative rake and will operate in the 1000-1500 RPM range. They operate using a milling machine style of cutting which generates a chip rather than a wood cutting style of cutting which generates saw dust.
The chip will come out cold when running at this speed and also the depth of cut is controlled because the tooth configuration will not pull the material in causing damage to the material and the blade. This machine is for mild ferrous material and non ferrous.
Pick the right tool for the task at hand and the results will be most gratifying.
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