Should a table saw not be used to cut metal?


  #1  
Old 05-08-22, 05:28 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 1,019
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
Should a table saw not be used to cut metal?

I was talking to one of the assistants to help me decide which table saw to purchase and he was insistent that one should not use a table saw to cut metal (even with a metal cutting blade). There is a risk of the blade shattering. Is this true?
 
  #2  
Old 05-08-22, 05:38 PM
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 29,250
Received 1,528 Votes on 1,372 Posts
Well, you would need to read the owners manual to see what the particular saw manufacturer says about it. And it depends on what this "metal" is, and how thick it is. Either way, you "can" do it but if the metal is very thick, its going to be pretty hard on the saw. The blade shattering is nonsense as long as the blade is rated for the correct rpms that the saw generates. You get the right blade for the right material.
 
  #3  
Old 05-08-22, 06:18 PM
H
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 2,441
Received 250 Votes on 216 Posts
It's mostly about feed rate and bearing strength.
If you have a metal cutting blade, on a basic, almost underpowered table saw, you might have the bearings shatter.

An example from my retired machinist uncle- once upon a time, their division got a large Dept. of Defense order which required running LOTS of material through abrasive wire brushes on lathe mounts.

When the 'new guys" amped up the feed rate too much and burned out the bearings on some expensive turret lathes, a (non engineer) Dept.head from accounting announced they would finish the order by mounting wire brushes in drill presses and using those.
My uncle calmly, but firmly explained how the bearings in drill presses are only strong "UP-DOWN" when drilling, applying torque side-to side to the bearings where they have minimal rigidity would burn them out as well.
So, TLDR, the accountant burned almost every bearing in the shop to get the double-overtime rate DOD project through. And then the shop was down for 6 weeks while they waited for repair parts to fix everything. Accounting scheduled 3 weeks for installing everything, but uncle had wisely scheduled his paid vacation to occur right around the time when accounting had to explain why the shop floor was out of commission.
 
Norm201 voted this post useful.
  #4  
Old 05-08-22, 10:16 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 70,089
Received 2,956 Votes on 2,667 Posts
More information would be helpful.
What kind of metal ?
Will you be cutting a lot of metal ?

I'd be wary of a table saw getting full of metal cuttings.
 
  #5  
Old 05-09-22, 01:10 AM
Marq1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA MI
Posts: 9,488
Received 948 Votes on 861 Posts
Go look at any metal shop in the country, nobody uses a table saw to cut metal. Could it, possibly, but if you need to cut metal and your looking for a tool I would not be looking at a table saw, it's going to eventually ruin it.
 
  #6  
Old 05-09-22, 02:04 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 49,240
Received 674 Votes on 597 Posts
Everytime I've bought metal cut to fit they used a bandsaw to cut it.
 
  #7  
Old 05-09-22, 03:22 AM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 10,234
Received 65 Votes on 60 Posts
In fabrication shops aluminum is often cut on a table saw so it might
be able to cut some types of types of thin steel but not without risk.
My biggest concern is that it would be difficult to remove 100% of the sawdust in it so as not to be a fire hazzard.
Also the saw may not be able to withstand the heat generated that did not occur when cutting wood.
 
  #8  
Old 05-09-22, 09:23 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 1,019
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
My original plan was to use a table saw with a metal blade to make a 5/8" cut into a steel bar that is 3/16" thick. The thickness of the cut was going to be 3/16" so I would pair up two 3/32" blades to make the 3/16" thick cut.

The saw I was looking at was:
10 in., 15 Amp Compact Jobsite Table Saw with Rack and Pinion Fence (harborfreight.com)

This is the blade I was going to use:


and this is the notch I was going to cut



 
  #9  
Old 05-09-22, 09:45 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 70,089
Received 2,956 Votes on 2,667 Posts
What you're showing is an angle grinder disc. An angle grinder may be all you need.
angle grinders
 
  #10  
Old 05-09-22, 10:44 AM
C
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,304
Received 225 Votes on 183 Posts
The table saw is usually the most valuable tool in a shop at least from a usage standpoint. There is no way I would ever cut metal on my table saw.

IMO the best way to cut anything thicker than sheet metal metal is a bandsaw.
 
  #11  
Old 05-09-22, 11:31 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 1,019
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
An angle grinder is not as clean/accurate as I'd like since i have to hold it by hand instead of laying it on a table and pushing it into the blade.
The bandsaw blades are too skinny so the size of the cut won't be 3/16"
 
  #12  
Old 05-09-22, 01:48 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 70,089
Received 2,956 Votes on 2,667 Posts
Then you're pretty set on using a table saw. Use it for metal cutting but be aware it won't last as long as intended and I would severely doubt you'd have any mfg warranty. Steel is tough to cut.
 
  #13  
Old 05-09-22, 02:02 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 1,019
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
I wouldn't say I'm set on using a table saw.
I feel the cut will be more accurate if I move the bar into the blade instead of having to measure/adjust/measure/repeat in order to set the bar accurately and have the blade come into the bar.
I figured the table saw is essentially the same as the chop saw but in a different format.but it seems like the motor of a table saw is weaker and the metal cutting strains it more.
I thought about a wet saw with a sliding table but then I have to prep the whole room to account for the splashing water.
Maybe the only way is to figure out how to make a table and mount an angle grinder to it upside down and then slide the bar into the blade of the angle grinder?
 
  #14  
Old 05-09-22, 03:58 PM
C
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,304
Received 225 Votes on 183 Posts
You are way over thinking this. Consider taking the bar to a local machine shop. My guess $20 and you're done. Another option, use an angle grinder and clamp the stock in a vise instead of trying to hold it in your hand. .
 
  #15  
Old 05-09-22, 04:19 PM
Norm201's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 11,413
Received 594 Votes on 531 Posts
How many cuts do you need to make? If it's just this once, then it's worth using the table saw with the proper blade.
 
  #16  
Old 05-10-22, 09:37 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 1,019
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
I actually am planning on doing this same cut (same bar thickness, same depth of cut, but different length bars) multiple times per day since it's a component of a product I'm trying to sell so the machine shop isn't a good option due to transportation/wait/cost. The only solution so far is to mount a circular saw upside down, I guess that not too hard, just an extra couple steps
 
  #17  
Old 05-10-22, 09:50 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 1,019
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
I was looking at something like this:
Milwaukee 15 Amp 8 in. Metal Cutting Circular Saw 6370-21 (homedepot.com)

But there's not much selection on type or width of blades so in conclusion I'm going to have to learn how to accurately determine the blade cut location wrt the bar on my chop saw
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: