How to Replace Chop Saw Blades
Chop saws are the quickest, most efficient, and safest way to cut strong ferrous and non-ferrous materials and fresh, quality chop saw blades are vital to proper metal working. Cutting coarse materials puts a great strain on power tools. Most chop saws use abrasive wheels 16 inches in diameter made of aluminum oxide reinforced with fiberglass resin-bonded cloth. Wheels will be 3/32, 6/74, or 1/8 inch in thickness. The arbor for most saws is 1 inch. Chop saws have a pivoting arm on which the wheel turns in the 4,000-rpm range. Vendors use several processes for changing worn wheels.
Step 1 – Insuring Safe Removal
Before beginning any service to the chop saw, unplug the tool from the power source. This will insure that the saw cannot be powered on accidentally. Lock the tool arm securely into place to prevent possible injury while changing the wheel. Most brands of chop saw use a hex wrench or socket for changing wheels. An 8-mm socket will fit the shaft of the Makita and some other companies. Most chop saws have a wrench storage slot on the base of the tool. Dewalt has developed a Quick Change blade clamp for some of its chop saws allowing the user to change blades without extra tools.
Step 2 – Removing the Blade
Loosen and raise the safety guard on the wheel to allow full access to the spindle. Press the spindle lock lever or shaft lock on the inside of the arm to hold the wheel secure. Using the hex wrench or socket, turn the blade screw counter clockwise to loosen the bolt from the spindle. Remove the bolt, washer, outer flange, and the worn wheel. Avoid touching the rough abrasive edges to prevent injury.
Step 3 – Replacing the Wheel
Clean any grit or debris from the inner flange, spindle, washer, outer flange, and hex bolt. Check the new abrasive wheel for any defects. Insure that the wheel is rated at 4100 rpm or higher. Place the new wheel on the spindle and replace the outer flange, washer, and hex nut in the reverse order as they were removed. Tighten the hex bolt securely with the wrench or socket. Return the safety guard to its proper position and tighten the corresponding bolt. Unlock the tool arm so it is free for use.
Step 4 – Checking the Replacement
Release the spindle lock lever or shaft lock so the wheel can spin freely. Inspect the edges and check the spindle to see that the arbor is properly aligned. Plug in the chop saw and power it up. Insure that the blade spins normally. The tool is ready for use.
Power tool vendors offer a variety of choices in chop saws. Among the companies offering quality tools are Craftsman, Dewalt, Makita, Bosch, Hitachi, Ridgid, Black & Decker, Northern Industrial Tools and Ryobi. You can buy them in sizes ranging from 12 inches to 16 inches, but the most common machines use 14-inch chop saw blades.