Cutting 316 Stainless Steel

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andyh747

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Hi,

I'm looking for some advice in purchasing a chop saw for cutting stainless steel. I've looked at a few metal cold chop saws but haven't found anything which will cut 316 stainless steel. The Evolution Evosaw 355 looks a decent well priced metal chop saw but their stainless steel cutting blade only cuts lower grade stainless steel and won't cut 316 according to the manufacturers.

Anyone any advice on suitable cutting discs? I'd like to avoid abrasive cutters if possible due to the sparks and dust.
 

10K Pete

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I've been working sstl for 50 years and never heard of any saw, band or circular, that wouldn't cut 316 right now. Same for abrasives. There are grinding wheels optimized for sstl but the others cut well also.

I'd take another run at those suppliers.....

Pete
 

bazmak

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If you are cutting small or thin wall sections then abrasive is the way to go
Chop saws or cold cut saws work ok for bigger sections.Bandsaws are good but
soon lose their edge so it becomes expensive.Depends how much Ss yu have to cut.Do not think there would be much difference between 304 and 316 etc
only the price
 

DJP

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My experience with cutting 316 is that it will harden if too much heat is generated. Slow and steady cutting under constant pressure works best for cutting a drilling. A bi-metal band saw running at slow speed has cut a lot of 316 for me.
 

jayville

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Abrasive wheels will cut stainless ok,don't press too hard as they tend to glaze up on s.s,either type will cut but the Ones marked suitable for s.s won't leave rust marks on other equipment nearby if they happen to be sprayed with grit off the wheels especially if the other equipment is also s.s and it gets washed or hosed down on regular basis.i have worked in s.s fabrication industry for 52 years and this is the type that we use and only for that reason ,wheels marked m.s or s.s will both do the job that you require no difference in cutting.....clem
 

jayville

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Andy...just another note,I have worked in s.s industry for many years,mostly tube and pipe and also do a lot of fabrication at home ,I had 2 drop/ chops saws ,I got rid of them years ago,noisy ,dirty and don't cut that accurate got my self a small hand operated bandsaw with trigger on the handle and variable speed ,have never looked back I can cut 75 mm dia 316 quite easily,also m.s,brass bronze,,aluminiumand anything else even pvc pipe,the secret with s.s is slow and easy and a squirt bottle of cutting oil you can't cut many materials other than m.s or s.s with a chop saw and they arn,t much quicker than the bandsaw have a good think about what else you may want to cut in the future.cheers clem
 

Picko

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Hey Jay
Have you got a photo or a link to of your saw. Sorry Andy.

John
 

jayville

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Picko...look up hafco BS-5V I've had one of these for about 4 years done thousands of cuts,blade it came with was ok but I use bimetallic blades,sorry for interrupting your thread Andy..cheers clem
 

andyh747

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Thanks all for the replies and information, very much appreciated.

I won't be doing a huge amount of cutting of SS but want accurate cuts when I do. I've been mostly cutting 2mm wall box section around 25x25mm. Not big I know and I've previously used an angle grinder with metal cutoff wheel. Works ok but not the most accurate. I was hoping to use a chop saw like the Evolution or the Makita for accuracy and ease of use combined with the fact I could use it for other metals etc. I already have a mitre saw which I use for wood but wanted to see if anyone had recommendations for a good metal chop saw.

I've just finished building a new workshop and will be adding to my list of machines over time. All DIY and hobby work. A band saw also sounds appealing but wasn't sure whether these would eat through blades quicker and wasn't sure what else I'd use a band saw for.

Here's a link to the Evolution:
http://www.evolutionpowertools.com/uk/steel/evosaw355.php

And the Makita:
http://www.makitauk.com/products/saws/cut-off-saws/chop-saws/lc1230-305mm-cut-off-saw.html

I'll have a look at the mentioned band saw but if anyone has anymore input keep it coming.

Thanks again.
 

Blogwitch

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I have the same one as Jayville but under a different name.

They are a little pricey compared to the normal workshop bandsaws on stand and wheels, but it really does cut everything and very compact as well.
It came with two blades and I am still on the first after cutting everything I had to throw at it.

When eventually I will need new blades, I always buy them from Tuffsaws. Their bi-metal ones are fabulous.

http://www.tuffsaws.co.uk/

John
 

Wizard69

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Thanks all for the replies and information, very much appreciated.
Thanks for starting an interesting thread.

The primary issue with Stainless 316 is work hardening which can have a spectacular impact on cutting tools. To avoid this one needs to keep the SFPM low and the feed rate somewhat aggressive. Many cold saws simply run too fast and will eventually rub, once the tool rub you have an almost instant hardened surface.
I won't be doing a huge amount of cutting of SS but want accurate cuts when I do. I've been mostly cutting 2mm wall box section around 25x25mm.
That is a tough wall thickness to deal with as it is close to too thin for saw blades. On the other hand abrasive techniques can put a lot if heat into cuts this thick.

I have one of the basic metal bandsaws and have cut 2mm walled tubing but you have to be careful if the teeth pitch on the blade isn't fine enough. The blade can easily catch, stalling or breaking off teeth and this is in mild steel. If you expect to do a lot of tubing this thin on a band saw, id first verify that you can get very fine pitched saw blades for the saw.

A common technique on band saws to cut thin sectioned forms is to orient the walls at 45 degrees to the blade. This is easy with angle iron. With box sections you would need to rig something up.
Not big I know and I've previously used an angle grinder with metal cutoff wheel. Works ok but not the most accurate. I was hoping to use a chop saw like the Evolution or the Makita for accuracy and ease of use combined with the fact I could use it for other metals etc.
This brings up an interesting question which is more useful in the home shop, a bandsaw or a chop saw??? Personally id lean towards a band saw especially if you want to cut solids in a variety of steels.
I already have a mitre saw which I use for wood but wanted to see if anyone had recommendations for a good metal chop saw.
A wood oriented miter saw can do wonders in Aluminum with the proper blade. I have a metal cutting blade on mine right now. I wouldn't even consider using it on steel much less thin cross section stainless steel.
I've just finished building a new workshop and will be adding to my list of machines over time. All DIY and hobby work. A band saw also sounds appealing but wasn't sure whether these would eat through blades quicker and wasn't sure what else I'd use a band saw for.
Id go with a bandsaw if your intention is to do anything more than modest metal work. Consider this cutting 3/8" or 1/2" bar is pretty easy with a hacksaw when doing a one off. Do ten and a bandsaw becomes amazingly delightful. Frankly it can be the difference between putting off a project and moving forward.
Here's a link to the Evolution:
http://www.evolutionpowertools.com/uk/steel/evosaw355.php

And the Makita:
http://www.makitauk.com/products/saws/cut-off-saws/chop-saws/lc1230-305mm-cut-off-saw.html

I'll have a look at the mentioned band saw but if anyone has anymore input keep it coming.
If you are looking at bandsaws id suggest getting the bigger models over the 4x6 cut off machines. I have a Grizzly 4 x 6 and like all similar models it is bottom of the barrel. In my case i seem to be lucky in that it cuts very square leaving a surprisingly good finish. I do have Starrett blades installed.

The reason i suggest bigger is that the general quality goes up with price. The vise on the 4 x 6 leaves a lot to be desired for example. The leg assembly (stand) is a complete joke. However the unit is dirt cheap and the problems addressable.
Thanks again.

As you can see I'm biased towards a bandsaw. Im not sure where the fears about blade life come from. Think about it this way, how many teeth are there on a circular saw blade vs a bandsaw blade. If you go abrasive cut off those blades don't last long at all and perform poorly on thicker materials.

In your case you have a specific need that does require careful consideration due to the thin walls of the tubing you are using. As such id suggest a finer pitch blade than normal and fixturing the parts in the vise at 45 degrees. Your goal is to keep two teeth (ideally three) engaged in the ways at all times.
 

petertha

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A big plus for most of the Asian hobby metal cutting bandsaws is they can lop off stock in drop mode using the vise. But most are designed to also stand up. Now you screw on a table & cut out plate materials in a 2D sense which is very useful. Chop saws don't lend themselves to that. In fact if I have the table mounted, I'll just leave it on & push through up to 3/4" stock. A table means you can install a fence & now you have controlled 'slitting' ability. For many applications this might be sufficient vs. breaking out the slitting saw & going at it on the mill.
 

andyh747

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Many thanks for all the information.

It looks like a band saw is the way to go. The Grizzly looks like a US machine so I'd need to source something similar here. Axminster tools do a few machines which may be suitable. I've emailed to get some advice.

Thanks again for the guidance, really helps in making a decision:thumbup:
 

deverett

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The US Hafco is very similar to the UK available Femi.

Although a bit more expensive than the usual Asian bandsaws, they get very good reviews. They certainly are very light and are a lot more compact as well as being accurate cutters. Look at the review showing a cut of 1/2mm on steel bar.

I've managed to make room in my workshop for a bandsaw now, and I've just ordered a Femi from https://www.stakesys.co.uk/metal-cutting-bandsaws
This place was the cheapest that I found delivered, so please don't tell me you've found a cheaper place elsewhere and make me jealous!

Dave
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andyh747

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Thanks Dave, that's very helpful.

Out of interest which model did you order? I'd be interested to hear your views when you get it up and running.
 

deverett

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I ordered the ABS105. I chose that one because the blade descends automatically as it cuts. Others you have to hold the handle and pull down - at least that is what I understand!

There is a larger version with a slightly larger footprint, but I don't envisage needing to cut anything larger than 105mm diameter.

My workshop is a single garage and it was stuffed full of equipment so much so that I had to step around things to get to my machines. I've recently sold off a couple of machines to give me the floor space to get the bandsaw (with stand). As I get older, I'm less interested in hacksawing through large lumps of metal and this is a treat to myself. It could have been stored in a corner and put up on the bench when needed, but kept on the stand it is always ready for immediate use.

Dave
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andyh747

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Thanks Dave,

Looks an ideal size. Looked at the demo videos and some on YouTube as well. Hadn't heard of this make before but they appear well built.

Let me know how you get on with yours when you get it.
 

deverett

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Andy

The bandsaw has arrived and set up. I thought I would give it an easy test with a lump of 3-1/4" steel. I was quite impressed with the result.

Part way through the cut
IMG_2475 (Medium).JPG

Cut complete
IMG_2477 (Medium).JPG

The support block was so that the cut piece didn't fall down and damage the paint!

I got the sheet metal stand and it comes with the melamine chipboard, but no screws. A phone call to Stakesys and they put the screws, nuts and washers in the post straight away. The saw needs to be secured if you put it on the stand, maybe OK freestanding on the bench. It would have been better if I had put the overhang of the board at the right hand side to catch the swarf.

Dave
The Emerald Isle
 

andyh747

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Looks like a nice clean cut but I'd expect that on a new machine with new blade. Did you have to adjust much to get an accurate square cut? Anything you've noticed which you'd improve or anything not as you expected?

Many thanks for taking the time to post photos.
 
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