How to Use a Chop Saw to Cut Metal | 9 Steps Tutorial

How to Use a Chop Saw to Cut Metal

Chops saws are indeed capable of cutting metal objects, so long as you use a blade that can do the job. And even at that, it will not be able to cut just any type of metal. Some common types of metals that you can cut with a chop saw are steel and aluminum. One thing to consider is that cutting metal will cause the blade to dull a lot faster than cutting softer materials such as wood.

But here, we can show you how to make your chop saw so that it can cut blades so your project or projects can be made easier.

Step 1. Buy a capable circular blade.

You should not be looking for just any new blade, but the best blade that you can find on the market that is known to cut metal. Metal blades are made out of a composite material combined with aluminum oxide. These blades are known to cut aluminum and steel as thick as ingots.

To tell if a blade is capable of cutting metal, there are marking on the package as well as the face of the blade itself to let you know that it is a metal-cutting blade. Metal cutting blades also have more teeth than blades that are just for cutting wood.

We suggest you to buy a 7 ¼-inch blade with worm drive capabilities, which provide additional torque. There are thick blades and also thin blades. If you are not aware of the difference between thick and thin blades, thin blades are better for precision cutting.

Step 2. Disconnect the chop saw from the wall outlet.

Be sure that your saw is completely turned off and no longer capable of receiving power. Pull out the power cord that is connected to the nearest AC port. There is always a chance that you could accidentally flip the power switch and turn the saw on while you are in the middle of changing the blade. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Step 3. Remove the blade guard.

Loosen the screws that are securing the blade guard with an appropriate screwdriver. Once you do this, move the blade guard aside and focus on the spindle lock.

The spindle lock is what keeps the blade in place on the spindle. This lock either is located on the front or back of the housing of the saw. It will typically be a small button. When this button is pushed in, you will know that the blade is locked. Push this button in order to release the lock.

Step 4. Take out the old blade.

Find the bolt that connects the chop saw to the blade. With a hex or Allen wrench, turn the bolt (or the nut next to it) in a clockwise motion until it becomes loose. From here, you can carefully remove the old blade and put it aside. If there is an inner washer inside the bolt, leave it be.

Step 5. Lubricate your chop saw.

While your blade is currently taken out, this gives you the opportunity to lubricate your chop saw. Lubricating your saw will allow it to keep running properly with no complications down the road. With a cloth and oil, wipe the outer and inner washers that are fastened to the blade of your chop saw. 

Step 6. Put in the new blade.

Remove your new blade from its packaging and install it with its tips facing downward. After putting the blade through the bolt put the outer washer back on and tighten it so that the blade does not move.

With your Allen wrench, tighten the bolt in a counterclockwise direction. Be sure that the blade is on tightly so that it does not shake or wobble when you turn it on the next time.

Step 7. Put back the blade guard.

Retrieve the blade guard and its screws. Screw the blade guard back in with your screwdriver, so that it can continue to protect anything from the new blade.

Step 8 (if necessary). Adjust the speed of the chop saw.

Metal cutting saws typically are just a third of the speed as the slowest woodworking saw. The speed of a typical chop saw blade is extremely fast, and this is not good for cutting metal. If there is any way that you can slow down the blade’s cutting speed, it will allow you the blade to cut nearly anything.

There are some blades where you can easily adjust the speed, while others require modifications to be made in order for the blade to spin slower than what the manufacturer has intended.

Step 9. Test the chop saw out.

With everything installed, plug the power cord back in and turn the power on to your chop saw. If it is running correctly and the blade spins with no problems, you have installed the new blade incorrectly.

If the chop saw or its blade shakes or rumbles, that means that the blade is not tight enough. You will have to turn the chop saw off again, disconnect it from the wall socket, remove the blade guard again and adjust the washers and nuts so that there is no space in between the washers and the circular blade.

Conclusion

While a chop saw can be used to cut metals, it is not the best saw you can use for this purpose. There are more powerful saws that you can buy that will be easier for cutting stronger materials. To stress once more, there are only a select number of metals that you can cut with a chop saw with the right circular blade attached.

The reason for this is that a chop saw is not designed to endure sparks that are created between two metals that are clashing together.

The only reason that we recommend using a chop saw to cut metals is that if you are tight on money and cannot afford to purchase a more capable saw at the moment.

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Garry Harris
 

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