Table saw is a cutting tool in the construction industry. It is widely used in woodworking. But it can be used in metalworking also. We need additional tools for cutting the metal when we use the table saw. So let’s see all in detail about Can a table saw cut metals with suitable methods, tools, and Tips?. So let’s keep reading until the end.
Generally, you can use the chip cutting method to cut the metal using a table saw. As a saw blade, you should use HSS or tungsten carbide saw blade with low RPM and feeding rate. Maintain the safe blade height of 5mm above the workpiece and wear suitable safety equipment.
Using a table saw is always provides higher accuracy and a proper cutting path. So when you cut the metal using the table saw, you must follow below essential steps to success the process. Let me explain step by step.
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Step 01 – Select the Best Cutting Method
When you cut the metal using the table saw, you must know the best and most efficient cutting method for the metal you will be cut. We can categorize two types of cutting methods such as chips cutting and grinding cutting (abrasion cutting)
Chip Cutting Method
This is very common in wood cutting. Normally, we can see teeth in this saw blade. We can separately identify the teeth. These teeth are made with carbide or diamond powders. The chip cutting method is efficient with considering the abrasion method. It will generate the minimum heat while cutting and higher efficiency.
So let’s see what are the advantages of using the chip cutting method.
- Low heat genaration
- No splintering at the edge
- Smooth surface
- No scorching marks
Some blades are available for both the wood and metal cutting process. So I can highly recommend buying that kind of saw blade for durability and efficiency tasks.
Read More About – 11 Reasons: Why is My Table Saw Not Cutting Smoothly?
Grinding Cutting Method (Abrasion)
This is widely used in angle grinders and chop saws. There are no teeth in the saw blade, and the continuous rim has powered by the microparticles. When the blade touches the surface, it can abrade the surface again and again. The final result is making the cutting path on the material. This method produces a lot of heat, but it is really cheap. If the metal is painted with any paint, that can be melted due to heat generation. As well as we can see scorching marks due to the abrasion and heating.
You can see splintering (chips) at the cutting edge, and we have to clear them.
When we consider both, abrasions is really cheap, but their quality is less. But the chip cutting method is expensive due to blade cost, but it is high quality.
Abrasion blades are highly compatible with small size metal bars and plates.
Step 02 – Choose the Proper Table Saw
A proper table saw is a combination of many specifications. It depends on the task we do. If metal cutting is our regular task, we should invest for that. Because it is really important for our daily task.
When we work with metals, we have to use low cutting speed. Because a higher cutting speed will kill the carbide, saw blade. So use lower RPM when you work with metal.
Some metal cutting table saws are with coolent facilities. Those are really used in the industrial level. Not for the DIYs. When you select the table, saw for metal, make sure to have many of the below factors
- Sufficient bed space – For handle the workpiece (most are portable with lots of parts to be adopt)
- Sufficient blade height – Blade shold be higher than workpiece to cut the material. So check what is the blade hight you need to choose accoridng to work piece.
- Dust/Chips removing method – Chips are debries of the cutting process. So these should remove quickly when you are cutting.
- Sparks barrier – This is really important for the abrasion blades. You can see there is a grinding fire/sparkle when you grind or cut something using the abrasion blade. When you use the table saw, it is closer to the face. So we can expect more damage. Hence look for the sparkle barrer. You can make it using transparent plastic.
Step 03 – Select Proper Table Saw Blade
Table saw blades should be matched according to the metal you are going to cut. Normally there are two types of metals. Ferrous and Non ferrous. Ferrus is difficult to cut, and non-ferrous is easy to cut. Because non-ferrous is mostly used with mixing with other materials. So it is easy to cut. (Ex-Aluminum)
Steel is made by combining carbon, and it will add more strength to the material. So you will need more strength saw blade. But aluminum is really lightweight and easy to cut.
When nails are cut using a table saw by accident, the saw blade will dull because of the steel. But if you use HSS or carbide saw blade you can cut both without any problem.
When you select the table saw blade, you should know these things.
- The deep cuts and soft material require fewer teeth and stonger teeth.
- Thin material requires fewer teeth
- Hard material require more teeth
- Rake Angles
1. On centre for iron and steel
2. 5° negative for yellow brass
3. 5° to 10° positive for other soft materials
- At least 2 teeth need for the cut
- You can increase the Number of teeth for
- Thin material
- Thin cuts
- Hard material
- Sandy castings
- Thin Castings
- Work Hardned
- Hard spots
- You can decrease the Number of teeth for
- Deep cuts
- High Speeds
- Free cutting material
- For chip clearance
Step 04 – Set the Suitable Angles
You can cut many angles using the table saw. You can cut both horizontal and vertical angles using the table saw. The workpiece can be clamped tightly, and we can always expect the perfect cutting path with high accuracy.
But there are some consequences in this step. If we use a steel bar 10 feet in length, we will not be able to clamp on the table saw. So we have found an alternative tool for such that world. So it is better to use the chop saw if you have such a job.
Table saw is really good for small-type projects. Because the workpiece can handle easily.
Step 05 – Set the Blade Height and Speed
This highly affects the surface finish and safety of the user. So let’s see how these affect to safety.
Table saw blade height should be kept safely. Because if the blade is higher, it can remove our hand if any mistake happens. But if you keep 5mm above the workpiece you can use the table saw with the workpiece safely. So do not use the saw blade too much high. If you use wood, there are ways according to the grains. In steel, there is no grain, so we should use it with a higher safety level.
Read More About – How High Your Table Saw Blade Should Be
RPM and Feeding
Speed can be explained in two ways. It is RPM and Feeding speed. Both are highly affected by the surface finishing. When the RPM is high we can have a smooth surface without any saw paths. We can see tears or splinterings in the metal cutting due to RPM and feeding.
You can use the below feeding rate when you use HSS and Carbide saws.
- For HSS saws (Wood) Source
(in. per tooth – IPT or chip load per tooth – CLPT)
- For Carbide Saws (Metal)
(in. per tooth – IPT or chip load per tooth – CLPT)
According to the hardness of the material is increased its feed rate and RPM should be reduced for the safe cutting process. So you had better check the Cutting Recommendation for the circular Saw.
Step 06 – Set Up the Safety
Safety is really important when you cut the metal using the table saw. When we work using the table saw it is really close to the face. So face can be damaged due to sparks and chips. In order to avoid this, you have to prepare the spark covering, as we can see in the workpiece. You can use the transparent fiber plate and attach it to the area you need by doing DIYs.
You must follow below safety steps to cut the material
- Use goggles to protect from sparks and chips
- Use aprons to protect from chips
- Don’t use loose gloves – If the gloves touch the blade, it will quickly pull the hand and cause more damage to the hand. So Don’t use gloves when you operate the table saw.
- USe Kickback This is common for the table saws. So use the kickback.
Table saws are dangerous. But you can use it in a safe way.
Step 07 – Cut the Work Piece Using Table Saw.
- After you follow all the above steps, you have to cut the workpiece. Follow the safety methods with suitable RPM and feeding rate. Do not use high RPM and high feeding rates.
- For the smooth cutting process, use a low Feed rate with low RPM.
- Be careful with the sparks if you use the abrasion saw blade.
Step 08 – Finishing
After you finish the cutting process, you should clean the edge if there is any splinterings. So don’t use your hand for that work and use a grinder. If you cut the metal properly, you can see a nice surface with a proper cutting path.
After cutting is over, remember to clean the table saw.