Advice wanted on a cold saw for an Engineering workshop
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  1. #1
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    Default Advice wanted on a cold saw for an Engineering workshop

    At my employer we have a reasonably equipped Engineering machine shop. It has your typical manual mills, lathes, drill presses, saws, sheet metal equipment, TIG welder and similar. This is a prototype shop used by the engineers for building and modifying and does not have a dedicated machinist.

    The most used saw is a Morse CSM14MB metal cutting saw as shown below. It runs at 1300rpm with a 14" blade. Probably the worst thing they cut looks like a 304 stainless steel 2" x 2.5" C channel with a 0.1" thick wall. Even with lightly sprayed coolant, it super loud and they go thru blades every 1 to 20 cuts depending on the material. They also cut steel and aluminum with changing blade types as required.

    With reorganization of the building, the shop will soon have adjacent offices that will not be appreciative of loud high-pitched screeching of semi-dull blades cutting stainless.

    It seems like a cold saw might a better solution. The engineers seemed well trained on changing blades so that should not be an issue. It is low volume use so non-automation is fine. Does anyone have any recommendations on a cold saw for this type of application? Most things cut are 3" tubing or smaller. Budget is around $6-7K for a new saw. My preference would be for something that I could get replacement parts if needed.

    We will soon hopefully have the vertical and horizontal band saws working again as soon as I am finished fixing them. But the superior finish of the cold saws (or equivalent) is preferred for some applications.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails morse-saw.jpg  

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    dunno where in So-Cal you are, but you might check out Doringer, in Gardena. They make a nice line of cold saws.
    They were at one time the US importers of a German brand, Haberle, and I started dealing with them in the early 90s, as I have a Haberle I bought second hand. They then began selling their own saw. I dont know the US content, my guess is the castings may not be domestic, but they are high quality, sturdy saws, and they really know the business. 30 plus years in business, good parts and service, they will sharpen your blades and give you advice.

    One thing to consider is that Stainless requires a slower speed than mild steel. Usually cold saws are 2 speed, and you need to be clear that you want to cut stainless when you buy, so you dont get one where the "slow" speed is too fast for stainless.

    DORINGER COLD SAWS – Manufactured in the USA

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    I've got a Milwaukee cold saw, but I've never cut stainless with it. I use a bandsaw with an ordinary blade on stainless and never had a problem.

    That said, if you're tearing up blades that quickly with the cold saw, I think your technique is wrong. Don't put the blade down on a flat surface to cut it. It will just sit there and burn the cutters. Instead, re-position the work so that the blade starts on a corner. Feed it very slowly at first, then you can feed it more quickly after it starts cutting. You might try that on your stainless parts and see what happens.

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    bandsaw, band saw, band saw. If you are cutting enough material with the lowest flavor of saw (not morse, those steel bladed chop saws) a decent band saw will be fast improvement. Band saws are forgiving if you put stainless or steel or al in them - the material will be contaminated if you do not change out blade on any saw - band saws are not loud, band saws will give you a better finish than a cheap cold saw, band saws are cheap to run, band saws can cut truer than a cold saw (ok, now high end bandsaws).
    If you can keep al out of the saw maybe go with Everett abrasive saw with flood coolant. Having anyone using your cold saw is an invite for shattered blades- your budget is not enough for automated feed. at least with abrasive the blades are cheap and you can cut anything ferrous and carbide on full moons. Abrasive saws leave the best finish. Slow, but your part count doesn't seem to need the shaved seconds per cut. They are loud, not as loud as that nasty steel tooth chop saw of blazing stinging chips that you have now.

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    I have to wonder if the engineer types will use enough flood coolant to keep the blade cool. Or will they make a quick dry cut to save getting dirty or at least turn down the flow so they do not get sprayed.
    Bill D

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    I would also think a bandsaw would be more appropriate for this situation. I have 4 metal cutting saws in the shop. A horizontal bandsaw, a vertical bandsaw, a power hacksaw, and a chop/cold saw. The cold saw is by far the least used. It's loud, messy and the blades are extremely expensive compared to the other saws.

    On the other hand the horizontal bandsaw is used for everything from aluminum rounds to tool steel, with a fair amount of 316 and 304 stainless thrown in. My saw is coolant equipped, but I cut everything either dry or with stick lubricant. I hate the mess and smell of coolant, especially as it gets older. Blades for my saw run around $40.00 per copy and usually last a couple years if used properly. My go to blades for stock 3" or less in diameter are bimetal 8-12 tpi variable pitch, and 10-14 tpi variable pitch. For larger stock I use either a bimetal 5-7 tpi or a 6-10 tpi variable pitch blade.

    My horizontal bandsaw is an older Startrite H175. I doubt they're even made anymore, but there are dozens of quality similar size machines available. If you're not interested in any of the automatic features I would suggest something like an Ellis 1200, 1500, or 1600. While they do take up more room than a cold saw they are quiet, cut quickly, and are easy to operate. Several fabrication shops in our area have had 1600 or 1800 models for many years with no problems. One shop close by has had a 1600 for over 20 years. They cut everything imaginable from thin wall tube to I beams. The saw doesn't care, it just cuts away.

    Ellis Mitre Band Saws - Ellis Mfg, Inc.

    If I needed a new machine my first choice would be an Ellis 1600. I wasn't in a position to buy a new saw when my Startrite became available. It was in excellent condition with an asking price of less than 1/3 of a new machine. 20+ years later it's still going strong and will probably last another 20 years if treated well.

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    I, too, have 3 horizontal bandsaws, as well as a vertical, an ironworker, and the coldsaw.

    And I would agree that a small horizontal bandsaw, even a tabletop model like this, would be a good alternative.
    782XL Mitering Bandsaw, HEM Saw, Femi
    The next size up, like these, would be even better for what the OP describes. Something like this-
    Horizontal Metal Bandsaw (BS-210M) | Baileigh Industrial

    But a lot of you guys dont seem to be talking about the same thing when you say "cold saw".

    Traditionally, a cold saw is a very low rpm, toothed blade saw with constant coolant, in a very heavy base. 25 rpm to 100rpm is standard. My 13" weighs about 500lbs. They are not very noisy, or messy, at least mine isnt. It is true, the blades are expensive, but they are resharpenable many many times- I have had blades last years, with daily use.
    I would not consider a high speed chop saw, which weighs 50 pounds or so, at 1500 rpm or more, with no coolant, to be a "cold saw". Thats a "chop saw".
    One of the big advantages of a cold saw is the ability to cut thick solids, mine easily will go thru up to 3" round, to miter quickly and accurately, and to be sturdy enough to last a long time. They are expensive, especially the european ones.

    But for the shop use the OP describes, I would agree that a smaller mitering bandsaw would be a better saw. Bandsaws, being slow, tend to work better on odd extrusions, I have found.

    I am not a huge Ellis fan- they are OK for fab shops, where big hollow tubes, angles and I beams are daily fare, but the physical setup, being so low to the ground, is designed for 20 foot heavy sections.
    A table top, or waist high, model, with infeed and outfeed tables, like the Baleigh I linked to (also sold by pretty much every other maker, up to and including DAKE) is a better option for shop where engineers are cutting little pieces of oddball stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    I have to wonder if the engineer types will use enough flood coolant to keep the blade cool. Or will they make a quick dry cut to save getting dirty or at least turn down the flow so they do not get sprayed.
    Bill D

    I just had that happen last week!!

    I walk past a VMC, look in the glass, and a 3/4 rougher is hogging aluminum with one lock line shut off and the other barely pissing out. I ask the relatively new operator why it is like that and he said "It was splashing me when I opened the door". After making sure he understood that I did not give a fuck if he got coolant on him I suggested maybe if he waited a half second longer before opening the door to change the part he wouldn't get splashed and the end mill wouldn't get welded.

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    We have a Makita chop saw similar to what the OP pictured, which has made thousands of cuts. With carbide tipped blades, it chews through anything nonferrous that will fit into the throat (approx 3inx4in max) in under a minute. It can also handle stainless, mild, etc in a pinch.

    I used to change out the blades, but guys kept trashing the AL blade cutting stainless tube. Now I just leave the non ferrous blade in there all the time, and spray it with a little IPA to keep the flutes clear when cutting aluminum.

    My point in sharing all of this - is that for quick and dirty cuts, that damn saw is infinitely more convenient than a bandsaw. I'd be pissed if somebody downgraded my operation like that.

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    Yup, bandsaw. Plastic to Titanium to semi-hard steel. I use the chop saw for cobalt chrome or full hard steel.

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    Like Ries I love my Doringer, but for my home shop I bought this:
    EV 88 KAMA Bandsaw from Elderfield & Hall

    Very happy with it. At the school where I work I got the largest one they sell and it too has been great. People there are really helpful too.

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    Bandsaw with powerfeed would be my choise
    With a decent powerfeed you do not have to change the blades that often if at all
    A decent powerfeed is one where you can set pressure and speed seperatly

    Peter

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    Whether you are cutting meat or a meteorite,
    a DoAll band saw will cut it.

    -Doozer

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    Thanks everyone for the input. In looking at the responses, a mitering bandsaw looks like it may be a better option. The Taiwanese made Baileigh Industrial BS-210M with VFD speed control that Reis recommended looks pretty nice for the money. The shop currently has a small cheap Chinese version that surprisingly gets used a bit. The BS-210M would be a nice upgrade that should cut straighter.

    baileigh-bs-210b-saw.jpg

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    Looks good. Two pieces of advice:

    1) If needed, spend the time to tweak the blade guides as best you can to cut straight. Make sure the chip brushes function, and proper use of coolant will extend both blade and guide life by flushing away chips off the blade.

    2) If the coolant tank is integral to the base and not easy to clean, set up an external tank with the internal blocked off.

    Ask anyone here - cleaning a hard to access coolant tank is among the most miserable tasks in any shop, and so doesn't get done and the tank becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and nasty smells. Fix it before it starts...

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    Yep, Bandsaw, I have a cheap saw, just had to customize it a bit to my liking as the infeed and outfeed wasn't the greatest design.
    they can be had for a few thousand like my general 740

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    Buy a small DoAll miterbandsaw and thank us later.

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    we bought our saw from World Saw in LA and were treated very good by them. They also come get our dull blades, re-sharpen them and bring them back! And their sharpening service is very economical. I believe the guy I talked to there is Michael Young

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    Quote Originally Posted by boosted View Post
    We have a Makita chop saw similar to what the OP pictured, which has made thousands of cuts. With carbide tipped blades, it chews through anything nonferrous that will fit into the throat (approx 3inx4in max) in under a minute. It can also handle stainless, mild, etc in a pinch.

    I used to change out the blades, but guys kept trashing the AL blade cutting stainless tube. Now I just leave the non ferrous blade in there all the time, and spray it with a little IPA to keep the flutes clear when cutting aluminum.

    My point in sharing all of this - is that for quick and dirty cuts, that damn saw is infinitely more convenient than a bandsaw. I'd be pissed if somebody downgraded my operation like that.
    I have one of those Makita saws. For the OP, get one for each metal because they cut fast and cheap. Having an engineer change a blade will cost a whole lot more than a blade. The engineers will like that.
    My Makita has not been used for maybe 4 years, sitting on a cart with the 9" cold saw. Production gets done on a Hyde Mech 14 and anything else gets done on a swivel mast bandsaw. But I am not an engineer. No offense, beneath my pay grade.

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    90% of engineers have no business in a machine shop without close supervision - yes they are capable of learning but at what price?

    A classic conversation -
    Grumpy old machinist - Son, are you about to use that brand new 8 pitch bandsaw blade to cut that 1/4" rod.
    Young engineer - Yes, what of it?
    Grumpy old machinist - Well its just that from ten foot away I can tell it is an RC60 Thompson rail and that blade too coarse for that diameter even if it were aluminum.
    Young engineer - RC60, 8 pitch, what is all that?
    Grumpy old machinist - You wonder why the older engineers aren't in here working on their parts?
    Young engineer - No not really.

    Grumpy - Because they understand it is not as easy as it looks. <takes rod and walks to abrasive wet saw> How long you want this?
    ...



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