Cutting metal with a compound miter saw

I have a project which will require cutting metal bar stock, either steel or aluminum (haven't decided yet), approximate cross section 4 1/2" x 1/4". Chop saws are available for this, like this Milwaukee example at Harbor Freight: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber9755
Blade is a 14" abrasive cutoff wheel.
Also available are compound miter saws, generally used for wood, usually with blades up to 12" in diameter. Since I own neither type of saw at the moment, and since the compound miter saw would have greater utility for me, I am wondering if there is any reason I couldn't just use a 12" abrasive cutoff wheel in a compound miter saw to cut metal. I see the above cutoff saw has a max rpm of 3900. As an example, this compound miter saw is rated at 4100 rpm http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber852, so speed shouldn't be an issue. There are 12" cutoff disks for metal rated at 6300 RPM max http://www.doityourself.com/invt/6805881 . So it seems like there's no problem with doing this, unless I'm missing something (wouldn't be the 1st time... ;-)
Dan
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When cutting metal there is a great tendency to stall the blade. I wonder if the hp of a miter box would have the guts to get the job done. Nevertheless you'd need to disassemble the unit and clean out all the grit when you're done.

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CraigT wrote:

Thanks for the reply. The miter saw is rated 2.4 hp, seems like this would be sufficient. There are probably more powerful examples, but probably not for the HF model's $180 price. Good point about the grit.
Dan
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Dan wrote:

How many cuts do you anticipate making?

That would do the trick. Abrasive wheels leave the ends with big melted burrs on them that you'll need to clean up.

A sliding compound miter saw (SCMS) will cut the metal with an abrasive blade just like the Milwaukee cut-off saw. It won't have the built in clamping mechanism like most dedicated abrasive cut-off saws. The scms you have shown is near the bottom in terms of quality, and certainly price. I wouldn't recommend it.
There are a number of different ways you could cut the steel. Oh - by the way - if you go with aluminum that's a totally different story than steel. I would recommend you NOT go with an abrasive blade for cutting that. Use a carbide blade. Back to the steel. Abrasive blades are lound, shoot fire, relatively slow and leave a horrible edge. An alternative would be a dry cutting metal saw. This would leave a very clean edge with only minimal clean-up needed. I'm not positive but I think these saws run at a lower rpm than abrasive cut-off saws. In any event, they'll run you about $400 with blade. You could also use a portable bandsaw. Or you could take it to a steel fabricator/welder/body shop/mechanic? and see how much he'll charge to lop them up for you. I'm rambling, but there are alternatives.
If you only have say 15 or less cuts, what I'd do is get a decent 10" "regular" compound miter saw (CMS). This won't have the slider, but a Dewalt, Makita or Hitachi will only set you back around $175 and you'll have yourself a really useful tool. If you end up cutting aluminum, just use the stock blade that comes with the saw (or buy a cheapy). If you end up going with steel get a few abrasive blades for it - they should run you less than $10 a piece for sure. If the finished ends will be exposed though, you're going to have to do some filing and/or sanding to make them look good.
JP
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the portable bandsaw is one of the greatest inventions known to man.If you don't anticipate using it often get the cheap one at harbor freight.You can cut anything from wood to stainless steel with it. I would say get the cheap port-a-band and save the miter saws life.
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Thanks for the reply. Do you mean this one http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?ItemnumberG840 I've never used one of these, sure looks worth investigating though. Might be just what I need.
Dan
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Jay Pique wrote:

Jay-Thanks for the info. Probably wouldn't be doing much of this, which is why I was thinking the miter saw might be of greater overall usefulness in the long run. The HF saw is one example, I agree it's probably not the best, though for 180 bucks I'll at least take a look at it. I thought about the absence of a vice, I have a ton of clamps, also a drill press vice, could likely rig up something.
Dan
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They make a carbide blade for metal I have the Makita 12" if you want neat cuts there great. I use it in my 12" dewalt chop saw. I don't use it that often but if I did I would get a dedicated saw. If you are cutting stuff to weld and not looking for a perfectly neat cut the Harbor freight type saw would be a lot cheaper. The carbide blades come in deferent sizes. http://www.toolbarn.com/product/makita/A-91039/
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Sacramento Dave wrote:

Thanks, looks like a great blade, but for my limited needs $265 would be a bit too steep. These look similar for a bit less, there may be others as well http://www.toolstoday.com/displaytools.asp?num=2&pdescription=Steel+Cutting+Saw+Blades http://www.justsawblades.com/systimatic/hsr_gold.htm
Dan
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