American Welding Society Forum
I haven't tried it, but I've heard that stainless steel is very hard to cut due to it's hardness. Can I cut stainless with a small bandsaw or chopsaw? Or is a OA or plasma torch the only way to cut stainless? I'm talking maybe 1/8" thick material (flat stock, angle, and tubing), maybe 3/16" max...
Sorry for the off-topic AND probably dumb question, but I am here to learn (and boy do I have a ways to go!)...
are these tools you speak of hand held, or ar they larger, floor mounted units?
If they are hand held tools or of that size i would reccomend using a small plasma cutting torch, just for safety sake.
In regards to your comment concerning the hardness of stainless steels, yes, they are harder than carbon steel, however, there are different types of Stainless and therefore some types are harder than others. The hardness is due to the high Chromium which also gives a material the added work hardening characteristic. What type of stainless are you working with ?
Nothing yet, just attempting to learn ahead of time. The saws I'd be using are a small floor model bandsaw (excellent for the price, works great, although it's not fast) and/or a 14" table top chop saw (most likely just the bandsaw since it makes the most accurate cuts).
I assumed that the different types of stainless have different properties. Any links come to mind that would help me educate myself on stainless alloys and properties?
I have heard the same thing, and I have lived it, too. All the same, I believe that you will be able to cut the stainless with a small bandsaw, etc. It is slow going, though. Be careful and don't force the tool. You will wish that you had gotten the stock cut when you bought it!
P.S. However, don't let this stand in the way of you getting a plasma cutter!
Forget the OAC. It can be done on thin SS in an emergency, but the cut will look like sh*! and the edge quality and metallurgy will sacrifice.
One of the problems with SS is its ability to work harden. Sawing, Grinding etc, can lead to this if not properly applied.
A metal cutting bandsaw blade will cut fine but may wear faster than normal. Hand held portable band saws are oftten used for cutting SS pipe with fine results.
Abrasive cutting will also work. Some abrasive cutoff wheels will perform better than others.
Have a nice day
You're right about the work hardening, at least with the common 300 series stainless. You will find that when sawing or drilling, you will need to keep enough feed pressure so that you are continuously cutting into new metal. If you stop the feed, you will increase hardness almost instantly. If that happens, you will need even more feed pressure to restart the cut and will accelerate wear on drills and saw blades. If you try to use a dull cutting surface, it all spirals downhill from there.
If you have a Machinery's Handbook available, you will find some good recommendations in it.
OA can be done but you need to feed a piece of carbon steel wire into the cut as you go. Hard to do and the metalurgy of the edges is effected. Band saw will work. If it's a woodworking bandsaw you will need to slow the blade speed down to something like a quarter of what it was for wood. Abrasive blade in a chop saw will work but some stainless will gum up the wheels pretty badly.
Have you considered hand tools? Tubing cutter to cut stainless tubing, hacksaw, tin snips. A cold chisel a block of soft steel and a heavy hammer should cut 1/8 X 1 flat with a single vigorous blow. If you look around you might turn up a bench shear from somebody who has upgraded to an ironworker. That might be just the thing.
Without a doubt the nicest cut I have seen is water- jet.
I don't think that is in Daves budget, but a clean cut for sure.
One of my clients' just bought one, very cool toy ($!$!$!)
Love to see one of those in action,
The company I work for uses the company below. They email the CAD files which are converted or downloaded directly. We retain the responsibility for the accurracy of the parts and limited inspection is required, reducing the cost.
For small cuts 1/8th inch thickness and under you can also use a pnumatic die grinder (under 20,00 rpm) with a thin cutoff wheel, touch the cutoff wheel to a bar of parafin wax every few inches and the wheel will last for a surprisingly large number of cuts. We use this for making patches in inconel 718 (talk about tough), Hastelloy X and other high temp alloys. But Feed and speed is paramount as mentioned above. We spend alot of money on covan drill bits but even they are useless if your part work hardens, on the other hand, Ive seen the salty dogs drill all day with a K-mart bit that is used wisely.
When you buy saw blades be SURE to get Bi-metal blades. There are HHS blades that are fine for mild steel but won't hold up on SS. They cost a lot more but they last a lot more. And with your small saw use the finest teeth you can find. When funds permit get a portaband. You can cut almost anything with one. I've used them for everything from cutting 4X4 to cutting tops out of SS beer kegs to make crab steamers. OR even consider a saws-all. You can get an off brand one like Sears rather cheap.
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