Here at Selmach, we want to make sure you get things right first time, so based on our own experiences, here are the five most important points to consider when purchasing a metal working circular saw:
1) What metal are you cutting?
You will need a high speed saw for cutting aluminium (usually 3000rpm). Slower speed saws are generally used for cutting mild steel (90rpm) and slower again for stainless (45rpm).
As standard high-speed aluminium circular saws are specialist and used only for aluminium. Nowadays, most circular saws will have 2 or 3 speed settings on the control panel which make them suitable for multiple cutting application of both stainless and mild steel.
2) Ensure you select the right blade
The wrong blade could cause a bad cut (e.g. burrs), could cause damage to the workpiece and / or saw (due to vibration) and will also be exceptionally noisy. Use this tooth pitch selector to find the right tooth-pitch or call a blade specialist here.
The main types of blades
- SHSS (high speed steel) blades are perfect for cutting mild steel and are low cost. They can also cut stainless steel but will tend to blunt quickly when cutting stainless. You can re-sharpen your SHSS blades though and there are many specialist blade sharpeners across the UK so service is usually good.
- TiCN – (Titanium Carbo-Nitride) blades are recommended for stainless steel cutting and will also cut mild steel very well. The blades are 2x the cost of the SHSS blades but will last much longer.
- For cutting Aluminium on a high speed saw a TCT blade is required.
3) What quality of cut are you looking for?
With the right blade and everything set correctly a circular saw will give you a perfectly straight cut with minimal requirement for secondary processing and de-burring. This is particularly if you are cutting thin wall box section / tube and small flats. Circular saws are most often used in the balustrade industry and window manufacturing where perfectly square cuts are required on every piece with minimal secondary processing.
Have you considered a bandsaw?
If your cutting requirements vary a lot in terms of material type, thickness and you are also cutting beams + need a larger capacity – the bandsaw is a serious consideration. Bandsaws with a varied pitch blade are a more flexible option for cutting varied material types than a circular saw blade. For a similar cost to a manual circular saw you can pick up a new bandsaw which also has gravity down-feed (gravity down-feed enables the operator to prepare the next cut, make a coffee, etc whilst the bandsaw cuts through the material)
What level of automation is required/ preferred?
The most basic circular saws are manual (pull down) saws – you can view this range here. The Sterling saws are very popular due to their extra sturdy construction, double clamping self-centring vice and because of their slitting ability. If your budget is tight then the Thomas range is a good low cost, yet still professional option. We would advise against buying one of the cheap ‘domestic’ alternatives off the shelf from DIY stores. These will not last in your busy workshop environment and are designed for light home use only.
Our Sterling semi-automatic range with optional pneumatic vice reduces the manual operation of the saw. Fully automatic saws are also available and come with a large range of different options and functions. If fully automatic saws is something you are considering please reach out to one of our specialists here.
Published 6th November 2019