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Porta-Band or Chop Saw?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Crusty Nut, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. speedmetal
    Joined: Feb 2, 2006
    Posts: 98

    from houston

    porta-band all the way, i have a fab shop and its the one thing beside the welding machine that gets used most. gave away my chop saw, keep tripping over it when i went to get the porta-band
  2. dirtybirdpunk
    Joined: Jun 24, 2006
    Posts: 306


    Port a band! I've used mine for work (conduit work), for the car, and cutting off old fence post (nearly flush with the concrete they were cemented in).....cant imagine life with out it.
  3. 5Wcoupe
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 306

    from L.A., Ca.

    I think (as the others have pointed out) that you'll eventually wind up with both but if I only had one, I would rather have the chop saw. *As long as it's a carbide blade*! A carbide saw is a whole different deal from an abrasive one. I keep my abrasive around for cutting ugly crap but not only does it clog up on aluminum/brass, it also deflects enough to make mitering (45 degree) impossible to do well. The carbide cuts almost any metal cleanly and accurately with almost no burrs or heat. I bought the milwaukee 'cause it's all metal on the guard and it has a better baseplate and clamp than most and
    @ under $400. it is truly one of the best tools I own.
  4. chop32
    Joined: Oct 13, 2002
    Posts: 1,077


    I have a Ryobi abrasive chop saw and have had a lot of issues with cutting wheel deflection causing inacurate cuts.
    Can you use the carbide blade on a saw thats intended for an abrasive wheel, or is it a different animal all together?
  5. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,169

    Deuce Daddy Don

    YEP!!!--------Band saw----It leaves a nice clean cut without the "Whiskers" hanging down inside! (Tubing). Also get one that the whole top mechanism swivels to make any degree cuts you desire.
    One tip on new blades(bandsaw), after installing, & making that FIRST CUT---Hold the blade back & only let it cut ever so slowly to give the teeth a "SET" condition, using this procedure will insure longer blade life & make nice STRAIGHT cuts in tubing related fabrication.------------Don
  6. 5Wcoupe
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 306

    from L.A., Ca.

    Carbide blade saws are higher rpm so even if arbor was same I don't think so.
  7. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,926

    Alliance Vendor

    This man knows what he's talking about.

    Buy a Milwaukee Port-a-Band, then buy the base that turns it into a chop saw.

    You've just got to remember that your blade tooth count has to change with your material thickness. You always want at least three (3) teeth in the cut at all times, so that means really super thin stuff needs a really super fine toothed blade.

    You can cut thicker stuff with a too fine blade (though it will go slow and tend to load up), but if you try to cut thin stuff with a too coarse blade, you will peel the teeth right off that band in a matter of seconds. Don't ask me how I know this ( :eek: ), just take my word for it.

    For my shop, I keep a multi-pitch blade on my Port-a-Bands (I have a Milwaukee, and a Black & Decker Industrial which is no longer made), and I keep a fairly coarse blade on my big horizontal band saw for cutting thick section stuff for the machine shop and thick tube or angle for fab work.

    I also have a Dewalt Multi-Cutter dry cut saw with the carbide blade that I use for thin tube and believe it or not, wood.

    They are not the same saw as the ones that use an abrasive blade. They have larger motors, and are geared to run much slower than an abrasive saw. They are also generally set up to cut either steel or non-ferrous material, but usually not both on the same saw (different materials require different blade speeds and tooth count/geometry).

    The blades range from ~$90 to over $200 a piece, and I've gotten up to three years use out of a single blade. I'd say if you did a lot of work with it as your primary saw, you should look to get about a year or year and a half of hard use out of one.

    The Dewalt blade mine came with lasted through about three years of mild use, and when it finally gave up, I found they wanted damned near $200 for a new one, so I found another company call Oshlun that makes better blades for about half the money. The first one of those is now on its second year of moderate use, and shows no signs of slowing down. It cost ~$90 and cuts better now than the Dewalt did when it was new.

    You've got that backwards. Abrasive saws cut at a much higher RPM than the dry cut carbide saws.

    You are right though, you can't just take an abrasive saw and put a carbide blade on it and expect to cut steel. Probably work pretty well for aluminum though.

    Hell, I've used Skil saws and miter box saws made for cutting wood with carbide tipped wood blades to rip big plates of aluminum or cut down bar stock for the machine shop (before I had my big horizontal band saw). Makes a horrible racket, but it cuts real nice, and puts out this cool blizzard of aluminum confetti that settles on every flat surface in your shop. It's neat . . . . . . honest. ;)

    Bottom line, if you can only have one, go with the Port-a-Band and the cut off stand.

    If you can swing two, get the Port-a-Band and a carbide dry saw.

    Skip the abrasive saw altogether, they've been obsolete for several years now. I've got two and haven't touched them in damned near five years.
  8. I've never used a Dewalt bandsaw, but we use Milwuakees all the time in the field at chemical plants, they get a lot of abuse.
  9. I went on epay and bought a used HF for $30...5 years ago. I've used the hell out of it, and it's STILL cutting great. I use quality Bi-Metal blades on it, and I don't know how I ever got along with out it...
  10. willymakeit
    Joined: Apr 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,326


    What is the rpm on your saw? Ive used the blades in skilsaws and like them .
  11. Rusty
    Joined: Mar 4, 2004
    Posts: 9,449


    I use my chop saw the most, vertical band saw gets used to for rearends, etc but most of the round work gets trued up in the lathe for final tuning, so the quickness of the chop saw usually wins
  12. BBYBMR
    Joined: Apr 27, 2007
    Posts: 613


    In my opinion, the chop-saw and port-a-band serve different purposes. I bought a Milwalkee chop-saw, and, as has been mentioned, its noisey, dirty, and throws sparks all over the damn place. I puchased a small horizontal band-saw, and like it much better. I've used it on square and round tubing, angle iron, flat bar, etc. Its quiet, and you can do other stuff while its cutting, i.e., grab a beer. I don't have a port-a-band, but am thinking I should have one. I use my sawzall and 4 1/2" cut-off wheels for most everything else.
  13. I have a torch and a Sawsall. I am using those new "Torch" blades that Milwaukee sells and they work great. Borrowed my son's chopsaw a few weeks back, after one cut on 2x2 11ga, I went back to the Sawsall.

    In case anyone still wants a chopsaw and can't afford a good one, here is a link to plans to some build it yourself plans. Old but really cool.
  14. I use a Milwalkee sawzall with the torch blades also. I can make very precise 45s and such. My sawzall also has the setting for oscillating " up and down, in and out" and it cuts through 1/2" plate like butter.
  15. I have had a chink chop saw for several years; it still works, but has never cut very straight. It's pretty much a piece of shit, but it will cut metal in half. I use it to cut long pieces of steel within a 1/4", then clean them up with the grinder or band saw.
  16. D-fens
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 369

    from Huntsville

    I bought a Dewalt chop saw a while ago ($179 on sale at Lowe's). It somewhat does the job, but it's tough to get a straight cut, makes huge f*cking mess, is really loud, and pops the breaker all the time. I usually have to rough-cut pieces with it, then clean them up on the bench sander.

    Now I wish I'd waited, saved up a little more money and bought a bandsaw instead. Take this for what it's worth.
  17. Crusty Nut
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,834

    Crusty Nut

    I just ordered my new Milwaukee 6232-6N 10.5 amp porta-band. If you buy one before the end of the year, they are giving away FREE 4.5" Milwaukee grinders with a mail in rebate!
  18. ems customer service
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,580

    ems customer service

    1st law according to tool buying: when i doubt buy both
  19. Marty S1
    Joined: Feb 3, 2008
    Posts: 53

    Marty S1

  20. nutajunka
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,466


    Have a allmost new millwaukee chop saw that is a good tool, but very dirty, but for ten dollars from a storage building sale I could'nt refuse. I have a friend who cut's alot of tubing and I will give it to him when the blade get's wore down.

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