There's HEAVY labor charges for cutting steel

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Postby cracker39 » Sat Jan 28, 2006 5:24 pm

I made 4 miter cuts (45's) and I am confused by the properties of metal. One side of a piece of 1/8" takes forever to cut through, but the other side cuts much faster. No matter whether that particular side is on the top for one cut and the bottom for the other cut, it is still the same side that cuts slower. I can see now why some have recommended using the grinder with a cut off blade. I don't think I could cut an accurate 45 degree miter cut with the grinder. I don't have a cutoff blade for mine, but I used my 3" air powered cutoff tool to get the cuts going when the miter say didn't want to cut into the steel. The 3" tool cut pretty quickly and opened up a cut for the 10" blade to get into. I still have 4 more miter cuts to do, then most of the rest is straight cutting (90 degree). My cheap HF grinder works great for evening up the cuts and making the bevel on the edges for the weld bead.
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Postby doug hodder » Sat Jan 28, 2006 5:41 pm

Just some hopefully helpful info. for anyone building their own frame....I got a HF metal chop saw...also got their blade for it....I think it was made in Russia....definately don't get that one!!!! Pay the price and get a better made blade...lots of US manufacturers out there....The one I got from the get go had a wobble in it....took it off, checked run out in the armature of the saw...it seemed OK...determined it was the blade...but was 60 miles to HF...used it anyway...it exploded on a piece of 2x2 angle...got exciting real fast....replaced the blade and it cuts great now.
Make sure you wear a faceshield!!!!! and cracker...if you try to push a chop saw through a heavy piece of material, sometimes not even heavy, it can glaze the edge of the abrasive blade...you need to try to cut a piece of scrap angle to clean up the edge, they always cut faster when cutting vertical rather than horizontal material also as it builds up too much heat on the blade..at least that is what I have experienced....Doug
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Postby cracker39 » Sat Jan 28, 2006 6:12 pm

Doug, thanks for the suggestion for cleaing the blade. It did build up heat. A few times, the metal began to glow red, and I let up when it did. I tried to resist forcing it to cut. I'll run it against some angle in the morning.
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Postby angib » Sat Jan 28, 2006 7:26 pm

cracker39 wrote:One side of a piece of 1/8" takes forever to cut through, but the other side cuts much faster. No matter whether that particular side is on the top for one cut and the bottom for the other cut, it is still the same side that cuts slower.

It sounds to me like the side with the weld - it would not be surprising for the weld metal to be harder than the rest.

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Postby Steve_Cox » Sat Jan 28, 2006 10:51 pm

Dale,

Believe it or not, steel has grain just like wood, always easier to cut with the grain than against it, I don't know if it is actually called grain though. I agree with Andrew about the welded side of the box will probably be the harder one to cut. I'm just glad for you, finally making sparks fly.

Steve
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Postby cracker39 » Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:33 am

Steve_Cox wrote:Dale,

I'm just glad for you, finally making sparks fly.

Steve


Yeah...what makes some of us love to make sawdust and watch sparks fly??? It makes me think of Tim the Tool Man. MORE POWER...(GRUNT, GRUNT). Put a power tool in my hands, and I'm in hog heaven.
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Postby Steve_Cox » Sun Jan 29, 2006 9:48 am

cracker39 wrote:Yeah...what makes some of us love to make sawdust and watch sparks fly???


I've been accused of making mulch more than once when using my wood lathe. My wife is a real comedian, who ever heard of teak mulch?

Steve
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Postby dguff » Wed Feb 01, 2006 1:47 pm

Maybe I just got lucky finding the right supplier but I just bought all the steel I need for my next 4 1/2' by 8' frame for $117. I am using 2x2 1/8 angle with some 2x2 3/16" reinforcing pieces for the axle mounts. The tongue is 2x3 1/8" rectangular tube. I had them make 17 cuts for a total of $17 in cutting charges. The frame will be essentially the same as I built for my Modernistic last year.

Jerome :)
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Postby cracker39 » Wed Feb 01, 2006 5:37 pm

That sounds in line with what I paid. The dealer I bought from sells it by the "length" (20' or 24' depending on what he has in stock). If he cuts it and you only take part of the length, you still pay for all, so I bought 48' of 1/8"x2"x2" tube, 24 feet of 3/16"x2"x2" tube, 20' of 1/8"x2"x2" angle, and two small pieces of flat plate. Only the plate was cut to size and I paid $190. That makes a 5' x 9' trailer, all tube except for two angle cross members for floor support. I'll still have a little steel left over.

BTW, I posted a new thread on my progress...Yes, I actually made some!
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Postby ALAN GEDDES » Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:42 pm

I always buy full lengths and keep the extras. Local supplier gives one free straight cut and charges $1.00 for straight cuts and $2.00 for angled cuts after that. I usually have them cut my two long lengths for the sides and finish the rest at home with sawzall and clean up with side grinder. Tip: If you don't have a welder just buy one of those 110V cheaper stick jobs and tack your frame together; then take it to be properly welded. It won't cost near as much because the guy doing it won't have any set up time involved. I do it like that except I do have access to a welder and I don't like to use up a lot of my friends' shop time and he lets me do it free. Offer to let him borrow tear for weekend in exchange.
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Postby D. Tillery » Tue Feb 07, 2006 8:52 pm

Alan, That's a great way to save money. Most time is spent in cutting and layout, measureing, adjusting etc. The finish welding goes quickly.

It is interesting that y'all are not getting to keep the "drops" when you pay for a full length and a cut. You should get to keep them. Shop around and haggle. Prices are negotiable.

I'm surprised none of y'all woodworkers have horizontal bandsaws. I did without one for years until my woodworker friend sold me a small Delta he had. They work great on metal. I wish I had bought one sooner.

Abrasive "chop saw" blades do have some flex to them. Are you noticing any angled cuts that make the mitered 45's not fit together quite right. You can adjust for that or fix it later with a grinder.

The carbide tipped metal blade saws are the Cadillac. I have not sprung for one yet. A good one will run you about $450 and the blades are about $200. The chop and band saw do good enough to keep me from buying one.

:oops: I didn't think I'd ever get a chance to disagree with Andrew (or be brave enough to) but I sure had bad luck with the cheap grinder from HF. I swear by my $49.99 Craftsman. It's the best price/value I've found.
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Postby cracker39 » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:15 am

Those band saws and chop saws sound nice, but my metal is nearly all cut and I don't plan on working with metal again in the future, so buying them won't pay off. I've actually become pretty adept at making very accurate straight and angled cuts in tubular and angle steel with a cutoff blade in my 4 1/2" grinder. For straight and 45 degrees, I use a cheap combination square to mark the cut with a sharpie marker. Then I hold the square on the piece as a guide and run the blade along the edge to make a score line, then deepen the cut down the line. I end up with a very straight, accurate cut. I guess practice makes perfect (or almost). That combi square is on sale at HD for 1.99 right now.
Dale

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Postby Larwyn » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:36 am

If I cannot cut it with my porta band then I just use the torch. Had a chop saw for a while, for my use it was too loud, messy and "sparky".
A horizontal/vertical bandsaw is great if you have room to "park" it.
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