Help decide what 2 tools to buy
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  1. #1
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    Mar 2015
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    Question Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    I keep going down rat holes when I'm shopping for cutting equipment. So, help! Let's pick 2 tools.

    Here's what I mostly cut; 3/8" thick or less, plate, square, and round tubing. Tubing diam usually 2" or less. Rarely 3". Most cuts on the plate stuff are 6" long or less, but sometimes up to 2'. A pretty even mix of mild, DOM, and 4130 steel, and weldable aluminum of various types. Often the same project uses both Al and steel, so changing blades is a bit of a hassle (unless blade changes are very easy). Some notching needed on the tubing.

    Hobiest, so low volume. Not too worried about consumables cost, or speed of cuts (but I think the cut speed of a horizontal band saw might annoy me). I'd like them to look professional.

    I'd love to solve this problem for $1k, but would go $1.5k if you can make the case. And I'd really like the tools to just work, without a ton of fudging and setup. I don't want the tool itself to be another project (which is what scares me about an HF bandsaw). Assume the cost of new tools, there's rarely a good deal on quality used metal tools around here.
    Plasma (my current air compressor and electric feeds would limit me to a 30Amp machine)? Circular? Bandsaw? Chop saw? Other?

  2. #2
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Makita LC 1230

  3. #3
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Yup.
    Makita or similar.
    (I have a Dewalt)

    Hypertherm Powermax 30 but it alone blows the budget.
    Ed Conley
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  4. #4
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    So, Hypertherm 30 and a cut saw is, call it $2k.

    If a Hypertherm is really THAT good, I could be talked into this.

  5. #5
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    i'm a big fan of plasma, but i really think for your needs get the makita or similar already mentioned. and for the long cuts either cut off wheels in a grinder or get a metal cutting circular saw.
    General Contractor
    Commercial Industrial & Custom Residential
    Specializing in all things Metal

  6. #6
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Cold saw (pick your posion, i also have a Dewalt but i got it new for a song from a dealer one Saturday morning a year warehouse clearance (like half price steal of a deal) and a Hypertherm. Plasma...Do not even consider another brand, unless it's half off or free. I'm a blue fan and only had a Miller because I also only paid less than half price brand new from my LWS. I won a raffle they were having at an open house for the new facility. I didn't need what they were giving away and I made a deal for a plasma. Didn't hurt that I was already planning on buying my new Dynasty 350 & cooler at the event.

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    Ryan

    Miller Multimatic 200 tig/spool gun/wireless remote
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  7. #7
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Ok, I'm sold on the cold saw. I like the Makita a little better than the DeWalt. Milwaukee no longer makes one, odd.

    Are 12" blades readily available? Can one blade cut both ferrous and non-ferrous?

    Now, hypertherm. I'll probably think about that for a bit.

  8. #8
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Ignore above questions. Thanks for the quick help! I had been looking at the Makita anyway, so you guys pushed me over the fence. Saw and Al blade ordered!

  9. #9
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    Aug 2018
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    I have a rage 2... no complaints from me

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    I haven't built anything I can't throw away. Perfection is the journey.

    Mac

  10. #10
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    Dec 2018
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    1,603

    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Was gonna suggest abrasive saw, and an O2 rig. Come in at about 1K including the bottles, torch, and saw.....maybe a skosh more.

  11. #11
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    Was gonna suggest abrasive saw, and an O2 rig. Come in at about 1K including the bottles, torch, and saw.....maybe a skosh more.
    Many a project have been built with these! And a source of heat is never a bad thing to have.

    I'm still thinking about a 'long cut' tool. Plasma is obviously the high-end solution. Portable circular cut saw is a solid option it seems.

    Thanks for the ideas.

    My current project requires a length-wise cut along a 1.5" steel tube, ideally with minimal kerf. I'd guess a band saw would be the way to go for this? But this is a one-off project.

  12. #12
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Bandsaw, 12x7. Cold saws are too limited imo.
    12v battery, jumper cables, and a 6013.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy





    12v battery, jumper cables, and a 6013.
    I only have a facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/VPT/244788508917829

  14. #14
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Just for gigglez. I cut a bunch of 5 1/2 c channel yesterday with my 9" Bosh. Too lazy to drag the plasma out for 4 cuts.
    7:30 for the comparison



  15. #15
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by Bonzoo View Post
    Just for gigglez. I cut a bunch of 5 1/2 c channel yesterday with my 9" Bosh. Too lazy to drag the plasma out for 4 cuts.
    7:30 for the comparison




    I really dislike abrasive dust. It was the number one reason I stepped up from a chop saw to the bandsaw. I don't even like grinding anything. I finally picked up a respirator and use it any time I have to grind something.
    12v battery, jumper cables, and a 6013.
    I only have a facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/VPT/244788508917829

  16. #16
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by VPT View Post




    Hey I LIKE THE SHIELD

    I work over a wood floor, and coolant splash is a problem. Same with ME getting a bath.

    Been thinking of a sane way to set up a moveable shield to keep the stupid coolant confined to the milling table. Something removable for setups, and easily put back in place.

    I've settled on a full box-in sorta thing that's attachable to the table, not the machine. But I was sort of stymied by just how to attach it without worrying about vibration etc., or some sort of semi permanent attachment. Even considered using weight or angles resting on the table. Never thought of using the El Cheapo articulated mag bases Mag base would allow me the flexibility to move the shields to clear obstructions.

  17. #17
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    Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    No brainer (IMO) for YOUR situation. As others have said a dry cut saw will be the best for your money. AND you’ll have a sh*tload of change from your $1500 budget.

    I like my Makita, but I’ve have no experience with other brands.










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    Last edited by Lis2323; 04-11-2019 at 01:16 PM.
    :

  18. #18
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by xryan View Post
    Cold saw (pick your posion, i also have a Dewalt but i got it new for a song from a dealer one Saturday morning a year warehouse clearance (like half price steal of a deal) and a Hypertherm. Plasma...Do not even consider another brand, unless it's half off or free. I'm a blue fan and only had a Miller because I also only paid less than half price brand new from my LWS. I won a raffle they were having at an open house for the new facility. I didn't need what they were giving away and I made a deal for a plasma. Didn't hurt that I was already planning on buying my new Dynasty 350 & cooler at the event.

    Sent from my LM-Q710.FG using Tapatalk
    I agree. Hypertherm hands down. I have two Miller plasmas because I have difficulties turning down good deals.

    These two were purchased five years apart but I have less than $1500 usd invested in the pair.

    :

  19. #19
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    Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    I have a Makita LC1230, I never liked that thing. It's obnoxiously loud, hot chips go everywhere on my small shop, it never cuts completely square, close but never 100% square, doesn't like thicker material, the vise is a joke and the blades are not cheap. A slight operating mistake and you are out $50. What I hate about it the most though is the sound it makes. A band saw is far superior method, but also far expensive for one that cuts straight out of the box.


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  20. #20
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    I never wore earplugs in the shop before I bought my Makita dry cut saw. The thing IS noisy.



    However if it fits in the Makita I will use it almost EVERY time over my Ellis bandsaw. WAY quicker would be the understatement of the year.

    :

  21. #21
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Very helpful discussions folks!

  22. #22
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    Hey I LIKE THE SHIELD

    I work over a wood floor, and coolant splash is a problem. Same with ME getting a bath.

    Been thinking of a sane way to set up a moveable shield to keep the stupid coolant confined to the milling table. Something removable for setups, and easily put back in place.

    I've settled on a full box-in sorta thing that's attachable to the table, not the machine. But I was sort of stymied by just how to attach it without worrying about vibration etc., or some sort of semi permanent attachment. Even considered using weight or angles resting on the table. Never thought of using the El Cheapo articulated mag bases Mag base would allow me the flexibility to move the shields to clear obstructions.
    Thanks! I actually made them up for the mill to control chips but found they work great for all kinds of things. I even used the mag bases for holding wires while soldering. Handy little things, got them off ebay. Search mag base then 'cheapest first'.

    12v battery, jumper cables, and a 6013.
    I only have a facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/VPT/244788508917829

  23. #23
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    Oct 2006
    Location
    Illinois
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    8,825

    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    The Mikita gets my vote for all purpose. IF you are cutting sheets, the Milwaukee metal cutting circular saw . I bought the cheap HF one because I only had a dozen or so cuts. I was so impressed that I bought a real one, the Milwaukee.
    Don't skip the HF 4x6 saw. Mine is a least 12 years old. I just replaced the original motor . Check Craigslist for one, I usually see them for $100.00. I still use mine even though I have a ELLIS 1600
    A Milwaukee portaband on a stand is probably my most used. Homemade stand and been using it 15 years. Buy a used one. Many here have made their own.
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  24. #24
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    Mar 2015
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    Central MD
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    Thanks!
    Yep! I'm shopping for used Milwaukee porta-band. Saw a well used one in a pawn shop for $150...but one wheel was a bit loose, so I passed.

    The plasma rat-hole continues...first it was a RazorWeld for $750. Then the tariffs hit and those are now $900. Then, back to a Vipercut for $450. But everyone says to buy a Hypertherm (even though many of those that say that, own something else!), so HT 30XP it is.....then read more, and there's a strong justification to spend a bit more and get an HT 45XP, and now I've gone from $450 to $2k. lol.

    So back up out of the rat-hole, and to ground zero, which is why I started this thread; what do I REALLY need.

    Very helpful all, thanks.

  25. #25
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    Re: Help decide what 2 tools to buy

    What's your location ? There are always portabands around me for a $100.00.
    The earlier Milwaukee ones have a SINGLE side guides or rest. The blade is exposed on one side. The later ones the blade is BETWEEN the guide. More stable for hand cutting. Milwaukee does have a stand base their portaband . I've seen them but you could buy a HF 4x6 for what it cost.
    Do you really NEED a plasma or just WANT
    One ???? Just saying.
    You can buy lots of cutting tools for what it costs. I always think about one but I have plenty of cutting tools. EACH has its purpose, that's why there are so many.
    Choose wisely !!!



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