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Thread: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

  1. #1
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    Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    I purchased some strips of 2 inch flat ... maybe 10 or 11 gauge?

    I have a mikita metal cutting chop saw that works great. I've cut lots of 6 inch "coupons" from the 10 foot strips of flat for 1st position welding practice but, now I need to work on fillet welds (GTAW) and I don't want to keep wasting the coupon when all I'm welding are the edges together. So, I'd like to cut the coupons vertically, lengthwise, in half. Make them skinnier. 1 inch or so.

    I don't think I can do that (safely) with the chopsaw. Do the horizontal band saws handle this type of cut well? I think it would be an easy cut for a vertical bandsaw .... but can someone chime in on a good solution worth buying if necessary?

    Also, I have a small wood shop - do vertical Grizzly and Jet bandsaws run slow enough and work ok for metal work or is it really necessary to wait and pick up a drake or something so much more awfully expensive ... I'd like some dual purpose if possible ... do Drake's run fast enough to cut wood?

    Just looking for suggestions - I'm not sure which I would or wouldn't want to look at ... but for right now, I'm just looking to cut some 2x6 "coupons".

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    Re: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    I'd use six-inch cutting discs in a circular saw if you don't have a 6-inch angle grinder.

    Chop saw wheels are thick and the saw design is limiting.

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    Re: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    That seems like a really good idea!

    Can I pick up any old circular saw for that - or do I need to look for a something special. I do understand that either way, I need a very specific blade.

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    Re: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    Quote Originally Posted by LutherBaker View Post
    ...Also, I have a small wood shop - do vertical Grizzly and Jet bandsaws run slow enough and work ok for metal work or is it really necessary to wait and pick up a drake or something so much more awfully expensive ...
    For metal cutting, you want a very SLOW band saw, unlike cutting wood. I don't know the exact RPMs that's best, but I know the saw blades for metal turn so slow, you can almost count the RPM's by eye sight alone! (Not really, just making a funny.) My point is that it is best slow speeds for metal.

    Quote Originally Posted by LutherBaker
    Just looking for suggestions -
    Yes it's expensive, but in your future, start saving up for a plasma cutter. They are quick and very very versatile. Meanwhile, a 4 1/2" angle grinder with a thin cut off wheel might work, but the portable circular saw and blade would be faster.

    Also, just something to consider, how about a portable band saw? Place the steel in a vice and hold the band saw and cut away. It's faster than an abrasive cut off wheel yet much quieter and way less messy. Yeah, your cuts may not be perfectly straight as compared to a big band saw mounted on a stand, but you're only making coupons for practice.
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    Re: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    Just turn the 2" stock over and weld another fillet like a mini I-Beam
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    Re: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    Just turn the 2" stock over and weld another fillet like a mini I-Beam
    That's what we want the students to do to conserve materials. On laps we have them weld them up like steps. On T's we have them keep stacking them like Ed suggested and then weld another on top and so on they can end up looking like |-|-|-|-|-| when done. Outside corners usually end up looking like a continuous Z shape if this makes sense.

    If you plan out how to do this you can actually get more welds than if you just do single welds on each piece with them cut in half.

    We do cut down the steel at the tech school and reuse as much as we can. We use a plasma, but it's an expensive way to get more steel when you figure the cost of the plasma vs the cost of simply buying new steel. It takes a lot of steel to offset the cost of a plasma. Another down side is the students almost never manage to cut a straight line with the plasma on weld coupons ( usually slice right near the weld on single T's. That leaves you with a rough edge that's generally not suitable for practice on joints without a lot of other prep. O/A is the other way we cut steel for reuse, but that's usually with the 3/8" rather than the 1/8" stock. A zip wheel will cut a decent line with little to no extra prep, but the cost of the wheels can quickly be higher than simply buying new flat stock.
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    Re: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    The first thought that came to mind was, "Doesn't his supplier sell strip in 1" widths?"

    Mine sure does.

    If you're cutting 1" strips from sheet, an angle iron guide and steel cutting skilsaw (I use the Milwaukee 8" metal cut saw) does a great job. I wouldn't use it for ripping 2" strip in half though.
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    Weld one side of the coupon for a t joint, then break apart in a press, then use the other sides. Should get 8 fillet welds from 2 pieces of steel using all 4 edges on each plate

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    Re: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    Quote Originally Posted by SundownIII View Post
    The first thought that came to mind was, "Doesn't his supplier sell strip in 1" widths?"

    Mine sure does.

    If you're cutting 1" strips from sheet, an angle iron guide and steel cutting skilsaw (I use the Milwaukee 8" metal cut saw) does a great job. I wouldn't use it for ripping 2" strip in half though.
    Actually, a very good and least expensive way to do it. Why didn't I think of that?
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    Re: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    I think a plasma would be a great start.
    I have a Eastwood plasma. Not the greatest, but fine for a hobby use.
    The way I cut with a plasma in high school was to clamp an piece of angle iorn, and run the torch against the angle. Gives you an awsome cut if you learn how to use it and set it correctly.

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    Re: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    Before I had proper cutting implements, I'd have ripped this thing with my chop saw. I'd just feed it into the blad a few inches, then flip it over for the rest of the work. I know, not the safest, but works in a pinch. I've ripped short sections (usually no longer than 6") of .065 2.5" and 3" OD tubing this way too, to make cradles for my various fixtures. Have also used this method to make motor mounts from 3/16 plate.
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    Re: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    I'm with Sundown.
    For less than $10, go buy some 1" strips. That's less than the cost of blades, wheels, ER visits, cleaning up afterward, etc.
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    Re: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    shape charge.
    There are no problems. There are only solutions. It's your duty to determine the right one.

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    Re: Best way to cut 2 inch flat coupons ... lengthwise

    @Broccoli1

    > Just turn the 2" stock over and weld another fillet like a mini I-Beam

    Can't I do this with 1" stock?

    @DSW

    > up looking like |-|-|-|-|-| when done

    Yep - this is what I want to do ... with 1" wide strips.

    @SundownIII

    > The first thought that came to mind was, "Doesn't his supplier sell strip in 1" widths?"

    Yes, of course. But I already have 20 feet of 2" flat that was purchased last year. I'm just trying to make it go farther.

    > If you're cutting 1" strips from sheet

    Agree with Anvil ... good idea (for next time).

    @CamAus

    > Weld one side of the coupon for a t joint, then break apart in a press

    I guess left out the part about "I dont' have a press"


    Thanks for the feedback ... seems like most are in agreement, a waste of energy to rip them down. It just feels wasteful.

    -Luther

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