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Thread: Stainless Steel sheet cutting for good fit up

  1. #1
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    Stainless Steel sheet cutting for good fit up

    I've been using a Fein Slugger 9 circular saw to cut 3/16 and 1/4 mild steel for welding projects. With a good guide and clamp set up I can get precise cuts beveled for welding in one go. The clean, accurate cut pieces fit up for welding perfectly. I'm spoiled.


    My problem is with stainless steel.


    I'd like to get precise clean cuts on stainless sheet in the range of 18 to 11 gauge. My first try with the Fein circular saw, with a new blade for stainless steel, on 18 gauge sheet destroyed the blade within a couple of feet of cutting. I did not support the cut-off piece as it was only 1.5 wide.


    I'd like to know if better set up for the cut on sheet stainless (clamping and support of both sides of the piece) would solve the problem?


    Or is 18gauge too thin, would it have worked better on thicker stock?


    Or is this the wrong tool to use for stainless steel? Keep in mind I want precise cuts so I can get excellent fit up for TIG welding. I don't have a metal shop or space for large cutting machines.


    Other options I can think of to get clean precise cuts (I have not tried any of these) are:


    -jig saw with carbide blade run against a guide.


    -angle grinder with thin cutoff wheel held against a thick barstock guide.


    -plasma cutter run against a guide assuming the cuts can be precise enough. I have my doubts.


    -double cut metal shears such as the Kett 440 run against a guide. I like this option best, at least up to 16 gauge, assuming the shears can be run up against a guide to provide precision. Anyone tried this? And this still leaves open how to deal with thicker stock.


    So what does your experience cutting stainless steel sheet accurately for good welding fit up tell you?


    Many thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: Stainless Steel sheet cutting for good fit up

    Portable stainless cutting methods

    1- Cut off wheel
    2- Plasma and guide
    3- Go back to #1

    A nibbler works, but is only rated to around 20 ga. Works real good for circles.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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  4. #3
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    Re: Stainless Steel sheet cutting for good fit up

    The blade you choose for the stainless, was it designed for the material thickness (tooth count) and for the RPM of the circular saw?
    Richard
    West coast of Florida

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  6. #4
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    Re: Stainless Steel sheet cutting for good fit up

    Plasma cutter with a guide.

  7. #5
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    Re: Stainless Steel sheet cutting for good fit up

    I use a Milwaukee 8" Metal Cutting circular saw with a blade for thin metals. It works great on stainless and better on carbon steel.
    No problem cutting 1" wide strips from 22 gauge.
    I clamp securely and use a clamped down straight edge. More teeth is better for thin gauge.
    Depending on how many cuts, I would see what supplier wants to shear them.
    Might be best option.
    Here's the blade I bought.

    https://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-48-.../dp/B00023S32M


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  9. #6
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    Re: Stainless Steel sheet cutting for good fit up

    Excellent question. The spec for the blade that is designed for this saw doesn't give a minimum thickness, only maximum of 1/4". Here it is. Similar text on the blade itself:
    Slugger MCBL09-SS 9 inch stainless steel cutting blade for Fein Slugger MCSL09 saw. Designed for a 1/4 inch solid plate or bar maximum. Product note: MAX RPM: 2700

    This is by no means a complaint about the saw or blade. They both are great tools. I'm trying to figure out how to do this right without experimenting and torching a bunch of $75 blades in the process. Or if I should simply move on to another method for this application.

    Thank you for your interest.

  10. #7
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    Re: Stainless Steel sheet cutting for good fit up

    Thank you BD. Good to hear your 8" Milwaukee works well. When you cut 1" wide 22 gauge strips do you clamp down the offcut 1" piece too? Do you cut long lengths? I was trying for a 4' cut 1.5" wide.

  11. #8
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    Re: Stainless Steel sheet cutting for good fit up

    Quote Originally Posted by hhchapman View Post
    Thank you BD. Good to hear your 8" Milwaukee works well. When you cut 1" wide 22 gauge strips do you clamp down the offcut 1" piece too? Do you cut long lengths? I was trying for a 4' cut 1.5" wide.
    I only cut the 4' width. Since it's only 1'' wide I don't support it at all.

    I made up a jig setup using a 2x12x60''. I made a saw cut kerf with wood blade in circular saw that the Milwaukee blade will run in. I used angle iron for the guide that the saw base follows. It is screwed to the 2x12 permanently. The angle is set so when the Milwaukee base touches it, the metal cutting blade runs in the precut saw kerf. The sheet is clamped using flat stock the entire width.
    I do support the entire sheet on 2x12's . This helps to keep the sheet flat.
    This has worked great for cutting 1'' wide strips for the Cattails I make. I didn't finish the bases on the cattails in this photo.
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Last edited by BD1; 06-20-2021 at 06:27 PM.

  12. #9
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    Re: Stainless Steel sheet cutting for good fit up

    I.like that jig Bob.

    Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
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  13. #10
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    Re: Stainless Steel sheet cutting for good fit up

    Hello Bob,
    Your photos and description of your jig are extremely helpful. Full support your jig provides all around the cut looks like it makes a big difference. Going to give this a try.
    Nice work on the cat tails too.

  14. #11
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    Re: Stainless Steel sheet cutting for good fit up

    This is two suggestions for a plasma cutter with guide. Going to do more homework on this - look for a rental plasma cutter to find out how it does.
    I've seen is suggested that, for clean plasma cuts, better to use higher amperage and move faster. Would you say this applies to sheet stainless?

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