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Cold Saw vs. Abrasive Chop Saw: What Do You Need?

Submitted by mattk on Wed, 09/18/2019 - 22:33

An abrasive chop saw is typically a table-top tool meant for cutting hard materials like metal and is distinguishable by the type of blade or disc it uses. The cutting action of this kind of saw is performed by an abrasive disc which is very similar to discs found on grinding wheels but much thinner. The cutting wheel and motor are mounted typically on a pivoting arm attached to a fixed base. The base often utilizes a built-in vise or clamp to secure materials. The cutting disc is normally about 14 in (360 mm) in diameter and 7⁄64 in (2.8 mm) thick. Larger saws can use 16 in (410 mm) diameter discs. Abrasive saws often use discs with diamond and cubic boron nitride, which last longer than conventional blades.

Cold saws are similar in their purpose, however have a different method to cut metal. These utilize a circular, toothed saw blade, and many times a liquid coolant, to transfer heat to the chips created when cutting. This keeps the blade as well as the material cool. Cold saws are generally composed of a blade and motor connected to an arm. The arm is set to a pivot point to allow the spinning blade to move vertically down through the material. Larger saws work on the same vertical axis, however use different methods, sometimes autonomous, to lower the blade.

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Abrasive Saw Blade and Cold Saw Blade

 

The abrasive chop saw’s method involves removing material through grinding. This method is fast, loud, and messy—we don’t recommend you use this saw near flammable substances. This saw is great for shops in need of fast cutting of hard metals due to the high blade speed. However, its speed comes at a price. Abrasive chop saws do not leave the workpiece with clean edges, and the blade can bow mid-cut decreasing its accuracy. Because the saw grinds the metal, softer materials such as aluminum gum up the blade and render it useless; the abrasive saw is meant only for hard metals. Since this is the cheapest option in cutting strong metals, it remains a popular machine in metal fabrication shops.

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Baileigh Abrasive Chop Saw AS-350M
Baileigh Abrasive Chop Saw AS-350M
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Baileigh Cold Saw CS-350EU
Baileigh Cold Saw CS-350EU

 

Cold saws, with their toothed blades, chip material as the blade spins. Unlike blades for abrasive chop saws, the toothed blades for cold saws (and dry saws) are pricey, and can run you over $200.00 per blade depending on the blade’s material and size. Similar to dry saws, cold saws make clean cuts with little to no burred edge; the main difference between the two is the liquid coolant used by cold saws. Both cold saws and dry saws transfer the heat generated from the cut to the chips created by the cut. However, the liquid coolant ensures the material is cool while also lubricating the teeth of the blade, making a faster cut, and no heat in the finished product. Cold saws, which spin the blade at a slower rate, are capable of cutting softer metals such as aluminum as well as harder metals like rebar.

 

Cold Saw

Abrasive Chop Saw

Price Range

$1,050 - 15,000+

$780 - 14,000

Coolant Needed

Yes

No

RPM Range

20 - 100

1300 - 1450

Benchtop

Yes

Yes

Floor Standing

Yes

Yes

Burr Free Cutting

Yes

No

Cuts Aluminum

Yes

No

Regardless of your choice, Elite Metal Tools has the perfect machine for your shop of business. We offer the largest selection of industry-leading metalworking machines including abrasive chop saws and cold saws. Not sure what you need? Call one of our knowledgeable team members at (281) 241-9504 or email us at insidesales@elitemetaltools.com