MechMate CNC Router Forum

Go Back   MechMate CNC Router Forum > Common Assemblies & Parts > Rails & Rollers
Register Options Profile Last 1 | 3 | 7 Days Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old Sun 27 April 2008, 07:50
Marc Shlaes
Just call me: Marc
 
Cleveland, OH
United States of America
Send a message via Skype™ to Marc Shlaes
Cutting the angle iron down with CerMet tipped circular saws

Moved from another thread:

David,

Take a look at the Steelmax saw or the Morse Metal Devil. I looked at it following GregJ's suggestion and ended up buying one off eBay for a hundred bucks. You will simply not believe how well it works. It cuts 1/4 inch steel like butter. It is a fairly simple matter to rig up a jig to cut the rail down straight and then grind.

It is one of those "how did I ever get by without that????????" tools.

Check it out!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old Sun 27 April 2008, 09:04
Greg J
Just call me: Greg #13
 
Hagerman, New Mexico
United States of America
David,

I second that. I couldn't grind a V edge to save my life, but cutting a straight, flat edge with a steel cutting "skill" saw was a piece of cake.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old Sat 03 May 2008, 10:32
dmoore
Just call me:
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Shlaes View Post
Take a look at the Steelmax saw or the Morse Metal Devil. I looked at it following GregJ's suggestion and ended up buying one off eBay for a hundred bucks. You will simply not believe how well it works. It cuts 1/4 inch steel like butter.
Marc -

I gave in and purchased one of the SteelMax circular saws from ebay. I managed to find an almost new one for $34 + $40 shipping. Thanks for the advice!

david
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old Sat 03 May 2008, 10:35
dmoore
Just call me:
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmoore View Post
So, what I'd really like is angle in 2.5"x1" or 2.5"x1.125" - both of which are not standard bar channel sizes here in the US. What is standard is 2"x1.25x.25".
Update - I couldn't get 2"x1.25" angle from my steel supplier so I purchased a SteelMax circular saw as recommend by Marc and will setup a jig to cut it (hopefully) straight.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old Sat 03 May 2008, 18:04
Greg J
Just call me: Greg #13
 
Hagerman, New Mexico
United States of America
David,

I bolted a 1"x1" angle to the bottom of the saw. Use it as a rip fence.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old Sat 03 May 2008, 19:53
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
Yep....drill two holes one size, larger size in the mating angle and bolt up parallel to blade. The better the set up...the better the end result.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old Sat 03 May 2008, 23:22
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
I think the saw gives a bigger risk of cutting the rail down too far. If something goes wrong, the jig should rather force the saw to go wider rather than narrower.

At the end, I would still use the grinder (with a thick disk) to get the final finish of the reference line.

Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old Sun 11 May 2008, 21:32
dmoore
Just call me:
 
Cutting the angle iron down with a Steelmax, MetalDevil, Evolution or Triton TCT saw

Cut from another thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
Kobus, how long did it take you to cut the angles?
Here was the breakdown for my rails:

* Build the skate: 2 hours
* Cut the rails (35ft) with the SteelMax circular saw - 20 minutes
* Grind the rails (35ft) with the skate -2 hours
* Trip to home depot to replace dead grinder - 1 hour
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old Sun 11 May 2008, 21:40
Greg J
Just call me: Greg #13
 
Hagerman, New Mexico
United States of America
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmoore View Post
* Cut the rails (35ft) with the SteelMax circular saw - 20 minutes
Did you attach a rip fence to the bottom of the saw or make a jig?

Interested how you cut the rails.

Thanks,
Greg
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old Mon 12 May 2008, 07:25
domino11
Just call me: Heath
 
Cornwall, Ontario
Canada
David,
I am interested in your steel cutting saw setup as well. Pictures would be great. Did you cut to exactly the height you wanted or did you leave a little extra to grind with the skate to the exact height?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old Wed 14 May 2008, 21:49
dmoore
Just call me:
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg J View Post
Did you attach a rip fence to the bottom of the saw or make a jig? Thanks,
Greg
The SteelMax saw has a rip fence with it. I just measured out carefully and then did a test run on another spare section of angle iron. I really can't imagine another, faster and accurate method based on the cost and time. The finish was nearly perfect - no burrs, gouges, etc. It also only cost me 70$ USD off ebay (including shipping). I called the company to give a testimonal and they even sent me an extra $45 blade. Highly recommend the SteelMax saw - you'll surely find use on this project and I'm sure other projects later.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old Wed 14 May 2008, 21:55
dmoore
Just call me:
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by domino11 View Post
David,
I am interested in your steel cutting saw setup as well. Pictures would be great. Did you cut to exactly the height you wanted or did you leave a little extra to grind with the skate to the exact height?
There really wasn't much to it - that's why I didn't even take photos. I simple put one leg of the angle (after it was cut down) into the vice, then setup the rip fence on the SteelMax saw and then ran down the length of the angle with slow and steady pressure. Less than 10 minutes per 10ft length. It took longer to cut the rails to length and get the saw setup.

I cut them to the final 1.1" since the sake rides on the top of the rail, its nearly impossible to trim them down after the fact.

If anyone in Houston, TX needs rails, let me know...
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old Sun 18 May 2008, 18:46
cobra427mnsi
Just call me: Paul
 
Leamington, Ontario
Canada
Dave

What is the difference between the SeelMax saw and any other portable Skil type saw other than the blade. Could I just order a 7 1/4" SteelMax blade and use it on my portable wood cutting saw?

Paul
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old Sun 18 May 2008, 19:10
Doug_Ford
Just call me: Doug #3
 
Conway (Arkansas)
United States of America
Paul,

I don't own a SteelMax but I understand that it spins the blade at a slower speed than your regular saw.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old Sun 18 May 2008, 21:51
cobra427mnsi
Just call me: Paul
 
Leamington, Ontario
Canada
Doug,

That would make sense in order to keep everything cooler, thanks.
Anyone who has used one before. Does the saw spin with fewer rpm than a regular saw?

Paul
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old Mon 19 May 2008, 05:35
Marc Shlaes
Just call me: Marc
 
Cleveland, OH
United States of America
Send a message via Skype™ to Marc Shlaes
The SteelMax saw definitely turns slower. Also, the blade arbor is a different size that a typical 7.25" circular saw I'm sure to discourage exactly this. To each his own, but I personally would not try it. The saw is not that expensive if you watch eBay and it is an absolutely fantastic thing to have around if you anticipate doing any further metal work.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old Tue 20 May 2008, 07:56
ekdenton
Just call me: Ed #8
 
Alamogordo, NM
United States of America
Guess I am old fashion since I haven't broke down and bought one yet. From what I read on the hand held saws and the larger chop saw type, they do turn at a slower rpm and have more torque. Also the teeth on the blade are ground at a different angle than a wood saw blade (so the wood saw blades with carbide teeth will not work for cutting steel). I have some customers that swear by these saws and say that they cutt steel like butter and they even cutt when some of the blade teeth break off. Others customers that tried them and said after a few cutts the blade was gone and the blades are not cheap like the abrasive type blades. So they got rid of them and went back to the abrasive blades. Possibly the difference is either the brand of blades or maybe the way the operators are using them?
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old Wed 21 May 2008, 16:39
Greg J
Just call me: Greg #13
 
Hagerman, New Mexico
United States of America
Paul,

My experience with the Steelmax has been great. I cut every member of the MM with it and have nothing negative to comment on. The cuts are clean, the blades lasted a long time (approx. 2 or 3 blades, I forget), etc.

I've also cut 2-7/8 drill pipe for table legs with ease. Cutting thin metal sheeting for building additions has also been nice.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old Wed 04 June 2008, 05:21
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
I am not that excited by the Steelmax. My first reservation is the safety of a handheld circular saw for steel. Is there any history of accidents with the blades cracking up or spilling off their teeth?

And then I don't believe the cut finish is good enough for the grinding skate - so it does not remove the need to grind the top and bevels of the rail.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old Wed 04 June 2008, 07:03
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
Comment on saw vs. cutting wheel.
The steelmax is a nice tool, but with all of them I find their can be errors / cut quality.

I was keen to remember that we are machining a surface to a significantly high tolerance using very affordable and accesible means.

The grinder with a cut wheel method does 2 things very important processes for us in the Mechmate world.
1 - makes certain that the cut is exactly from bottom of angle iron to top of "FLAT" surface is 1.1" or whatever you decide is the final resting height of your VEE.
2 - makes certain that your cut is exactly the right height because step #3 is grinding the VEE. This is a TOP reference grind that is most worlds is not standard practice.

The MM method of using a top referenced grinding tool dictates that we have a smooth, regular and reliable top surface.

If using the steelmax, I would still require you to grind it smooth after cutting to maintain tolerance.

I guess the moral here your really not saving a lot of time to do the same process - but precision is paramount.

...my humble opinion.

Sean
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old Wed 04 June 2008, 07:34
dmoore
Just call me:
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
I am not that excited by the Steelmax. My first reservation is the safety of a handheld circular saw for steel. Is there any history of accidents with the blades cracking up or spilling off their teeth?
While I've not had any teeth break off, the design of the blade guard seems like it would capture any broken teeth. Plus, there are plenty of chop-saws with toothed baldes that spin at speeds well above a cold saw.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
And then I don't believe the cut finish is good enough for the grinding skate - so it does not remove the need to grind the top and bevels of the rail.
The undressed cut of my rail was so smooth that I didn't even clean it up. The skate ran fine over the cut rail.

I would really suggest getting a steel cutting circular saw for yourself. I would assume that you'd feel the same Greg and I feel after using it. Tell you what, if I build the second MechMate for a profit, I'll send you one free.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old Wed 04 June 2008, 10:05
J.R. Hatcher
Just call me: J.R. #4
 
Wilmington, North Carolina
United States of America
Send a message via Skype™ to J.R. Hatcher
I have not tried the Steelmax saw to cut rails. I was however very impressed when I cut 1/4" steel with Marc's, it's nothing like you think, very much under control, but safety glasses would definitely be a good idea.
My suggestion would be after cutting down the rails, use a caliper or micrometer and measure every 6" down the rail. If you are satisfied with that get the rail flat and slide a mill file down the cut just to see where it does or doesn't touch. If you are satisfied with that use the skate to cut the angles. If you are not satisfied use the skate to grind the rails flat.
I was so impressed I bought several of the Steelmax 2802 model.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old Wed 04 June 2008, 10:32
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Sliding a mill file down the edge will easily and quickly take care of my "finish quality" concern, if it is justified at all. So we can put that one to bed.

From what I hear, this thing cuts fast . . . . . . From my woodworking attempts, I have learnt that ripping a plank with a portable skilsaw is a hit & miss affair, so I am afraid that the rail may suddenly be gouged too deep by the Steelmax, thus ruining it completely. It doesn't strike me that an amateur metalworker bloke can trim a narrow angle iron down accurately with this vicious machine. Since I don't have the tiniest experience of a Steelmax (it is not sold here), I have to be cautious. And I want to guard against this forum sending a message that the Steelmax is essential for for building a MechMate.

Could someone post a photo of the fence they rigged up on their Steelmax?
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old Wed 04 June 2008, 10:47
J.R. Hatcher
Just call me: J.R. #4
 
Wilmington, North Carolina
United States of America
Send a message via Skype™ to J.R. Hatcher
The steelmax comes with its own fence maybe 10" to 12" long. It fastens to the saw's bottom plate in 2 places. I see how this could have its degree of accuracy, however I have been using a circular saw most of my life. Even today I don't like having to use one I am not use to...
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old Wed 04 June 2008, 14:07
Greg J
Just call me: Greg #13
 
Hagerman, New Mexico
United States of America
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post

Could someone post a photo of the fence they rigged up on their Steelmax?

(Will probably make a separate thread for this one day.....)

I made my own using 1"x1"x1/8" angle. When I get home tonight, let me search my photo's and I'll post a picture.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old Wed 04 June 2008, 17:49
dmoore
Just call me:
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
From what I hear, this thing cuts fast . . . . . .
The SteelMax circular saw cuts .25" angle at about the rate of 20-30 seconds per linear foot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
From my woodworking attempts, I have learnt that ripping a plank with a portable skilsaw is a hit & miss affair, so I am afraid that the rail may suddenly be gouged too deep by the Steelmax, thus ruining it completely. It doesn't strike me that an amateur metalworker bloke can trim a narrow angle iron down accurately with this vicious machine.
I've seen some pretty impressive things built over a hundred years ago, prior to the advent of power tools and I marvel that these people didn't have hundredth of an inch accurate table saws, routers, jigs saws and the like. They did it all with hand tools. Also (in more modern times) in my trips to China, I was constantly amazed by what people with little means could accomplish - by hand, things that in the United States we wouldn't even think of doing by hand - and the quality was on-par what we would produce by machine.

So, I think the comment about the "amateur metalworker" may be accurate - it's very much about skill. Sure, some tools make skill nearly irrelevant but even cheap tools can, with enough time and focus, made to produce an end result just as good as something produced with a "professional' tool.

I personally feel that if someone takes the time to setup the SteelMax rip fence properly and lock it down (~5 minutes), that there is no reason that someone with the most basic skills can do this. I might even say that non-metal working people might feel more comfortable with the "circular saw" than the grinder as it is something they have familiarity with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
Since I don't have the tiniest experience of a Steelmax (it is not sold here), I have to be cautious. And I want to guard against this forum sending a message that the Steelmax is essential for for building a MechMate.
I sure hope I've never conveyed that the SteelMax is essential for the build of a MechMate, as the SteelMax saw is NOT essential for the MechMate build. On a personal level - I'd sure say that it does the work of a lot of tools you might need (chop saw, band saw, grinder, etc) and I am completely sold on it. Had it not been for Marc Shlaes (and Greg J) on this board responding to my frustrations with cutting down the rail using other means (http://www.mechmate.com/forums/showt...04&postcount=5), I would have never purchased the SteelMax saw. I'm very happy they did steer me in that direction. I also appreciate that others posted many other methods (all of which I reviewed), I wasn't confused at all. It did take more time to review but I feel it was well worth every minute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
Could someone post a photo of the fence they rigged up on their Steelmax?
I can do one better than that. I've posted a YouTube video of me cutting a rail down to 1.1". It then shows the resulting cut. Since the quality of the video isn't that great, I've attached some photos of my other rail that hopefully are a bit more clear. The total time to cut 5 feet of rail, with an old blade is just under 2 minutes. I make a mistake and refer at the end to the "uncut rail" - it should be "cut rail".

YouTube Video of Rail Cutting with the Steel Max Saw:
http://www.youtube.com/v/PWUCXcj3a8E

I am extending an offer to anyone who wants it - if you want a 1ft sample section of the rail, PM me and I will send it to you for $10 (US domestic only).

Gerald, if you'd like a section, just PM your address and I'll sent it to you free of charge. If you'd like to try out a SteelMax saw, find one on eBay (or any other retailer), buy it and I will re-ship it to you free.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg P6040595 (Small).JPG (28.2 KB, 1362 views)
File Type: jpg P6040597 (Small).JPG (41.7 KB, 1365 views)
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old Thu 05 June 2008, 08:17
ekdenton
Just call me: Ed #8
 
Alamogordo, NM
United States of America
Two questions on the steelmax.

#1 How did you clamp or hold the angle straight while cutting? When I cutt my x rails with a grinder I had to lay a 10" channel on the forklift + a 1/4" x 12" flat steel on top of the channel, and prop the ends up so that everything was straight and level before cutting since most every piece of steel has some degree of curve. I take it your standing or clamping the angle up on it's edge in a vice, or tack welding it to a table of sort that is straight?


#2 After purchasing the steel angle iron + the steelmax aren't you above the cost of the aluminum angle and premade hardened rail which would be straighter, harder and have more surface area than the DYI rails?
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old Thu 05 June 2008, 14:12
dmoore
Just call me:
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ekdenton View Post
How did you clamp or hold the angle straight while cutting? When I cutt my x rails with a grinder I had to lay a 10" channel on the forklift + a 1/4" x 12" flat steel on top of the channel, and prop the ends up so that everything was straight and level before cutting since most every piece of steel has some degree of curve. I take it your standing or clamping the angle up on it's edge in a vice, or tack welding it to a table of sort that is straight?
I ground my rails but first cutting down the one leg, then I clamped the rail to my 4'x8' welding table that is pretty flat. I ground both sides and then slid it down and ground down the next section. For those that have the main channel at the time they are grinding rails, I would recommend clamping it and grinding it there (as others have mentioned).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ekdenton View Post
After purchasing the steel angle iron + the steelmax aren't you above the cost of the aluminum angle and premade hardened rail?
I guess this is where individual situations come into play. I only paid $70, including shipping, for the SteelMax saw, so it's full retail price wasn't an issue for me. I also knew that I could use the SteelMax saw for other projects in the future (even more now that I've used one).

Prices listed below assume a table size of 4'x8'. My total cost to produce rails was:
  • Grinder: $100 (with wheel)
  • Skate: $19.60 (8 @ 2.45) bearings from Superior Bearing
  • Eccentrics (free since you have to have them for the z-slide)
  • Misc bolts, nuts and washer - $25 (see complete list here: http://www.mechmate.com/forums/showt...8&postcount=43)
  • SteelMax saw $70 (yes I know it's not always that cheap)
  • 40ft of 2.5" x 2" x .250" Angle - $110
  • Total cost of rails (X, Y AND Z): $254.60 USD
  • I exclude the cost of the skate metal itself since it generally comes included with the "mechmate" bent steel packages. The time for me to grind rails was 2-4 hours depending on how your figure it - let's just say 5-9 hours to be safe.
  • I also used the skate to grind my Z slide: http://www.mechmate.com/forums/showthread.php?t=753 for no additional cost.
Had I built the Al rail option:
  • SteelMax saw $70 or other saw (or Al cutting blade for my circular or table saw) to cut down Al rails to 2.5" x .6 x .24
  • 2x 12' hardened tracks, 2x 7' hardened tracks, 2' hardened track (Z) - $378 (from http://www.mechmate.com/forums/showt...23&postcount=1)
  • 2x 16' x 3" x 2" x 1/4 @ $212, 2x 8' x 3" x 2" x 1/4" @ $89. (from http://www.metalsdepot.com/products/...LimAcc=$LimAcc) - I'll give you that the 2 1/2" angle and a local purchase would be cheaper, so I'll drop that cost from $302 to $225 to be fair
  • Misc bolts/nuts/washers for attaching rail to the angle - $10
  • Total cost of X/Y/Z rails: $683
  • Note: This excludes the cost that might be incurred to cut down the z-slide (SteelMax saw would work well here ). Also the amount of time to drill the rail and Al angle should be taken into account (unsure how long this actually takes)
  • Note: There is some price difference for shipping 12' as opposed to 8' rails (which then are butt jointed). Unharded 8' rails appear to be sold for $51 per rail. This would put them at about $204 plus shipping.
Total cost difference between the two systems: ~$429 USD. If your build total build cost (without the difference of $429) was $6000, that would be a 7% increase in the overall cost of the MechMate to go with Al rails over ground steel rails.

If any of my numbers are off or if I missed anything (for either system), please feel free to post corrections.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ekdenton View Post
Al rails....which would be straighter, harder and have more surface area than the DYI rails?
Straighter is up for debate. My rails are pretty darn straight. When I milled down my spoil board it was, to my eye, perfectly flat (according to my 5ft straight edge) without any dips or valleys. As I mentioned in another post - I think if there is
variability, it would have been in the hot rolled steel main channels - now those are NOT "completely" flat (as in cold drawn Al). So, I would have put really flat Al on top of a not so flat leg of hot rolled steel. Either way, according this this post http://www.mechmate.com/forums/showt...38&postcount=2 it won't be better than .005" without special measures. That post also points out that the accuracy of the rail comes not from the rail itself but the Al angle itself - so this then comes down to how good of a job the builder did when they cut down the Al rail.

I would buy the harder since Superior Bearing says it's hardened (though no reference is provided to the level of hardening) - if you paid the extra money for them. I'm assuming it to be harder than standard mild steel.

As to the "more surface area" - could you elaborate? I'm assuming we are talking about T3 from the following chart:


I have no issue with the Al rails - if someone was worried about the steel rails or just didn't want to fuss with it, I surely wouldn't try to stop them. There are cost, tool and skill differences here and it doesn't appear there is one good obvious option.

As I've offered before - I'm happy to sell pre-ground rail, local pickup in Houston, TX, USA (http://www.mechmate.com/forums/showthread.php?t=749)
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old Thu 05 June 2008, 21:04
Greg J
Just call me: Greg #13
 
Hagerman, New Mexico
United States of America
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg J View Post
I made my own using 1"x1"x1/8" angle. When I get home tonight, let me search my photo's and I'll post a picture.
Geeez, I miss one evening and ..... I'll leave it at that.

Here's the pic promised. I couldn't find the original 1"x1" angle, so I placed some scrap 1"x1" to show the configuration. I just made a rip fence on the bottom of the saw using the 1"x1". I bolted the angle to the bottom where you see two holes. There's another set of holes at the "top" that are difficult to see. It worked rather well.

SteelMax 4.jpg
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old Thu 05 June 2008, 21:13
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Did you run the fence against the 1.1" side, or against the off-cut side? If ever I went the Steelmax route, I would probably run the fence against the off-cut and then then finish the 1.1" with the grinder.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Register Options Profile Last 1 | 3 | 7 Days Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:20.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.