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Some help with a miter saw selection for VSlot cutting.

Discussion in 'General Talk' started by DarkAlchemist, Oct 8, 2016.

  1. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    I am trying to figure out if a Ryobi 9 Amp 7-1/4 in. Compound Miter Saw with Laser would be enough to cut all sizes of VSlot or do I need the Ryobi 14-Amp 10 in. Compound Miter Saw with Laser to do it right?

    I am hoping for a good deal coming after black Friday (or on black Friday) as last year the orange big box improvement store had one deal with the 10in and the stand included for 169 + tax.

    I don't plan on using it much as I don't work with wood but once every decade, or thereabouts and regardless which one I get I am buying a Diablo Aluminum cutting blade right then and there.

    Oh, and one thing I do hate about all of the saws I looked at was the visual measuring system is in imperial only so I will have to add something as I work in metric for anything less than 1m these days.
     
  2. snokid

    snokid Master
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    either will work well....
    just a stop block and a metric yardstick will solve the imperial problem...
    Bob
     
  3. Jonathon Duerig

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    You should seriously consider taking a look at machines designed to cut aluminum instead of a generic chop saw. The ideal speed for cutting aluminum is different than the one for cutting wood, so you will probably get better finishes and longer blade life if you do that. For only slightly more than your current price range, for example, you can get an Evolution miter saw which works well. The Evolution saws are explicitly designed to handle multiple materials and runs at a slower speed than a generic miter saw:

    https://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Power-Tools-RAGE3-Multipurpose/dp/B0030M2TCC

    Alternatively, there are Evolution cutoff saws that are even cheaper:

    https://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Power-Tools-RAGE3-Multipurpose/dp/B00245U9RI?th=1

    I should note that the workholding for miter saws isn't that great for aluminum extrusion. If you are not careful, you can mar the surface and if you are cutting 20x20 beams, the clamp overhangs the beam. Workholding on cutoff saws is much better (horizontal vise). Always clamp your work all the time. The kickback is killer with aluminum.

    I have used both of these machines and they work well. The one caveat is that it is a bad idea to try to cut actual miters using a chop saw with aluminum. It becomes much more difficult to clamp and the chance of kickback or other bad things happening goes way up. For miters, it is much better to use a gentler saw like a horizontal band saw, but that may be cost-prohibitive.

    -D
     
  4. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    I am not seeing how that Evolution is any different than what I showed. You would think that going slower would be in all of that marketing hype on the page.
     
  5. Jonathon Duerig

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    There are two questions here. First, what is the difference in speed between the two saws? Second, does it matter?

    For the first, we can look at the specs. According to the Ryobi spec sheet, it runs at 5000 rpm with no load. While the evolution chop saw runs at 1750 rpm and the evolution miter saw runs at 3500 rpm. The evolution miter saw has the same size blade as the ryobi, so it is definitely slower. The evolution advertising copy claims that it is well suited for multi-material cutting. But it doesn't go into details of blade vs speed vs other concerns.

    For the second, I don't have a particular source. This is information I found when I was doing research into buying saws a year or so ago. I was happy with the evolution saw, but that isn't proof that the RPM was the cause. And based on links like this one, I had the notion that an ideal aluminum-only cutting machine would go even slower than the Evolution ones because the Evolution tools run at a compromise speed:

    "aluminum" miter saw rpm's [Archive] - Weld Talk Message Boards

    I should add that as one of the comments says, you should definitely be wearing a face mask and expect that swarf and dog ends go in all directions. This happens on my Evolution cut off saw and I presume that it will be just as bad or even worse on the Ryobi which runs faster.

    -D
     
  6. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    I have no idea so I am hoping some more will chime in on a comparison especially about the swarf and speeds etc..
     
  7. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    I am torn because of the post below you. I already noticed on a few models their top speed was faster than the Diablo blade so was questioning that.
     
  8. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    I must say I am a bit intrigued by the evolution chop saw when I think of how often I'm cutting metal and plastics on my Delta miter saw (which creates a mess and is not terribly accurate). It would also solve the problem of having to break out the Dremel or the grinder to cut off threaded rods and bolts.
     
  9. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    I wish more people had them because I only recently heard of them due to one of the channels on YT I watch as they gave him an evolution product. It wasn't a chop saw or a miter though.

    I have a need to be able to 45 degree cut extrusions so a chop saw is out.

    This was taken from their background image:[​IMG]
     
  10. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    That is the first saw that Jonathon suggested. Its a sliding miter saw. You'll see the same view if you scan down through the amazon photos.
     
  11. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    Well, I looked at a review of it (same chap was on the Amazon video for the chopsaw) and using the miter saw the aluminum cut was okay but not stellar but that is using their cut everything blade.

    See, I am not so sure about this machine as it appears it really is more of a marketing type thing for their blade. I suspect a Diablo blade on it would make for a lot better cut but the machine itself is lacking RPM for wood so as a do it all machine I am most uncertain about it and as a strictly cut aluminum machine if you use the supplied blade the cut was ragged. In the YT demo that was quickly shown so you would need to freeze frame it to really see.

    I am scanning for more reviews but here is the one I watched:
     
  12. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    There are a lot of videos of various ages on YT to check out. It appears the woodworkers like it.

    I am almost sold on this as it includes a stop block and he shows it cutting everything (a very good review)


    Here are the specs for the Miter saw

    [​IMG]
     
    #12 DarkAlchemist, Oct 11, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
  13. Jonathon Duerig

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    I have used the Evolution miter saw quite a bit. A couple of points based on the above discussion:

    (1) The cuts seemed quite accurate. I was able to get cuts that were absolutely repeatable to the level I could measure.
    (2) It is still quite messy. I don't know if it is less messy than other kinds of miter saws when cutting aluminum. But in the room I keep it in, I have occasionally found swarf or small dog ends getting to the far corner. The only real way to reduce mess that I can see is to go with a horizontal band saw (much more expensive).
    (3) I had a lot of trouble with angle cutting. But part of this was that I needed funny angles that the saw wasn't really designed for. And partly it was because I needed to cut pretty small pieces. I don't think that the miter on this saw is worse than others. But it was not good enough for my purposes. Take twice as much time and twice as much care when cutting angles.
    (4) Cutting small pieces is the weakest point of both miter saws and chop saws. If the piece is too small to securely clamp, don't even try. Cutting small angles is the worst of both worlds. Use a hack saw instead if you need small angles.
    (5) On both the cutoff saw and the miter saw, I bought the Evolution brand aluminum-only blade at the same time as I purchased the machine. I knew I was only going to be cutting aluminum with it, so I never even tried the multipurpose blades. Now that my miter saw is retired from cutting aluminum, I will likely put the original blade back on and use it more as a typical miter saw when I need to cut wood or other materials.

    Overall, I've been happy with the Evolution saws. When I use them within their limitations, they can cut quickly and precisely. But I did end up having to get a horizontal band saw to cut angles. I only use the cutoff saw now and only use it on straight cuts.

    -D
     
  14. Jonathon Duerig

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    Oh. I should add that while the miter saw includes a stop block, it wasn't that useful for me. The rails for the stop block aren't that long, so I ended up creating my own fence/stop system out of aluminum extrusion and left it in the box.

    Part of the reason was that I found that measuring, marking, and cutting at the mark wasn't accurate enough for me. I needed to be able to look at my plans that call for a 532mm beam and cut it to within half a millimeter or so of that number. I ended up using gauge blocks to create cutting templates instead.

    -D
     
  15. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    My printer I am about to build I need some odd lengths as well and all of them need to be cut straight and precisely the same length for all pieces. I am stumped on how to do that and with what without breaking the bank and at this moment if I have to run out and spend a thousand for the machines to do it I might as well just buy a fully working printer which defeats the entire openbuilds reason in being.
     
  16. Jonathon Duerig

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    Ok. Let me try to lay out your options for you, then:

    Scenario A: You only want to cut a few pieces of aluminum extrusion for a single project. After this, you don't have any other immediate plans to use aluminum extrusion.

    (1) Pay somebody to cut them for you. Lots of 3d printers have extrusion-only kits of parts. Or there could be a local shop that would be willing to cut them for you.
    (2) You only have a few cuts to make. You can be precise and safe with a miter box and hacksaw. It is a bit of a pain, but there is no cheaper option.
    (3) You can buy a new miter saw to cut them. In this case, just get a miter saw that is useful for other stuff (wood cutting, etc.) and get an aluminum-cutting blade like you were originally thinking.

    Scenario B: You have an immediate need for cutting aluminum and expect to cut a lot more in the future.

    (1) Get a miter saw that runs slower than normal to make it better at cutting aluminum (like the Evolution one). Get an aluminum blade
    (2) Find other people in the area that would be interested in sharing a horizontal band saw. This is the best and safest way to cut aluminum extrusion, IMO. It is only the cost that is tricky.

    Based on your original questions, I thought you were in Scenario B. But now I think I may have muddied the waters and you are in scenario A. Sorry about that. I think if you are only cutting some aluminum from time to time, getting a standard miter saw is probably perfectly reasonable. Maybe it will wear your blade faster or have slightly less clean cuts. But that isn't a big deal. I live in scenario B since I frequently cut large amounts of aluminum extrusion and have an indefinite need to do so.

    Regardless of which option you choose, the best way to get precise cuts on a miter saw in my experience is to replicate a known length. For many designs, having multiple parts with the same length is much more important than the exact length. You want all four legs of a table to be the same length, but it doesn't matter if they are 5mm longer than spec as long as they are all exactly 5mm longer. To do this, first cut one part based on meaure/mark/cut. Then use that as a template against a fixed stop and cut a piece of scrap. Then use the scrap to cut however many more of the same length you need.

    -D
     
  17. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    In my design there is no room to err.

    Who knows I may come back for more and will need to cut more but the Diablo non ferrous blade is made to cut aluminum and it cuts it beautifully too.
    [​IMG]
    This is why I was leaning toward the 10 in as I can cut 4x4 easily with it if I need to do wood fences etc... If you notice the 10in blade allows a max rpm of 7k and I haven't ran into a miter saw near that but the older blade was a max of 5500 for the 10in I believe and I have seen that. The kerf on that blade is .094" so that is darn near 3mm. Nothing but praise have I read for this blade though.
     
  18. Jonathon Duerig

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    So it sounds like the best option for you is (3) then. Get a normal saw like the Ryobi. Then get a nice Diablo blade. I have heard good things about those blades as well (though in my case, it was a woodcutting one on a tablesaw).

    You can get very precise if you measure, mark, and cut as long as you are very careful and keep track of which side of the mark you need to cut on. But I am lousy at it. So in order to get the precision I need, I create something that is the length I want exactly and then use the length replication trick to replicate that exact length. In my case, the easiest way to get the exact length was to assemble gauge blocks. But even a cheap set of gauge blocks is not cheap.

    You might be able to do something similar using other (less expensive) means. Or you may be able to get precise enough with measure-mark-cut and then re-measure to make sure it is right.

    -D
     
  19. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    I figure I am going to screw up a lot as I can't cut straight by hand at all and if I can't after 40 years of trying I can safely say I can't forever so I am after a mechanical means that I can replicate. Too bad I can't just have something cut all four, or six, at once then I would know it would be precise.

    An endstop/block sounds like it would work but how I would build one I haven't a clue. Seems odd that none of them come with an adjustable means of accurately measuring with any form of repeatability.
     
  20. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    I measured from the teeth out to where my block needed to be and clamped it on at that location with a c-clamp. I would then test it by cutting a scrap of wood and measuring it to ensure accuracy. I used a chop saw and an old blade (60 tooth I think) that has been on it for probably 10 or more years and it cut aluminum just fine- not beautiful, but accurate. I will say this, the cutting is easier and faster (and quieter) if the extrusion is on edge rather than flat. That probably goes without saying, but it was far more noticeable with aluminum than with wood.
     
  21. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    You mean to stand it up? Hmmm, that seems weird.
     
  22. evilc66

    evilc66 Master
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    I can attest to the quality of the Diablo blade. I have that one on my 12" sliding compound saw and it cuts aluminum like butter, with a good (but not perfect) finish.
     
  23. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    If you're just looking for a means of squaring ends and matching lengths, I can offer an alternate suggestion. I just use a router sled on a crosscut jig to square the ends.

    End Trimming Jig.jpg

    The plate you see at the far end is used to gang multiple pieces together so all can be trimmed to the same length. I start long, trim one end and then rotate the whole set and do the other to the get the final length.

    And this doesn't necessarily need to be done in v-slot or with a router. There are a number of examples on instructables showing circular saw crosscut jigs that are inexpensive to build and would achieve the same goals and all you would really be out would be the cost of a 7 1/4" blade.
     
  24. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    Very interesting indeed and that guy knows his work.
     
  25. TerryOx

    TerryOx Veteran
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    Yes. I bought a yellow plastic mitre box and a 32 tpi hacksaw blade at Home Depot, carefully cut a piece of v-slot, and was surprised that it was straight and square.
     
  26. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    Did you cut more than one? The problem is getting them all the exact same length and true.
     
  27. TerryOx

    TerryOx Veteran
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    I only cut one, but there was room to cut two at the same time. I used a trigger clamp to keep it from moving.
     
  28. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    Yep, that is what I use to hold stuff down those Irwin ones.
     
  29. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    Yup. Just on edge. It was easier to cut and to clamp to the saw fence that way. I was cutting 2080 and by putting it on edge, I was only contacting about 20 mm at a time. Much less vibratey (new technical term)and quieter cutting that way. That being said, I like the jig Rick suggested. If I were to build multiple machines, I would build the jig.
     
  30. DarkAlchemist

    DarkAlchemist Veteran
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    2080/2060/2040/2020 is what I have to cut so I am not looking forward to it.
     
    #30 DarkAlchemist, Oct 12, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016

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