Miter saws are a commonly used power tool for making precise, angled cuts in a variety of materials, including wood, plastic, and composite materials. However, the question i.e. “can miter saws cut metal?” is a topic of debate among DIY enthusiasts and professionals alike.
Miter saws can technically cut metal, but it is not their primary function and there are several important considerations to keep in mind. For example, the type of blade used and the speed at which it rotates can affect the efficiency and quality of the cut.
Additionally, the type of metal being cut and its thickness can also impact the performance of a miter saw.
If you’re interested in exploring the capabilities and limitations of miter saws for cutting metal, keep reading.
In this post, we’ll delve deeper into the mechanics of miter saws and provide some practical tips for those looking to tackle metal-cutting projects.
Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or new to working with power tools, there’s something here for you.
Can Miter Saws Cut Metal??
Yes, it is technically possible to cut metal with a miter saw, but it is not the primary function of this tool and there are several important considerations to keep in mind.
Miter saws are designed to make precise, angled cuts in materials such as wood, plastic, and composite materials using a circular blade that rotates at high speed.
The blade is mounted on an adjustable arm that allows the user to make various types of cuts, including cross cuts, miter cuts, and bevel cuts.
How to Use a Miter Saw to Cut Metal?
Use a Metal Cutting Blade
When it comes to cutting metal, the type of blade used and the speed at which it rotates can affect the efficiency and quality of the cut. There are some good quality metal cutting blades available on the market nowadays such as the “Freud LU85R012“
For example, using a correct blade with a high tooth count (e.g. 40-80 teeth) can produce a smoother finish, but may also result in slower cutting speeds. Alternatively, a blade with a lower tooth count (e.g. 10-20 teeth) may cut more quickly but may leave a rougher finish.
Metal Thickness and Limitations of Miter saws
In addition to the metal cutting blade, the type of metal being cut and its thickness can also impact the performance of the saw. Thicker metals may require a slower cutting speed and a ferrous metal cutting blade with a higher tooth count to prevent overheating and distortion of the material.
Soft metals, such as aluminum, may be easier to cut but can still present challenges, such as the tendency to bind or twist even the metal cutting blade.
It is important to note that miter saws are not designed to handle the extreme heat and forces involved in cutting metal, and using them for this purpose can result in damage to the tool and potentially even injury to the operator.
There are other tools that are better suited for cutting metal, such as circular saws, jigsaws, chop saws, and band saws, which have stronger motors and more durable blades.
Which Blade Is Good for Cutting Metal: Choosing the Right Blade
As far as I have learned from different sources and from my experience I found the diamond blades and carbide ones quite effective. Apart from that, any 12-inch metal cutting blade for a miter saw will be good.
Make sure you get something abrasive in nature to cut the metal. It will help you complete the project safely without putting too much load on your saw. Apart from that, it will also make sure that a minimum amount of chips fly away. If you want to make precise cuts then you should look for a blade with a higher number of teeth.
Blades with more teeth can give cleaner outputs even on the hardest subjects such as steel. However, blades with more teeth are relatively slower when making metal cuts. On the other hand, the blade with fewer teeth can do the job quickly but you can’t expect very smooth outputs.
Different Types of Saw Blades and Their Usage
|Crosscutting blades||Used for making straight cuts across the grain of the material. They typically have a high number of teeth and a steep hook angle, which allows them to make clean with minimal tear-out.|
|Ripping blades||designed for cutting along the grain of the material, usually to create a rough, rough-cut edge. They typically have a low number of teeth and a shallow hook angle, which allows them to remove material quickly but leaves a rough, rough finish.|
|Combination blades||Used for both crosscutting and ripping and are good all-purpose blades for general woodworking tasks. They have a medium number of teeth and a moderate hook angle, which allows them to make both clean crosscuts and rough rip cuts.|
|Dado blades||Designed for creating wide, flat-bottomed cuts in wood, such as for creating dado joints or grooves. They have a series of stacked teeth that allow them to remove a wide swath of material in a single pass.|
|Plywood blades||Designed specifically for cutting through the plywood and other laminated materials. They have a high number of teeth and a steep hook angle to minimize tear-out and create clean, accurate cuts.|
|Laminate blades||Used for cutting through laminate flooring, countertops, and other laminate materials. They have a high number of teeth and a steep hook angle to minimize chipping and create clean, precise cuts.|
|Non-Ferrous blades||Used for cutting through non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum, brass, and copper. They have a high number of teeth and a special tooth geometry that allows them to make clean, precise cuts without binding or overheating.|
Blade Tooth Configuration
Blade tooth configuration refers to the shape and arrangement of the teeth on a saw blade. The type of tooth configuration can affect the speed and quality of the cut, as well as the lifespan of the blade.
Some common blade tooth configurations include:
Flat top teeth have a straight, flat top edge that is perpendicular to the blade body. They are typically found on crosscutting blades and are designed for making precise, clean cuts with minimal tear-out.
Alternate top bevel (ATB) teeth have a sloping top edge that alternates between left and right bevels. They are typically found on crosscutting blades and are designed to produce a clean finish with minimal tear-out.
Triple chip grind (TCG) teeth have a three-faceted tooth geometry that is designed to remove material efficiently and minimize heat buildup. They are typically found on ripping blades and abrasive wheels and are designed for making rough, rough-cut edges.
Raker’s teeth have a series of alternating large and small teeth that are designed to remove material efficiently and reduce heat buildup. They are typically found on ripping blades and are designed for making rough, rough-cut edges.
Chipper teeth have a series of small, alternating teeth that are designed to remove material efficiently and reduce heat buildup. They are typically found on dado blades and are designed for creating wide, flat-bottomed cuts.
Choosing the right blade tooth configuration depends on the type of cut being made and the material being cut. For example, a blade with ATB teeth would be well-suited for making clean crosscuts in wood, while a blade with TCG teeth would be better suited for making rough rip cuts.
Can Miter Saws Cut Metal With a Wood Blade?
I wouldn’t recommend cutting metal with a regular wood blade. It is because wood blades aren’t rated for heavy-duty tasks. If you want to use them on steel projects then these blades will produce a lot of friction. It is due to the high RPM of the blade which is usually good for softer subjects like wood and aluminum.
Higher friction will produce a lot of heat which will make the blade and the subject very hot. Apart from that, it also puts too much pressure on the motor which can reduce the performance of the motor with time.
Can a Miter Saw Cut Lengthwise?
Miter saws are specifically used for making angled cuts. Although it can make straight/crosscuts quite efficiently there are some limitations. Due to the fixed arm length and area on the table of the miter saw you may not be able to cut too lengthy boards with a miter saw lengthwise.
Can I use Miter Saw to Cut PVC?
Yes, miter saws are awesome tools for cutting PVC pipes. Especially when you want to get some cool angled cuts. However, just like metal cutting projects you need to equip your miter saw with a carbide tip blade. Usually, blades with a higher number of teeth are highly recommended.
Having that said, you need to be very careful while cutting PVC pipes with miter saws. It is because using an abrasive blade will sometime ruin the smoothness of the blade. Now if you have already made proper calculations. Even a small wrong cut will make a real mess during the project.
Using Other Tools for Metal Cutting Projects
If you don’t want to use your miter saw for metal cutting then you can make good use of other tools. For example, a circular saw or a table saw can come in handy for such things. You can cut without using any machinery at all. However, it will take very long which is not recommended at all.
Imagine using a miter box for cutting a lot of steel. It will take you hours to complete the project. Apart from that, you can always make good use of some life hacks and DIY tools. But that will require a lot of creativity.
Safety Consideration for Cutting Metal with Miter Saw
Before you put steel or any other metal for cutting in a miter saw you need to take some safety measures. These safety measures will make sure you get the maximum output without any accidents at all.
So without any further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most important points you need to take care of.
- Always make sure you have safety on. Never use a saw without properly covering your eyes and wearing gloves.
- Make sure that the saw is secured properly and it won’t slip or fall off from the place where you are using it.
- Try to put the steel or any other type of metal properly under the blade
- Always double-check your calculations before cutting the metal
- Never use a low-quality blade on your miter saw
- Always use lubricants when working on steel, aluminum, or any other metal.
What Material can you cut with a miter saw?
Miter saws are quite versatile, provided that you are using the right type of blade for the job. If you want to use your saw for projects other than woodworking then you will need different types of blades. You can use your miter saw for cutting bricks, steel, aluminum, PVC, brass, and even copper.
However, some people don’t agree as the speed of the saw is quite high and it will produce a lot of heat. Having that said, if you have taken the safety measures then you will be good to go without any issue.
Can a Miter Saw Cut Aluminum?
Another question that comes into mind is whether a miter saw is capable of cutting aluminum or not. The answer to this question is yes, cutting aluminum with a miter saw is possible.
However, you should get a metal cutting blade for a miter saw to do this job efficiently. Apart from that, you should also keep the thickness of the material in mind too.
If the aluminum piece is too thick then you should avoid using a miter saw and instead use a chop saw.
Can a Miter Saw Cut Tiles?
Tiles are a bit challenging to cut especially when you are trying a miter saw for the project. You can cut the tile without any issue however, you need to be a little creative. The problem with cutting tiles on a miter saw is that they produce a lot of dust.
It will make a mess and that dust is harmful to health too. Therefore, you need to make the tile a little bit wet using some lubricants. Apart from that, make sure you have covered your face properly during the job.
Can a miter saw cut metal? Most people have this question in mind especially when they are trying their miter saw for the first time. I didn’t even know the ABC of miter saws when I started learning about them.
However, with the passage of time and my own experiments, I learned that with the right type of blade and speed you can convert miter saw to cut metal. Once you figure it out how to do it properly it will help you a lot on your projects.
If there’s anything you would like to add to this post or any insight you have on this subject, please feel free to comment below.