Since most woodworkers will have to do some type of metalwork from time to time it is essential to learn how to cut metal. You may not have all the fancy cutting tools, but there are a few ways to get the job done.
Hack Saws, grinders and angle grinders will work but they can be difficult to handle. Cutting bolts or other pieces of metal to the same length can be cumbersome. Most of the times the cuts are never straight.
If you modify your wood bandsaw you can cut metal. To do so you have to put in a metal blade and reduce the speed of your wood bandsaw.
A quick search online found that bandsaw speeds for wood is roughly 3000 feet per minute and metal should be around 150-300 feet per minute.
An angle grinder is an easy way to cut metal, the 4 1/4 inch wheel can have a no load speed of 3000-12000 RPM.
I will show you how to build a jig that will secure your grinder and make a 90 degree fixed miter fence.
You will be able to cut pieces straight to the same length. Oh, and very fast!
Building the jig
A tool I use all the time is my dowel stop gauge here you can see the video . This is very simple, after you have the measurements you can pencil mark them on the dowel of the gauge and then transfer them to the tablesaw when you are ready to set the fence.
The base I will be using is 1" thick plywood and measures at, width 13 1/4"x length 17 1/2".
A dado was cut in the base the same width as the
table saw slot which is 3/4".
Making the miter gauge
A quick test with a few different miter gauges tells me that the dado cut is correct, it slides nice and there is no side play. If the runner is too tight you can use a block and sandpaper and take a bit off.
I made this runner test block in the summer and now it's the winter and very dry and the block still fits snug. This is a quick way to set the fence but you may need to refine it a bit.
The second piece I cut was the miter gauge block or fence, it was cut to the width of the table (13 1/4") and 1 1/2x1 1/4".
The runner and block are placed on the table and carefully marked.
The runner is screwed to the block, a speed square is used to make sure everything is square.
Support for the grinder
A caliper was used to get the diameter of the angle grinder handle and then cut on the bandsaw. After I got the circle cut perfect I trimmed down the height of the support piece on the tablesaw as shown in the photo below. I thought this would look better.
A 2x4 scrap is used and a piece is cut out, this will be the
top support for the grinder handle. Four screws are used to
attach it to the bottom.
A stopblock is clamped to the fence and it is ready for cutting. Here is my first attempt and the pieces turned out perfect.
I can't believe how simple it is to cut metal, and with this jig I was able to cut perfect lengths. I could not do that before except with a hacksaw which took me forever! I don't do a lot of metal work but this will come in handy in my shop.
I hope this jig will help in your shop and of course it will save you time and money. Always remember to be safe and have fun.