A chop saw is an integral part of any shop that deals frequently with metal. Chop saws are an easy way to make simple square cuts with metal objects, without having to worry about using a circular saw free handed. A chop saw is very similar to a miter saw, but is used primarily instead to cut metal
A chop saw can be commonly seen on construction sites, as it provides a simple means of cutting through hard materials without having to work from a shop. The chop saw is also safer than using an alternative such as an acetylene torch on the job site. Construction sites may use a chop saw for such applications as cutting rebar into sections. Where using an acetylene torch is a slower and far more dangerous process, the chop saw can accelerate this work significantly and at less risk to the personnel operating the machine.
Typically, a chop saw will function much as a miter saw does, with a circular type saw mounted on an arm above a cutting base. Instead of sharp cutting teeth, a chop saw’s blade is more of a grinding disc. This base will also have a mechanism for securing the object worked on, such as a screw that pushes the work piece against a metal backing. The saw itself is lowered slowly by hand, and will return to its raised position automatically by means of a spring.
When operating a chop saw, be sure to follow all necessary safety precautions. Never work with an object unless it is firmly secured by the base screw. Test the secureness of an object on the base by attempting to rock it back and forth. If it moves, the screw on the base needs to be tightened. A loose work piece can fly off the base and cause injury to the operator and others. Also be sure that the work area is clear of debris. This includes the base of the saw itself, as well as the floor surrounding the work area.
Northern Industrial offers a very affordable chop saw for as little as $49.99 that has received positive reviews. As usual, Milwaukee fills in the high end of the market with its Model #6176-20 chop saw that has a 14in. diameter and a powerful 15 amp motor for $199.99.