Since we’re cutting things with a circular saw here, the question of whether a circular saw can cut metal is obvious. The answer to that depends on several factors.
This also brings up the question of why use a circular saw for cutting metal when you can use a metal saw?
In this article, we will discuss whether a circular saw can cut through metal, what factors determine the answer to this question, and also add a step-by-step guide on how to cut metal roofing with a circular saw.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
- What Makes a Saw Fit for The Task?
- Corded Vs Cordless Circular Saws: What’s the Difference?
- How To Cut Metal Roofing Using a Circular Saw?
- Tips And Tricks I Developed Myself!
- The Final Finish
What Makes a Saw Fit for The Task?
Here are the factors that determine whether a saw is fit to do the assigned task. Which, in this case, is cutting metal.
We all know that speed plays a powerful role in determining the capacity of the saw when it comes to automated saws. The framing saw’s blade speed far exceeds that acquired by a carbide-tipped circular saw blade in metal.
Saw blade speed is measured by RPMs. The higher the RPM, the faster and more powerful the blade.
In the case of circular saw blades, size does matter. Of course, the smaller blade spins slower than, the bigger one with more RPM. Metal cutting blades usually come with 5-3/8-inch blade size.
But there are some brands. Milwaukee, for example, makes a 7.5-inch saw. This size makes all the difference because it allows a maximum cut capacity of 2-9/16 inches.
Saws smaller than this fall short by almost 1-1/2 inches and cannot cut through a 2-inch surface on a single pass.
It goes without saying that cutting metal is a more difficult task than cutting wood. For that very reason, it also requires more effort.
For one thing, metal-cutting causes a lot of abrasion rather than chipping away at the material. The size of the blades (7-1/4-inch) used for cutting metal creates a lot of sparks when they cut through with a lot of speed. Not to mention shards of flaming hot metal flying away here and there.
This will cause the blade to wear out quickly.
That is why metal-cutting saws are designed to allow them to either collect or deflect those shards, saving the saw from damage or wearing out.
Thanks to their unique design, metal-cutting circular saws do this job better than framing or wood-cutting circular saws. This happens mainly because wood-cutting circular saws have an open housing which does not protect the saw from metal shard buildup.
Metal-cutting saws, on the hand, have close housings that help them do so.
Corded Vs Cordless Circular Saws: What’s the Difference?
It might seem insignificant, but whether your saw is corded or not also impacts its performance. The benefits of using a cordless circular saw are many.
For instance, it grants you more freedom to cut through the material freely without being bound by the cord. For another, you do not have to worry about cutting through the cord with a cordless saw.
That said, corded saws also have their own features that are best suited for some purposes. Such as being almost weightless since they don’t have a battery pack. You better opt for a corded saw to cut a ridiculous amount of metal at a stretch to avoid arm fatigue.
How To Cut Metal Roofing Using a Circular Saw?
Follow these steps to cut correlated metal using a circular saw smoothly:
Step 1: Safety first
- Metal cutting requires a lot of physical strength and comes with the risk of physical damage and injuries. Wear a shielded safety helmet and a pair of quality nitrile gloves to protect your face and hands from the flying chips of metal and sparks of fire while working.
- Make sure the place where you work is properly ventilated. Cutting corrugated metal can emit potentially hazardous gasses. Best if you can work outdoors. If not, try to work in a place with all the windows open.
Step 2: Position the metal on top of your working surface
- For a good cutting performance, properly positioning your piece of metal on your worktop is crucial. You can use a cutting table or a pair of sawhorses to do the task more precisely.
- When setting the object on the worktop, ensure that nothing gets in the way of the saw blade when cutting. A reliable working surface will ensure a smooth operation and protect you and the metal from accidental cuts.
Step 3: Use a proper blade for cutting metal
- To replace the blade of your circular saw with a metal cutting one, first, you need to unscrew the nut in the middle of the blade and spin it off using a screwdriver. Then unscrew the clamp holding onto the blade and drag the blade off.
- Now insert the carbide-tipped metal-cutting blade into the cutter groove and flanges, securing the bolt as tightly as possible.
- If you’re going for demanding cuts, it is advisable to use a diamond blade. They cost a little more, but they provide the ultimate outcomes like no other blade can.
Step 4: Support the corrugated metal with your free hand before cutting through it with your dominant one
- If you’re right-handed, exert force on the metal with your left hand, keeping it at least 2 feet apart from the saw blade to hold it in place. Then grab the trigger of your saw with your right hand and carefully make your first slice into the metal while still holding it in place with your left. If you’re a lefty, then do the same, just switching hands.
- If you want to keep your hand on the cutter, you should use a large object to hold the metal sheet downward to keep it flat. This is required because, unlike wood, metal tends to bend with exposure to heat and pressure. Fasteners will not suffice to do the task because the slots in corrugated metal will make it difficult to reach the level of compression required.
Step 5: Carefully push the saw through the metal
- Since the circular saw is driven forth by friction from its cutting blade, it gets most of the work done independently. Push the saw gently through the metal, allowing the surplus metal to flow down to the ground as you go.
- Avoid cutting at an edge with your circular saw because that leaves you with the risk of losing grip over it. Instead, cut lengthy strips of parallel lines to make a solid line. Corrugated metal already has slots to make the task easier for you.
Tips And Tricks I Developed Myself!
I cannot stress this enough, but cutting metal is dangerous. Please ensure your safety at all costs.
Apart from wearing a safety helmet and nitrile gloves, use standard safety equipment such as eye, arm, and ear defenders. Avoid wearing half-sleeved or sleeveless outfits while working, or wear external long cuffs or sleeves to keep your skin from burning and protect it from metal shards falling off.
Before attaching the tool to a power source, ensure you’re using the right blade for the task and that all components are attached or positioned perfectly. The cutting force of the blade must not be more than 14 inches beyond the depth of the metal you’re cutting.
Use a marker or highlighter to mark the sewing line on the metal and fasten it with screws. If there isn’t enough room on the bottom of the metal for marking, you can stack it on the crossbar or stretch it over two horsebacks/sawhorses.
When placing the blade with the cut edge, make sure the edge is not touching the metal. Squeeze gently onto the trigger to get the edge up and working, then carefully drag the blade into the metal. Do not rush or force the blade to go faster, but let the cutter do its job at its own pace.
Add cutting fluid to the tool to minimize friction and tension between the blade and the working material. This will ensure a clean and smooth cut.
Once the cutting is done, disconnect the saw from its power source but avoid touching the cut tip or blade since they will be heated and might scorch you.
The Final Finish
Metal cutting is one of the most difficult things to do with a circular saw, and it requires a lot of practice and safety measures. If you’re doing this for the first time, make sure to read the instructions thoroughly several times to properly understand them and have them up your sleeve. Always maintain safety and work your way carefully through it.