How to cut metal with a mitre saw, cut off saw, or chop saw

(Last modified: March 21st, 2019)

Chop saws and cut off saws make a straight cut across the profile at 90° while mitre saws cut across profiles at an angle, however, the directions for using all these machines are the same. Mitre saws, cut off saws, and chop saws have a ‘cutting plinth’ integrated into the design to provide a static cutting area.

chop saw metals4U

Although mitre saws were traditionally used for cutting wood, with the correct blade they can make light work of cutting through steel and aluminium profiles at an angle.

Accessories  such as these mitre saw blades provide easy cutting through aluminium and non-ferrous metals, or these high performance discs  give good results for cutting through steel and stainless steel with precise, clean cuts.

Tips for cutting metal using a chop saw, cut off saw, or mitre saw.

  • As with all metal cutting operations, ensure that eye protection, gloves and ear defenders are worn to protect against injury from flying shards and chips of metal.
  • If using a mitre saw that has open motor housing, simply tape some thin cloth over the openings and vents to protect the motor from metal chips.
  • If sawing through a profile that is hollow or that has a thin wall, such as aluminium angle, it can be advantageous to back the metal with a piece of wood to add support, therefore, minimising the risk of the blade catching on the metal which may cause a deformation in the metal being cut.
  • Before switching on the power to the saw, check that the guard is in good condition and set at the correct position, and that all cables are clear from the cutting area.
  • Place the workpiece on the table and secure the workpiece using any vice adjusters or mitre locks and ensure it is held tight against the fence to ensure accuracy of the cut.
  • One you are satisfied with your machine set up, maintain pressure on the workpiece against the fence then depress the power switch on the saw and listen for the blade to reach full speed before lowering the blade slowly and consistently through the metal. When the cut is complete, hold the saw in the down position and release the power button- keep a secure hold on the workpiece until the blade has come to a complete stop. One the blade is stationary, return the blade carriage to the upright position.