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Old 10-21-2017, 06:42 PM   #1
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Sawzall

I need to cut some 1/4-3/8" mild steel plate in a confined area in the lazarette. An angle grinder would do it, but I don`t want the flying metal sparks etc. A hacksaw would take forever,I`m think a Sawzall type tool.Would it do the job?
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Old 10-21-2017, 06:48 PM   #2
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With the right blade.
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Old 10-21-2017, 07:04 PM   #3
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Bruce,

That thickness of mild steel is probably at the upper end of its capability but worth a shot. Probably worth having a few spare blades and take it gently
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Old 10-21-2017, 07:11 PM   #4
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Bruce,

That thickness of mild steel is probably at the upper end of its capability but worth a shot. Probably worth having a few spare blades and take it gently
What George said. Slow and lots of blade changes. If access is tight, Milwaukee makes a cordless model that's called the Hackzall in their M12 family. I carry one of these on the boat. With lots of blades.
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Old 10-21-2017, 07:12 PM   #5
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Make sure you clean up carefully. If you miss any steel dust and it gets wet you'll get rust spots.
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:03 PM   #6
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What Peter said above is important! I hacked up a new grill grate with some expanded metal and was too hungry to clean up. The metal bits rusted overnight and required a polish and buff to get off the gel coat.
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:11 PM   #7
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You want a blade where 3 teeth span the thickness of the metal if possible. You may have to saw at an angle to land 3.
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Old 10-21-2017, 09:26 PM   #8
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If you don't have a sawsall, they can be rented or had cheaply at Harbor Freight. I have a Harbor Freight, the best of 3 brands they carried. Mine has seen lots of work. In steel you're well off to buy good blades. Also at Amazon or ebay.
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Old 10-21-2017, 09:53 PM   #9
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Buy lots of metal cutting blades. They wear quickly. Ear and eye protection mandatory.
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Old 10-21-2017, 09:56 PM   #10
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I'd protect from the grinder sparks and use it to cut the plate. A heavy damp canvas could collect and protect from the sparks.

In college, a buddy was hired as an intern by the Aeronautical Technology department to cut a piston and cylinder from an IO-360 aviation engine in half with a hacksaw. It took him weeks but looked fantastic. I don't have that patience.
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Old 10-21-2017, 10:06 PM   #11
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Will work with good quality blades. I would keep the blade lubed with cutting oil.
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Old 10-21-2017, 10:36 PM   #12
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Boy! Between a Sawzall and a cutoff wheel in an angle grinder, I'd take the angle grinder any day. Faster! If you can arrange a damp towel or similar, your fears about the hot sparks will be much reduced. (Speaking as a guy with two Sawzalls and three angle grinders...)

Today's fun included wacking mild steel angle iron, 1-1/2 x 1/4", into short lengths with one leg cut shorter on each end. Very quick with an angle grinder; a little trial with a sabre saw was oh, so slow.

Pics of angle grinders at work: 1, my son cutting a fuel tank out of Revel back in July. 2, Me cutting the heating pipes out of the house in 2012.
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Old 10-22-2017, 12:18 AM   #13
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It`s two cuts about 4" long, twice, to remove 2 fittings. I have a 100mm angle grinder and cutting blades, but no sawzall, clones are readily available here. I have to protect the area in any event,I`ll think about the angle grinder option.
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Old 10-22-2017, 06:53 AM   #14
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At a tag sale if you can locate a Sawsall with brushes , a uniiversal style motor , it will operate great in inverter power or smallish noisemaker power.
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Old 10-22-2017, 07:13 AM   #15
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Old 10-22-2017, 07:14 AM   #16
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I'll bet they aren't cheap, but....
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Old 10-22-2017, 07:16 AM   #17
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Bruce you'll want the European 1mm thick cutoff wheels, not the 1/16" thick American ones. Diablo 4-1/2 in. x 0.040 in. x 7/8 in. Thin Kerf Metal Cut-Off Disc-DBD045040101F - The Home Depot
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Old 10-22-2017, 09:16 AM   #18
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Consider getting a big magnet to collect up the iron dust/debris
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Old 10-22-2017, 10:20 AM   #19
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Bruce you'll want the European 1mm thick cutoff wheels, not the 1/16" thick American ones. Diablo 4-1/2 in. x 0.040 in. x 7/8 in. Thin Kerf Metal Cut-Off Disc-DBD045040101F - The Home Depot
As well as a facemask, safety glasses and very steady hand...

Walter and SAIT make good discs as well.

I'd go angle grinder myself with some fire blanket, a squirt bottle of water, and an extinguisher nearby.
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Old 10-22-2017, 11:32 AM   #20
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If you're using cheap blades in a Sawzall, you'll be there forever. Use Lenox blades, we typically used 618 blades to cut up oil tanks and piping when I was in the Plbg/htg business. We never used angle grinders, too much mess- the sawzall was bad enough. If you're removing old steam piping, the fittings are usually cast iron, use a 2# hammer on one side of the fitting and back the other side with an 8# sledge. One good swat and the fitting will break in pieces. EZPZ. An advantage to breaking the fittings is that the remaining thread on the pipe will usually remain intact, re-useable.
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