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Old 08-10-2017, 12:52 PM
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Electric body saw?

Hello,

I have a cheap pneumatic body saw and it cuts sheetmetal really well for light duty use. What I like about it is you can cut sheetmetal without the blade grabbing like a jigsaw would and it's relatively "safe" to cut a piece of sheet that you're holding in your hand, i.e. not mounted to a bench or attached to the vehicle. I assume this is due to the short stroke, fine tooth blade, and high SPM.

I'm wondering if anyone has tried one of those cheap electric body saws from Harbor Freight? It's SPM rating is much lower than a pneumatic saw, but I'm wondering if the SPM wouldn't drop as much as the air version would under load.

If anyone has tried one of the electric saws, please share your experiences. I'm mostly want to know if it can cut sheetmetal without grabbing. I just need something for very occasional light duty use so I don't have to drag out the compressor, etc.

Thanks!
Scot

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Old 08-10-2017, 01:12 PM
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Electric saw

I have one and it works OK but overheats and trips out quickly. Good for getting into spots where nothing else will work. For most of my cutting I like to use a cutoff wheel on an electric grinder (4" angle grinder) or even a Dremel with a small cutoff wheel. Never cut metal while holding the metal in your hand. Matter of time before you lop a finger off.
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Old 08-10-2017, 01:42 PM
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Thanks for the reply! Okay...to be safe, would you say you could rest a piece of sheet on a table with no clamps of any sort and cut a piece off it? Or would it lift up the sheet and slap the bench a lot like a jigsaw would?

Also, can you post a link or model number to your saw?
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Old 08-12-2017, 06:40 PM
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Ok, first off, what kinda cuts are you doing? Those saws are generally used for cutting multi layers of metal, or complex shapes where the metal isn't flat. Something like this rocker panel.



If you are cutting flat sheet metal to fabricate something you don't want to use that saw anyway, it's the wrong tool for the job.

Something like these are some of many tools that are much better for the job.







Brian
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:12 PM
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Hi Brian,
I would want to use it for cutting rectangular cutouts in sheetmetal as well as plastic (something like ABS or acrylic). The appeal of an air saw is it can cut fairly accurately and not grab into the material, possibly cracking it for plastic or bending for metal. I believe this is due to the high speed and short stroke. The only downside is the need for a compressor. For small jobs, it would be so much easier to just plug something into an outlet. I'm concerned the electric version, however, may not perform as well as the pneumatic version.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:03 PM
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A good electric version like this works AWESOME.



Factory Reconditioned Milwaukee 6519-831 12 Amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw with Case

But is a little more clumsy than the air ones.

Brian
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:02 AM
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Hi Brian,
I should have added that this is for detail work, not demo work. :-) I like the skinny blades...they work great.
I have one similar to that and they work great. Works really well for cutting down small trees also.
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Old 08-13-2017, 07:45 AM
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You say "detail work"; what are you working on, and how long are your cuts expected to be? Curves, straight cuts; on a vehicle, or your work-bench?
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crdnblu View Post
You say "detail work"; what are you working on, and how long are your cuts expected to be? Curves, straight cuts; on a vehicle, or your work-bench?
Yep, more info, more info, I am getting confused.

Brian
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:55 AM
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I'm confused; how can asking for more info be problematic?
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crdnblu View Post
You say "detail work"; what are you working on, and how long are your cuts expected to be? Curves, straight cuts; on a vehicle, or your work-bench?
The last thing I had to cut was a rectangular opening about 1"x3" in a sheetmetal box...a junction box (non-automotive), to be exact. Drill a small pilot hole and a skinny scroll type blade in the body saw works great.

Like in your last posted pic, it might be hard to clamp something like that rigidly to a bench. Cutting a hole in a piece like that, the recip saw (or jigsaw) would surely grab, slam into the part, and deform something along the way. A lot of times, I'm wanting to cut openings in metal or sheet plastic and they're straight cuts but with such short dimensions and in thin, somewhat non-rigid material, a lot of tools other than a body saw don't work.

39 Master had said to use caution, and for good reason, but I have used the air body saw in the past to trim a small patch piece to size holding the piece in one had and the saw in the other...with adequate finger clearance. No other saw have I seen would allow you to do this. Jigsaws and reciprocating saws all grab too much, even with fine tooth blades.

Does this help clarify?

Thanks guys!
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Old 08-13-2017, 02:44 PM
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For these smaller jobs, consider using a corded Dremel tool, (Dremel brand, NOT a HF knockoff), with 1.25" fiber cutoff wheels for metal, & rotary saw blades for plastic, etc. For examples, see attached links:

100pcs 1/8 Inch Mandrel Fiberglass Reinforced Cut Off Wheel for Dremel

E-Durable HSS Micro Circular Saw Blades Dremel Rotary Tool Suitable For Timber | eBay

The Dremel, with the above discs/saws has been my "go-to" tool for these small jobs for many years. Plenty of power, and LOTS of control.......
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Old 09-09-2017, 06:43 AM
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I guess you'll have to get one and let us know what you think of it.
Like anything else you get from HF don't expect it to last very long if used every day some tools work very well and some don't even make it out of the gate.
Might be just what your looking for.
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Old 09-09-2017, 07:11 AM
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All I can say is no one size fits all here, I have a saws-all, air and electric cut off tools, band saws horz & upright, body saw, and nibbler.

Each used as needed, an example of the reason for multiple saws and their uses , I submit the following photo.









Greg
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