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Portable band saw or plasma cutter

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  • Portable band saw or plasma cutter

    I am up to spend a little money on another tool. I am new to welding and fabricating so I am buying new tools as I can afford to. I mostly use 1.5” and smallest tubing for my fabrication and very little plate as of yet. I have a Hobart 140 so I use mostly 1/8” thick material. My question is (in your opinion) would I be better off buying a portable band saw or a inexpensive 120 volt plasma cutter.

    Thanks for the responses.

  • #2
    Completely depends on what cuts you want to make and especially on what other cutting tools you already have.

    Do you already have a chop saw or stationary band saw for your tubing?

    What about a metal-cutting circular saw? That gets more use on tubing than any other saw I own. My portable band saw is the least used saw.
    Last edited by MAC702; 12-23-2018, 12:28 PM. Reason: spelling

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    • #3
      I have DeWalt chop saw (actually should have gotten cold cut) and a really old Craftsman horizontal band saw, best in my mind for cutting round or square stock or tubing (like the "clean" ends) ... If I had choice, plasma would be best for plate over oxy/acet torch but since I have oxy/acet torch...

      Dale
      Last edited by Dale M.; 12-05-2018, 09:51 PM.
      Lives his life vicariously through his own self.

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      • #4
        Givey1982, Welcome to the board.

        As MAC702 so succinctly analyzed, it depends on what cuts you want to make and especially on what other cutting tools you already have.
        You do not mention what other tools you have, but if you don't have or are not using a 4 1/2" or 5" "sidewinder" grinder with a thin cutting disk, that is certainly the direction I'd move if I were planning to add another machine to my stable. Of course, having a mounted vise of adequate size to hold the project is a prerequisite to using the hand-held sidewinder angle grinder for cutting. ~0le
        Last edited by ~0le; 12-28-2018, 11:36 PM. Reason: I made do into don't. It changes the meaning of the whole post.
        "If a problem can't be solved, enlarge it." (The 34th president of the United States)

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        • #5
          Givey1982 I'm very similar to you. New to welding and fabricating and also using a Handler 140. Also using very similar materials.

          I have used an angle grinder for cuts and it works really well. Also used my sawzall for cutting some 2x2 tubing, that also worked well.

          However, I wanted to be able to do more precise cuts so I bought a portable bandsaw and a Swag Offroad stand for it. I've really happy with the result. Makes cuts much more precisely than I was able to with just a grinder and cutoff wheel.

          The one caveat is this: it's limited to 5" depth cuts. My problem lately is that I've been cutting some 12x12 sheet down to 9x9 and it's a pain due to the size. I actually run it through once way, flip and run it through the other way. Still end up with a 2" piece in the middle that the bandsaw cannot reach. Because of that I'm currently looking at other options for cutting, including a small plasma cutter.

          I managed to get a really great deal on my bandsaw and stand, which helped push me in that direction. But, I think it's a pretty good combination for small fab work.

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