3-5 PORTABLE METAL SAWING MACHINES

PURPOSE AND TYPES

The portable metal sawing machines described in this section are those lightweight and easily transportable saws that are used in a field or normal machine shop by maintenance personnel. These saws can be used to cut stock that is too big The this or too long to move to a maintenance shop to be cut. The following portable sawing machines are described in this section: the portable hacksawing machine, the portable band sawing machine, and the portable reciprocating saw.

Two of these saws are operated by hand, so the quality of work depends upon the experience and skill of the operator. Portable metal sawing machines can be used in the maintenance shop to cut wood, steel, plastics, electrical conduit, tubing, pipes, and shop stock, and for auto body work.

THE PORTABLE HACKSAWING MACHINE

The portable hacksawing machine (Figure 3-24) is not designed to be hand-held, but to lock onto the workpiece with a self-contained vise. This saw has a built-in electric motor that causes a power hacksaw blade to reciprocate at a fixed speed of 115 strokes per minute. The machine is capable of cutting solid steel 3 inches square and at an angle to 45°. This saw can be used in a horizontal, angular, or vertical position, having an adjustable counterbalance to compensate for operating the sawing machine in a vertical position. A 10-inch power hacksaw blade is used with this machine, producing a 4-inch stroke. A tension screw permits increasing or decreasing the blade pressure with each cut. The portable hacksawing machine will support itself when fastened very securely to a stationary workpiece, using the self-contained vise.


Figure 3-24. Portable hacksawing machine.

To operate the portable hacksawing machine, insert a power hacksaw blade of 18, 24, or 32 teeth per inch, depending on the material to be cut. Then, check the adjustment of the tension screw and the adjustment of the counterbalance lever. Turning the tension screw clockwise will increase the amount of lift the hacksaw blade makes on each return stroke and will increase the downward pressure of the blade on each cutting stroke. Counterclockwise rotation of the screw will decrease the lift and pressure. This control should be adjusted to cause the hacksaw blade to lift 1/8 inch on each return stroke to provide maximum cutting speed and efficiency. The counter balance lever controls the downward pressure exerted upon the hacksaw blade by the weight of the saw frame. By moving the counterbalance lever to the left, the pressure is decreased. Moving the lever to the right increases the pressure. Mount the workpiece squarely or angularly in the vise, depending on the type of cut desired. Start the sawing machine and observe the cutting action. If the machine strains, the blade pressure may be too heavy.

If the machine cuts very slowly, increase the pressure. Continuously check the power hacksaw blade for sharpness. If the blade is dull, it should be replaced. When the machine cuts completely through the material, the saw frame will fall and trip the motor switch, stopping the saw.

When the sawing machine is used in the vertical position, the counterbalance lever must be positioned in the farthest right notch of the guide bar ratchet to compensate for the lack of gravitational pressure normally applied to the blade by the saw frame. This practice should be attempted only if the workpiece can be clamped very securely in the vise and cannot be wrenched loose during vertical sawing, or damage to personnel or equipment could occur .

THE PORTABLE BAND SAWING MACHINE

The portable band sawing machine (Figure 3-25) or portable band saw is a lightweight, hand-held unit powered by an electric motor. The saw motor and gears rotate a solid steel band saw blade around two large wheel pulleys and through several saw blade guides at such an angle to give clearance to the workpiece being cut. The portable band saw can cut steel round stock to 3 3/8 inch diameter or steel rectangular stock 3 3/8-inch thick by 4 1/8 inch wide. The portable metal band sawing blades are 44 7/8 inches long and can have from 6 to 24 teeth per inch, providing a wide range of cutting capabilities (see Table 3-3). Single-speed band saw models are designed for softer metals, such as brass, aluminum, and mild steel. Two-speed and variable speed models can be switched to a low speed to cut harder metals, such as stainless steel or tungsten. The band saw blade is completely enclosed, using the motor housing as a blade guard, except for the exposed part of the blade that does the sawing. A hand grip and trigger switch are provided on one end of the saw and a knob grip is on the other end to provide for maximum control while sawing.


Figure 3-25. Portable band sawing machine.

 

Table 3-3. Recommended use of band saw blades.

To start sawing, make sure that the material to be cut is held very securely in the vise to avoid excessive vibration. Select the appropriate blade for the material to be cut and mount the blade securely into the portable band saw in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Take hold of the front knob grip handle and rear hand grip handle and squeeze the trigger switch to start the saw blade in motion. Set the speed appropriately if operating a two-speed or variable-speed model. Gently lower the portable band saw onto the workpiece, being careful to use the weight of the machine as pressure to cut. If the operator uses additional pressure on the workpiece, the saw blade will slow down and reduce the cutting efficiency. Hold the machine steady and the saw blade straight to avoid twisting or breaking the blade. At the completion of the cut, do not allow the saw to fall onto the workpiece. Maintain hand control of the machine, release the trigger switch, and allow the blade to stop before setting down the saw. Never use a liquid coolant with the portable band sawing machine as this could damage the saw guide bearings or rubber pulleys. Lubricate and service each saw as specified in the manufacturer’s instructions.

THE PORTABLE RECIPROCATING SAW

The portable reciprocating saw (Figure 3-26) is a hand­held lightweight machine tool that can be electrically or pneumatically powered, depending on the model selected. The saw motor and gearing cause a single knife-like blade to move rapidly in and out, sawing across a workpiece as hand pressure is applied. The saw may be a one-speed model or two speed model. The one-speed model operates at high speed only and is used for cutting soft materials like wood or sheet rock. The two-speed models have a switch that can move the speed from high speed to low speed, so that harder materials, such as metal pipes and steel sheets, can be cut.


Figure 3-26.  Portable reciprocating saw.

The portable reciprocating saw, with the proper blade installed, can cut through steel stock steel pipe up to up to 1 inch square or 4 inches in diameter. An enclosed hand grip handle with trigger switch is provided at one end of the saw and another hand grip is toward the front of the saw, near the blade, to provide for maximum control while sawing. The blade freely protrudes from an angled work rest that is attached to the motor housing. There is no blade guard, so care must be exercised at all times.

To start sawing, ensure the material to be cut is held securely to avoid vibration that could break the saw blade. Select the right blade for the material to be cut and mount the blade into the blade clamp according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Check the speed setting, get a firm grip on both handles, and squeeze the trigger switch. Guide the saw so that the work rest is against the workpiece and lower the saw until the blade starts cutting into the workpiece. Keep a firm grip through the saw cut and control the saw to avoid twisting or breaking the blade. After the cut is completed, maintain control of the saw and release the trigger switch. Allow the blade to come to a complete stop beforeiaying the tool down. Periodically lubricate and service the portable reciprocating saw according to the manufacturer’s instructions.