Want to up your scroll saw game by adding some metal parts to your project or perhaps creating a whole metal masterpiece?
Good thing! Your scroll saw is capable of cutting metal! All you need is the proper metal, the proper blades, the appropriate speed, and a lubricant such as WD40. Simple, isn’t it?
Scroll saws can cut through metals, including bronze, aluminum, brass, copper, and cold-rolled steel. The recommended thickness of the metal is no more than 1/8 inch, although it may be thicker depending o your task. Obviously, softer metals are simpler to work with, but don’t worry since scroll saw can cut steel if you have great patience.
Consider the following points and apply them to guarantee that metalworking on your scroll saw is both safe and effective.
What You Must Know Before Using a Scroll Saw to Cut Metal
Metal Cutting Scroll Saw Blades
When choosing a blade, you should remember that a blade with very tiny teeth is preferable for cutting metal.
Normally, “chatter” is the most common issue with the scroll saw blade with bigger the teeth. The blade grabs on the material and elevates it off the saw bed.
Jeweler’s Blades: These blades are ideal for cutting metal since they are often comparable to Skip Tooth designs. They are also comprised of highly strengthened metal for minor wear and overall improved performance.
Additionally, if you get a model similar to these from Olson, they feature reverse teeth at the bottom side to smooth off the lower portion and minimize sharp edges.
These blades are very effective for the majority of metal cutting applications.
Skip tooth blades: Skip tooth blades perform well while cutting metal. If there is a greater space between the teeth, it will effectively prevent shavings or chips from clogging the blade.
Spiral blades: Spiral blades are just a typical blade that has been wrapped in circles.
This implies that the teeth are angled in all directions to be able to cut in different directions.
Spiral blades are not ideal for use with a scroll saw when cutting metal since the kerf (space cut by the blade) is larger with these compared with a flat blade.
Additionally, since there is greater friction, the danger of chatter is comparable to that of using a blade with huge teeth.
Brass and aluminum are both lightweight metals that are well-suited for scroll saw work.
While scroll saw can cut through cold-rolled steel, it is far from the ideal material. You should not use cold-rolled steel unless you do not have any other available option.
Cutting cold-rolled steel will not only damage your scroll saw blades, but it will also be difficult for the tool to cut through that material. It is advisable to buy softer metal for metalworking since you might end up replacing the scroll saw for damaging it.
It is advisable to work with metals that are 3/16 inches thick. Anything thicker will result in very slow progress, frustration from broken blades, and damage on your scroll saw.
While it is feasible to work with material thicker than 3/16′′, investing in a robust angle grinder is a far better alternative if steel is your preferred metal. A solid angle grinder may be a bit expensive, so you should consider it too if you are only going to do metalworking for one time only.
An angle grinder is also an excellent choice for softer metals such as brass and aluminum.
Metalworking is much more complex compared to woodworking. Still, it is possible to with almost any kind of blade. You just have to slowly cut to not destroy the saw blade during the process. The sharpness of the blade, your patience, and your metalworking skill will do the job.
Play some good music or a podcast to enjoy your time while doing metalworking. This will make take away your boredom while patiently cutting a metal.
You will very certainly need to replace blades considerably more often in metalworking than you are used to with woodworking, so keep that in mind as well.
Additional pieces of Advice
- A scroll saw should not be used to cut harder metals. While this is technically possible, it is very hard and not encouraged by experts in metalworking. If you are committed to doing so, select a slow-speed option, thoroughly lubricate the blade, and feed cut the metal slowly and steadily through the blade. If the thickness of the hard metal is more than a quarter-inch, it is recommended to find other types of saw. Scroll saw is for delicate cutting and not for a strong performance.
- Placing the metal between two blocks of plywood helps prevent the metal from developing a burr on the bottom side and prevents flying metal fragments. When using a saw, always take the necessary safety measures to prevent harm.
Is Lubricant Necessary When Sawing Metals?
It all depends on what kind of metal and what type of blade you have selected for metalworking.
There are metals you can cut without the need to apply lubricants or any oils. They are often the softer ones, such as gold, copper, and brass. You can cut tougher metals such as aluminum if you use a lubricant.
The aim of lubrication is to minimize friction between the metal being cut and the saw blade. In this way, the heat generated by the friction will significantly be reduced by a lubricant.
The kind of lubrication required will vary according to the metal being cut. Lubricants are available in several formats to meet your particular requirements.
Metal cutting on a scroll saw is in no way as safe as woodcutting.
There is the possibility of blades breaking, metal shards flying, and the workpiece catching the blade incorrectly and sending it flying or violently vibrating. If you still want to continue metalworking with a scroll saw, ensure that you have enough knowledge and ability to do so.