Metalworking Machines - Metal Saws (Hot)

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What should you do before using a metal saw?

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Hot metal saws can be dangerous if not used properly.

  • Read the owner's manual carefully.
  • Make sure you understand instructions and are properly trained before operating a hot metal saw.

Hot metal saws, often referred to as cut-off saws or chop saws, use an abrasive cut-off wheel. The machine may operate dry or wet, at low or high speed, and in either manual or automatic mode.

Refer to Metalworking Machines - General for general safety tips.

What are some basic safety principles to follow?

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  • Wear appropriate CSA-certified personal protective equipment, including safety glasses, hearing protection and footwear as necessary.
  • Wear approved respiratory protection when necessary.
  • Handle and store wheels as directed by the manufacturer.
  • Inspect all wheels for possible damage before mounting.
  • Use the proper blade for the material being cut.
  • Check machine speed against the maximum safe operating speed marked on the wheel.
  • Make sure that mounting flanges are equal and the correct diameter (at least 1/4 of the wheel diameter).
  • Use mounting blotters when they are supplied with wheels.
  • Clamp work firmly in place when using non-reinforced cut-off wheels.
Use a properly designed safety guard
  • Use a properly designed safety guard covering at least one half of the grinding wheel.
  • Allow mounted wheels to run at operating speed, with guards in place, for one minute before cutting.
  • Bring wheel into contact with the work without bumping on impact.
  • Turn off coolant before stopping the wheel to avoid an out-of-balance condition.
  • Keep working surface clean of scraps, tools and materials.
  • Keep floor around saw clean and free of oil and grease.
  • Make sure that the saw has a start/stop or emergency button within easy reach of the operator.

Also refer to Abrasive Wheels for additional information.

What should you avoid doing?

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  • Do not use a cracked wheel or one that has been dropped or damaged.
  • Do not force a wheel onto the machine or alter the size of the mounting hole. If the wheel does not fit the machine properly, get one that will.
  • Do not exceed the maximum operating speed marked on the wheel.
  • Do not use mounting flanges whose bearing surfaces are not equal, clean, flat and free of burrs.
  • Do not tighten the mounting nut excessively.
  • Do not grind on the side of the wheel.
  • Do not start machine until the wheel guard is in place.
  • Do not stand directly in front of the cut-off wheel when starting a machine.
  • Do not jam, bend or pinch the wheel.
  • Do not force cutting such that the motor slows.
  • Do not cut without proper ventilation.

  • Fact sheet last revised: 2018-12-18