Cutting tubes, bars, and metals sheets are made easy with several types of cutting machines, such as cold saws, band saws, lasers, shears, waterjets, and abrasive cutting machines.
While each has its advantages and disadvantages, abrasive cut-off machines accommodate more specialised applications, including cutting hard-to-cut stocks, thin-walled tubes, and scrap minimisation.
Abrasive cutting machines offer a lot of different uses. In this guide, we will explore their unique purposes and how to effectively use these machines to maximise production and minimise wastage.
The primary difference between abrasive cutting and other precision cutting methods lies in the process in which materials are removed from the workpiece. Instead of cutting with saw teeth, abrasive cut-off machines cut through the material using grinding and erosion. It uses a very thin, non-reinforced abrasive cutting wheel composed of countless sub-micron cutting particles embedded in a bonding material.
What’s great about these machines is that they’re self-dressing. In every successive use, tiny sharp abrasive particles are worn off, exposing new ones. This means that they won’t get easily duller even if you use them to cut thick metal pieces.
While abrasive cutting machines look like mitre saws and chop saws, they serve a completely different purpose. For starters, the main purpose of an abrasive cutting machine is to cut hard metals. It is not equipped to cut softer metals and materials.
The abrasive cut-off machines involve cutting materials through grinding. This method is a lot faster than any other type of cutting. However, it is loud and messy and is not recommended to use with flammable substances nearby.
A lot of shops use abrasive cut-off machines for fast cutting of hard metals due to the high blade speed. While this is more convenient, its speed comes at a price and quite a bit of disadvantage, too.
Abrasive cut-off machines leave pieces with ragged edges, and the blade can bow mid-cut. Whenever this happens, precision and accuracy decrease. Aside from that, it renders useless in cutting softer materials such as aluminium. Because the blade grinds, softer metals gum up and prevent the cutting process.
The most common uses of abrasive cut-off machines are the following:
Despite all the disadvantages of abrasive cut-off machines, they remain to be a top choice for metal fabrication shops. This is due to their cheap price point in cutting strong metals compared to other options.
There are different kinds of cutting wheels used in abrasive cut-off machines. Typically, nonreinforced abrasive wheels are used in these machines. They are made with aluminium oxide, silicon carbide, zirconia, diamond, and cubic boron nitride.
Only aluminium oxide and silicon carbide should be used for cutting both ferrous and nonferrous metals and alloys. All these aluminium oxide or silicon carbide particles are bonded together with a combination of binders, such as rubber or resin.
The binders also influence the cuts produced. Rubber-bonded wheels can produce a thinner and more uniform width than a resin-bonded wheel. In using rubber-bonded wheels, a coolant must be used.
In abrasive cut-off machines, the cutting wheel wears down quickly. This happens because the grinding-cutting motion causes the wheel to lose its sharpness. That’s why wheel wear should be considered when using such machines.
You can use different blades for your cut-off machine, but be careful if you use a toothed blade. These machines spin at 5,000 RPM and are relatively faster than their other counterparts. If you use a toothed blade, you might harm yourself with dangerous kickback and severe injury.
Of course, when handling power tools and machines, you need to be properly trained and equipped to ensure you won’t harm yourself and your peers. Here are some safety tips you need to know:
Are you planning to upgrade and purchase your abrasive cut-off machine for your metal shop? You can check out our products at Accurate Cutting Services. Let our team help you find the right solutions that fit your needs.
For more details and information, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. Learn more about our service by calling us on 015 27 527 058.