When one thinks of using a miter saw, woodworking automatically pops up in your mind.

This power tool is well known to professionals and DIYers working with wood for its functionality.

Once you have invested in a miter saw, however, you may wonder if it can be used to cut other materials. Will cutting other materials damage the saw itself, and will you achieve the same level of precision that a miter saw manages when cutting wood? This consideration is relevant because the more commonly used materials often used by both professionals and hobbyists in projects include metals.

the saw is shape equipment

Can I Cut Metal with a Miter Saw?

It’s not only a question of if you can cut metal, but if you will achieve the same precision when cutting metal with a miter saw. After all, it’s not enough to just cut. You want accuracy and a clean-cut regardless of your project.

In terms of texture and density, the motor of a miter saw has sufficient power for cutting metals. However, with power saws, it’s not only about motor capacity. Specific conditions need to be met to get you the result you’re looking for.

the electric saw in this picture

It’s All About the Blade

If the blade on your miter saw is specifically manufactured for cutting wood, that means it may not be a good choice for cutting metals. So, your first task is to verify what blades you have and what type of materials they will be able to cut.

Which Blade?

Normal miter saw blades are made for wood cutting and the teeth on the blade are manufactured to cut into and through wood pieces. Blade speed will also enter the formula.

the saw is round shape blade

If you need precision cuts that are short and rapid, a miter saw will do the job with the correct blade inserted. It will be necessary to acquire a blade for metal cutting.

Metal Cutting Blades

While some miter saw instruction manuals may maintain that a miter saw with a normal carbide blade for wood cutting can also manage non-ferrous metal such as copper or aluminum, it should be considered that the blade is produced for cutting wood. Generally speaking, it should be used for that purpose.

When cutting ferrous metal with iron, the blade must be replaced with a blade for cutting ferrous metal. To maintain blade quality, regardless of the material, each blade should be used for the material for which it has been produced.

Cutting Metal with a Miter Saw

With the appropriate cutting blade, a miter saw can cut through metal as well as many other power saw tools including those manufactured for cutting metals. Nonetheless, it does not mean that it is the ideal power tool for metal cutting.

This is also because a wood cutting miter saw will generally have higher revolutions per minute or RPM than a metal cutting saw. If you only need to do a quick occasional cutting of metal, a miter saw is an alternative to investing in a metal cutting power tool, on the condition that it always has the correct blade installed.

Another consideration will be the cost of cutting metal with a miter saw. As you will have to change the blade to a metal cutting blade, metal cutting blades will need to be replaced a lot. The necessary speed will dull the blade. So, financially it may not be the wisest choice. 

The option of using a miter saw for cutting metal should be resorted to only rarely and not as your go-to tool for cutting metal.

Regardless of the metal cutting blade you ultimately select, do apply lubricant for metal cutting before beginning your cut. This should help to prolong the blade’s lifespan. 

Can a Miter Saw Cut Aluminum?

Undoubtedly, the best choice is always to use the correct tools for specific materials. With the appropriate safety precautions, aluminum can be cut using a miter saw with a non-ferrous metal cutting blade installed.

Because aluminum is pretty easy to cut, a wood cutting blade with a higher number of blade teeth will also be able to cut through aluminum. Most wood cutting blades are sufficiently strong to cut through non-ferrous metals, and there are carbide blades designed for cutting aluminum.

The key to success is the number of teeth on the saw blade. Fewer teeth on a blade will tend to pull the aluminum toward the blade, whereas more teeth will get you a much smoother cut.

A bit of blade lubrication with cutting oil will also help avoid the aluminum from catching on the blade or splintering

Safety Tip: When cutting wood, you can usually hold the wood piece by hand without a problem. Aluminum, on the other hand, has a tendency to cling to blades, making it more dangerous. Secure your aluminum with multiple clamps to keep it securely in place. Also, wear PPE including a safety mask and well-fitting gloves. Cut-off pieces can fly toward you causing serious injury.

Metal Cutting Alternatives

If you have quite a bit of metal to cut, there are tools better equipped for metal cutting needs Among these are

  • Angle grinder. This tool will cut through just about anything with the correct blade installed.
  • Circular saw. This tool can cut through aluminum and other metals with the correct blade.
  • A metal chop saw. Specifically designed for cutting metal. A great tool for metal cutting, they are not inexpensive, however, if you need to cut either metal or aluminum regularly, these are ideal. 
  • Reciprocating saw. This power tool cuts through metal but cuts will be rougher in quality and less accurate.

Conclusion

Ideally, a miter saw is not the recommended power cutting tool for cutting metals. However, with the right blade installed, and with all and any necessary safety precautions respected, it is an alternative if you need to cut metal. It should only be used as a temporary solution and never as a go-to tool to protect both your miter saw and your safety.

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