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In the past, the best method of cutting metal was to use an abrasive cutting wheel on a regular circular saw. While this worked, it was inefficient, expensive, and time-consuming. Today, a metal cutting circular saw can be used to cut through metal; the specially designed metal cutting blade makes a cleaner cut through metal and does not heat the metal as much as an abrasive wheel would. The metal cutting circular saw itself cuts through metal more quickly than a normal circular saw, though the metal cutting circular saw actually rotates the blade at a slower rate than a regular circular saw would.
One of the major advantages of a metal cutting circular saw is the cost savings. An abrasive wheel can only cut so many times before it needs to be replaced. Replacement generally happens after fewer than 75 cuts, whereas with a metal cutting blade, several thousand cuts can be made before replacement is necessary. Metal cutting blades are, unsurprisingly, more expensive than an abrasive wheel, but since the abrasive wheel needs to be replaced much more often, the overall cost of a metal cutting blade is much less.
A metal cutting circular saw allows the user to make more cuts more often with less waiting for cooling. The metal cutting blade does not heat the metal pieces as much as an abrasive wheel does, and since the metal cutting circular saw blade rotates at a slower pace than a normal circular saw, the blade creates less friction, which in turn creates less heat. This translates into a faster transition from cutting to the next step in the metal working process. Since the metal cutting blade does not create as many burrs as an abrasive wheel does, less time is spent filing down the cut piece after the cut is made.
While a metal cutting blade can be used on a regular circular saw, there are advantages to using the blade on a metal cutting circular saw instead, aside from the slower revolution speed. Metal cutting by nature tends to cause small pieces of metal to fly off from the cut piece. This metal debris can enter the motor housing of a regular circular saw, causing the tool to fail. A metal cutting saw is designed to keep such debris away from the engine housing and other moving parts that may be affected by stray debris. Some metal cutting saws even have collection systems that collect the debris before it can fly out into the work environment.
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