What is a Cold Metal Cutting Saw?

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  • Written By: Eric Tallberg
  • Edited By: Jay Garcia
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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A diminutive sibling of the cabinet-sized cold saw, the cold metal cutting saw is used to cut thin, steel sheet metal. This saw is a lightweight, hand-held saw with a circular blade similar to a circular saw used to cut wood boards. It is less often a table-mounted saw, much like a miter saw, that delivers a more precise cut when working with longer lengths of material. The saw blade of this type of saw is manufactured using Cermet, a ceramic/metallic composite that not only resists heat but will hold an edge much longer than does the tungsten carbide blade that this composite is designed to replace. The hand-held cold metal cutting saw is powerful enough to cut steel sheet metal as thick as .23 inches (6mm).

Cold metal cutting saws are designed to rapidly cut lengths or pieces of zinc-coated, steel sheet metal without heating up either the blade or the material. This cold sawing thus preserves not only the keenness of the saw blade, but the anti-corrosive coating at the edge of the cut. It is also designed to prevent leaving damaging burrs on the metal. The saw is ordinarily equipped with a durable aluminum catcher to collect the swarf (steel particles or sawdust) thus preventing its dispersal over the work area.


Used primarily by sheet metal roofers, cold metal cutting saws enable the efficient cutting and trimming of the thin sheet metal and corrugated iron often utilized in residential and commercial roofing. Sheet metal, actually thinly rolled mild steel -– steel containing less than .3% carbon –- must be kept cold when it is cut. This ensures that the anti-corrosive zinc coating on the sheet metal remains intact at the edges of the cut, thus preventing a premature rusting of the material.

A portable, cold metal cutting saw easily cuts the thin sheet metal used in today’s roofing construction. This material averages approximately .03 inches (1mm) in thickness and is lightweight, durable and reasonably inexpensive. In addition to sheet metal and corrugated iron, modern metal roofs may be manufactured from stainless steel, copper, aluminum or zinc alloys. A cold metal cutting saw, primarily designed to cut steel sheet metal and corrugated iron, is generally unsuitable for cutting any other material. Electric metal shears or nibblers, metal scissor-type shears or circular saws with abrasive blades would be far more effective in cutting these other types of metal roofing.


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Post 4

Laser cutting is a modern technology in which a high-powered laser is directed at the desired surface to cut different shapes and forms. The material usually burns or melts, leaving a high-quality surface finish. Since there is no direct contact between the laser and the surface in use, the level of precision and accuracy in the laser cutting process is much more as compared to conventional methods.

Post 3

When the article says that the steel has to be kept cold when it is cut, how cold does it mean? Obviously it's not meaning freezing, and I'm willing to guess that the temperature during cutting can get fairly hot by human standards.

I don't know what the temperature would be if you were to cut the metal without the special Cermet blade, but I know just cutting wood with a power saw, the wood can be too hot to touch for a few seconds after cutting. Am I right in guessing the same thing happens with the cold metal cutting saw?

Post 2

I think that a cermet blade is the most interesting part of this whole process. What is it about the ceramic and metal combination that stops the sheet metal from heating up? I would have guessed that any type of saw blade would have heated up the metal and left some type of rough edge.

I also thought it was interesting that the article said this type of blade would be ineffective at cutting other types of metal besides steel. Is this because steel is usually weaker, or because the blade cannot cut through the other materials?

Post 1

I always assumed that sheet metal was just cut with a normal circular saw with a special blade. I guess I should have known better. It seems like there is always a special tool for every project. I'm almost certain that I've seen metal cutting saw blades for sale that fit on a circular saw. What would these be used for?

The church next to where I work is actually having part of their sheet metal roof replaced due to some heavy hail we had a while back. Maybe I'll have to pay attention and see if I can spot one of these things in action.

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