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Thread: How to cut really thin spring steel by hand lengthways without bending it?

  1. #1
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    How to cut really thin spring steel by hand lengthways without bending it?

    Hi guys.

    I am typically a Neanderthal Woodworker. I live in a small apartment with space and noise constraints that make pretty much any powertools larger than a cordless drill off limits.

    Anyway, in my woodworking endeavors, I decided that I want to build a frame saw, and I need a blade for it.

    I've ordered some 0.5mm x 100mm x 1000mm A2 Spring Steel, 43-47 HRC.

    The teeth I can cut with a file and set by hand no problem, however, the width is too much. I want blades around 20-30mm each in width. So I need to make a series of "rip" cuts down this thin, moderately hard plate. But I can't just use something like tin snips, as they will bend the metal and ruin the blade, which needs to remain straight.

    Tin snips are out. Hacksaws are of course out (too thin, too soft, and would take way too long anyway)... Yet it's not soft or thin or short enough to score and snap off either.

    I'm thinking some small handheld electric rotary tool like a dremel is my only real choice here? I don't actually own a dremel or such, so I'd have to buy one...

    Are there any options I'm overlooking for someone in my position?

  2. #2
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    Probably too expensive for a one off project but check bad dog tools. You might find something similar but less expensive.
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  3. #3
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    Hello Luke. A paper shear might work if you have access to one. Another thought is if you have any metal working companies around that have a shear wide enough for your piece they might cut it for a nominal fee. Places like a body shop or a heating company that works with metal ducting should also have one.

  4. #4
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    Why not just but appropriate size band saw blade and use a length of it. Teeth are already set and sharp. I wonder though if they might be too aggressive for hand sawing.
    Last edited by Dan Hunkele; 01-26-2022 at 9:14 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Hunkele View Post
    Why not just but appropriate size band saw blade and use a length of it. Teeth are already set and sharp. I wonder though if they might be too aggressive for hand sawing.
    Actually, I have some bandsaw blades that I'm using already. They're pretty good for rough work and I love them for ripping and aggressive stock removal. But they're a bit too aggressive, narrow, thick, and have excessive set (and often stupid wavy set, which I try to avoid) in the teeth for finer work. I'll use 8/12TPI blades in 3/4" and 1/2" widths, which are good for breaking down stock, and maybe a finer toothed bandsaw blade for metal cutting, and also a 1/4" blade for cutting curves. For more accurate cuts I'll make wider blades 1-2 inches in width, using thinner steel (0.3mm to 0.5mm), finer teeth and a fine set, probably in both rip and crosscut configurations. Maybe I'll even make a buck-saw blade for when I go bushcrafting / camping.

  6. #6
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    Alright... learning about dremels.

    Do I want diamond wheel cutters, or are they too slow?

    EDIT: one more thought. Would a 32 TPI bandsaw blade in my bow-saw be able to cut 0.5mm A2 steel at 45ish HRC satisfactorily? Or is it still too thin for that?
    Last edited by Luke Dupont; 01-28-2022 at 12:41 AM.

  7. #7
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    Can you secure it between two pieces of wood and then a metal cutting blade on the saw you choose to use?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Dupont View Post
    Alright... learning about dremels.

    Do I want diamond wheel cutters, or are they too slow?

    EDIT: one more thought. Would a 32 TPI bandsaw blade in my bow-saw be able to cut 0.5mm A2 steel at 45ish HRC satisfactorily? Or is it still too thin for that?

    Luke, A 32 tpi blade has a tooth every .031 of an inch. .5mm stock is approximately .0195 thick,so, the stock being thinner then the gap between the 32tpi would cause the teeth to be sheared off while cutting on the bandsaw. If you went slow you might get away with making the cut, but the finished edge of the cut would be not too smooth a finish.
    A metal shear would be the correct way to cut your stock,so if you could find a machine shop with one that would be your best bet.

    Dremel makes thin cutoff wheels about 2 inches in diameter, but cutting a straight line is a challenge with them. Can be done with patience and a good eye.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael langman View Post
    Luke, A 32 tpi blade has a tooth every .031 of an inch. .5mm stock is approximately .0195 thick,so, the stock being thinner then the gap between the 32tpi would cause the teeth to be sheared off while cutting on the bandsaw. If you went slow you might get away with making the cut, but the finished edge of the cut would be not too smooth a finish.
    A metal shear would be the correct way to cut your stock,so if you could find a machine shop with one that would be your best bet.

    Dremel makes thin cutoff wheels about 2 inches in diameter, but cutting a straight line is a challenge with them. Can be done with patience and a good eye.
    Metal shears don't bend the metal the same as hand held shears / tin snips?

    As for the saw, my idea was to do as suggested above, and sandwich it between some pieces of wood. Also, I'd not be using a bandsaw, but rather a bandsaw blade in a hand saw (bow saw) and coming in at an angle.

    I tried with a hacksaw earlier though, and it doesn't seem to work all that well. It's still a bit too thin and the wood doesn't seem to help as much as I'd hoped... Maybe the metal still vibrates too much and I'd need to screw it down tighter, or maybe the difference in hardness is just too much.

    I'll think I'll try a ceramic cutoff wheel in a dremel. Patience and a good eye are something I have, at least (something anyone filing and setting saw teeth by hand must have, I would think. lol)

  10. #10
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    I have a small metal shear but cutting spring steel will screw up the edge.

    Why would you want to re-invent the wheel? You can purchase saw blades in nearly any size imagined, or cut off ones to fit your needs with an abrasive cut off wheel in your Dremel. A hacksaw with a good blade as Lenox or Starrett will cut un- hardened steel without an issue.
    Last edited by Bill George; 02-20-2022 at 8:04 PM.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller , WorkBee 1000x750 CNC Router - Mach4 - Windows 10

  11. #11
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    The Dremmel may be too noisy to do at home, you may have to find another venue. You might find someone with a better shop and he may even have a Dremmel. You could bring the gift of a few blades.

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