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How to Select the Best Concrete Cutting Tool for Your Job

2015-6-8 11:17:02

The go-to choice for most concrete cutting jobs, cut-off machines are hand-held saws used to cut concrete, asphalt and metal. They use either a composite resin abrasive wheel or diamond blade to cut in various applications. Typically available in 12- or 14-inch sizes, cut-off machines can be powered by a two-stroke gas engine, a hydraulic power unit, an air compressor or an electric motor.

The choice of power source depends on the application. Electric saws are popular with some operators because they’re lightweight, less noisy and simpler to use than other types of cut-off machines. They aren’t as powerful, however, and can take longer to complete a job.

An electric cutter is preferred in enclosed environments, In cases like those, it’s less about performance and more about what’s needed in that particular situation.

Hydraulic saws, on the other hand, have the highest power-to-weight ratio. They’re convenient because most contractors have a hydraulic power unit on hand, but they’re more expensive and less forgiving than a pneumatic saw, for example.

They can build up pressure in the hydraulic line, which can result in difficult handling. Also, a leak in a hydraulic line can be dangerous and expensive.

Pneumatic saws are also convenient, since air compressors are ubiquitous on jobsites. Operation is simple and has fewer potential hazards, If the blade stalls, you just release the air pressure, adding there’s also no risk of fluid leaks. Pneumatic saws are lightweight and simple to maintain as well.

Besides power requirements and maintenance, there’s also the question of weight vs. performance. Operators appreciate a lighter saw because they’re easier to use, but there is a trade-off. It depends on what the operator really wants, If the saw is lighter, it will cut shallow with more passes, so it might take longer. A heavier saw, on the other hand, will cut deeper and faster, but is heavier, which can make it harder to handle for some operators.

For some, time is money. Others prefer to save wear and tear on the operator.

There are several things operators should be aware of when using a cut-off machine.

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