Cutting Stainless Steel

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Stainless steel is a wonderful material, but it can be challenging to work with if you do not know the best way. Cutting stainless steel is some what difficult but can be done with the right tools and techniques. The Pepe ring cutter or other high speed cutting tools will not work on stainless and other hard metals, the cutting speed is too high and you will burn up the blades. A hand saw will work well but you will need to go slow and use lots of blade lubricant. I suggest Bur Life, as it is my metal cutting lubricant of choice. Make sure you brace your piece well when cutting, to avoid slipping or breaking your blade.

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Some grades of stainless are harder to cut, for example, 302, 304, 308, 316 can be very difficult. 303 is a premium nickel free machining grade but is more expensive than the other more common grades. I prefer nickel free 430 grade since it forms into rings well and cuts very nicely with a hand saw. 430 is magnetic while most other grades are not. 430 polishes well, better than most other grades of stainless. Tumble with stainless steel shot and any good burnishing solution meant for use with stainless. You can make your own solution with distilled water with a little Dawn dish detergent (1 teaspoon per gallon). Tumble for 4 to 12 hours and the 430 will have a really great shine!

il_570xN.189511073We carry 430 in round wire gauges 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 and in square wire 14 and 18. 430 is one of the easiest stainless steel wires to saw cut, I have hand saw cut it in 8 gauge with no problems.

il_570xN.670758125_5dajAll in all, the key to cutting any stainless steel is patience, lots of cutting lubricant, and good old fashioned elbow grease!

 

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