Aimed at: pro metal and masonry workers
Pros: big and powerful, quick and easy to use, with extraction too.
There are some tools that are indispensable – like cordless drills and circular saws for carpenters. The Draper Abrasive Cut-Off Saw (stock no 76211) is in this category for metal, stone and masonry workers. Used on site or in the workshop, its considerable cutting power would be invaluable. The clean edges left from the abrasive wheel would need minimal preparation for welding (in metal) and competent users can get accurate straight and angled cuts every time. The more I looked at and used this machine, the more I realized that is very well specified and well designed for the tasks it is intended for.
It is a big, heavy machine (20Kgs) as is appropriate for its uses – but it has a total footprint of only 47 by 27 cms so can easily fit onto a fixed or portable bench. The big rubberized carry handle placed right in the middle, above the weight of the motor, is well placed for relatively easy carrying – I certainly wouldn’t want to lug it too far – but hulkier users than me would find it much easier. A robust lock pin locks the head down for easier transportation.
Pretty well all that the user has to do to get the machine useable out of the box, is to attach the four rubber feet and mount the appropriate cutting disc for its intended use. Some observant users might notice that one of the rubber feet has a metal shield around it to protect it from the danger of fire from sparks generated when cutting some materials.
Clearly metal cutting discs are different for those intended to cut bricks or stone. Attaching the disc is easy and takes only a few minutes. A robust screw needs to be released so that the cover plate can be rotated backwards to reveal the spindle bolt. Using the spindle-locking pin, this bolt can be unscrewed and the disc mounted. Then the bolt is simply tightened to a suitable torque with the spanner supplied. It is held captive by a spring at the back of the base.
The all-metal cutter guard intrigued me in that it has two parts that open automatically as the handle is used to push the disc into the workpiece. It looks a bit like the opening and closing mouth of a “pacman” figure in those now ancient computer games, but it works very efficiently and minimizes the exposure of the disc to the operator. This clearly also limits the amount of dust and sparks that are directed to the side of the machine where the operator might be more exposed to them. Operators should be wearing full PPE gear anyway, but it always good to have extra safeguards.
There is also a handy plate behind the disc, on the moveable arm of the saw, that directs sparks and dust downwards away from the operator.
Another little extra is the extraction port on the side of the machine that does a good job of removing swarf and dust. The port needs a standard adaptor to fit an industrial vacuum cleaner and users need to ensure that the vacuum is appropriate – for example not all vacuums are designed to vacuum up steel swarf and further hot steel swarf can be a fire risk!
The extraction port is yet another example of how much you get for your money with this saw.
Work holding for these type of saws is another key feature. Sometimes users need to cut angles and odd shapes, and the work holders need to be flexible and robust enough to make the cutting operations safe.
With robust pressed steel components the work holding vice on this machine is very tough, and yet very quick to use too. There is an efficient quick release system on the vice screw that enables very nifty adjustments to be made and the handwheel ensures secure tightening onto the workpiece in a few seconds.
The rear fence can be fitted into one of two positions. As standard from the factory, the fence is adjusted so that the workpiece is directly under the cutting disc. But there is another position, closer to the hinged arm that can be used to suit different work pieces.
In factory setting position, there is a clear 150mm width in which material can be securely clamped so enough capacity for professional users I think.
Adjusting the angle of cuts needs the use of the spanner again on two bolts, and although there is a rough angle guide on the adjusting quadrant, users will need to use their own protractor for more accurate results.
The large horizontal trigger switch is housed inside an even larger loop handle. The handle and switches could easily accommodate a gloved hand and the spring on the swing arm is powerful enough for an easy lift, but not too strong to hold down comfortably when cutting.
Motor noise is quite controlled considering that it is a powerful 2000W brush motor. Even when cutting hard sections of steel I found no lack of power from the motor, although forcing the disc is actually counterproductive for an accurate and quick cut.
Other important safety features are the adjustable depth stop and the overload cutout that will protect motor and user from over-heavy use.
Users should also be aware that the abrasive discs used on this type of machine are intended to wear away as they cut the material. It is the way in which the periphery of the edge is kept sharp. However, as the blade wears the peripheral speed of the disc is reduced, so discs should be replaced when they have worn to within 25% of their original size.
With a typical internet price of around £175 – £180 it seems to me that users get an awful lot for their money. The saw is robustly made and intended for heavy site and workshop use and has got a few extras that make it not only easy to use, but safer than many similar saws
For more information on all Draper Products, please visit www.drapertools.com