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Cutting blade steel with a hole saw

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(First I wasn't sure where to post this so feel free to move it if there is a better sub forum)


Have any of you ever used a hole saw (bi-metal or carbide) to cut large holes in blade steel?


I'm looking for a faster and more repeatable method then forging or welding for some stock removal knives.


(CNC plasma would be just the ticket but it is a larger ticket than I can shell out for right now)





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I have never cut blade steel but I would guess it is doable. I have used hole cutters to cut holes in steel as thick as 1/2"! However do not buy the cheap ones, buy bi-metal hole saws like the ones, from Lenox. Keep them flooded with cutting fluid and even at that consider them sacrificial. If you get 15-20 holes when your cutting heavy steel you are doing good.

Now an explanation for doable, the task can be done, it probably won't be fun or without mess or causalities!! My drill press doesn't like being forced it will slip the belts, I usually drill them with a 1/2" drill with material handle and outside because you have such a mess.


Now if I were planning a new line of knives and I had to depend on hole saws to cut the holes. I would be looking at something else than a hole saw. If I only had a couple to do then grab the cutting oil/fluid and the drill and go for it.


I once drilled 38 holes in 3/8" steel in a trailer for tie down points. The h oles were 2" in diameter. The first two or three ate two hole saws, an old one I was using and a brand new one. Thinking there had to a better/cheaper way. I cut the rest with two more hole saw and about a quart of cutting fluid. I kept it so flooded that the cutter was slinging it everywhere but, without it the heat build up would chew the teeth off in a hole or two.


So thinking along the lines of knife steel being a tad harder than regular mild steel, I wouldn't plan on making a living at cutting holes in it with a hole saw. I would take it to a shop and contract it out! IMO

Edited by C Craft
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Other know more, but what the heck.


I suspect the hole saw will die a rapid death. Unless you can run it very slow.....


I hand-cut blanks from 01 and 1085. I can use a hacksaw all day long with one blade. Got tired, so went to the store and bought brand-name Milwaukee torch blades for my saw-zall. I figured a hacksaw is a hacksaw... Within 1/4" the blade had burned itself up and was missing its teeth. I did use oil. Clearly the blade could not stand the heat. The same approach works fine on non-ferrous like bronze.


Do keep us posted.



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I wondered the same thing. :rolleyes:


I now own an inexpensive plasma cutter. :o

It requires a separate air compressor, but I had that already. Only cost $450 and also has a stick welder and TIG built in. The plain plasma cutters can be found even a bit cheaper. Not as good as a CNC, but I can cut shapes freehand close enough to finish off in short order with a drum sander attachment in my drill press. With a guide to follow and a steady hand, it will cut nice and clean right where you want it.


If that isn't an option for the moment and assuming you are doing circles, I would go with the carbide circle cutter Daniel posted. All of the saw-toothed cutting tools I have attempted, including carbide tipped blades, has ripped off the teeth faster than it cut the steel.

Good luck and keep us posted,


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I've used this 1" carbide-tooth holesaw from McMaster to drill dozens of holes in O1, 1075, CPM154, 3V, S35VN, Elmax, etc. If you have a cheap press like me, be sure and check the top nut above your pulleys as it tends to loosen and it'll decrease the torque you have available.





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Shawn now that is a hole cutter!

Edited by C Craft
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