How To Build Metal Cutting Station
We recently stopped by Seventeen/20 to have a look at Jon’s metal cutting station, and take some pictures. Most of the furniture being custom built include a base built from 2×3 rectangle steel tubing. All the corners are mitered and welded, so angles and measurements need to be precise and the same. After all, furniture doesn’t leave this place wobbling, warped or crooked.
Metal Cutting Station Setup
We won’t get into details on actually building the workstation. The workstation build is pretty typical to many other miter saw workstations you can find all over the internet. We chose to build the frame of the metal cutting station from square and rectangle steel tubing. The work tops are typical MDF with counter-sunk screws for fastening. In the middle of the metal cutting station, both saws sit recessed in the middle, so the deck of the chop saws are on plane with the worktops. This allows for easy sliding of stock across the worktops and saws.
The Real Difference
Once the fence on either side of the two miter saws are trued, hence in a straight line, then we move on to some more logical magic. Using four measure tapes with adhesive backing, we carefully stick these to the fence. Keep in mind, there are two tapes that read left to right, and two that read right to left. With the tapes indexed in the correct position, the steel stock can be easily cut to the correct length.
First, we’ll discuss using the chop saw to the left, which is setup at a 45-degree angle. On the left fence are two measure tapes. The tape on the top displays the length from the saw blade on the right (90-degree saw). The tape on the bottom displays the length from the long part of the angle cut.
On the right fence, there are two measure tapes as well. The top tape displays the length from the 90-degree straight-cut blade. While the bottom tape measures the distance from the long side of the 45-degree angled blade. Understand that Seventeen/20 always cuts 2″ steel, so the long side of the angle doesn’t change. If you were to cut deeper or shallower steel, then the length would actually change for the long side of the angle. You may choose to setup for the short side of the angle, which won’t change.
Quick Cross and Miter Cuts
If we need a mitered end that is 36″ on the long side of the miter, using the same (left) side, we clamp the wood block at “36” using the bottom tape. Crank up the saw on the left (45-degree) and make the cut. Using the right-side fence is much the same for cuts over there.
If the stock being cut on the right changes in depth, then the long side of the miter changes. The further away from the fence, the more length is added, and the closer to the fence, the shorter this becomes. Seventeen/20 always cut 2″ square or rectangle tubing, so it’s not a big deal as the depth won’t change (always 2″ from the fence). If this is a big issue for you, then you can just setup your tape to read the short side of the miter on that one side. This would be the right side in our case.
It’s not hard to see how a metal cutting station like this can save a lot of time, especially when many of the same cuts need to be done. Also, with the fence on the left and right, you can easily have two blocks clamped in different places to quickly make two different cuts. Using the metal cutting station and these cold cut saws, cuts can literally be completed in seconds. Time adds up quick, especially in production, and this is money saved or increase profits for the project/job.
You’re not limited to this exact style metal cutting station. You may decide to make a setup with only one saw, in order to save some money. Or, this may trigger a complete new idea for you. Just don’t forget to think about your processes, and brainstorm on how you might streamline repeating actions.
Huge thanks to Seventeen/20 for allowing us to slow down their production for a few minutes to snap some shots.