Evolution RAGE 3 Sliding Miter Saw Review
Most do not think of a miter saw as a multipurpose tool, but that idea might change with the Evolution Power Tools RAGE 3 10″ TCT Multipurpose Sliding Miter Saw. Billed as a “material eating machine,” the Evolution RAGE 3 Sliding Miter Saw claims the ability to cut steel, wood, aluminum, plastic and more. In fact they also boast that with their RAGE3 10″ diamond blade, this jack-of-all-trades tool can also cut tile, slate and other flooring and roofing materials. It’s an understatement to say that we immediately wanted give this saw a workout!
Our Evolution RAGE 3 saw arrived in a large cardboard box with Styrofoam inserts that held the saw safely and securely for shipping. In the box there was a pair of ear plugs, safety goggles, dust bag, blade change wrench and even some additional goodies that most other companies sell as optional items. This included front and top clamps and bed extensions with an adjustable stop. The saw came with the RAGE3 10″ TCT Multipurpose Blade already installed. This blade alone is a $60 dollar value and is what helps distinguish this saw from others. It’s specifically designed for use with only the RAGE3 saw and has 28 welded carbide teeth, a 1 inch arbor and a kerf of .078″. For test purposes, the factory also sent us the $50 RAGE3 10″ Diamond Blade so we could test how the saw handles dry cutting tile and marble. We were anxious to see how well this saw did against other compound miter saws on the market.
Several unique features immediately caught our eye. The first was the inline D-shaped handle verses the more typical sideways orientated handles. Inside the handle has two triggers, the top one is for the motor on and off control and the lower one serves as a safety that has two functions. When you depress the safety switch, it deactivates the guard lock which will allow the blade guard to open and the second function is that when depressed it will allow the saw head to be lowered towards the material to be cut. Both triggers work easily and did not take any extra effort to operate. It is interesting to note that the blade guard is made completely out of metal and fully covers the blade when the saw head is in the up position. No saw blade teeth are exposed when the saw is not in operation with this design. When the trigger for the motor is depressed, there is a second for two delay since this saw is equipped with a soft start motor. While some folks don’t like this feature, it goes a long ways towards prolonging the life of the motor.
For a compound sliding miter saw, this one only weighs 39 pounds – which is considerable less then other similar sized 10″ sliders on the market. Part of the reason for the lighter weight is the magnesium alloy used for the base and table. The magnesium alloy helps to trim weight, yet still offers the durability and strength needed. Overall, I’d say there was a lot of metal used throughout the saw.
Testing on Wood
Now for our tests – and these were particularly fun if only because of the boasts made by Evolution (which we felt we simply had to back up or disprove). First off we did a quick check of the 2000 watt, 2.5 HP, 18A motor’s free spin RPMS with our laser photo tachometer. They averaged 2470 which is in line with the specs of 2500 RPM. Using the factory installed RAGE3 10″ TCT Multipurpose Blade we started off by cutting some 6″ baseboard trim and 2×4 material at various miter angles and bevels. Using an angle finder and square, we verified that the cuts that we made demonstrated that the saw came from the factory with a decent amount of accuracy and that the indent settings for the miters were acceptable.
The one thing we did notice about the preset miter indent settings is that the adjusting lever is plastic and seemed prone to wear if is to be moved and reset a lot. Since the plastic is not as rigid as metal, there was a small amount of sideways movement when pushed. Of course to eliminate any movement for a making a miter cut, you can lock the miter angle in with the knob on the front of the saw. For bevel cuts, the head is easily adjusted by loosing the lever on the back of the saw (though we did find it a little difficult to accurately read the bevel angle gauge). The blade cut the wood smoothly and with minimal chatter.
Even though the saw is designed to handle 3″ thick material, we found that it will almost make its way though a pressure treated 4×4 (measured 3.5″x3.5″). It appears that if the arbor washer was a little smaller in diameter, it would allow the blade to fully cut thought the 4×4 which would be very helpful to all the guys building decks. To test the sliding component of the saw, we used some 1×12 (measured ¾”x11.75″) melamine shelving material. We found that the saw was more then capable of making 90 degree sliding straight cuts in one swipe. The cuts were consistently smooth with no edge chipping of the hard white melamine coating which is a big deal because with out a good blade, the melamine coating can get chewed. To test the 45 degree sliding miter cut we used a 2×10 (measured 1.5″x9.5″) which might not have been completely fair since the saw is only specified to cut a maximum of 8.25 inches at a 45 degree miter. The saw was actually able to cut all but 1/8 of an inch of the 2×10. There is a small rubber bump stop in the back of the sliding mechanism that holds the saw back from making the full cut. Though we don’t (ahem, officially) recommend this, we found that if we removed the bump stop, we were able to complete the 45 degree angle miter cut all the way though the 2×10. We liked the slide mechanism since it worked smoothly and never felt like we had to force a cut.
Evolution RAGE 3 Sliding Miter Saw Metal Cutting
On the packaging it shows a piece of wood with a number of nails driven into the end and making a smooth cut. To test this kind of cut, we drove thirty 16d common nails into the end of our 2×10 and then proceeded to make 1/8″ slices though the wood and nails. The cuts were smooth and quick, with no sparks. The wood did not break up and the nails stayed in place. We did the cuts until we used up the length of the nail that was driven into the wood and then we checked the blade to see if we had any damage to the carbide teeth. Not a single tooth was broken and there was no material build up on them. While this is an extreme example of having to cut wood with nails in it, it is not far fetched if you work with antique barn wood or old flooring where the wood might have old fasteners still in it.
Our next test was on some 1″x1″ angle steel. Using the included top clamp we secured our material on the bed of the saw against the fence. Just like we were going to cut a piece of wood, we slowly set the blade down on the steel. We were anticipating some kick back or other movement but the blade just went right through the material without incident. It should be noted that the enclosed safety goggles are included for a reason; when cutting metal we did notice that small shavings would bounce back and would have been a nasty thing to have to dig out of your eye! After several cuts, we again checked the blade and still could not find any missing or broken teeth. As we were making the cuts, there was very minimal amount of sparks and the cuts were clean and almost burr free. Not only were the cuts faster and easer to make then with an abrasive cutting wheel, the steel never got hot and was able to be immediately handled – all this with no coolant! To test other materials, we cut up some extruded aluminum storm door jamb, 1/2″ steel rod and some 1″ PVC pipe all with the same results. Clean, smooth cuts and almost no burrs were the norm. Evolution Power Tools claims that up to 750 cuts can me made though 2″x2″ mild steel box sections on a single blade and from what we saw so far, we are pretty sure it can do it.
Using the Evolution RAGE 3 Saw for Tile Cutting
Next we tried the Evolution RAGE 3 saw with a RAGE3 10″ Diamond Blade to see how dry cuts work with some marble and ceramic tile. The blade change was very easy and straightforward but we did have to refer to the instructions to make sure we disengaged the blade guard properly. The bed of the saw is large enough to handle cutting a 12″x12″ tile on a straight cut. For angled cuts on a large tile, even with the sliding feature the tile will have to be repositioned to complete the cut. Our first test piece was a standard thickness ceramic floor tile. Just like we would cut a large piece of wood, we pulled the sliding head all the way towards us and then proceeded to lower the blade slowly into the tile, with a steady down force and forward pushing movement we cut though the tile. There was some dust created so we would suggest using a dust mask, safety goggles and performing the cutting outside. The saw cut fairly smoothly with a little bit of blade chatter that put some very small chips into the glazing. We tried several more cuts with similar results, even with varying the speed at which we pushed the saw though the tile. To future test the blade capabilities we cut some 3/8″ thick marble tile and had pretty good results. The bottom line is not to force the blade but let it do the work and slowly feed the blade though the work piece. While a wet saw allows for a cleaner, dust free cut, this saw did a respectable job and would serve the purpose of smaller tile jobs that a handyman or homeowner might encounter.
In addition to the two blades we tested out, Evolution Power tools also sells a dedicated wood blade with a thinner kerf and a steel only blade. It should be noted that the RAGE 3 10″ TCT Multipurpose Sliding Miter Saw uses a 1″ arbor so your regular saw blades will not fit on it. All of the Evolution blades are also made with standard arbor sizes to fit other brands of saws except for their RAGE3 10″ TCT Multipurpose Blade which is made specifically for this saw.
One of the included items with the saw was some ear plugs and for good reason. When the saw was free spinning with no load, we measured a noise level at 97 dB SPL. With the saw cutting wood our max reading was 102 dB SPL. For cutting the steel we had a reading of 110 dB SPL and for cutting the ceramic tile we registered 113 dB SPL. All the noise levels were taken from the same position measuring 3 feet off of the point of contact between the blade and the material. If you are going to be doing a lot of cutting, especially in materials other then wood, hearing and eye protection should definitely be used.
Multipurpose is definitely a good description of this saw. Many handy men, homeowners, light metal fabrication shops and various contractors will find this saw to be a great asset because of its capabilities, versatility and portability. For the trim carpenter, fine wood worker, and full time tile guy, you better stick with your specialized tools since there are some limitations. With a fair MSRP including the RAGE3 Multipurpose Blade, we feel that this tool represents pretty good value so we gave it an 8/10. As for our professional rating, since there are some limitations and some room for improvement, we gave it a 6/10.