If you’re looking to up the productivity in your shop, you may be considering an up-cut saw. If you need to increase output and decrease raw material costs, an up-cut saw is the perfect solution. Here’s the 411 so you can make an educated purchase.
It’s All in the Name
An up-cut saw blade moves upward through material, hence, the name “up-cut.” This means the blade is entirely concealed except when it’s cutting parts. Whereas a chop saw or cold saw blade is constantly exposed and requires an operator to manually move the saw downward through the material to make a cut. Up-cut saws are often called pop-up saws for this reason. They are also frequently referred to as cut-off saws, and down under in Australia, they are referred to as docking saws.
Features for Consideration
- An up-cut saw blade isn’t exposed except when it’s cutting material, which typically means it’s a safer bet. However, this is completely dependent on whether your saw has proper safety fences or enclosures. Up-cut saw blades rise incredibly quickly, making older models lacking guards highly unsafe.
- Some newer models have covered guards that must be closed in order for the saw to cycle for added safety, as well as foot pedals and dual-start buttons to ensure the operator’s hands are clear of any danger.
- Additionally, foot pedals allow the operator to use two hands to load material, making up-cut saws faster than chop saws or cold saws. In a fast-paced shop environment, you need any competitive edge you can garner. Many up-cut saw brands are so fast that the machines have to be physically bolted down to the floor to prevent them from moving out of place.
- Because these saws have automated cycles versus having to pull them down by hand, they tend to be better for larger shops that have high production needs and smaller shops that may have to pump out a great deal of custom-sized parts quickly.
- Up-cut saw blades are often much larger than a typical chop saw blade: 18–30 inches on average versus 10–14 inches on average. Better and larger blades tend to last longer and provide a higher quality cut as well.
- Up-cut saws allow for compound angle/miter/bevel cuts, whereas not all chop saws do. Some brands have unique turntables allowing the operator to set up miter cuts in a snap.
- Up-cut saws have far superior dust control than chop saws. Their design allows for dust and chips to be enclosed and easily removed by vacuum collectors.
- Many up-cut saw brands have pneumatic clamping capabilities. Some are designed with adjustable clamping pressure to prevent material distortions. Ultimately, cut-off saws are fast, precise, and considerably safer than chop saws if used with the proper safety guarding.
Taking It to the Next Level
However, up-cuts do have their pitfalls. Not all up-cut saws are well-suited to aligning to pencil marks. Visibility can be obscured due to the clamping systems or the guarding getting in the way. Instead of wasting time and material cutting parts incrementally until you have just the right size—cut it right the first time. Automate your up-cut saw with a digital saw fence. Type in your desired part length and press start. Or download an entire cut list right at your machine and get to cutting.
Automating your saw is a really smart time investment. It ensures accurately cut parts, eliminates rework, and greatly reduces the amount of scrap waste that ends up in your bin.
Some automated fences even allow you to optimize your material yield. For example, TigerStop’s Dynamic Optimization software calculates which parts to cut from your cut list first, ensuring the minimal amount of scrap at the end. This helps the operator focus on loading and cutting material rather than struggling to get the best yield or scrapping perfectly usable portions of material. Use TigerStop’s Crayon Defecting to mark defects in your material, and cut around defects quickly and accurately while optimizing your material for the best yield.
Additionally, many automated material positioners have roller tables that help operators feed heavier material through the saw more easily. Automated systems greatly reduce operator fatigue by utilizing roller tables in conjunction with their ability to push heavy material through the saw (as pictured).
Up-Cut Saw Upgrade
If you feel like you’re ready to purchase an up-cut saw, take into consideration all of the safety features and added software upgrades that will turn your setup into a highly efficient and safe workstation. If you want to get an extra boost of productivity, an up-cut saw is your biggest ally. To take your shop to the next level, click below to learn how to automate your up-cut for added efficiency and accuracy as well as huge raw material savings.