Portable Pneumatic Hacksaws and How To Use Them For On-Site Pipe Cutting September 09 , 2016

Portable air powered hacksaws are relatively uncommon tools, and many people are not even aware of their existence.


Typically, hacksaws come in two varieties: the unpowered, handheld kind that consists of a handle and a bow-like frame that tenses a fine toothed, flat blade (this is the same general layout as a coping saw, except a hacksaw is a much stronger and used for cutting hard materials, while coping saws are delicate and used for contour cuts). Twist Knot Cup Brush


For electric units, these advantages don't include portability. This is where portable pneumatic hacksaws come in. The fact that they're air-driven allows them to be significantly lighter and deliver vastly more power per pound than units that need to incorporate a motor; they're also at an advantage in places where moisture is an issue, or environments where there are many sharp corners and edges - while severing an electric cable can lead to fires and short-circuits, an air hose isn't nearly as hazardous if punctured. Heavy duty hacksaw


Power hacksaws are generally large electric units that are either free-standing or table-mounted. Too heavy to move, they occupy roughly the same workshop niche as floor band saws. In recent times, they have fallen out of favor to the benefit of handsaws, which can cut faster; however, many machinists still swear by hacksaws, claiming that they're tougher and don't need replacement blades as frequently. Tool makers sell a number of power hacksaws for use in remote regions and less developed countries, where simplicity of maintenance and longevity are key advantages. Machinist's Hammer


The simplicity and portability of air hacksaws makes them a good choice for use in maintenance at remote and watery locations such as oil rigs. The saws can be clamped directly onto a pipe or other object, and left to do their work. A band saw, as already mentioned, can cut much faster, but equivalent portable air band saws have a cutting diameter of only a few inches; a hacksaw, on the other hand, can cut pipe of up to 30" and more in diameter.


Here, we explain how to use a clamp-style air powered hacksaw to cut pipe onsite.


First and foremost, "portable" doesn't mean that it can be used free-hand. Unlike more common hacksaws, these saws don't attach the blade to a frame at the far end; instead, they use a bow-like guide with rollers to keep the blade straight. All this needs to be assembled when preparing to make a cut, and disassembled when the cut is done.


First, you need to attach the saw clamp to the work (let's say, a pipe). Put the clamp on top of the pipe, loop the chains around the pipe, feed them into the clamp and tighten them with the anchor, so the assembly can't shift during cutting.


Now you can mount the hacksaw on the clamp and use the provided springloaded pin to secure it. The saw will be able to pivot up and down as it cuts through the material, but won't be able to move side to side.


Next, attach the blade guide we discussed above - this semicircular piece of metal attaches to the saw at one end, and lets the saw blade through a pair of rollers at the other. The guide ensures a straight cut while also improving the longevity of the blade.


After that, mount the blade on the saw and put it through the blade guide.


One of the advantages of hacksaws is the ease of swapping out blades for different materials - there are special blades for cutting carbon steel, aluminum and many other materials. These blades are rated for different stroke speeds, so make sure to set the saw to the appropriate stroke per minute frequency before starting the cut. Dry Wall Hammer


Finally, while the compressor is off, attach the air hose to the saw.


Use the safety switch to turn the saw on; a portable air powered hacksaw can do its work with minimal human supervision; if you're cutting horizontal pipes, gravity will make sure the saw swings down as it makes the cut. However, you shouldn't leave the saw completely unattended - pay attention to saw blade wear, since a dull blade can heat up, expand and jam the cut. If this happens, the blade can snap and ruin equipment, if not injure someone.


Finally, when the cut is almost done, for the sake of safety, it's good to lower the air pressure and carefully guide the saw through the final several inches of the cut manually.


This is the general procedure of using a portable pneumatic hacksaw. Be safe and don't cut corners!

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