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Cutting sheet stainless steel?

Old 11-05-2014, 09:59 AM
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Default Cutting sheet stainless steel?

I just got a stainless steel work table from a restaurant supply store. I need to cut a 20" diameter hole in the surface. What would be the best way to do this with hand tools? Will a jigsaw with a metal blade get through it?

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Old 11-05-2014, 10:15 AM
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Yes it will. Use a fine tooth blade and keep the blade speed down.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:16 AM
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how thick are we talking? If the metal moves up and down at all while you're trying to cut it, you'll chew through blades like crazy and it'll take forever. I hate cutting stainless like that. Total misery if it even works.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:19 AM
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A jig saw will work, but it will be slow, noisy and use a bunch of blades. As long as you keep spraying ( WD40 will work ) the blade as you cut, you shouldn't have any problems.
I assume the table is .0625, (1/16) thick?
You may be better off hitting up a local body or machine shop that can cut the hole for you via hand plasma.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:21 AM
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How thick is it .080 maybe .090 at most. Do you have a variable speed jigsaw? You would need to slow it way down so as to not build heat and kill the blade. As far as blades go I would go with a 20 plus tooth per inch blade. Think handheld hacksaw speed . Heat is your enemy and paraffin wax (lube) is your friend.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:22 AM
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Find a metal shop. Have them cut it. It will come out much nicer than anything you could ever attempt by hand and shouldn't cost too much. I had a hole for a grill and a sink cut into a stainless counter top and was charged 80 bucks. It came out with smooth edges. I think they used a water jet to cut it. Is the top removable from the legs? If not this may not work.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:24 AM
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You can always use a 4" x 1/16" cut off blade on a small electric hand grinders.... In the end, PLASMA is the nest way to go
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:34 AM
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Plasma cut still needs a little edge cleanup on stainless. A jigsaw will do it, but need a slow speed and blade lube- a variac is nice for that. And wear earmuffs. Loud as crap.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by 23Dorado View Post
Find a metal shop. Have them cut it. It will come out much nicer than anything you could ever attempt by hand and shouldn't cost too much. I had a hole for a grill and a sink cut into a stainless counter top and was charged 80 bucks. It came out with smooth edges. I think they used a water jet to cut it. Is the top removable from the legs? If not this may not work.
I agree with this. IF you have to end up filing it smooth, a 20" hole is a lot of filing on stainless, and that's a pain in the ass too.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:06 AM
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My original plan was to use the jig saw with a fine tooth blade. Now I'm thinking maybe there is a metal shop around here.

Originally Posted by sadieslough View Post
You can always use a 4" x 1/16" cut off blade on a small electric hand grinders.... In the end, PLASMA is the nest way to go
This was my other thought. I am afraid that I won't have enough control over it.

Also I didn't know if a "roto zip" type tool would work.

Thanks everyone,
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:18 AM
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Cutoff wheel in an angle grinder is how I cut stainless.
Make a plywood template to guide you.

I've seen stainless eat a hell of a lot of jigsaw, sawsall blades
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:35 AM
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Wonder if shears would do it???

http://www.harborfreight.com/18-gaug...ear-92148.html
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by gtpvettte View Post
unless it's REALLY thin stainless, electric shears won't cut it.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:38 AM
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Die Grinder with a 4" cutoff blade will be the cleanest and quickest. You can control one of those very easily, the key is nice and even light pressure.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:40 AM
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Cutoff wheel in an angle grinder is how I cut stainless.
Make a plywood template to guide you.

I am in the business, we have all methods of cutting, from water jet, to hi-def plama, to hand held plasma, none are practical for you...when my guys are messing around they use the above mentioned method, best way to go, actually comes out pretty good
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:49 AM
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I cut a square hole in a stainless plate 1/8" thick for a cook top, 27" x 18" hole

I used a skill saw with good blades and clamped on a wood straight edge to keep me lined up

took some work and some blades but I did it at the house

finished the edges with a 4" grinder and all went well

one caution, if the stainless is very thin, you will have some issues if it is plasma cut, the material will warp from the heat and you will have a hard time getting it back flat. extremely thin stuff I would bond it to a backer board and then cut thru the stainless and board at the same time
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:03 PM
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I have a stainless table with a 20" hole I need filled in, too bad you don't live closer.
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:09 PM
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Any shops near by with a waterjet cutter....

http://www.flowwaterjet.com/en/water...FVJgfgodqQYAPg

That would be my first choice, plasma second
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by blkmtrfan View Post
Any shops near by with a waterjet cutter....

http://www.flowwaterjet.com/en/water...FVJgfgodqQYAPg

That would be my first choice, plasma second
http://www.flowwaterjet.com/en/water...%20Models.aspx
My favorite model.

The OP's only problem with getting the table water jet cut would be the distance between the leg's of the table. He would have to turn the table over and cut it from underneath ( usual z axis height +/- is generally 8" depending on machine style) and there may not be enough distance between the legs for the gantry.
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by vertigo View Post
http://www.flowwaterjet.com/en/water...%20Models.aspx
My favorite model.

The OP's only problem with getting the table water jet cut would be the distance between the leg's of the table. He would have to turn the table over and cut it from underneath ( usual z axis height +/- is generally 8" depending on machine style) and there may not be enough distance between the legs for the gantry.
Valid points indeed, but I didn't see where he said how big the table is and if the legs are removable, maybe a pic with dimensions would help
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