Constructing a building can be a long and complicated process with lots of plans and steps involved. One way to simplify the construction process is to have the proper tools. While you can use nibblers or shears for cutting sheet metal, thicker metals and larger cuts require specialization in the tools you choose to use. In this blog, we’re going to go over three tools that we feel are important to have on hand as you begin building a building: a chop saw, plasma cutter, and cutting torch.
In short, a chop saw is a power tool used to make precise, straight cuts. It has a round blade attached to an arm that moves up and down. It has a stationary base that holds what you are cutting. A chop saw is unique to other saws in that it is made to cut materials other than just wood– it can handle cutting metal.
Chop saws are powerful tools, and with the right blade, they can cut through things like cutting pipe, rebar, steel, and even stone. They are commonly used in construction for cutting purlin– the material used to build the foundational frame for the roofing panels and trim to be attached to.
The second tool needed to build a building is a plasma cutter, or a plasma cutting torch. Plasma cutters work by using a combination of compressed gas and a plasma torch to create a plasma arc that works to melt the material, causing it to be cut. This results in an extremely precise cut that is used in the construction of buildings for cutting beams.
While they make portable, smaller plasma cutters, projects of larger magnitudes require a mechanized plasma cutter. They have a wide range of features and a great amount of automation that requires a hefty power supply, which means they aren’t mobile.
The last tool we’re going to cover in this blog is a cutting torch, a tool also oftentimes used to cut beams. A cutting torch functions by heating the metal to about 1800 degrees, and then oxygen gets in contact with the metal which results in combustion or rapid oxidation. As a result, cutting torches work better on certain kinds of metals, like carbon steel, as opposed to other metals with higher melting points like aluminum and stainless steel.
One thing to note is that cuts made with a cutting torch are not as precise as a plasma cut. However, you can adjust the tip size of the torch and the pressure settings depending on the thickness of the metal you are trying to cut.
As opposed to the plasma cutting torch, this type of cutting torch is much cheaper to operate, and is much more mobile– it is able to be rolled around the worksite on a cart. For this reason, these are much more commonly used in on-site construction.
We hope this blog was helpful in understanding the distinct traits in a chop saw, a plasma cutter, and a cutting torch. All three of these tools serve a unique role in the building of buildings, from the high-quality, high accuracy cuts of the plasma cutter, to the mobility of a cutting torch, and the straightness of the cuts made with a chop saw, these tools all serve a unique purpose in construction.