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Old 12-31-2013, 09:00 AM   #1
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Best rotary cutting tool?

I seem to have a little Christmas cash left and am ready to fix that problem. I'm thinking of buying a rotary/zip cutting tool. It will be used a lot on home improvement projects like tile and drywall, but one thing I'm thinking it will be a huge help with is making prettier cuts on van builds. I'm thinking this will be great for cutting nice holes in plastic door panels, cabinets, etc. and hopefully a lot less messy and easier to get in to tight spots. I've got my eye on this one:

http://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DW660-C...m_cr_pr_sims_t

I have an older Dremel and use it for lots of things but this seems like a great tool to have. Anyone have any experience, good or bad, with these? The reviews seem solid but I'm still shopping so advice appreciated. I also looked at the Rotozip brand and am not sure about a comparable Dremel brand.

Also, I would love to know what the best tool is for cutting van sheet metal cleanly, like cutting holes in the insides of the doors for storage, etc. These rotary tools don't have very good reviews on cutting anything but really thin metal.
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Old 12-31-2013, 09:15 AM   #2
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Re: Best rotary cutting tool?

I have owned three rotary tools:

1. Dremmel (original)
2. Rotozip
3. Porter Cable.

The Dremmel is a great tool for what is. The Rotozip failed. The Porter Cable is rock solid.

All that said, I haven't used them (except the Dremmel for light, tight grinding) in years.

What I am using is a multitool from Harbor Freight. They are amazing tools for plastic body panels, drywall, etc. I haven't tried it on metal, but they sell metal cutting blades. (The grout/tile blades work great on gourt/tile.) You can use a straight edge with a multitool! (A rotary tool spins out of control alot when I use it.)

The blade comes loose on the H.F. too often. I find that I have to tighten it two or three times during each use.

I buy Makita 4" grinders (I am a "grinder trying to become a welder" and I burn up Makita 3.5" and 4" H.F. grinders). So, if I could buy another multitool it would be the Makita:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Makita-3-Amp ... 203271382#
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Old 12-31-2013, 11:40 AM   #3
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Re: Best rotary cutting tool?

Thanks, that's very helpful. I hadn't really even considered a HF brand but they have pretty good reviews and are cheap enough to buy 2 for the price of one name brand. I may go that route. I'm still curious what some other's experiences are.

Sales are tomorrow!

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Old 12-31-2013, 01:14 PM   #4
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Re: Best rotary cutting tool?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
Also, I would love to know what the best tool is for cutting van sheet metal cleanly, like cutting holes in the insides of the doors for storage, etc.
Plasma Torch!
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Old 12-31-2013, 01:30 PM   #5
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Re: Best rotary cutting tool?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
Also, I would love to know what the best tool is for cutting van sheet metal cleanly, like cutting holes in the insides of the doors for storage, etc.
Plasma Torch!
It's on the list.* After a push-pull gun... 86Scotty: Might as well look at Plasma cutters while you are at Harbor Freight too! (Warning: Disconnect batteries and PCM before welding on your van. YRMV.)

I have been using a chop saw and a table saw for metal cutting prior to fabrication, but I still haven't found the right blade to cut aluminum cleanly. A Makita angle grinder with a really thin steel cutting blade (available at H.F.) will do great for cutting steel panels in place. Buy a face shield. Wear long sleeve shirts. Keep flammables away from work area.

FYI: One of my favorite free weekly video subscription indulgences:

http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/

Happy New Year!

*Waterjet is pretty impressive "The gentle way to cut metal..."
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Old 12-31-2013, 04:12 PM   #6
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Re: Best rotary cutting tool?

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I have been using a chop saw and a table saw for metal cutting prior to fabrication, but I still haven't found the right blade to cut aluminum cleanly.
Aluminum is always difficult. Best results are with a lubricant - WD-40 works quite well when cutting aluminum with any cutter.

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Old 12-31-2013, 04:21 PM   #7
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Re: Best rotary cutting tool?

What you want is a tool that gives you good control of the blade.

For metal use small angle grinder with a thin blade. It will give you better control than a rotary cutter and possible a multi tool. You can get them pneumatic which are lighter or electric.

Grinders are harder to use on plastic you have to get the speed right so that you cut it but not melt it. Not sure how the other types work on plastic.
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Old 01-01-2014, 05:10 AM   #8
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Re: Best rotary cutting tool?

I have a Dremel tool and for its designed or intended purpose its pretty flawless. I've cut 18 ga sheet metal only because my normal tool of choice was a bit too large to do the task.

The DeWalt rotary tool wouldn't be that good an idea for anything requiring freehand cutting---most of those were designed to cut drywall anyway. For metal or even uber-expensive interior trim panel cutting I'd NOT recommend any tool like that.

Having recently cut away substantial portions of my own side door inner structure for storage the only really good tool is a high-quality jig saw AND the best quality thin metal blades. The later is probably the most important element, by far. I was able to maintain crisp, clean straight lines with minimal trimming and deburring required after the rough cuts were finished. FWIW I have a Bosch VS jig saw that's almost 20 years old and still outperforms so many newer tools. Its been well maintained over the years naturally.

When/if I'm trimming a factory interior panel its a combination of sharp hole saws, utility knives with new blades and proceeding very, very slowly. For me since I don't do this type work daily the skill necessary hasn't been developed and replacing things due a few whoops doesn't appeal to me any longer. A sound pre-cutting plan as well as near-perfect lay out of the cut area seems almost more important than the cutting tool itself.

The appeal of a great powered tool to do something with near-flawless results is immense--I've succumbed to it numerous times myself. Don't get me wrong---there are many vital tools in a home build but more important is the skill they require to give the best finished results.

BTW when it comes to cutting aluminum there is NOTHING that replaces the proper blade in a powered tool. I use a Delta 12 chop saw and have one blade dedicated only my aluminum work. I do use a stick wax but that's more for the blade's life---its an expensive high quality blade that gives a good cut IF its used correctly---the wax doesn't by itself give a better cut.

Anyway sorry for derailing this thread----just trying to add my experience and thoughts.
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:36 AM   #9
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Re: Best rotary cutting tool?

No problem JWA, I appreciate all the input.

I'm probably going to grab an oscillating/cutting tool at Harbor Freight today. I'm not crazy about their tools but like many others I've started to buy more of them because of the price. I'm looking at this:

http://www.harborfreight.com/variabl...ool-67537.html

I will also look at their blades but I know quality blades are needed.

BTW, I'm NOT looking at this tool as a solution to cutting sheet metal. That was really a separate question. This is a tool I would like for wood projects, plastic, drywall, scraping, sanding etc. as it is intended.

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Old 01-02-2014, 04:40 AM   #10
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Re: Best rotary cutting tool?

Scotty those oscillating tools are very, very handy for a lot of things----it might be a great investment.

The Mac Daddy of that type is Fein SuperCut but at $800 its a bit out of range for those not in an industry where they're almost necessary.

Blades for those are all over the place price-wise. I used a few Fein blades in the $80 each range and while pretty awesome they're just as subject to becoming dull and breaking only because they're hardened----most like to take sharpening time after time.

I think this one will be better suited for our type of work----not bad around the house either!
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