Diamond Chainsaw or Cut-Off Machine?


Diamond chainsaws and cut-off machines are the two most common concrete cutting tools, and their uses overlap quite a bit, but they cannot be interchanged. Your employees will be able to make the best suggestions to your customers if they understand the differences between these two types of equipment.

A cut-off machine is a hand-held saw that is used to cut concrete, asphalt, and metal. In various construction applications, they use either a composite resin abrasive wheel or a diamond blade. Cut-off machines are available in 12- and 14-inch sizes and can be powered by a two-stroke gas engine, a hydraulic power unit, an air compressor or an electric motor. Depending on the application, the power source should be selected. Electric saws are popular with homeowners because they’re lightweight, less noisy, and easier to operate than other types of cutting machines. These machines aren’t as powerful, however, and can take longer to complete a task.

On the other hand, hydraulic saws have the highest power-to-weight ratio. Hydraulic power units are convenient for contractors to have on hand, but they are more expensive and less forgiving than pneumatic saws, for instance. Air compressors are ubiquitous on construction sites, so pneumatic saws are also convenient for contractors. The machines are easy to operate and pose few safety risks. If the blade stalls, you simply release the air pressure, and fluid leaks are also eliminated. Furthermore, pneumatic saws require little maintenance.

Among cut-off machines, gas-powered saws are the most common. Because most users are familiar with gas-powered equipment, these saws offer the benefit of portability and familiarity. The downside is that they are more difficult to maintain. Additionally, there are concerns over power requirements, maintenance, and weight vs. performance. Operators appreciate lighter saws because they’re easier to use, but there is a tradeoff. When renting a cut-off machine, customers should be aware of several factors. 

Diamond Chainsaws Serve A Unique Purpose

In place of the cutting teeth on a wood saw, diamond segments are laser-welded to the chain on a diamond chainsaw. As on a traditional diamond blade, the diamond segments create a grinding action that wears away the concrete, brick, or other aggregate material. Grinding creates a very safe cutting operation without the kickback associated with chainsaws.

The diamond chainsaw offers several advantages over circular-blade cut-off machines. The chainsaw plunges nose-first into the material and cuts twice as deep as a circular blade with a 14-inch diameter. The most common gas saw in rental shops has a cut depth of 12 inches. Chainsaws that are equipped with hydraulic diamonds can cut up to 25 inches deep. A circular blade on a cut-off saw with a 14-inch diameter is designed for a maximum depth of just over five inches.

For a rental business, the most important criteria when selecting a diamond chainsaw is whether the customer needs to cut openings deeper than 5 inches. Contractors with significant cutting needs should consider renting a hydraulic or pneumatic diamond chainsaw, which is more powerful and can use guide bars for openings of up to 25 inches. 

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