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Old 04-11-2016, 03:20 PM   #1
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Best tool for cutting out Skirting??

im going to need to cut a sizeable hole in my under skirting to mount an Air-conditioner coil.. trying to figure out the best tool for the job..

1. Sawzall.. seems like thats a good way to vibrate and tear up the paint or potentially end up damging things I dont want to.

2. Cutoff wheel.. if its like any of the cutoff wheel projects ive had before I spend more time waiting for my Compressor to catch up than I do cutting.. and go through a TON of wheels.. maybe there is something better? that has more power? seems like even when I turn the air up to 100 PSI I dont have much power at the wheel...

3. Nibbler.. can a nibbler be powerful enough to cut through the skirting on a bus? is it hard to cut straight?

I dont have access to a plasma cutter or cutting torch.

what do you guys use that have cut rectangular holes in school bus skirt?

-Christopher
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:22 PM   #2
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I have a blade on my circular saw that cuts steel like a hot knife through butter. They're a little spendy but they last very well. Diablo brand "Steel Demon" 48 tooth for ferrious metals up to 1/4". Plan to spend $30-$40, but it lasts and lasts. It's done all the cutting for my roof raise and all the tubing I've needed to cut for the bus plus I'm planning on using it to make the hole for my hot water heater in the side of my bus...
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughridge85 View Post
I have a blade on my circular saw that cuts steel like a hot knife through butter. They're a little spendy but they last very well. Diablo brand "Steel Demon" 48 tooth for ferrious metals up to 1/4". Plan to spend $30-$40, but it lasts and lasts. It's done all the cutting for my roof raise and all the tubing I've needed to cut for the bus plus I'm planning on using it to make the hole for my hot water heater in the side of my bus...
wow what a cool idea!!

is the saw hard to control , or you just go nice N slow and it wont grab and surge?

just a standard Skil-Saw motor like about everyone has laying around in the garage with the special blade?

-Christopher
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:38 PM   #4
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It's a little grabby, but yeah, if you go slow its a really smooth cut. The circular saw I use is from the late 70's early 80's so I would assume any standard circ will work just fine... You can put up a guide board too to help make a nice straight square cut with the circ.
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:57 PM   #5
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Circular saw works great with the right metal cutting blade. And I will second the notion of using a guide. I cut all the old lower panels off my bus to replace them with new steel and tack welded a length of angle iron for the guide. With the blade depth on the saw set to only cut through the sheet metal, I was able to go all the way down each side without even nicking the ribs or any other underlying materials.


Lined up with welding magnets then added a couple of tack welds that were easily ground off.


Smaller cuts should be a piece of cake. Go for it.
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Old 04-11-2016, 08:33 PM   #6
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Why not an angle grinder? I love when I can do sheet metal work with them...they cut as fast as you can feed and as long as you dont "catch" or "bounce" cut off wheel last along time too.

I wouldn't recommend using a metal blade with a circular saw that has a magnesium blade cover. My Makita has this so I use a crappy one that has a steel cover.
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Old 04-11-2016, 08:44 PM   #7
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great reads.. I know my circular saw has the magnesium blade cover.. my old crappy saw died when I left it on the tailgate of my truck and drove away... it stayed there till I hit the gas getting on the highway.......

I think I'll get an angle grinder and practice my cuts on some scrap sheet metal i have... granted my A/C skirt has a trim ring so I dont have to be "perfect" but I need to cut at least reasonably straight
-christopher
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Old 04-11-2016, 10:55 PM   #8
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Any type of grinding is going to heat the paint up to the point of burning and separation. Not sure how concerned you are about the paint job, but it's worth considering beforehand.

I prefer the circular saw idea. They can be tough to keep under control if you don't practice first, but the lines will be straighter over a short distance, and the heat is not as intense on the paint job.
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Old 04-12-2016, 12:08 AM   #9
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Skil_jigsaw.jpg

flat shoe sides allow straight cut with a guide, variable speed allows fine control and metal changable blades that don't cost a fortune. since your below the ribs to me its a no brainier.
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Old 04-14-2016, 12:21 PM   #10
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Depending on what you're cutting out, and what's underneath I'd vote circular saw with the carbide tips, nibbler, 4 1/2" abrasive cut off wheel, or a scroll saw with a metal blade.

Sawzall isn't great for unsupported flat metal, but it'll work in a pinch.

I'd say with all of those except for the abrasive wheel, use cutting wax on the bits often.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
im going to need to cut a sizeable hole in my under skirting to mount an Air-conditioner coil.. trying to figure out the best tool for the job..

1. Sawzall.. seems like thats a good way to vibrate and tear up the paint or potentially end up damging things I dont want to.

2. Cutoff wheel.. if its like any of the cutoff wheel projects ive had before I spend more time waiting for my Compressor to catch up than I do cutting.. and go through a TON of wheels.. maybe there is something better? that has more power? seems like even when I turn the air up to 100 PSI I dont have much power at the wheel...

3. Nibbler.. can a nibbler be powerful enough to cut through the skirting on a bus? is it hard to cut straight?

I dont have access to a plasma cutter or cutting torch.

what do you guys use that have cut rectangular holes in school bus skirt?

-Christopher
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