How to Cut Metal Rod – Step by Step Guide


We often find ourselves in many projects involving either steel rods, stainless steel or metal rods. Know-how of how to cut them step by step is vital in ensuring we get the desired results.

In this article, we are going to do a detailed guide on how to cut a metal rod, what tools to use and how they work, and a few safety tips to observe.

3 Ways of: How To Cut Metal Rod

1.Easy but Time-Consuming: Using a Hacksaw

2. Most Common Way: Using an Angular Grinder

3. Professional Way: Using a Chop Saw

When we embark on cutting any rods for different purposes, we should be aware of the least daunting ways to do it. We have to take time and learn the various techniques available involving simple to use machines. Our metal rod cutting experience can turn into a nightmare if we do not have the right tools.

1. Easy but Time-Consuming: Using a Hacksaw

A hacksaw is a handheld saw that has a frame, a handle and a blade that has fine teeth. If you are looking for an easy way to cut a metal rod, then a hacksaw is the answer. Beware of the time you have on the clock because this process is time-consuming. When working with thin rods be it steel rods, stainless rods, or metal rods a hacksaw will do the job just right.

Once we have identified the rod we are working on, we first choose a blade with the correct number of teeth per inch for our rod. The number of teeth per inch influences how aggressive the cut will be.

Step by step guide:

When using a hacksaw, we first need to mark the length of the rod we need using a marker pen and a tape measure. This is done by hooking the tape to the end of our rod and mark the length we need.

Secondly, we secure the rod in a vise leaving a gap of not more than 2 inches between the cut mark and the vise. Cutting the rod closer to the vise will give us a steady cut as there will be little or no vibrations.

Thirdly, we use a lubricant, preferably oil, to spray the area to be cut to ensure we preserve the blade and to give us an easy cut.

We finally align the blade to the side of the mark facing away from our desired workpiece. The thickness of the saw blade will determine the amount of chips removed.

Always mark a point greater than the desired length as adding material to a short workpiece is very hard if not impossible. Using both hands, we hold our saw in such a way that our prepotent hand rests on the handle and the other hand on the frame.

We start cutting with a little pressure to create a nick. After creating the nick, we start cutting with a long and even forward thrust and release the pressure while pulling the hacksaw back. Ensure to work with a sharp blade.

When cutting a rod, we apply pressure to the saw during the forward thrust to start cutting. During the backward thrust, we release the pressure. That’s how a typical hacksaw works on a rod

But why use a hacksaw to cut a rod?

We use a hacksaw to produce smooth and fine cuts on metal rods. A hacksaw is also convenient when cutting thin rods that do not need much effort. We do not need to change our hacksaw blade when we need to cut either stainless steel, metal or steel rods.

One does not need to be an expert to know how to use a hacksaw as it is a simple, lightweight, and easy to use tool. It is a solution when we are looking for a quick way of cutting a rod we have encountered randomly when working on our projects.

2. Most Common Way: Using an Angular Grinder

An angle grinder is a power tool that is operated by either holding with one hand or both hands depending on the work being done. They are either connected to the electricity via a cord or powered by a battery.

A cutting disk is attached to the angle grinder to cut any metal, concrete, and tile. Different blades are used for different purposes. With the variety of blades available at our disposal, angle grinders can act as a substitute for many tools in our tool basket. They are highly versatile hence they can handle a whole lot of different materials to cut.

They offer a fast and efficient way of cutting metal rods hence it is preferred by almost all industry professionals. For cutting a metal rod, a thickness of 0.045-inch wheel is recommended. It can practically handle any thickness of a rod thus they come in handy when working with thick and heavy steel or metal rods.

Selecting the right thickness wheel ensures that the disk is not stressed when subjected to a thick rod which can cause it to fracture.

Secure the rod workpiece that needs the cut on a clamp near the marked cutting point. Ensure that the disk is securely mounted on the tool and test the grinder by running it for about one minute.

Now the favorite part, begin cutting the rod, attacking it at a right angle to the blade.

An angle grinder is relatively light, precise, and easy to control making it a great choice for newbies in the rod cutting field. Another major reason to use an angle grinder to cut rods is its ability to cut rods at different angles.

Its flexibility will enable us to cut rods at various angles and can also be used to cut rods for making T- joints, lap joints, or edge joints. The downside to using an angle grinder to cut metal rods is that they do not produce smooth and regular finishes.

Here’s how it works;

An angular grinder works under the principle of a rotating motor. The rotating motor drives a geared head onto which a cutting disk is mounted. The mounted disk spins at very high speeds, usually between 9000 to 11500 rpm which enables it cut a rod. An angular grinder has a side handle and an adjustable guard.

3. Professional Way: Using a Chop Saw

Nicknamed bacon slicer, a chop saw is a circular power tool that is professionally used to cut metal rods. It has an abrasive disk attached to it that is made up of grit and resins reinforced with fiber which gives it the much-needed strength to cut both steel and metal rods.

A chop saw will cut a rod of any thickness without gushing. This makes it suitable for cutting huge and thick metal rods. Its high-strength abrasive material makes it a jack of all trades when it comes to cutting rods. It will practically cut steel rods, stainless steel rods, and metal rods alike no matter the size.

Chop saws are relatively cheaper compared to other saws used to cut rods. Chop saws give are faster than circular saws. If you’re looking for a very fast way to cut thick rods, then a chop saw is the answer. Its cutting wheels are relatively thin hence they will not eat up a huge chunk of your rod.

The downside of using a chop saw is that they are not suitable for making intricate cuts as they are hard to control. They therefore mainly used by trained professionals.

A chop saw has a steel circular saw blade attached to its head that spins at very high speeds. While pushing the handle downward, the blade consequently cuts the material laid on the surface.

Other Tools That Can be Used

There are quite a number of other tools that can be used if we start discussing them we won’t finish. Here’s a list to mention just a few;

  1. Reciprocating saw– It will cut a rod, be it steel, stainless or metal rod by attaching a metal cutting blade to it. The recommended blade has between 20 to 24 teeth per inch, for thin rods, 10 to 18 teeth per inch for medium sized rods and 8 teeth per inch for thick metal. It never gives a clean cut on rods.
  2. Circular saw – A Circular saw is a typical cutting tool that almost every DIYer has somewhere in their garage or workshop. They are generally designed to be used to cut wood but rarely is it used to cut metal rods. It can be used if it is the only option available.
  3. Jigsaw– not suitable for cutting rods but if it’s the only option available, I would go for it. We attach a bi-metal blade which will cut only thin rods.
  4. Air saw – a small light tool that is suitable for thin rods. Hacksaw blades can be used in this tool to cut metal or steel rods.

Safety Tips

  • Always wear personal protective gear like hand gloves, goggles, and overall, before handling or working with any cutting machine.
  • Always ensure to choose the correct blade or disk that matches the material you desire to cut.
  • Read carefully the user manual supplied with each item you purchase.
  • Ensure to work in a safe environment away from other people.
  • Firmly secure the workpiece before starting to work on it.
  • Never touch a metal you have just cut as it is usually very hot.
  • Check and ensure the blade/ disks are firmly secured before starting any work.
  • For power tools, ensure to power off the tools before changing disks.
  • Keep the rotating parts of the tools lubricated.
  • Always ensure that the wheels allowance matches with the RPM.
  • Proper wheel sizes should be used.
  • Never tamper with the machine.

Being smart while choosing the tool to use can give us a good head start that will enable us to do the work accurately in the least time. It is therefore imminent to carefully distinguish between what you need and what you might need. But remember safety always comes first!


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Jason D. Turner

Hi there! My name is Jason, a keen enthusiast in power tools and their mechanisms and the sole mastermind behind the Noisy Tools. Working in a multi-national construction firm in Brooklyn for over a decade, I have developed a fair flair for different construction devices, gadgets, and their diverse operational aspects. By the dint of this platform, I have researched and reviewed various tools with utmost details of even the most trivial matters that will provide valuable insights for any prospective user.

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