How to Cut 316 Stainless

316 stainless steel is harder than many other steel alloys on the market. Stainless has a low carbon content, so it requires extra precautions when cutting. A good quality band saw and the proper band saw blade will help you improve your chances of achieving a smooth and professional cut.

  1. Install a carbon-toothed or bi-metal band saw blade onto your band saw. If you plan to use a different saw, like a circular saw, to cut sheet stock, still use a carbon-toothed blade or bi-metal blade. Every blade has a TIP (tooth per inch) rating. Make sure you have between two and 10 teeth in your material at all time. For example, if you have a ΒΌ-inch piece of stainless steel, you need a blade with at least eight teeth per inch. Follow the directions for your particular saw for the correct process of installing and tensioning the blade.

  2. Configure your saw to turn at a rate of 200 or fewer revolutions per minute. Heat buildup causes 316 stainless steel to harden. Slower speeds will reduce heat buildup.

  3. Apply cutting lubricant to the saw blade directly over the cutting surface to reduce the heat buildup on the material and on the blade. This will lengthen the life of the blade.

  4. Feed the stainless steel into the blade with a smooth and steady action. This will prevent the backside of the blade from rubbing on the stainless steel. This reduces heat buildup and provides you with a straighter, cleaner cut.