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I have 3/4" galvanized steel bars (hollow) that I bought from Lowes. I'm looking for a tool that will cut through them and sand/polish the cut surfaces smooth so that there are no metal burs or slivers; I need it to be completely bur/sliver-free by the time the sanding is done.

My first thought was that using a sawzall with a metal cutting blade would easily do the cutting, but then I'd probably need to use a hand file to sand it down, and that feels like it would take a long time to do it right.

So now I'm leaning towards purchasing/renting an angle grinder, and I'm hoping they come with different disks/heads for doing the two tasks I need done: (1) for cutting the steel and (2) another one for sanding/buffing the metal smooth. One tool to do both jobs and I've have it for future projects down the road as well.

So I ask: is this angle grinder solution feasible? If not, why and more importantly, what is?! And if so, then what types of disks/heads would I need to do both jobs? FYI I'm thinking about this Dewalt grinder unless anyone here has huge objections!

Thanks in advance!

  • hand file to sand it down .... hand file is for filing .... sandpaper is for sanding .... grinder is for grinding ............... so, what is wrong with using a file to smooth the cut surfaces? – jsotola Jun 25 '18 at 4:56
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    It's neither plugs into a wall or is battery operated :-) – hotmeatballsoup Jun 25 '18 at 10:25
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I would use a 4-1/2"- 5" angle grinder, I have dewalt, bosh, Makita and even a harbor freight. I use the very thin metal cutting disks fro cutting steel all the time, after cutting a pass done at a 90. a quick 45 will take the sharp edges off, if I want to polish or buff I use sanding disks, if I want to take rust off I will use a wire cup brush, in all cases it is a really good idea to wear eye protection , a face shield is even better with a good pair of leather gloves both to protect from the hot sparks from the cut but also from the metal it will get hot also. If you go with a grinder it can also be used for masonary just change disks. I probably have more angle grinders than any other power tool because the are so many uses for them.

  • Thanks @Ed Beal (+1) one quick followup question: when you say "after cutting a pass at a 45...", to me, a 45° angle would create a pointed slant, not a "flat" perpendicular 90° cut like I'd normally expect. Am I misreading/misunderstanding you, or is cutting metal at slanted 45° a standard practice for some reason? Thanks again! – hotmeatballsoup Jun 25 '18 at 10:09
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    You misread/misunderstood. You do the cut at 90. After the cut at 90 you run the grinder over the edge at 45 and it takes the rough corner off. A light pass is all that's needed, it won't take off much and you wont end up with a pointed edge. – Platinum Goose Jun 25 '18 at 14:02
  • As PG said a light pass at a 45 after cutting takes the sharp edge off and no burrs this is one of your requirements. – Ed Beal Jun 25 '18 at 19:01
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Dremel moto-tool. Cutting will be slow but deburring will be easy.

In the metal shop I'd use a band saw to cut, and a bench wire wheel to deburr.

The angle grinder is fine for deburring, but angle grinders are grinders, not saws. They are not made to make plunge cuts, if you are working the edge of the disc or both sides of the disc, you're doing it wrong and it will quickly fail.

I am also a firm believer that no-one should use power tools for a job until they have mastered doing the job with hand tools. When you have Popeye arms from a hacksaw, then look at a Sawzall. That's because hacksaws have tactile feedback. When you're cutting poorly, you know it. When you gall, you know it. When the blade binds, you know it. It forces you to learn proper technique. A Sawzall monkey goes to town without having any experience with those things or what efficient cutting even feels like... and so, does a hack job if he doesn't break the blade.

It's like the guy who's let loose on a CNC machine but has never felt how a mill binds up and complains when you are work-hardening the material because of the wrong feed/speed. Never done an elaborate complex cut, peeling off chips that are 2 feet long, stopped and found the bit cool to the touch because you got it right. That's machining. CNCboi will never know.

As far as time, if you had set to the job with hand tools straightaway instead of analyzing, discussing and shopping, you'd be done by now. So if your reason for the longer road is to learn, then learn in more than one dimension. Learning shortcuts is not learning.

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