Milwaukee M18 Fuel Deep Cut Bandsaw Review
Takeaway meals: While there are many ways to cut metal with precision and ease with larger stationary tools, this number quickly drops when you move out of the workshop environment. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Deep-Cut Bandsaw makes precise, hook-free cuts anywhere that requires minimal practice or experience on your part. And with a 5.0 Ah battery, you’ll have plenty of runtime before you need to recharge or replace batteries. Ideal for cast iron pipe, black or galvanized pipe, square or round tubing, angle iron, rebar and PVC pipe, the Deep Cut Bandsaw can slice through almost any material up to five inches wide. After making a few clean cuts making parts for some test gear, we found excuses to use it on any project.
- Variable blade speed to optimize cutting of any material
- Well balanced, for precise vertical cuts
- LED light illuminates the cutting area
While the Deep Cut bandsaw was on the Popular mechanics store shelf here for a while, I only reached it recently when we needed to fabricate a metal rack for the test equipment we were building. The saw impressed me with the quality and ease with which it made clean, straight cuts, which made me search the store for more things to cut.
A tool for trades = Reliability
Milwaukee has a long history of designing and manufacturing tools for tradespeople in the plumbing and electrical fields, and this portable bandsaw is aimed directly at them. However, its abilities are transferable to any job or task that requires metal cutting, inside or outside the shop. And you can be assured it will stand up to some abuse because it was designed for everyday use in the trades.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s heavy – 15.4 pounds, with the 5 Ah battery, to be exact. We noticed it as soon as we lifted it with one hand. This is largely due to the all-metal direct drive system and all-metal saw frame. But that doesn’t mean Milwaukee just piled on the metal in the name of durability. We found the saw to be incredibly well balanced. In fact, when we held it with two hands, one holding the front handle and the other the rear, we found the saw was hanging with the blade perfectly vertical.
Our initial inspection revealed several features that will extend the life of the Deep Cut bandsaw. To protect the saw blade, drive wheels, and saw frame, Milwaukee coated the front and back of the saw with a composite material designed to absorb shock. A similar material covers the hubs of both wheels, as well as the tension lever for removing the blade. And if we cracked or broke any of these parts, they are all replaceable. The saw can be repaired by Milwaukee, or you can buy parts online and replace them yourself. Wear parts such as the blade guide bearings and brackets, the wheel brush that wipes debris from the drive wheel, and the LED work light are also replaceable.
Make the cut(s)
The Deep Cut bandsaw has one fundamental purpose: to make clean, straight cuts, and it does that very well. Since I first used the saw to cut steel bars, I have also cut steel and PVC pipes, steel tubing, conduit, and aluminum bars. I found the weight of the saw, mentioned earlier, really helps he does his job. While the saw was perfectly vertical in my hands, once I pulled the trigger I was able to let the weight of the saw do all the work. The only thing my hands had to do was guide the saw, keeping it straight, which I found took very little practice to make nice square cuts.
Besides making very clean and precise cuts, the portability of the Deep Cut bandsaw is one of the main features that makes it useful for me. It’s a huge time saver, since I don’t have to walk back and forth to the shop to use a stationary tool or stretch extension cords to reach where I’m working. I also like that I don’t need to bring a work light as the saw has an LED which illuminates the cutting area and makes it very easy to see and follow the scribe marks/ measure.
Blade speed should be matched to the material being cut – harder materials like steel need a slower speed, softer ones need a faster speed – so this Milwaukee saw has a variable speed control. I really like the way the brand has implemented it, with a dial just above the trigger. Unlike a variable-speed drill, where the longer you pull the trigger, the faster the drill spins, this bandsaw stays at the speed set on the dial for the duration of the cut. This is important as the saw has the ability to cut material up to five inches wide and such large steel pipe can take a little time to get through – it can be difficult to maintain a consistent speed with a speed trigger variable.
Typically, the Deep Cut bandsaw is used for cutting pipe and conduit, but outside of these trades, it’s useful for virtually any fabrication project that requires cutting flat metal, angle iron, tubing or pipes. Without the use of a stationary cutting tool, it would be hard to duplicate the ease and speed of cleanly cutting materials with this saw from Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Deep Cut Bandsaw helps make precise, snag-free cuts anywhere they need to be made. Ideal for cast iron pipe, black or galvanized pipe, square or round tubing, angle iron, rebar and PVC pipe, the Deep Cut Bandsaw can cut almost any material up to five inches wide. It comes with a 5.0 Ah battery, which means you’ll be making plenty of cuts before you need to recharge or swap batteries.