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What is a Bar Cutter?

Parker Brown
Parker Brown

A bar cutter is a device typically used for cutting bars of metal. There are many different types of bar cutters, each one with its own variance in material and size capacities, along with cut cleanness. The most common type of bar cutter is an abrasive saw, but other cutters, such as manual cutters and lasers, are commonly employed for certain applications. Each type of bar cutter has its own advantages and disadvantages and can only cut certain types of metal.

Abrasive wheels are the most commonly used devices for cutting metal bars, as they not only typically provide for clean and fast cuts, but can also cut through nearly any type of metal. An abrasive wheel is very similar to what one would find with a miter saw, where the cutting blade drops down directly over the workpiece. On an abrasive wheel, however, the cutting blade, as the name suggests, is an abrasive wheel. Abrasive wheels consist of a hard core with an abrasive coating, which allows it to cut very tough material, such as metals, at high revolutions. Abrasive wheels can also handle nearly any shape of metal bar, something that a lot of other types of metal cutters are unable to do.

Some types of bar cutters are used by firefighters in vehicle extrication.
Some types of bar cutters are used by firefighters in vehicle extrication.

Manual bar cutters consist of a thick, strong blade which is lifted up and down by a long metal bar. The long bar is controlled by the operator, which can cut through many different metals, even steel. While a manual bar cutter is often a more inexpensive alternative to other types of bar cutters, such as lasers and abrasive wheels, it can only cut so much. For example, most manual cutters can only take cylindrical metal bars and have certain material and size capacities that vary with the cutter itself.

One of the most precise ways of cutting nearly all metals can also be specially made for bar-cutting applications. This is the laser cutter, where a high-heat laser is used to precisely cut a metal bar of nearly any material, even alloys as strong as titanium. While laser cutters allow for near-perfect cuts and precision, their only drawback is their cost. Thus, most facilities requiring bar cutters do not typically use lasers, as their precision is both expensive, and in many cases, unnecessary. Another drawback of laser cutters is their high heat, making it difficult to cut metals with low oxidation points, such as aluminum.

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    • Some types of bar cutters are used by firefighters in vehicle extrication.
      By: kemaltaner
      Some types of bar cutters are used by firefighters in vehicle extrication.