By Gretchen Salois, Senior Editor
Maintain optimum cutting rates by working with all facets of production. This blade used an excessive feed rate, causing chips to build up in the gullets.
Race to the FINISH
Determining the right tooth count, pitch and grind make all the difference

n Indianapolis, A.E.D. Motorsport Products is hard at work in the racing offseason. Pandemic or not, the hot rod and street performance business has been strong. “We process hundreds of suspension members for UPR Products (racing accessories),” says Al Lowe, owner.

A.E.D.’s workload varies from short-run cutting for packaging purposes, to high-volume orders. The company distributes finished metal products globally to the automotive performance, aviation and aerospace industries, performing cutting, profiling and end finishing. Its sister business, Boyce Industries, produces frame rails for companies such as Checkered Racing and Competition Engineering.

In order to cut each part, special attention is paid to the type of blade used. The idea is to achieve a fast, clean cut while prolonging the life of the blade. Because requirements vary from job to job depending on the end user, A.E.D. finds value in its collaborative relationship with Phillips Saw & Tool.

Automated CNC Sharpening Cells provide consistent grinding to 0.01 mm.

Cutting results are largely contingent on using the right tooth count, pitch, grind and diameter on the saw blade. “It can be challenging to figure out which type of blade to use depending on the type of material and thickness we’re cutting,” says Michael Bournique, quality assurance manager. “Phillips Saw & Tool helps troubleshoot problems, which comes in handy, especially when dealing with high nickel stainless steels and the newer advanced high-strength, dual-phase steels, which are becoming more common in the manufacture of racing cars.”

Phillips Vice President Jordan Chynoweth says the saw builder’s “constant investment in advanced grinding technology has provided creativity and further consistency with custom designed solutions. This effort, combined with responsive customer service, would prove beneficial for A.E.D. with 15 different styles of cuts using different materials for any given job.”

Adds Lowe, “We keep a wide variety of tools on hand for jobs versus having a one-size-fits-all type of blade.”

All about the blades
Phillips Saw provides customers with case-by-case advice. “We recognize certain brands cater to specific applications,” Chynoweth says. “Niche products are successful with designed parameters. Operating a successful band saw blade weld center provides opportunities for customized trial blades, not currently mass produced.”

A saw blade is visually inspected using an HD microscope, highlighting wear patterns. This method provides accurate readings to determine service needs.

Depending on the day, A.E.D. may begin by cutting stainless, followed by a shift to aluminum and then carbon steel. “We have to use multipurpose blades because you’re not going to change a blade to make one or two cuts and then switch blades for the next job,” Bournique says.

Certain jobs do require a certain blade. “If we use a specific blade for 4130 chrome-moly for building tube frame race cars, that’s a fairly tough material,” Lowe says. “The blades for these types of jobs are relegated for that specific purpose.”

Thin-wall tube cut on a manual HSS circular saw.
It can be challenging to figure out which type of blade to use depending on the type of material and thickness.
Michael Bournique, A.E.D. Motorsport Products
The problem solving between Phillips Saw & Tool and A.E.D. to determine the correct tooth count and pitch ensures the best blade is applied. “You can chew a blade up in five cuts on stainless or you could maximize the life of the blade and get 1,200 cuts if it’s the right tooth count,” Bournique says. “When you’re cutting stainless, there’s a big difference between using 280 or 300 teeth when the diameter of the blade is 315 mm or 350 mm.”

Blade performance can be limited by a saw’s mechanical issues. “By choosing the appropriate tooth count, blade thickness, surface coating and runout tolerance, you lower the friction caused by cutting forces,” Chynoweth says. That will extend the life of tooling and wearable components.

A.E.D. uses 15 different styles of cuts on any given job.
A.E.D. using 15 different styles of cuts on a black muscle car
A.E.D. uses 15 different styles of cuts on any given job.
Instead of pre-selected blade designs, A.E.D. found its custom saw blades perform best when each factor of the cutting process is taken into consideration. “We stock blank materials, providing flexibility to grind the exact design and tooth pitch required for the fabricator’s material, equipment and operational standards,” Chynoweth says.

Vendor managed solutions (VMS) allow Phillips Saw & Tool to streamline operations by using material data to apply specific saw blades to product ranges or part numbers and create performance benchmarks. The data is used to better instruct technicians about productive sawing principles; create schedules highlighting common wearable items directly affecting blade performance; and review monthly, quarterly and yearly goals to meet requirements.

Clean edges
A.E.D.’s cold saw and band saws can cut round, rectangular and square tubing. “The various diameters can create issues with the different diameters of the blades,” explains Lowe. Choosing cold saw blades versus band saw blades depends on the diameter of the tube. “It is certainly not one tool cuts all. We cut from 1/8-in. up to 12-in. material.” Clean cuts result in less secondary processing, he notes. “We want a clean cut edge so that wire brush deburring is minimal.” According to Bournique, “The worst is when cut edges are folded over the tubes’ ID, resulting in burrs. With the right pitch and diameter, I can keep that cut clean and that matters when you’re cutting thousands of parts.”

A.E.D. stayed operational through the initial throes of the pandemic and its flexible repertoire of products has kept the shop floor and back office busy. “We’ve weathered the storm pretty well so far,” Lowe says. “We don’t expect to invest in any new large pieces of equipment in the near future.”

Throughout the pandemic, the industry has adjusted its practices to cope with increased shipping costs and fluctuating materials prices. At A.E.D., says Lowe, freight carriers raised shipping costs, particularly for long products. “Where we used to ship 20-ft. to 24-ft.-long products, customers are now having us cut those shorter to provide a ready-to-use part.” That helps lower freight expense.

A.E.D. Motorsport Products,
Indianapolis, 317/334-0569,
Phillips Saw & Tool Inc.,
Frankfort, Indiana, 800/947-5979,