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Micro-Mark Mini Miter / Cut-off Saw

I bought a 2 inch Micro-Mark Mini Miter / Cut-off Saw to cut screws & brass tubing, in the hopes that it would be somewhat better than the essentially equivalent Harbor Freight offering. I think that’s true, but it’s a near thing.

Apparently, the saws all come from the same factory with the same bass-ackwards vise:

Micro-Mark Cutoff Saw - vise side view

Micro-Mark Cutoff Saw – vise side view

The V-groove should be on the fixed jaw, where it would more-or-less precisely align rods / cylinders with the blade. The moveable jaw isn’t dovetailed to the base of the vise, so it ends up wherever it stops and, somehow, they managed to machine the end of the screw shaft off-center from the shaft, so the moveable jaw moves in a small circle as you tighten it.

A small punch mark locks the jaw to the screw; you can pull the disk on the shaft past the indentation by turning the knob with sufficient enthusiasm:

Micro-Mark Cutoff Saw - clamp jaw detail

Micro-Mark Cutoff Saw – clamp jaw detail

The hole in the vise, just under the disk, lets somebody whack the jaw with a punch.

Some machining or an entirely new vise setup lies in the future of this thing.

I mounted it on a scrap of countertop by transfer-punching the base holes, only to discover that the punch didn’t leave a mark for one hole, even though a dent was clearly visible at the bottom of the hole with the saw on the countertop.

A bit of headscratching later:

Micro-Mark Cutoff Saw - unfinished casting hole

Micro-Mark Cutoff Saw – unfinished casting hole

Apparently the core for that hole in the injection mold didn’t seat quite right. The layer was thin enough to drill out easily.

The blade is identical with the Harbor Freight blades I’m using on the Sherline, right down to the printed legend declaring it fits saws with non-Micro-Mark part numbers:

2 inch blades - Micro-Mark vs Harbor Freight

2 inch blades – Micro-Mark vs Harbor Freight

Granted, the Micro-Mark blade on the left has nicer printing, but MM blades run $15 each and HF offers a three-pack for ten bucks. Note the carefully positioned thumb in the Micro-Mark picture.

Beware of cheap imitations!” says Micro-Mark.

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  1. #1 by rkward on 2016-06-28 - 09:01

    Yep, I can certainly see reworking that little vise and/or just making a new one from scratch. Cutting small screws has always been a bit of a pain, especially if there are more than two. Micro-Mark has always had a nice selection and some deals are better than others, but it always pays to shop around.

  2. #2 by Joel on 2016-06-28 - 11:06

    I recently commented to my wife that it would be nice to buy a tool that “just works”, but I’ve gotten used to taking things apart to clean up the manufacturing shortcuts in a lot of stuff. On the other hand, it’s nice that there’s such a great variety of “almost ready for prime time” tools out there to choose from. And we’re never bored.

    • #3 by Ed on 2016-06-28 - 12:16

      it would be nice to buy a tool that “just works”

      Spraying enough money on that problem can certainly make it go away, but my survey showed nearly an order of magnitude difference between the known-nasty Harbor Freight offering and a Proxxon KGS 80 chop/miter saw.

      Might come from a different production line in the same factory, too, but also from the very top of the QC pile.

      Until I come up with a requirement for something that lovely (which whacking the end off screws & tubes most definitely is not), I’ll save the money and build some fixtures.

      Maybe the best way to think of the low-end stuff is that it’s somewhat better than getting a box o’ random parts.

  3. #4 by Simon on 2016-06-29 - 06:04

    I see a great opportunity to replace the moving jaw with a 3D printed version and to add a sort of cover over the fixed jaw incorporating the missing V groove – I would anticipate that the forces involved are sufficiently low to be suitable for plastic jaws – with the added advantages of being able to centralise the moving jaw hole and maybe add some custom V sizes…
    Just a thought!

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