Bosch 14” Benchtop Abrasive Cutoff Machine
A really big name for a really useful tool
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 10-14-2010
Metal is an attractive medium because of its pure strength and our ability to coerce it into shapes that please our eye or serve our needs. Long ago the hand-powered hacksaw was a remarkable piece of technology for cutting metal. In more recent history technology has taken several giant steps forward and manufacturers such as Bosch are making our metal-cutting life way easier. The Bosch 14" Benchtop Abrasive Cutoff Machine embodies those advancements and demonstrates the remarkable impact this relatively simple machine can have on even home-based metal shops. For our sake here I am going to abbreviate the long name at the head of this review to Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine. Get used to that name as after reading this review there is a better than even chance that you will be searching for one of these tools for your shop.
The heart of the Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine is the 14”-diameter abrasive wheel. Bosch equips this machine with one of their #BB1400 aluminum based abrasive wheels that giggles in the face of cold hard steel. I am not cutting any exotic metals but so far the Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine handles everything I put in it with ease.
Part of that functional bravado comes from the 15A, 4-horsepower max, 3900-RPM (no load) motor that drives the wheel. The motor is heavily insulated and equipped with thermal protection to cope with heavy usage. The motor power is sent to the blade through a 1”-diameter arbor (5/8” thread) turned by precision bevel gears running in ball bearings to keep things running smooth for a long time to come. A pushbutton spindle lock makes wheel changes easier and faster. A wrench for the blade and vise is included and stored in the base.
A trigger style ON/OFF switch is built into the pistol grip. A trigger lock button is located next to the trigger to lock the Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine ON for long duration operations.
The all-steel clamping system features a 6-3/8”-long by 2-1/2”-tall “fixed” face. This face can be pivoted up to 45-degrees towards the wheel. An engraved scale at the pivot bolt help get the angle right for your job. The rear fence portion of the clamp can also be moved along a slot front-to-back to better accommodate specific work pieces.
The screw side of the clamp has a 2-3/8”-wide by 2-5/8”-tall face mounted on a horizontal swivel that requires no adjustment for angled cuts. The clamping screw has a crank-type handle that allows the operator to generate sufficient clamping force easily. To make securing the stock faster the screw has a flip-up lock/release that lets the operator move the screw against the material quickly. When the lock is flipped into the down position the screw is engaged and pressure can be applied. Fast, simple but very dependable.
All of this is mounted atop an all-steel table that is 18”-deep (front to back) and 10-3/4” wide. The table rests on four rubber-like feet that help isolate the Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine from the surface it sits on to reduce sound levels and to help resist slipping during use.
The guard system covers most of the wheel and is fully automatic when making a cut. The front portion can be raised and moved back over center to give unobstructed access for wheel changes or inspections. In use the wheel guard poses no problems that I could find.
In the Shop
Using the Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine is very easy in part because its design and capabilities make it a decidedly user-friendly machine. Having plenty of power that is applied so smoothly improves the quality of the cuts and also makes the Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine safer to use because the operator has no need to force it.
The Bosch abrasive wheel cuts very quickly without bogging the motor down when reasonable amounts of pressure are applied. Between the effectiveness of the Bosch abrasive wheel and the power of the motor just letting the machine do its work results in surprisingly quick cuts. Though I made dozens of cuts in new and welded steel during the evaluation period the Bosch abrasive wheel shows surprisingly little wear. The effectiveness of the wheel itself and not requiring excessive pressure appear to be major reasons for the slow rate of wear on the abrasive wheel.
The clamp system works very well and holds the material tightly. Despite making many miter cuts I never had the material slip within the clamping surfaces. The speed locking lever on the clamp is very effective and speeds the flow of work considerably.
The grip and trigger feel comfortable to the hand as does the plunge action. There is plenty of return spring pressure to hold the saw up but not so much as to be tiring when using the Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine.
The Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine is well-made and thoughtfully engineered to make cutting metal easy and safe. It has plenty of power, comes with a great abrasive wheel and does everything that it is supposed to with ease. Despite its street price of just $194.95 (10-14-2010) the Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine can be considered a long-term investment. The traditional Bosch quality means that with simple common sense care the Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine will continue to be an effective part of your shop for many years to come.
If you have been cutting metal with a hand-powered hacksaw or even a reciprocating saw the Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine will be of interest to you. The time this machine saves in my shop is remarkable enough but the quality of the cuts make my welding and fit-and-finish better as well. I love any machine that makes me and/or my projects better and the Bosch 14" Cutoff Machine is certainly that kind of equipment!
Visit the Bosch Tools web site – Click Here
Have a comment on this review? - Email Me!