Please note: Since this review was
published, Global Machinery Company (GMC) has gone into receivership and
is no longer operating. As such, spare parts or technical support cannot
be obtained directly through them. Their website at www.gmcompany.com
appears to still be available online and offers some product information
and manuals but contacting them will receive no reply. Note that
OnlineToolReviews.com does not work for GMC, nor do we offer any support
or spare parts for their products.
Whether or not you dabble in metalwork, there are times
when a metal cutting saw could come in handy. Whether it be building some
storage out of steel tubing or building a jig to complement your
woodworking tasks, a few basic skills in metalwork will go a long way.
A recent project of mine was the construction of a chainsaw
mill made out of RHS tubing. Naturally, this involved a lot of cutting
tube to length, and while the handheld grinder would achieve the task, a
dedicated metal cutting saw will make the job much easier, quicker, and
I recently acquired a GMC MX355C Metal Cutting saw, and
this proved to be a great project to put the saw to the test.
The GMC MX355C Platinum Metal Cutting Saw
The MX355C is a dedicated metal cutting saw, designed specifically
for, you guessed it, cutting metal, unlike other types of saws that can be
readily adapted for different cutting tasks, or for cutting different
The MX355C model is part of GMC's platinum line of power
tools. The platinum line offers more durable construction and an extended
two year warranty that covers commercial and trade use, not just personal
home use. Let's take a look at the features of the saw...
Tech Specs and Discussion
The saw features a 355mm cutting disc. One comes pre-fitted to the saw
out of the box. In fact, most accessories are fitted and ready to go. The
disc bore size is 25.4mm (1 inch). This is a common disc and bore size, so
finding replacement discs should be no problem at all. Most good hardware
stores or trade stores will stock them. Juts make sure the disc is rated
to spin at 3900 RPM, which is the speed the disc spins on this saw. The
high RPM allows a smoother finish on the cut piece.
The disc is spun by a powerful 2400W universal motor, which
is fixed in a direct-drive configuration. While most of the saw features
all-metal construction, the motor housing is comprised on hardened
plastic. This provides protection while not adding any unnecessary weight
to the tool. There is plenty of power in the motor to tackle even the
cutting of solid steel. As with any cutting task, let the blade do the
work and the motor will generally have no problem keeping the blade/disc
spinning. Even with a bit of excess pressure applied during a cut, the
2400W motor rarely missed a beat.
In terms of motor sound output, I couldn't find any value
printed either on the tool or in the product manual or product page on the
GMC website. However, I'd have to guess it would be up around the 90-95 dB
level, similar to my 2400W miter saw. At these levels, hearing protection
is a must, so be sure to use a good set of earmuffs, or suitable ear plugs
whenever using this machine.
The main drop handle houses the power controls, and it too
is of hardened plastic construction (like pretty much all drop-type saws
these days), however, rubber overmolds on the handles add comfort and
grip. The power controls are simple but safe. To start the saw, push the
round lock-off button lateral to the trigger in, then pull the trigger and
the saw starts up. To stop the saw, just release the trigger. Fairly basic
stuff. Bear in mind that, for safety, you should wait until the cutting
disc has come to a complete stop before placing your hands near the disc,
or before removing the cut material from the saw. Also note that freshly
cut material, particularly around the cut area is extremely hot. So use
either proper metalworking gloves or wait until the metal has cooled
before handling it.
The drop action of the saw is quite smooth. Not the best I
have ever felt on a drop saw, but given these saws are not really an
ultra-precision machine, the drop action needs only really be smooth
enough to make a fluent cut. Lateral movement of the saw head when dropped
is minor. There is some movement, but again, any movement introduced by
the user when lowering the saw head doesn't have much of an effect on the
cut result. The actual cutting disc will flex much more during a cut,
particularly when cutting through thicker or wider materials... it's
simply the nature of the beast on these type of machines.
The retracting disc guard and disc housing are all metal
construction. Like on a miter saw, as the saw head is lowered, the disc
guard retracts to expose the cutting disc to make the cut. After the cut
is made, and the saw head is raised up, the guard again covers the exposed
blade for added user protection.
For transportation, the saw head can be locked in the down
position. A locking knob at the rear of the saw holds the saw head down
securely. The top handle above the motor housing offers a "carry handle"
to allow you to pick up and carry the saw around when the head is locked
in the lowered position. This certainly makes it easier and safer to move
the saw from one point to another.
In terms of actual cutting capacity on the MX355C, the
following specs are listed:
|Cutting Capacity in Pipe:
|Cutting Capacity in Box Section:
|Cutting Capacity in Rectangular:
||70 x 200 mm
|Cutting Capacity in Angle Iron:
|Cutting Capacity in Solid Steel Bar:
Bear in mind that these figures are true for a new 355mm
disc. As the disc wears down through use, the maximum cutting capacities
will be reduced. For most home/DIY and light commercial/trade jobs this
saw will be used for, the cutting capacities are more than adequate.
To hold the workpiece securely while it is being cut, a
vice is integrated into the saw. It is attached directly to the saw base.
The clamp has more than enough width capacity front to back thanks to the
long threaded vice rod that extends out the front of the saw. The vise
clamp head also pivots about 50 degrees each side so you can clamp metal
on angles securely. A rubber handle on the front of the vise rod makes
securing or releasing material a comfortable procedure. You can quickly
release material in the vise by using the vise lock release lever. This
can be flipped one side to the other to engage the rod threads (for
applying pressure) or disengage them (to quickly reposition the vise
without a lot of knob/rod turning, or to remove pressure on the clamp
Of course, there needs to be a "fence" to clamp any
material to. The MX355C features a metal fence which also doubles as a
"miter gauge" of sorts. The fence can be rotated to 45 degrees left or
right from its zero position. To change the fence setting, you must use an
allen wrench (supplied) to release the guide, pivot it to your desired
angle setting, and then tighten it back down with the same allen wrench.
As with any tool, check the tool for square-ness, and common angles before
you get going. You may have to make some slight adjustments to attain
accuracy. It is important not to apply too much pressure to material using
the vise, as this can deflect the fence slightly and affect accuracy.
While this is generally not a problem as most metal tasks undertaken using
this saw probably won't require ultra-accuracy, it is worth keeping in
mind. A slightly more solid fence on this saw would be ideal, but the
fence it does have is manageable and gets the job done well enough.
If you need to make specific depth cuts, a depth stop is
employed to stop the saw head lowering beyond a pre-determined depth. It
is adjusted via an allen-head screw lateral to the head spring at the base
of the saw head pivot arm. The depth stop works fine, but I found I rarely
used it. Your mileage may vary of course.
It is important to ensure any cutting of metal done with this saw is
not done near flammable materials. The saw produces a shower of sparks
that will quickly ignite any exposed flammable substances in the vicinity
of the saw. The saw should be set up on a sturdy surface, or on a solid
ground surface. The base features four rubber feet to ensure the saw will
not slip during use, and it helps reduce vibration a little too. As the
saw cuts, the shower of sparks generally heads to the rear of the saw,
although as you can see from the photo in the right column, it can head in
other directions depending on the material being cut. At the rear of the
saw is a spark shield which helps direct the majority of sparks in a
downward direction. It is not wide enough to catch all the sparks, but
probably redirects about 75% of them down instead of leaving the sparks to
shoot meters out the back of the saw.
As with using a miter saw for cutting wood, a slow but
steady cutting action produces the best results, and will ensure longer
tool and disc life too.
In terms of ergonomics, the saw seems quite comfortable to
use. It can easily become discomforting if you do not use both eye and ear
protection. Respiratory protection is also a good idea, particularly if
you are using it in an enclosed area. When it comes to blade changes,
these are achieved quite easily. The blade is attached via a locking bolt,
washer and blade flange (which provides some stability to the blade).
These are readily removed and a new blade can be added and secured in the
reverse manner. All instructions for tool use are well illustrated in the
full color manual supplied with the tool, which is of high quality, as has
become a standard with GMC product manuals.
The GMC MX355C has a recommended retail price of AUD$189.
Considering this tool is offered with a 2 year commercial/trade use
warranty, and that its build seems better in general than some of the
cheaper DIY models, it does represent good value for money. Apart from the
fence flex that can occur if too much clamping pressure is applied (which
again is not overly concerning unless you are looking for ultra-accuracy)
we had no other issues with the saw.